Saturday, September 14, 2013


When in the Course of online events, it becomes necessary for one person to not entirely dissolve bands which have connected him with Facebook, and yet to assume among the powers of the Internets a separate and equal station to which the Ubiquitousness of Google Plus and adequate connectivity entitles him, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation. - Thomas Jefferson*
As in any new endeavor, it may be wise to present an opening statement. While I have no doubt that there will be strong opinions shared here (by myself and by others), please consider my posts as defensive rather than offensive. In other words, I am not attempting to change minds by posting my thoughts here. Each person will agree sometimes and disagree other times, and I am quite comfortable with that. I have wasted a lot of time in the past engaged in fruitless polemics - philosophical, political, and theological - and see no need to do so here. As one of my personal heroes in American story (abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison) once said, "With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost." (Other excellent WLG quotes here.)

This does not mean that I do not welcome critical responses, as I expect a few with about everything I post. However, I hope to elevate the discussion here above the typical facebook banter, so please consider the following if engaging in debate:
  • No "No True Scotsman" arguments will be tolerated. Not only is it weak and overused, but it is inherently demeaning. We may have differing opinions, but it does not make me (or you) an inferior member of any geographic, religious, gender, or political group. Likewise, ad hominem attacks should be avoided.
  • While empassioned language is understandable, please understand there is a difference between conviction/moral outrage and alarmism.  Primarily, this difference is whether the focus of the outrage is real or merely theoretical. William Lloyd Garrison spoke harshly about the very real and widespread issue of race-based slavery. While I see such arguments all the time on facebook, there is no need to argue for the construction of missiles made to take out spacecraft originating outside of our solar system - without first proving the existence of said alien technology.
  • Correct grammar and spelling are greatly appreciated (capitalized words followed by superfluous exclamation points is a personal pet peeve).  While I am not morally opposed to "swear" words (which are determined by a culture and may vary), please refrain from their use as a concession to those here who may be offended by it. 
  • Lastly, if you think you're stating anything that may be questioned, please provide a link to document your source. This source should not be merely another blog or special-interest group site. If it's by a group no one's ever heard of, you might want to look for another source. You might even want to check it against Snopes.

Thank you for your continued patience. I am still learning (it's been years since I've used HTML), and once I have all of the technical stuff out of the way I look forward to more thoughtful posts than this list of rules and gripes. Excelsior!

* No, not really.

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