Diversity of Opinion is Good

One of the things I really enjoy about the skeptic/atheist world is the diversity here.

What I mean is that there are so many varying opinions on any topic and that in a way, we all learn from each other (well mostly). There are people of course that are extremists no matter what is being discussed and even then, there is a range of “extremist” opinion.

I tend to not be an extremist. I do, however, listen to those voices because every once in a while there’s a real, reasonable point being made.

I think that if I have a major “fault” is that I tend to listen to everyone, even the ridiculous. And no, I’m not saying I don’t have any other faults, just that this one has been pointed out to me multiple times.

If we don’t listen to those opinions that maybe most would consider anathema (WOW! I haven’t been able to use that word in a while) then we’re doing the same thing. Squelching unpopular speech.

I would rather be one of those that hears that speech, and argues (rational argument) against that speech or idea. I believe most of us do that. There’s absolutely no reason for any of us to use invective. All that is done in that case is to harden the opinion of the person being confronted.

We’re skeptics. We use reason to confront ideas to oppose ideologies that are harmful to society. My honest opinion? We generally do a pretty good job exposing those. Sometimes there are so-called skeptics that do nothing and are determined to generate drama.

Avoid them.

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3 thoughts on “Diversity of Opinion is Good

  1. I agree that it can be helpful to expose oneself to ideas with which one disagrees, including some of the truly poor ones. If nothing else, it may help us understand and appreciate the diversity of opinions.

    Where I disagree is with the comparison of prioritizing how one spends one’s time to the squelching of free speech. Deciding that one would rather not read or listen to a particularly bad apple does not entail squelching anything. When I turn off the reality TV show that comes on, I’m not squelching speech; I’m just deciding that my time is better spent elsewhere.

    Efforts to squelch speech would look more like me throwing a fit every time I encountered something I didn’t like, rage blogging about it, and demanding that someone lose their job because I was offended.

  2. Well, I agree you can change the channel or turn off the TV, but that’s not what i was referring to. It’s about avoiding those that claim to be skeptics that do nothing but create drama.

    I’m no advocating suppresing speech, just the avoidance of those that do nothing but attempt to create drama out of nothing.

  3. Right. My point was that I didn’t think that avoiding the rage/drama bloggers is the same thing as squelching unpopular speech. In the post, it seemed like you were suggesting that if we avoid them, we’re doing the same thing they are in this respect. That was the part I’m not so sure about.

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