Friday, December 21, 2007

Growing up on the Internet

I'm instituting a new policy on comments, which is that I'll let your comment run as long as you don't needlessly insult someone or call into question someone's honesty or integrity without some kind of justification.

There are people who want to post on this blog without giving their names and want to hide behind their anonymity while calling other people's integrity into question. What's particularly ironic is when, while using anonymity to avoid responsibility for their own behavior, they accuse me or someone else of hypocrisy. I'll just call it hypocrisy squared.

So if you want to make a legitimate point, go ahead. But don't get on the board and display your immaturity to the public by making wild personal charges unless you can a) use your own name, and b) back up your personal charges with some kind of evidence. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they're evil or dishonest, and I'm getting a little tired of having to give what I perceive are full grown adults the same lecture I give to my teenage boys about common politeness.

If I have to take your post off, and it contains a legitimate argument (and one I just took off did), then I'll either edit it, indicating which part I had edit for lack of maturity and post the rest, or I'll include a summary of the point, and maybe even a quote, when I get around to answering it.

And if you're one of the violators who don't like it, then my suggestion is to do everyone a favor and grow up before you post on the Internet. And if your intellectual adolescence doesn't allow you to understand why this is necessary and think it is somehow unfair, let me just assure you that I'm doing you a favor by shielding the readers of this blog from behavior that doesn't reflect well on you or your position.

8 comments:

The Principal said...

Good call.

R.

Motheral said...

It's your blog, you can run it any way you want, and the rest of us have no choice but to respect that.

However, for what my opinion is worth, I really should point out that you yourself have started many a thread with an attack on the integrity of some proponent of evolution; and, when pressed for details or clarification, you have failed to deliver, and simply repeated the accusation you had failed to back up the first time. If you're going to make arguments that look dishonest, and refuse to answer questions or address counterarguments, then you really should expect to have your honesty questioned. As a creationist, you are somewhat tainted by the blatant dishonesty of the entire creationist movement, and if you post their arguments here, then you'll have to deal with their reputation.

Of course, one solution would be to post on a blog that doesn't allow comments. Oh wait, you've already done that! Congratulations on your career move; and happy holidays!

Martin Cothran said...

Motheral,

I don't claim not to have attacked someone else's credibility on this blog. For one thing, I have no doubt that if I went back and looked, I would find that I have pushed the envelope on this a few times myself. I try to remain cognizant of my own convictions about this, but it is easy to find yourself doing it without thinking.

But note that I said my problem was people who did this "without justification" and anonymously. If I have questioned someone's motives or assailed their integrity, I would hope I gave a good reason for it. And if you search around and find that I didn't, then you know who to blame only because I always put my name to what I say. I don't even post on other blogs anonymously. I just think its bad form.

So if you find a case where I did this, and you accuse me of hypocrisy, then, first, you're probably right. Mea culpa. And if you do find it, I will deem that you have just given justification for it and I'll run it.

And by the way, I think I've been quite generous in this regard before, and plan to continue to be. I'm just saying I do have to draw a line somewhere.

In regard to me being a creationist, I would like to know on what you base that judgment. I have said several times that I simply don't know how things developed over millions of years, although I'm pretty sure that they did, and that I don't think anyone else has much justification for saying they know what happened millions of years ago either, particularly those in the scientific community who are always talking about sticking with what is observable.

The only thing I have asserted is my own intuition, which I find as rationally justified as anything else I see out there, that the universe betray's design, and that design implies a designer. Like most people, I was born with that intuition, and never had it educated out of m. Is it an unassailable position? I don't think so. But I can think of few positions--other than purely mathematical or analytic ones--that are.

It is one of several issues in which I am personally interested, and I amuse myself by writing and arguing about them on this blog. My amusement does not exclude being entertained by posts that score a fair point against me, as anonymous did the other day when he asked, after I had posed the question of when the 60's happened, "Should this point be decided by historians, chronologists, or philosophers?" lampooning my arguments about who should decide the question of what science is. It was clever, and I experienced high levels of amusement from reading it.

If people get as much entertainment as I get about writing and arguing about these things, then they are welcome to do so on this blog. But I am not amused when people get rude and personal and just want to make other people look bad when they won't even say who they are.

They can go do that somewhere else, but they can't do it here until and unless they find some way to do it that doesn't detract from my amusement.

And by the way, I don't have a problem with the Discovery Institute or anyone else who doesn't do comments on their website. It doesn't amuse everyone to read these things, after all.

Oh, and I have made no career move. I'm still a teacher and a writer (and a lobbyist and a few other things). Discovery was just interested in running some of my posts--which I'm sure amuses you (which, in turn, amuses me).

Merry Christmas.

kehrsam said...

Martin: Does this mean you are going to stop referring to people who support the theory of evolution as "Darwinists"? After all, they do not use this term to describe themselves.

The fact that most evolutionists are not polite to ID supporters is no excuse to be rude to them. We should be better than that.

Anonymous said...

Martin, You say: "In regard to me being a creationist, I would like to know on what you base that judgment. I have said several times that I simply don't know how things developed over millions of years, although I'm pretty sure that they did, and that I don't think anyone else has much justification for saying they know what happened millions of years ago either, particularly those in the scientific community who are always talking about sticking with what is observable."

Have you taken classes in the sciences related to evolution and historical geology? There are numerous scientific journals in these fields, many of which are available for reading at the University of Kentucky Science Library. I do not mean to be insulting, but I find it remarkable that you speak on this issue on your and the Discovery Institute's blogs, plus you are known to lobby the state legislature over your position. Yet you appear to admit you don't understand how scientists reach the conclusions they do.
As for your claim not to be a creationist, I can't help but think that statement is more than a little disingenuous. You have appeared on KET's KY Tonight at least once on this issue.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think anyone else has much justification for saying they know what happened millions of years ago either"

If it talks like a creationist, it probably is a creationist. Is this the "you weren't there" argument?

"I have asserted is my own intuition".

Ahh - a good old appeal to "common sense". Just like a creationist.

"the universe betrays design"

Wait, you forgot the key word "intelligent". Yes, snowflakes betray design, but ...

"when they won't even say who they are"

An argument is an argument is an argument - whether or not the author remains anonymous. Does having a (true?) name associated with the argument improve it because of the "authority" behind the name?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says:
"An argument is an argument is an argument - whether or not the author remains anonymous. Does having a (true?) name associated with the argument improve it because of the "authority" behind the name?"

Besides, one can pick a fake identity and post under the name "Einstein" or "Bozo the Clown." On the internet, people often say they are things they are not (a good reason not to participate in ads or chat for romance!). Sometimes posters will say outrageous things just to start a discussion -- i.e. "trolling". There is a famous cartoon of a dog sitting in front of a computer and saying to another dog "On the internet nobody knows you are a dog." I think Martin's indignation over anonymous posts is fluff to distract from the bad arguments he makes supporting and defending ID Creationism.

Anonymous said...

Intuition is great for coming up with ideas and often good for evaluating social and everyday situations but it is not very good for evaluating scientific hypotheses. See http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000A760C-14A5-14C1-94A583414B7F0181&ref=sciam&chanID=sa006
My intuition tells me that the earth is flat and no liquid will flow uphill, but both intuitive ideas are incorrect. Perhaps it is just the effect of my reading words on a computer screen, but you seem curiously proud (especially for a teacher) of your dependence on intuition rather than education (via book or hands-on).

jah



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The only thing I have asserted is my own intuition, which I find as rationally justified as anything else I see out there,... Like most people, I was born with that intuition, and never had it educated out of m.