Disagreement Should Bring Discussion, Not Personal Attacks


Something I’ve found particularly disturbing in the last few years is the cacphony of name calling on the Internet. disagree with someone’s point of view? You’re a racist, bigot, misogynst, or something else – sometimes far worse than the former. I’ve always, at least in the past, appreciated informed dialog with others, especially those that are skeptics because not everything we talk about is necesarily written in stone.

Certainly there are some that most anyone would classify as bigoted or racist based on what they write or say, but not everyone that disagrees with a postion some others may hold is necessarily the same. There are people that have genuine disagreements on policy as well as social matters. Those disagreements not only not make them less informed that those that believe they are the enlightened ones, but also do not make them in any form a bigot, etc.

There’s no such thing as your truth versus my truth. People may have differing opinions, but those don’t qualify as truth. The same with facts. I notice all the time how some people present facts that bolster their argument but conveniently leave out information that may call into question those same facts. We’ve all seen this before haven’t we? We call it cherry-picking and who does that more than any other? Of course those believers that use their holy text to justify their belief.

Smetimes it’s not cherry-picking information but a lack of knowledge on the subject meaning that what someone has thought to be true for a long time,  more research into the subject provides a different conclusion. This has actually happened to me in the past and on ocassion, still does. What I do though is instead of coming into a discussion/debate with a closed mind in that I believe I know everything, I have a open mind, willing to change what I thought was true based on the newer information.

I don’t mind being wrong if I actually am; What that does for me is increase my knowledge, and I’m grateful for that. Sure, it may be a bit embarassing, especially if the nre information is not actually new, and that I haven’t done any research into it in a while, but it comes down to just accepting that we can all be wrong one time or another.

None of this leads to any recriminations or name calling, or shouldn’t. We all gain by knowing what the truth is on any subject. Those that come into any discussion with a closed mind is what keeps us apart. Preconceived ideas or conclusions are never good.

We should also be willing to listen to ideas that we disagree with instead of dismissing them out of hand. Sometimes, what we hear is taken completely out of context. The media are notorious for doing this. When we read, or hear, the full context though, it no longer sounds bigoted or racist, or whatever.  It’s too easy for those with an agenda to make those they disagree with to be evil in some way. Skeptics need to alway be wary.

Be a better skeptic. Never enter a discussion with a preconceived conclusion because all of the facts may not be known, Instead of name calling, listen.  Learn the difference between actual bigotry and what you believe is boigotry – maybe based upon your own.

It’s time to stop name calling and have seious discussions. We may not solve anything, but we won’t create enemies by doing so. We may create an environment where people feel unencumbered to speak what they think or believe.

We used to do just that. Let’s start doing it again.







2 thoughts on “Disagreement Should Bring Discussion, Not Personal Attacks

  1. Well, Jim, the human condition is what it is. ‘Godless in Dixie’ has talked about this, also. I do not tweet. Saves lots of what you speak of. One guy on FB told me, “your and idiot!” I told him it’s ‘you’re’ and asked him how it felt to have elementary school spelling correct by an idiot like me. I gotta have some fun. I seldom intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings, but it happens. I usually apologize for that. The one thing I do not agree with you on is ‘we used to do just that.’ The cover and anonymity of on-line is like driving a car, it brings out another side for some of us. But name calling? That goes back to elementary school and they still do it. People do not have to agree with me. They have every right to be wrong. 🙂


  2. Name calling immediately ends the conversation, if there actually was one. This tactic puts the so-named on defense, because in order to make anything you say from then on legitimate, you have to prove you are not the “name.” It is used by lazy and cowardly children on the playground and online.

    It is so very difficult to use the written word to express exactly what you mean in exactly the “tone” you mean to express it in. I most often agonize over my posts, because I want to be so careful to have the reader understand exactly what I am trying to express.

    Twitter, dear Gawd! What a horrid means to convey ideas and to express thoughts. It was bad enough when FB offered forums, which moved at lightening speed with hundreds of contributors, but Twitter…

    And, add to that the spell corrections that the system in use chooses and you have a form of total miscommunication. My system is way too forward with what it thinks I intend to write, which means much time spent self editing posts or replies.

    Bill, is right, human nature sucks, but the internet makes it all so much more entertaining in a volatile sort of way that breeds chaos.

    EMP anyone?


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