Monday, March 11, 2013

Dogmatism and Tolerance

Have you ever noticed that those who complain about dogmatism, intolerance and closed-mindedness are often the ones who most exemplify these characteristics?  I've been accused of each of these, no matter how polite I am during the course of a debate.

For example, I've been accused of being intolerant for publicly expressing my belief in moral objectivity.  The funny thing is, the accuser cannot decry my intolerance without himself/herself presupposing moral objectivity.  If what's right for me isn't necessarily what's right for another, then the accuser has lost all grounds for his objection.  Why not be intolerant?  After all, if morality is relative, then why bother complaining about what's best for me?  The moral relativist's position is therefore self-defeating.

Is my claim that homosexual behavior is unhealthy merely my own subjective opinion, and not one that I should publicly express?  Taken to its logical conclusion, I guess I also shouldn't publicly express that the consumption of rat poison is unhealthy.  The fact is that nobody is a moral relativist or nihilist in practice.  The only consistent position with one's belief and one's practice is moral objectivism.

55 comments:

  1. Well, the problem is that you're thinking these issues through rationally and calmly, and giving replies based upon reflection. The sort of people who play the cards you're talking about usually avoid those things like the plague, despite words to the contrary. I recently had one panic when I asked them to defend their position that homosexual sex is never immoral. They compared it to having to defend the view that serial killing is immoral. It's just *obvious*, right?

    Is my claim that homosexual behavior is unhealthy merely my own subjective opinion, and not one that I should publicly express?

    I find it helps - and really, if you've got a sense of humor, it can be kind of funny - to talk bluntly there. That's just my personal experience, but I find people love to launch into passionate defenses of 'homosexual behavior' or 'same-sex lovemaking'. "Anal sex", people are less likely to man the battlestations for.

    It also helps, I think, from the Christian philosophy side. Too often moral objectivists on this point get sandbagged into opposing 'gay love', when it's not the love that's the problem but the sodomy. And the sodomy happens to not just be a gay thing. (Though there's that situation where sex between a heterosexual couple may involve sodomy, but between a homosexual couple, it always does.)

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  2. Good points, Crude. The response when I raise the health problems associated with anal sex is usually, "well, heterosexual couples do it, too." That may be, but that only means they shouldn't, either. We can't justify one type of unhealthy behavior by pointing to another.

    You're also quite right in mentioning there's nothing wrong with same-sex love. Think of King David and Jonathan. They loved each other deeply, but there was nothing sexual about it.

    One of the things that keeps me calm is knowing that anger is often a sign of a lack of confidence. It's usually those who know what they're talking about (and I'm certainly ignorant in many many fields) who are able to debate calmly and rationally.

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  3. I wonder if you were accused of being intolerant for expressing your belief in objective morality or for expressing what you think is objectively moral or not.
    E.g. if you tell me not to do something because you happen to think it is moraly wrong to do it, then if you cannot prove it is in fact morally wrong, you are indeed being intolerant.
    You have every right to claim that e.g. your God does not approve of homosexual behaviour, but unless you can show that this behaviour is truly ojectively wrong, you have no right to tell me not to behave a certain way.
    And I would most certainly call it intolerance if, as Crude does, one starts to proclaim falsehoods like "but between a homosexual couple, it always does (involve sodomy)."
    I would also like to point out that your generalization that homosexual behavior is unhealthy is your own opinion and if you express it that way, the accusation of intolerance seems at least partially justified.

    Walter

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  4. People tend to confuse toleration with acceptance. I'm not in favor of making homosexual behavior illegal (again). If people want to engage in that kind of behavior, and studies have shown that it is unhealthy, then they have every right to do so. I'm tolerant, but that doesn't mean I have to approve of it. In all of our debates, Walter, you'll notice that I don't berate or harass people. I'm describing an incident in which my interlocutor went way over the line.

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  5. By the way, it was he brought up homosexuality. He was angry that I choose to express my religious convictions and then started talking about all kinds of issues.

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  6. I have no problem with someone expressing his or her opinion, but on these issues, both sides tend to cross the line. Your interlocutor probably did but so did Crude. I don't know about you, but calling homosexuals 'sodomists' is way over the line for me.

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    1. E.g. if you tell me not to do something because you happen to think it is moraly wrong to do it, then if you cannot prove it is in fact morally wrong, you are indeed being intolerant.

      No, this is incorrect. I have no need to 'prove', certainly not prove to your personal satisfaction, the truth of objective morality in whole or in part in order to avoid the 'intolerant' label. I may as well tell you you have to prove my arguments are wrong to my satisfaction, or else you're intolerant.

      You have every right to claim that e.g. your God does not approve of homosexual behaviour, but unless you can show that this behaviour is truly ojectively wrong, you have no right to tell me not to behave a certain way.

      First, that 'right' is disputed more and more. Second, again, your standard is deficient. Again: "Unless you can objectively show me that I need an objective demonstration in order to judge behavior, I have every right to tell you your behavior is wrong." Third, the arguments go beyond the commands of God - natural law arguments and secular arguments abound.

      Your interlocutor probably did but so did Crude. I don't know about you, but calling homosexuals 'sodomists' is way over the line for me.

      And I would most certainly call it intolerance if, as Crude does, one starts to proclaim falsehoods like "but between a homosexual couple, it always does (involve sodomy)."

      Again, you're wrong - and now, you're being dishonest.

      First, I didn't call homosexuals 'sodomists'. Nowhere, nyet, and you know it. I object using that label on gays, precisely because A) chaste gays are not sodomists, B) even gays who were not chaste may become chaste, and C) sodomy, as I already pointed out, is in no way restricted to homosexuals. It's not even a limit case for heterosexuals at this point.

      Second, I said that any sexual act between a homosexual couple involves sodomy. The first definition Google's 'define' turns up is: "Sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation." I'm sure you could wiggle wildly here and say 'well that leaves out masturbation-style sex!' or the like, but really - at that point, you're going to be giving me 99% of the argument anyway.

      Third, you are unwittingly demonstrating Doug's point. You're demanding utter and thorough demonstration of an argument or view in order to cast judgment, lest someone be condemned as intolerant. Where's your utter and thorough demonstration that someone is intolerant - or that 'intolerance' is objectively immoral?

      And if you say 'It doesn't have to be utter and thorough, and it doesn't have to be to my personal satisfaction' to deflect what I've taken away from your statements, then bad news: I'll argue that your standard has already been met, and your whole argument here vanishes.

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  7. The term he used was "sodomy," which is a technical term for anal sex. I went back and read it again to make sure, but it's possible I missed something. Anyway, I agree with you that there are people on all sides of the issues who go over the line. However, you have my word that if someone harasses you on my blog, then I'll defend you.

    The main point of my post wasn't to express how upset I was that someone would insult me. That's part of it, though, because I think people should act civilly toward one another. The purpose of what I've written was to show the contradictory nature of one's belief in moral relativism with his or her actions.

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  8. I know it's a technical term, but claiming that all homosexual relationships involve anal sex is simply false, and the way it was phrased by Crude, actually insulting for homosexuals.
    As for the contradiction you are talking about, when somebody disagrees with you on a certain moral matter, this does not entail that this person does not think there are objective moral values.
    secondly, calling somebody 'dogmatic', 'intolerant' or 'closed-minded' does not entail an objective moral judgement, so, while I understand you feel insulted, I do not think there is a contradiction in it. I can most certainly decry somebody's intolerance even though I do not believe in (your kind of) objective morality.

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  9. Anal sex is much more prevalent among homosexual men than it is among heterosexuals. Crude was technically incorrect, but I don't think his intention was to insult anyone. Secondly, I never said you have to agree with me in order to affirm the objectivity of moral obligations. What I said is that the moral relativist cannot act consistently with his or her beliefs. That's all.

    Now, one person can call another intolerant, and so forth, but if this isn't a moral judgment, then so what? You're not familiar with the conversation I had, so let me fill you in on the fact that he definitely made moral judgments.

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  10. Let me provide an analogy I think we can all agree on. If a vegan tells me it's wrong to consume animal products, I don't consider that person intolerant, regardless of whether they make an attempt to justify their position. It's not as if they're trying to take away my right to eat meat. Likewise, I can claim homosexual behavior is wrong even without trying to justify my claim, and it wouldn't be intolerant. To reiterate: I don't want to make homosexual acts illegal.

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  11. Also, I think Crude's definition (an acceptable one) of sodomy is broader than the one we're using. If it includes things like oral sex, then homosexual acts are necessarily sodomistic.

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  12. I know it's a technical term, but claiming that all homosexual relationships involve anal sex is simply false, and the way it was phrased by Crude, actually insulting for homosexuals.

    I never said this. Doug's explained, I explained, but now you're bringing up another thing I need to correct: not all homosexual relationships need involve sodomy, not just for the reasons I stated, but because not all homosexual relationships need involve sex. I specified same-sex sexual relationships, and 'sodomy' is far broader than 'anal sex'.

    And "the way it was phrased by Crude" was that sodomy was not a gay issue exclusively, but a heterosexual issue as well. My point stands, and the route you're walking here will not work.

    But, I have a question for you, anon. Is it possible for someone's sexual desires, actions and/or fantasies to be either A) immoral or B) indicative that they are somehow broken (however slightly) and in need of help? Assume that these things only involve consenting adults, and no one's dying from it.

    I even have a good fictional example to use. Is the sexuality of Doug Thomas at all defective? Even if you say it's not strictly immoral, is his sexuality something in need of 'fixing'?

    And to fend off one objection: I have nowhere equated Doug Thomas' sexuality with gays'. I'm using him as an example to find out if someone's sexual preferences or behavior, with the conditions I stated, can ever in principle be immoral or 'broken'.

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  13. Crude

    If you tell me how not to behave and you cannot prove that my behaviour is objectively morally wrong, then you are intolerant precisely because you do not tolerate my behaviour as a result of your subjective judgment. It's not that you can't express your opinion, but asserting that your opinion is an objective truth and that you can impose it on me is intolerant.

    I do not think the right to express religious opinions is disputed. What is disputed is the right to impose whatever you believe unto others.
    And I have never claimed that you need an objective standard to judge behaviour, but you certainly need an objective standard to tell me what I can or can't do. Because , like it or not, you simply do not have the right to do so, and, for the record, neither have I. That does not mean I can't tel you I think you are wrong, or that you can't do the same.

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  14. If you tell me how not to behave and you cannot prove that my behaviour is objectively morally wrong, then you are intolerant precisely because you do not tolerate my behaviour as a result of your subjective judgment. It's not that you can't express your opinion, but asserting that your opinion is an objective truth and that you can impose it on me is intolerant.

    You're hedging: I have nowhere in this thread, nor has Doug, advocated 'imposing' anything. I am against sodomy laws. Please, show where in the thread anyone 'imposed' anything on anyone else. Or is stating one's view and arguing for it now 'imposing'?

    In fact, your first sentence illustrates your problem here. If I can't 'tell' you, this either means A) I can't pass laws against it (but I haven't advocated for that here, nor has Doug, and we're both against sodomy laws), or B) I can't tell you my view or argue for it unless I compel you. A is moot here, and B is insane.

    You simply made a bad move here. Walk it back.

    I do not think the right to express religious opinions is disputed.

    It is: see Canada v Bill Whatcott. Further, the arguments against sodomy, etc, are not exclusively religious. Doug has cited medical studies. I'd cite additional secular reasons. If my Catholicism were lost tomorrow, my opposition to the public acceptance of such things would not change because of the various Natural Law, etc arguments that stand on their own.

    And I have never claimed that you need an objective standard to judge behaviour, but you certainly need an objective standard to tell me what I can or can't do.

    By what objective standard did you derive this view? And can you prove it to my satisfaction?

    That does not mean I can't tel you I think you are wrong, or that you can't do the same.

    You're going to have to decide just what you mean by intolerance, because you are all over the map here. You opened up your contribution to this thread precisely arguing that 'telling someone you think they are wrong' was intolerant, unless you could prove it - and, it was implied, prove it to the satisfaction of all parties. That's a crazy standard.

    If now you're saying that one can object to, say... sodomy, but lacking a decisive objective demonstration of the truth of their objection they can't pass laws against it, you're arguing against a position that (while loaded with problems of its own) simply isn't being advocated here.

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  15. Crude (second part)

    When I said you call homosexuals sodomists, I mean that you call everyone who performs homosexual acts and does not become chaste a sodomist.
    And you are wrong. And so is Doug. Homosexual acts may involve anal sex, or oral sex or can be confined to merely 'masturbation-style sex'.
    Anal sex is more prevalent among homosexual men, but not e.g. between homoesxual women. And anal sex can be unhealthy. But that is not a moral issue, hat's a health issue.
    There is, however, no serious scientific study that says oral sex is unhealthy, so throwing anal and oral sex on the same heap of 'sodomy' does not help a serious discussion on homosexuality.

    As to your final point: whenever a subjective opinion becomes a judgment , it is intolerant. You do not seem to understand the difference between an opinion and a judgment. Everybody is entitles to his own subjective opinion. Judgments, on the other hand, must be objective.

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  16. Crude

    I have defined what I mean by intolerance.I did not open up my contribution arguing that 'telling someone you think they are wrong' was intolerant, unless you could prove it' 'Telling somebody you think that they are wrong' is not the same as asserting someone they are wrong, and it most certainly isn't the same as saying people cannot do something.
    I believe you and Doug when you say that you do not wish to tell people what they can or cannot do, but lots of people (theists and atheists alike) do this.

    So,if you'll excuse me, I have no intention to 'walk it back'

    As for your other post,I am not going to turn this into a discussion on whether some sexual behaviours or preferences are immoral or broken.
    For the record: I do not believe in objective morality the way it is usulally defined by theists.

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  17. Walter, just a quick question: is your objective morality utilitarian? I'm just curious.

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  18. When I said you call homosexuals sodomists, I mean that you call everyone who performs homosexual acts and does not become chaste a sodomist.

    Still incorrect. Everyone who engages in sodomy, I suppose, would be a sodomist. 'Hetero' or 'homo' has nothing to do with it.

    And you are wrong. And so is Doug. Homosexual acts may involve anal sex, or oral sex or can be confined to merely 'masturbation-style sex'.

    The definition of sodomy I provided - independent - includes oral and anal. I already acknowledged you could twist around and come up with 'masturbation-style sex', but at that point you've conceded the entirety of the argument to me anyway. You're basically saying, "I bet technically they're not committing sodomy if their sexual activity consists of nothing but giving each other handjobs!" You're welcome to that move. You're making it in a corner I've put you in.

    Anal sex is more prevalent among homosexual men, but not e.g. between homoesxual women. And anal sex can be unhealthy. But that is not a moral issue, hat's a health issue.

    Health issues can be moral issues, and in either case, whether it's a moral issue is disputed.

    Is it moral to knowingly engage in acts that will likely lead to a health issue? Even your moral system may recognize that problem.

    There is, however, no serious scientific study that says oral sex is unhealthy, so throwing anal and oral sex on the same heap of 'sodomy' does not help a serious discussion on homosexuality.

    It's a good thing that morality isn't determined solely by scientific study - and it's also good that the question of health, particularly mental health, is not a wholly scientific issue in any event.

    Everybody is entitles to his own subjective opinion. Judgments, on the other hand, must be objective.

    Please explain the difference between a judgement and an opinion. Let's see if it doesn't become exactly what I already laid out.

    So,if you'll excuse me, I have no intention to 'walk it back'

    You've already started. All that's left is for you to explain the difference between having the view that something is wrong and judging that something is wrong, and the walk-back will be complete.

    As for your other post,I am not going to turn this into a discussion on whether some sexual behaviours or preferences are immoral or broken.

    Why not? Are you saying you cannot tell if Doug Thomas' sexuality is broken or immoral? It's difficult for you?

    If someone's sexual preferences cannot be broken or immoral given the conditions I gave, Doug Thomas is normal, healthy and immoral. If he's not, then some people's sexual preferences can be broken or immoral given the conditions I laid out - and that leads to consequences for a view.

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  19. Crude

    I really don't feel like engaging in an endless discussion with you on this subject. All I wanted to show in my original reply to Doug and you was that
    1. Judging someone's behaviour on a subjective basis can be viewed as intolerant, especially when an objective basis is claimed
    2. Regardless of the issue at hand, describing someone's claims as intolerent does not require believing in objective morality.

    As for your claim that "between a homosexual couple, it always does" that claim is wrong, even if only 1% of active homosexuals don't commit sodomy (which is false, anayway). So, it's you who is in the corner and have to admit that when you used the word 'always' you actually meant 'almost always'.

    As for the diffrence between an opinion and a judgment, I think I have been clear. An opinion is subjective and should be stated as such. Claiming that X or Y is objectively wrong, on the other hand, is a judgment and must be backed up . If it's not, then it is a sign of intolerance.

    As for Doug Thomas, I am not a psychologist, so, no, I can't tell with a sufficient amount of certainty whether it is broken or not. So, because I do not want to be intolerenat, I withhold my judgment. And I strongly recommend you to do the same on issues that you simply can't objectively judge. Between black and white, there's all sorts of shades of grey, Crude, at least fifty, I am told.



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  20. Doug

    Yes my morality is essentially utilitarian. And for that reason it is not 100% objective, but neither is yours.

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  21. Walter, take a look at my vegan analogy again. Let me know if you think such a person is intolerant.

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  22. I really don't feel like engaging in an endless discussion with you on this subject.

    Of course not. It's going poorly for you, and God forbid you learn something or, worse, feel the high horse you ride on has gotten sick.

    Judging someone's behaviour on a subjective basis can be viewed as intolerant, especially when an objective basis is claimed

    Your defense of this claim has been laughable. But you actually seem to realize that.

    Also, "especially when an objective basis is claimed"? Why, because that's double negative ungood in your subjective view? If all you're saying is 'people can subjectively judge you to be intolerant', you're still sabotaging your own position. "You're intolerant!" is just nonsense emoting.

    2. Regardless of the issue at hand, describing someone's claims as intolerent does not require believing in objective morality.

    It requires the usual inconsistency and faux morality that shows up whenever someone wants to ride both the horses of 'morality is subjective' and 'what you did is EVIL'.

    So, it's you who is in the corner

    Considering I already pointed out A) the (legitimate) definition of sodomy I was using, and B) pointed out the limit case exceptions to sodomy before anyone else did, I'm afraid I'm in no corner. Nice try, though.

    You, however, have been forced to back off repeatedly, and are now in full-fledged retreat. You should really ask yourself why you are, and how to avoid this in the future. I've got a suggestion: don't try to slap the 'intolerant' label on people who simply disagree with you, particularly people who 'tolerate' what they disagree with even legally. Be more conservative (intellectually, not politically) in your views, and especially your accusations. It saves you foot-in-mouth time.

    An opinion is subjective and should be stated as such. Claiming that X or Y is objectively wrong, on the other hand, is a judgment and must be backed up .

    An utterly arbitrary rule that is not only pointless here (once again, we're back to 'prove to your satisfaction', which is again a joke of a standard), but one that is destructive to discourse generally. Even science, which you pretend to rely on, can't prove decisively utter objective truth.

    Stop making mistakes like these.

    As for Doug Thomas, I am not a psychologist, so, no, I can't tell with a sufficient amount of certainty whether it is broken or not.

    Okay. Let's put this in perspective: Doug Thomas can't achieve an erection without placing himself in a soundproof room, where he dresses up in a latex gimp suit and jamming an ice cream scoop up his ass while watching people in his restaurant get good service while looking through a two-way mirror.

    Your response is you don't know if this is unhealthy behavior, you have to check with someone who has a degree in one of the softest of the soft sciences before you can decide on this. Which also happens to be part of the profession that regarded homosexual desire as a mental illness up until the 1970s.

    Let me guess: everyone should have regarded homosexuals as mentally ill until then?

    Followup question: Jeffrey Dahmer went on a murder spree where he captured, sexually tormented and ate his victims. Is what he did illegal or unethical?

    Hold on, I'll answer for you: "I don't know, I should really ask a lawyer and a philosopher."

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  23. As it happens , I am a vegetarian myself (not a vegan). And I never just tell anyone that eating meat is wrong, because, yes that would be intolerant. I could tell them I think it is wrong, and give some reasons why, but claiming with certainty that something is wrong requires a certainty that I do not have.

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  24. What's the qualitative difference between "I think X is wrong" and "X is wrong"? Either way, you're still expressing disapproval of someone else's behavior. You're also shifting the goalposts here. When I say that homosexual behavior is wrong and unhealthy, I don't claim epistemic certainty. I provide reasons for why I think this is so, but nobody ever mentioned certainty. You seem to be conflating moral ontology with moral epistemology.

    Would it therefore be considered tolerant if I simply said, "I think homosexual behavior is unhealthy and here's why..." I'm pretty sure I'd continue being called intolerant.

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  25. I would not think that is intolerant, no. For starters it is a much more modest statement, as opposed to the arrogant statement 'homosexual behaviuor is wrong' The very fact that you say that you provide reasons shows that basically you agree with what I said that condemning something without giving reasons is intolerant. And saying 'homesexual behaviour is wrong' is a subjective opinion dressed up as an objective truth, while saying 'I think it is wrong for this and that reason' isn't.
    The qualitative diffrence betwwen those two statements is in fact huge.
    And, yes, there will always be peplle who call you intolerant, just as there will always be people who call atheists intolerant for expressing doubt about what theists call truth. That's life. Do you have any idea how often I have been called intolerant or even worse by fundamentalist Catholics for expressing my opinion?
    How would you feel if I claimed that all Catholics were intolerant based on my experience with those fundamentalists? Can you see now why claiming that betwwen homosexual couples love making always involves sodomy is an intolerant statement?

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  26. Sorry Crude, but I won't be responding to you anymore. lI think the tone of your latest reply actually makes my case.
    If you can't manage to have an irenic discussion, then I bow out here, because I have no intention of turning this into an ordinary street fight.

    Now Doug, this is your blog and you are free to allow whatever you want here, but don't you think that if you feel you should make a fuss about quotation marks because you think they are insulting, a remark about phrases like "Your defense of this claim has been laughable" is in place here? Let alone denigrating remarks about 'the softest of soft sciences'. I can tolerate a lot, but direct insults are a bit over the line IMO.


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  27. Crude, I would like you to scale back on the "laughable" remarks. Walter, I don't see the big deal about calling psychology a soft science. In fact, it's known not to be one of the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology). Notice that when Crude made those remarks about psychology, he wasn't talking about you. Compared to some of the discussions on freeratio.org, this one is easily being conducted very civilly. However, I do agree that we shouldn't be calling others' defenses laughable. Crude, are you okay with that?

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  28. And Walter, yes, it's wrong for people to call you intolerant for merely expressing your views. You have to understand, though, we can only control our own actions and words. It's a shame that you've been called intolerant, but that's no reason to call everyone on the opposition intolerant. Call me square, but two wrongs don't make a right.

    There's just no comparison to calling all Catholics intolerant and saying that all homosexual acts are unhealthy. Saying it's unhealthy has nothing to do with imposition or making these things illegal - hence, toleration.

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  29. I have never called everyone of the opposition intolerant. Calling all Catholics intolerant is simply false, as is calling all homosexual acts unhealthy. If those things are done deliberately, they are both signs of intolerance.

    And may I remind you that my quotation marks had nothing to do with you either, not with Aquinas or WL Craig, but with some of the things they assert. So, if calling psychology 'the softest of soft sciences' is not denigrating or insulting, then putting cosmology between quotation marks is even less insulting. Please don't use double standards here.

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  30. Here's the difference: I'm a Thomist. An insult against Thomas's intelligence is an insult against my own. You're not a psychologist and, even if you were, it wouldn't be insulting to say you work in a field of soft science. There is no double-standard.

    Finally, you're using a definition of intolerance that simply isn't supportable. Crude and I have repeatedly shown that we tolerate homosexual acts, even though we oppose them on moral and health grounds. Also, I never said you called everyone on the opposition intolerant. You were using that example, so I went with it.

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  31. The odd thing is, Crude called your claim (not you) laughable. On the criterion you provide - that your quotation marks only had to do with some of the things Thomas and Craig claim, and not with them personally, you're actually the one adopting a double-standard.

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  32. Let's be serious here, Doug. If you allow somebody to call my claims laughable, you should allow somebody else to put some things between quotation marks. If you don't, you are using double standards. That's it, so this last reply by you completely misses the mark.

    And please stop strawmanning me. While my definition of tolerance is somewhat broader than allwoing something because you can't stop it anyway, I have never claimed that expression an opinion for what it is is intolerant. You don't even have to prove something beyond any doubt before you can claim something, but you must at least argue for you opnion, so that other people have the chance to reply.
    If, however, you claim that X is wrong and provide no reason for what you state as a fact, you are condemning people who do X. And even though you lack the power to prohibit X, you are nevertheless intolerant.
    Nowhere have I claimed otherwise, so I have no idea where you get it that my definition of intolerance isn't supportable. If everyone adoptd this definition, the world would be a much better place. And isn't that what we all want?

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  33. Walter, please re-read what I said. I'm not in favor of anyone calling your claims laughable. What I said is that your complaint is inconsistent with your willingness to call others' claims "not so smart," as you did with Thomas.

    I've nowhere committed a strawman. And, it's simply not true that I have to argue my opinion in order for it to be tolerant. I've explained this at least a dozen times now, but you choose to ignore it. I want homosexual acts to remain legal, therefore I'm tolerant. Q.E.D. Period. You've only asserted your definition of toleration, so let's take a look at what the dictionary says.

    From dictionary.com: toleration: an act or instance of tolerating, especially of what is not actually approved; forbearance.

    It says nothing about having to argue for one's position.

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  34. Anon,

    Sorry Crude, but I won't be responding to you anymore. lI think the tone of your latest reply actually makes my case.

    You won't be replying because you have no reply. The Doug Thomas question has you boxed in - either way you answer it undercuts your argument, and your attempt to punt to the authority of an imaginary psychologist illustrated exactly the problematic position you're in. Your attempt to defend your views on everything from 'objective proof' to science to defining tolerance to otherwise hasn't gone well, and chances are, it won't improve.

    You want to ignore me? You're welcome to. But just because I'm ignored doesn't mean I'll stop talking.

    If I were a raging bigot or truly intolerant, you'd be egging me on right now. I'd be a fantastic example to use to advance your case. But instead, I'm arguing reasonably and I'm not being apologetic. Get ready to hear more and more of this in the future - deal with it now, or later.

    Crude, I would like you to scale back on the "laughable" remarks.

    Doug, I respect you, and this is your blog - I'll follow your rules, or I'll bow out of the conversation, without complaint, regardless if I agree with them.

    I won't comment further on anon's arguments or their performance here so far. But I think, when we live in a world where people call those who have our views 'intolerant' at the drop of a hat (and in a world where 'intolerance' is viewed as something that should be corrected, even punished, by relevant authority figures), I question how polite we should be when so labeled. Anon owes you an apology. Me as well, but I don't care if I get one. I question whether we should always stay calm in the face of insults like these and other ones, or if there is an actual theological duty to get and sound angry.

    My two cents. I'll adhere to your standards, if I get out of line just let me know.

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  35. Crude, I very much value your comments here. The truth is, I don't require apologies on this blog. In fact, I don't even censor insults, with the exception of posts that are unreasonably profane. I only ask you to scale back in order for me to remain consistent in how I personally respond to how people feel they are being respected. If Walter hadn't taken offense, I wouldn't have mentioned anything. Make sense? I doubt I'm explaining myself very well.

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  36. "If Walter hadn't taken offense, I wouldn't have mentioned anything". I am truly very disappointed to hear you admit using double standards here. When Catholics say something is laughable, there is nothing wrong with that, but when an atheist puts some things between quotation marks (for reasons he explained) or makes a tongue-in-cheek remark like 'if he thought that, he may not have been so smart after all' then this is insulting etc.
    I am truly sorry, but with this attitude, common ground between theists and atheist, which seems to be your great dream, is not for tomorrow. In order for that to happen, we need true tolerance, which does not entail one side telling the other what they should or should not do, based on their own one and only truths, but a dialogue, in which both parties respect each other and have a rational argument about their differences.
    I really cannot understand how you fail to see the fundamental difference between the two approaches.
    Anyway, no hard feelings, not even to Crude. I know that in the heat of the argument people tend to overreact sometimes, if only to get the other party to think about their point of view.
    So, I bow out of this discussion.

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  37. Walter, you misunderstand. If anyone, theist or atheist, takes offense, then I'll step in and ask the other person to dial it back. I took offense by some of your comments, so I let you know. You took offense at one of Crude's comments, so I let him know. There's absolutely no double standard. When did I say it was okay for a Catholic to call something laughable? Nowhere.

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  38. Then please stop claiming that I use double standards.

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  39. What's wrong with my claim?

    "The odd thing is, Crude called your claim (not you) laughable. On the criterion you provide - that your quotation marks only had to do with some of the things Thomas and Craig claim, and not with them personally, you're actually the one adopting a double-standard."

    Either you insulted me by insulting Thomas's intelligence and Crude insulted you by calling your defense laughable, or else nobody insulted anyone. Which is it?

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  40. I asked you to be consistent by either making a remark about both Crude's use of 'laughable' and my use of quotation marks or to make no remarks at all. There is nothing even remotely inconsistent in what I asked. IOW if you allow Crude's use of 'laughable', you should also allow my use of quotation marks, and if you don't allow my quotation marks you should not allow Crude's use of 'laughable'.
    So, again: stop claiming that I use double standards.

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  41. I allowed both comments to be published. I asked both of you to dial it back. Where's the problem? Moreover, you never answered my question. What was wrong with my claim?

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  42. The problem is that while nothing I asked or did was remotely inconsistent, you accused me of applying double standards.

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  43. And I explained why. Here it is for the third time: "The odd thing is, Crude called your claim (not you) laughable. On the criterion you provide - that your quotation marks only had to do with some of the things Thomas and Craig claim, and not with them personally, you're actually the one adopting a double-standard."

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  44. Why am I adopting double standards by asking you to treat Crude the same way you treated me?

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  45. I did treat Crude the way I treated you, although I prefer to say that I intervened with Crude the way I did with you. That wasn't the double standard. You claimed that your comments about Thomas and Craig weren't insulting because they were about their claims and not them personally. Yet, when Crude makes a comment about one of your claims and not you personally, you take it as an insult. I'm just suggesting that you treat both as insulting, or else neither as insulting.

    Make sense? I'm not trying to make a big stink out of this.

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  46. I asked you to intervene with Crude because I wanted you to be treat him the way you treated me. That's all. So, no double standards by me.
    I do not make a big stink of this either, but I would like you to withdraw your unfounded accusations.

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  47. Well, I already intervened with Crude. I'm not sure why I have to repeat myself on this over and over again. Anyway, I'm willing to let this go if you are. Be well.

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  48. I am willing to let this go after you've withdrawn your unfounded accusation that I was adopting double standards.

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  49. I'm not, but I'm willing to let readers decide for themselves. Let's just agree to disagree,

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  50. OK, it's your blog. I think the readers are wise enough to see that your accusation is false.

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  51. My readers are smart enough to know a double standard when they see one. You can say it's false, but I've explained multiple times why I made the claim.

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  52. I have explained mutiple times why I asked you what I asked, and you still keep falsely accusing me of double standards. So, I hope your readers willl read my posts more carefully than you do.

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  53. Regardless of what I think, I recognize it's irritating when someone claims you said something you say you didn't. Consider this part of the discussion done.

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