Saturday, March 2, 2019

Margarita Mix

We had one of our most lively discussions the other night, but in trying to recount it all, I find my mind is little fuzzy.  We talked politics, religion and sex but I'm warning you that maybe the margaritas have interfered with my accurate recall and some of which follows may or may not be true!

After reading the blog about "Some Things are Too Hard to Fix," my sister Carol wrote some interesting comments which spurred further discussion.  Here is the context:

This is the part of the blog that Carol is responding to:

Our discussion moved to liberal bastions of higher learning and how two years ago there was a huge uproar and protest when a conservative group from Middlebury College invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak.  Murray had written The Bell Curve, where he implied that intelligence was partially genetic.  Knowing there would be opposition, the conservative group also invited a left-leaning professor from Middlebury to engage in a dialogue.  In his introduction to Murray’s speech, a representative from the American Enterprise Club implored his fellow students to debate Murray rather than shouting him down.   But shout him down they did as well as pound on his car and try to physically harm him.  There was similar violence at UC Berkeley when ex-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos was barred from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley.  At an academic institution, where you are trying to teach the pursuit of the truth, we must allow all points of view to be heard.  Students have the choice to not attend meetings, but the true scholar might want to hear the other side.  Bob said maybe instead of putting our fingers in our ears, we should try to engage in a dialogue.  We have become so polarized in this country, that anyone with whom we disagree should be avoided.  Our Congress is plagued by the same malady- no dialogue there!

Here are the comments:  
Carol:  Just read your latest blog. I’m not sure how to reply on the blog so am emailing u instead. I’m curious as to whether anyone made a distinction between opposing opinions and false opinions. Can there be such a thing as a false opinion? I’m thinking of climate change. Should people who deny its existence be given a platform? Presenting them with facts doesn’t seem to sway them from their almost faith-like adherence to non-scientific fact. The other day Chris Wallace, whom I admire as a first rate interviewer, had Rush Limbaugh on and Wallace sat and smiled and said nothing through a 2 or 3 minute tirade by Limbaugh about the hoax of climate change. I was appalled and so disappointed in one of the few Fox reporters I consider worth listening to. I tried to contact Wallace but because I don’t use Twitter could not. Thoughts?
Carol: I worry that some people deliberately make false claims to advance a specific agenda or themselves. So, climate change, which if taken seriously necessitates costly changes to some industries, is dismissed by people in those industries as a hoax. Their reasoning is deliberately not based on fact so any debate simply gives them a platform to advance their own interests, to give the impression that climate change is debatable when it is not. Many people, for many reasons, do not want to face the fact of climate change and will embrace those who call it a hoax. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes giving fake theories or false facts a chance to be debated might be a mistake. There are other examples, evolution, Obama’s birthplace, vaccines causing autism, etc. False opinions need to be debunked but maybe debating them elevates them to a level they don’t deserve.

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