A public letter to the man who does not read (my blog posts)
I love a good debate, and my posts are meant to stir up debate, or at least to garner perspectives I hadn’t thought of. For me, without education there is no growth. So when a Facebook friend that I knew in high school continued responding to my blog headings without actually following the corresponding links, I got frustrated.
I admit I have been stewing on this since November. I was so irritated by our Facebook conversation regarding my repost on the theory of evolution that I stopped talking right in the middle of it. I stewed and stewed, because I knew that my friend was responding to the rhetoric in post headings, and truly didn’t understand the argument. I was also sad because I value a friendship that was established back in high school. I wanted to tell him that my silence was not because I agreed with him, but that I felt that enlightened discussion with him was futile.
Honestly, I wanted a good solid debate from the conservative spectrum. I truly am okay when you can prove me wrong–because I love to dig in to deep research to understand why I am wrong. I am happier when I have true understanding. So when my friend told me that he goes to church with a scientist who rejects the theory of evolution, I said that I would love to know what said scientist’s reasoning is for his rejection. My friend responded,
“Is it not enough to know has [sic] does not accept it? BTW, I use the scientific method regularly in my workplace. A theory is an unsubstantiated hunch. Once it is substantiated it is no longer a theory. Personally, I find it telling that we have no proof after nearly a century.”
I felt like my question had been interpreted as a provocation for argument rather than an honest search for knowledge.
That night, I wrote a letter. And so, with apologies to my readers, the letter:
Please let me point out that I have looked up to you since high school. And for us, that’s a long time. I still do look up to you. In fact, I see your commitment to your own point of view, especially concerning religion (and politics as they relate to your understanding of religion), an honorable thing.
When it comes to cultural and religious associations, you and I have far more in common than many of my Facebook friends. In fact, I think you would be surprised at how much more closely I align with your point of view than I do those of many others of my Facebook friends. I am thinking particularly of my atheist/agnostic friends which frequently comment on the same posts as you do. Unfortunately, I feel that they do not engage in disagreement at the same level you do.
I feel the need to point out that none of my posts/comments on Facebook are ever meant as attacks on any group or individual. However, I do provide links to blog posts, articles, and memes that are written with the intent to provoke thoughtful discussion. As I said in I’m Done Hiding, ”I don’t mind if you see your world differently. In fact, I welcome your comments–whether you agree or not. Just remember that we are not discussing matters of right vs. wrong or black vs. white. You can state your opinion. I can state mine, and if we don’t find common ground, then we can agree to disagree. “
My biggest problem is that I get the feeling you are responding to headlines or memes that show up on Facebook as part of links to web pages, rather than the actual articles associated with those links. Without being obvious, I have tried to point out that the issue in question is delineated in the linked article, and that you will understand my point if you read it before you respond to it. I didn’t want to point this out directly in the comments and embarrass you, but this is at least the third time you have bypassed understanding the argument and gone straight to arguing—(which, as I pointed out earlier, is not my intent).
I also didn’t want to point out that a rational debate happens when evidence is produced to support the claims of those involved. Sometimes people just want to make a quick comment as my cousin did when he said “a theory, nonetheless.” I got that he skimmed the article and disagreed, and would leave it at that. But when you provided a scientist whom you know who doesn’t believe in evolution and group-think as “evidence” I was confused. I am already well aware that there are some Christian professionals who agree with you.
I asked about the scientist that you mentioned because I am truly interested. No, it is not enough that you said that you “know someone who . . .” You are telling me that I must believe what you say because you say it. I can’t do that because I would be basing my belief in you on blind faith. I really am curious about what it is that makes your friend at church reject scientific theory, and what scriptural evidence he uses to support his belief. If it is too much trouble to actually get his explanation from him, just say so. Of course I can understand that.
Next, you are telling me that scientific theory is the same as all other theory. Once again, you post your claim as an opinion without anything to back it up. I do appreciate that you included a Wikipedia example of superseded theories, but you never showed proof that scientific theory is nothing more than “best guess” in opposition to [name removed]’s list of various explanations of scientific theory from a simple web search. Of course it was easy for me to counter your claim by pointing out the amount of new theories continues to grow in proportion to superseded theories.When you can show me evidence that scientific theory is truly nothing more than a good guess, I may be more inclined to understand why your workplace interprets scientific theory differently from the rest of the scientific world. I would then be able to say that you have made your point, and despite the fact that I might still disagree with you. I would also still look up to you.
You also made the claim that “A clear indication that a group is out of touch with reality is when it begins to assert that anyone who does not agree with its theories is either uneducated or unenlightened.” You make this claim without a reference, so it is safe for me to assume that your “clear indication” is actually your opinion, and may or may not necessarily be clear to any particular psychologist. It actually comes across as an accusation.
Or, if you are actually just trying to post an opinion without considering opposing opinions, why can’t you just accept the fact that I disagree, state your opinion, and leave it at that? Many of my friends do, and we have been able to remain friendly.
What I am trying to say, is that you are arguing what you see as right vs. wrong, and as long as you do so, we will both feel as if we are under attack.
I have also noticed that the only posts that you comment on are those of mine that are politically charged. Honestly, most of my posts are pretty benign. Are you actually trying to point out some malignancy in me? What I am asking for is a little bit of respect. If you can’t do so, I respectfully ask that you remove me from your friends list. As long as I can still see you on my list, I will know that you are still willing to make an effort at friendship despite political differences. Honestly, I would like that very much.
Thanks for reading. I feel better now.