How I afford to do this

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fair Thought Friday: Knowledge Is Power; But Is Knowledge Better?

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." -Isaac Asimov

Please discuss below in whichever direction you are inclined.  I only ask that you encourage all sides to continue and stick to fair thought principles.  Logical fallacies devalue intellectual conversation and are therefore not tolerated here.


  For my entire life, I have been guided and ultimately inclined to learn more about that which I disagree.  From an early fear of roller coasters to philosophical and faith-based positions, I've found it best to learn about the other side of the argument. Sometimes I find myself with a stronger argument for my thoughts.  Other times, I find a new perspective.  In either case, I have never regretted knowledge.

  Yesterday, NBC had a story about a kids' camp in Fort Worth, Texas.  The children are being taught gun safety, proper shooting techniques, etc. You can learn more about it here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Summer-Gun-C-388386832.html

  This also reminded me of a somewhat recent law requiring that women in Texas wanting an abortion must get a sonogram first. In the sonogram, the provider must display and describe the image (https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/spibs/spib_RFU.pdf).

  I've been in the conversation long enough to know that on the subject of guns and abortion, we tend to pick a side quickly and not want to move from it.  At the core of the "pro vs. con" arguments with both situations is one concept: knowledge. Proponents want knowledge dispersed, while opponents do not.

  It would be flawed thinking to create a false dilemma akin to "The only reason prevent a sonogram is if an abortion was the best case scenario." On the other side of the argument, saying that the sonogram was bad because it could lead the woman to have feelings for the child is also flawed, because keeping people on your side through information deprivation also defies fair thought.

    On the gun camp, saying "The only reason to oppose firearms education is to keep more people afraid of guns" represents another false dilemma, as people may have other valid reasons.  Conversely, saying "This is a part of a bigger plan by the gun [lobby/industry/culture] to drive more business and support in the future" doesn't stand up to principles of fair thought.

   In both cases, we have a right to choose for ourselves.  Ethically, I would contend that we also have the responsibility to learn as much as possible.  There may be valid arguments on both sides that could enlighten the other. I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Blog's Commitment to Excellence (START HERE)

  After an extended hiatus spent reading tons and writing little, I've decided to change courses.  No, my values, faith, and hobbies have not changed.  What has changed is the realization that without dialogue between all parties, there will not be any advancement in our society.  
  I remain adherent to fair thought principles.  I have removed derogatory terms for the other side of the aisle from my vocabulary, and it is the goal of anything I post to start a conversation, not end it.  The past two years have allowed me to experiment on social media to solicit input from all sides.  I think that it's the lack of communication that creates stereotypes and assumptions, both of which inhibit communication.  That's why I'm working to transition the conversation from my personal page and into this public forum.  If you disagree with something, please feel free to state and support your thoughts.  I truly believe that when we are all heard, we find that we have more in common than we once thought. 
While I welcome feedback, there are a few things I hope to achieve through this page, and certain elements can help or harm this.  
  • Fair thought is necessary, and is a cornerstone to honor.  If someone brings up a conflicting viewpoint, don't throw out a red herring or straw man fallacy.  We will all leave a little smarter this way.
  • No ad hominem fallacies. I know, I just said fair thought is required, but this one deserves its own section.  Facts must stand or fall on their own merit.  If you have to bring ignorance, race, faith, privilege, or culture into the conversation, a page committed to fair thought is not the place for you.
  • Have the same conversation.  I believe that many of our disagreements stem from the tendency of two opposing sides to argue with points that fail to refute the central points of the other. Examples of this are controlling illegal immigration vs hating non-Americans, or protecting the unborn vs protecting the woman who wants an abortion.  If you wish to defend (And I hope you do), refute directly.
  •   No name-calling / Trust in the positive intentions of others. People disagree because they have a different view, not necessarily because they are bigoted, [anything]phobic, ignorant or stupid.  The conversations that ensue on this page should begin with the assumption that we all want improvement; and our disagreement is usually just in the solution. 
  • No shutting down the conversation.  Statements like "End of discussion," or "You're not going to convince me" have no place on this page. If that's how you feel, this is not the proper forum for you. There are plenty of "echo chambers" on both sides.  Find one of them instead of trying to make this your support group.
  • Keep your values relative.  Scientifically, the only answer to "Is there a God?" Is "We don't know."  Neither atheists nor believers have a monopoly on science, and as both sides claim to answer the question "What's behind that door?" Both sides have taken a leap of faith.  As a Christian man, I believe there is truth in The Bible.  That said, if I'm speaking to someone without, or with differing faith, I know that "Because The Bible says so" is not a refute. Neither is "Because there is no god." The agnostics can laugh at both of us.  
  When we expand our minds and provide a place like this where everyone is able to hear and be heard, we can begin to come back together and fix this mess.  Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoy this site!