The Controversy Paradox

"Drawing Hand" by Dutch artist M. C. Escher

“Drawing Hands” by Dutch artist M. C. Escher

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One of the most perplexing aspects of blogging, in my humble opinion, is the tension between the desire to write about the deeply meaningful ideas that dwell in my mind and the high probability that the act of expressing those thoughts, however politely, will create an unavoidable amount of controversy. It is neither out of ignorance of the impact those topics might have for others, nor is it because of malicious intent. It is simply the reality of living in a pluralistic society: reasonable people can disagree with each other and have mutually rational and defensible positions.

However, the web has become a magnifying glass for some of our worst prejudices and bigotries. And as anyone familiar with the term “flame war” can attest to, the rate at which reasoned discussion can devolve into impassioned ad hominem attacks is sometimes frighteningly fast. With respect to the multiple communicative tools we have at our disposal in face-to-face discussions (facial expressions, body language, the critical importance of live-feedback), we are relatively handicapped in using the written word to express our opinions. Misunderstanding and miscommunication are just as likely to be the cause of heated debate as actual disagreements in reasoning.

To provide a blanket disclaimer to any posts appearing on this blog, please know that the intent is not to inflame, incite, or instigate against any particular political, religious, or philosophical belief system. But unfortunately, disagreements are an inevitable result of a stated view among other differing views. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be confronted with a view that is not one’s own – I often find such challenges to my thinking to be the most productive method of learning. But when topics tread on the realm of the sacred (religion, philosophy, politics), good-intentioned discourse can be interpreted as threatening towards deeply-held convictions.

So, if I post something about evolution, atheism, or my disagreements with the journalistic standards at Fox News, please know that my efforts are engaged with the subject matter itself, not those who hold differing opinions or beliefs from my own.

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