Trying To Win The Debate…By Pretending There Isn’t One

debateI recently read an article at a certain, often informative website that I visit sometimes. This website is not known for featuring wholesome language or presenting a conservative viewpoint, so I generally know what to expect from it. Still, I was particularly struck by something in one of the article’s paragraphs.

In this article, which was fairly insightful and intelligently written overall, the author was questioning the wisdom behind several commonly used phrases. One of these was “everyone’s entitled to their opinion.” The author’s beef with this phrase was that it implied that all opinions were equally valid. “But for an opinion to be valid,” he wrote, “it needs to be informed.” Well, that’s hard to argue with, isn’t it?

Then he went on to list what he obviously considered to be examples of the most blatantly uninformed opinions imaginable. “These opinions,” he wrote, “are not informed. There is no logic behind them, no foundation on which to base them. They’re ****ing retarded.” (Remember what I said about the website’s language.)

So what were the so-called indisputably “retarded” opinions that he named? “Some people have an opinion that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed; that the Earth is 6,000 years old; that man-made climate change doesn’t exist.”

Well, anyone who is conservative or Christian should be able to see the problem with this. At most, these “opinions” are controversial or unpopular. Even some clearly non-conservative and non-Christian people who commented on the article saw the need to call the author on this. He was not naming indisputably wrong opinions as he could and should have done; rather, he was using this part of his article as a cheap way of bashing ideas that he personally disagreed with — that didn’t line up with his own uninformed opinions. (Irony alert!)

The author didn’t give any basis for considering any of these views to be invalid; it wasn’t really within the scope of his article for him to do so. But it’s a good bet that he wouldn’t be able to provide such a basis anyway — at least not one that would be convincing to anyone who didn’t already agree with him. More to the point, though, he pretended that he didn’t have to provide one, because in his mind anyone who wasn’t a hopelessly ignorant rube would already “know” these views were utterly, inarguably false.

Woodrow Wilcox

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As arrogant and immature as it is, this little trick is used by quite a few otherwise intelligent people besides the author in question. Basically, they pretend that an ongoing controversy isn’t really ongoing, but was conclusively won long ago — by their side. The use of this kind of tactic is a sure sign that someone cannot win a debate with reason and evidence, but has to cheat by any means they can.

Whenever someone tries to sell an idea as being “settled science,” or as being completely agreed upon and noncontroversial among all “experts,” “reputable researchers,” “intelligent people,” etc., that’s a big, red, flashing light telling you that you need to question it — and question it carefully. Legitimate claims don’t need to hide behind that kind of hype.

WoodrowWilcox.com

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The author I referred to may not be aware of how scientifically bankrupt evolutionary ideas really are, such as the claim that millions and billions of years had to pass so that everything had time to magically create itself without a Creator. He has probably only been exposed to a carefully picked handful of “evidence,” like radiometric dating methods that date fossils as being millions of years old (because they date everything as being millions of years old), and has never thought about the missing world of evidence — the missing universe of evidence — that should be there if evolutionism were true.

He may have somehow reached adulthood without ever grasping the unique value of the exclusive joining of male and female — a value that cannot be approximated by any other arrangement. And he may not be aware that honest science gives no indication that the actions of mere humans can affect climate, or that people who tell him otherwise uncoincidentally stand to profit greatly from the restrictions they would place on him — restrictions that they notably fail to submit to themselves.

In short, us conservatives may not agree with his opinions or consider them valid, but at least we can understand why he might have them. We don’t have to pretend that anyone who disagrees with us must be some kind of ignorant idiot. We know that the truth about certain things isn’t always going to be accepted, even by otherwise intelligent people.


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David Mann is a Christian who lives in Florida.
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