Monday, July 13, 2009

Left, Right, and "New Atheists"

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately and one trend that disturbs me is the grandiose posturing of whichever politically entrenched group each blogger takes him/herself to represent.  The news of Palin's resignation from Alaskan government, revelation of the Young Republican's racist comments on facebook, the ongoing degradation of Obama and his family that has nothing to do with political issues, etc have sparked heated back and forth between bloggers and those who comment. I value rhetoric and logical argument, in fact these are values I hope to impart to my students every semester.  I strive to show them that they can learn to disagree without enmity or hatred.  That when they disagree they must have the courage to stand up for their opinion and I try to give them the tools they need to support it.  The commentary I've been reading is filled with innuendo, poorly conceived argumentation, and a tightly-held curtain of patriotic self-righteousness.  This is a poor example for those who are just entering the debate.  They are encouraged to believe that the one who shouts the loudest or makes the most outrageous claims is correct, that hunches are synonymous with facts, and that fear is an appropriate rhetorical tool.  
Today I'm going to go back to my books.  I'm going to immerse myself in others' wisdom and try to ferret out a little more of what makes sense to me instead of getting lost in unwonted vitriol.  
Tomorrow I'm going to work on my syllabus for the upcoming school year.  I have some revisions to make to patch some leaks in my course from last year.  I've been kicking around some ideas to encourage my students to value revision, as well.  Tomorrow will be good.


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Piuvodku said...


Patrick said...

"rhetoric and logical argument" are great skills to have. Seems like every fool on the internet is extremely deficient in these categories. I even am not all that great at providing logical reasoning for my argument unless it is something I am very passionate about, and nobody ever wants to debate anything I say about lights...

The internet allows the everyday person to be a know-it-all, and there will always be someone out there to follow them. All you can really do is chuckle and scroll down.

Been kind of curious about what your view on eating meat is. I generally try not to think of things such as how an animal became meat, what conditions were like, etc., but what about animals who died of natural causes, or at least weren't killed purposely? Would be polite to bury it in the ground, where worms, flies, all sorts of critters will feast at the one course of the funeral reception meal. But what are your views on celebrating an animal's life (that wasn't cut short) by eating it? And I'm not talking 'bout eating the family pooch, but if you had a pet cow or chicken?


Piuvodku said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Pat. You are probably right about just letting things go on the internet. I usually try to do that, but sometimes it gets to be disturbing.
I just started to answer some of your other questions, but it got to be a bit lengthy, so I'll just make it a separate post. It should be coming soon.