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The fragmented drug "community" and DF.

Rating:
5/5,
  1. Joe-(5-HTP)
    What binds the members of the drug taking community together? Not much.

    For the most part, we all understand the government propaganda against us is stupid. We share an appreciation for and access to the reality of drug use. But what else is there?

    Science is what drives my practical and political views on drug use. Without the scientific research being on my side, I would probably have never broken away from the government propaganda. It is on our side, however.

    Think about the way Drugs-Forum tries to distinguish itself from other media. This is from the DF mission statement:

    "As an integral part of human culture, there is a need for unbiased information about drugs- a place to find and share knowledge on drugs. Drugs-Forum provides comprehensive and accurate information as an alternative to the scaremongering, political propaganda and uninformed journalism often found in the media."

    I think this is great. The number one criticism of government propaganda and of the general media is that it is inaccurate and scaremongering. We want drug policy to be evidence based. We know that the evidence suggests that really, Alcohol and cigarettes are more dangerous than many illegal drugs, and the harms of many illegal drugs have been utterly exaggerated.

    At Drugs-Forum, we want to provide accurate information. That is the best way of reducing harm. It is key to everything we do here.

    So, we are all in favor of the means to get accurate information - science. Right...? Wrong.

    There are many elements in the drug community which are hostile to science and evidence. There are those who think science is nothing more than big pharma. There are new-age guru style people who think science is just one interpretation of the world. There is the general idea that because scientists don't know everything, we can trust our instincts. People can be overly enamored with eastern philosophies to think reality is an illusion, and the only real truth is the truth "within". There are extreme psychonauts who think something is only true if it is revealed during a psychedelic experience or if there is a case of science disagreeing with such a revelation, then science must be wrong. More Generally, drug experiences are seen as mystical which is, I think incorrectly, often viewed as inherently unscientific. The list goes on, and we see new ones every day. You get the idea.

    I see this as a tension in drug-culture, but also in this forum.

    It makes no sense to claim that DF is a place whose mission is to deliver accurate information if these sorts of unscientific ideas also take place here, or are discussed as if they were legitimate intellectual ideas. It's like we are happy to use science to provide us with accurate information, but also happy to then ignore it when it comes to the unscientific nature of many elements of drug culture. What does that say about us?

    We are either interested in presenting accurate information here, or we are not. If not, then it seems we are only interested in accurate information when it suits us. In that case, how are we really different from the politicians or media which we criticize and are apparently trying to be better than?

    I'm sure we can carry on as we are - it's not like this tension will cause the website to explode or anything. Nonetheless, I don't see how it can fail to erode DF's intellectual integrity or undermine the mission statement.

    This is why you'll find me criticising and arguing and being confrontational. I believe in the mission statement of this website, and I think it's the best way - intellectually & morally but also even practically and strategically - to make the future of the drug community bright. I think we are even beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel of ignorance in which we have been stranded for so long. Nonetheless, I think it depends on our alliance with science, with evidence and with truth. And that, I also think, depends on what attitude we take towards the explicitly unscientific elements of the drug community.

    I'd be happy to get some other thoughts on this. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.

Comments

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rilke

    Therefore, allowing each person their own space to have their battles is the most humane thing any one person can give another...just my take on things. DF is humane internet space.

    Nicely written, Joe. :)
  2. Alfa
    Beliefs and religion is unscientific. But its simply part of human culture to have personal beliefs. Not only part of culture, but also part of drug use itself. The subjective experience of altered states has many aspects which can be considered as non-scientific.

    Its also part of drugs-forum's mission to provide respectful mature discussion free from flaming & abuse. This implies a respect for personal beliefs. Being confrontational towards people who have personal belief does not fit in our mission, our rules or our ToS.
  3. Joe-(5-HTP)
    I agree though. You are right. Yet, that is the problem and cause of the tension.

    The mission statement includes two opposed goals. A commitment to truth, and a commitment to avoiding confrontation.

    I'm not sure there is a way to tell someone who is misguided by unscientific views that they are wrong without that being a confrontational statement.

    We could of course just avoid telling them they are wrong, but there's the sacrifice of the 'truth' goal of the mission statement.

    I don't think anyone would make the mistake of thinking I was advocating abuse or flaming. Nonetheless, when you challenge someone's personal beliefs, there is no honest way to avoid 'getting personal'.

    Of course we could avoid that.. by sacrificing our commitment to truth. Without that sacrifice though, the tension remains...

    Like I said, it's not the biggest deal, but it is something I've been concerned about. I don't see that what you've said goes particularly far in addressing that concern. I mean, are you basically prepared to come out and say that you don't care if the forum's intellectual/scientific reputation is lessened? That is the cost of your commitment to respecting unscientific ideas. That's what I was saying in my post here, and I don't see that you have said it's inaccurate, but nor have you accepted it. So, I await the response.
  4. Alfa
    I think that mystical experience is an important factor in drug use. Therefore it should be a topic on DF. Its logical that we have a section on this topic. But mystical topics are by definition non-scientific. Actually most subjective topics are. Allowing such discussion suits the purpose here. Does this mean sacrificing our commitment to provide factual information about drugs? I don't think so. I don't think reality is as black and white as you postulate it to be in this case.
    In spite of their values, rationality and science unfortunately have their limits and do not cover all aspects of life. Therefore there are possibilities (which include truths) which have value. Altered states are mostly uncharted domains in science and empiric documenting is needed. This is a demand that Drugs-Forum fills and needs to develop in. This will generate useful statistics. Such statistics will cover the mystical experiences as part of the psychedelic or altered experience. But also as a motivation for the use of drugs.
    You see. Its a part of drug use. Not something that can be ignored. I am certain that this part of drug use has gone under-reported here, because the confrontational response to mystical posts. I really think this is loss of value for DF and quite possibly for the generation of useful statistics on this matter and therefore a loss for science. Full circle.

    .
  5. Joe-(5-HTP)
    It is debatable whether mystical experiences are non-scientific.

    The idea that rationality and science has limits and doesn't cover all aspects of life is a dated view. Science in principle has nothing against mysticism. In principle, science has nothing against any idea. Science is open to whatever in fact is true. If mysticism is a real aspect to human life, then science will be open to investigating and understanding it. As indeed it is, and would be more so, were it not for the view of people who believe as you do - that science is limited. That's the full circle I'm seeing here.

    400 years ago Descartes spoke in favor of Science - saying let science deal with the laws of nature, and let religion deal with our personal beliefs, emotions, spirituality, etc. That division was politically necessary for science to be allowed to exist by The Church. Now there is no such political requirement, and science is starting to reach across that divide into areas popularly thought of as unscientific.

    Also, you are not completely getting my argument. I'm not saying that allowing unscientific discussions means we have to sacrifice our commitment to providing factual information about drugs. I'm saying that allowing unscientific discussion erodes our intellectual/scientific reputation. Also, we seem happy to use science to give us the facts we need, yet then also happy to ignore it when it comes to judging the unscientific elements of drug culture. Doesn't that mean we only care about the truth when it suits our agenda..?

    In one place on the forum, we encourage factual evidence based scientific reasoning and research. In another, we encourage mysticism. And apparently you find it possible to blame something other than the obviously inevitable tension which results from this for the lack of mysticism on the website.

    It seems you don't think science and mysticism have to conflict. This seems founded on your belief that science is limited, and mysticism is legitimate because it deals with what science cannot, or something. Yet this is just one side in a huge debate. It's far from an established fact. It's fine that we all have our views of course. But science has its views irrespective of yours. The day science ceases to conflict with non-science is the day science dies. That's how science is done.. Get the ideas together, judge them based on the evidence, and discard the inferior ones. Some people want to hold on to those inferior ideas for human reasons. That's where the conflict begins.

    You might not see it this way, but I do. You might not think it has to be this way, but I do. I am prepared to defer to your judgement though, thanks for listening to my side of it. I know what you decide will be best for the website, regardless of whether it's true :p Sometimes the truth isn't practical, I'll admit that much.
  6. Alfa
    Science is limited in scope because not everything is proven, explained or established yet. Science is limited to the tools and methods we can use to measure and the capabilities of our species. Its also limited by corruption that comes with capitalism, personal and political gain. Its limited until we know everything. Then we have just scientific facts. Forget about Descartes.

    I would not say that your reasoning implies that we ONLY care about facts when it suits us. Thats an illogical overstatement. But I would agree with you if you say that we chose to ignore science if the costs outweigh the benefit. Which is close.

    If we would want to be purists on rationality and science then we would need to confront any conflict with science and need to address the beliefs of all our members. Religion, politics, the impossibility of coincidence, world view perceptions, the whole shebang Confront them and get personal about it. There is a reason why most forums ban any such discussion: it leads to member conflict and leads to nothing. Well except for proving Godwins law.
    To come to the point: its clearly not practical to be purist on science. Because the community would go up in flames. But we can perfectly well condone unscientific elements and still provide important drug information.

    I never said any of that. Nor do I think it is so. I do think that science and non-science do not always have to conflict. A theory is not science until its proven. The theory moves from non-science to science without conflict. But if you meant to postulate that I think that scientifically impossible things cant conflict with science then that's not a reasonable postulation.

    I think an issue with Science is correctly depicted by Einstein's quote:
    A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing

    The fact is that both of us can not prove that there are or there are no ghosts. All we can say is that many people have seen or heard ghosts. Or at least think that they have. They may be crazy or not. In my opinion its in conflict with science to go either way. If I am understanding you correctly then you feel it to be in conflict with science to accept the existence of ghosts, but not in conflict with science to deny the existence. If I am understandign you correctly then this seems an error to me.

    If we would have the same conversation a few centuries ago then we could both have argued about the existence of dragons. The idea of dragons seems absurd. Yet, they have been proven to exist. One bite of a comodo dragon will likely kill any human through infections that could be depicted in drawings as fire. Fortunately these dragons don't fly, but they do exist.
    The same for huge sea snakes and other monsters. The fact that something seems absurd does not imply its untrue. At most it implies that its unlikely.
  7. Alfa
    I did not see that you had edited your last post. I replied to your original post.
  8. Joe-(5-HTP)
    I thought it said you had gone offline so I edited it, but no matter.

    I'm trying to forget descartes, I wish everyone would : P

    When you said science was limited, you seemed to suggest that because of this it didn't cover everything in our lives, and so there was room for mysticism. Presumably because mysticism does cover what science does not, in our lives. I'm still not sure what your position on this detail is if it's not that. I'm happy to accept the limitations you talk about there, but they are limitations of science in practice, not in principle. Mysticism is not nonscientific by definition, that's another point there. I don't see that science is limited in any way Mysticism or anything else isn't. I would say that a lot of what goes on in mysticism is scientific, at least potentially. Science broadly is an attempt to understand the world through evidence from the world. Subjectivity certainly counts as evidence, it just presents unique difficulties. Difficulties I don't see mysticism having any interest in accounting for. If Mystics were happy merely to find out what 'works', then we'd have no conflict. Much of Buddhism is a good example of that. Often though Mystics want to invent a story to say why some idea or practice works which usually involves making claims about reality. That's where Mysticism becomes unscientific. Perhaps there is more room for Mysticism in science than you realise though.

    When it comes to ghosts, there is another option. We can say that we don't have sufficient evidence to judge whether ghosts exist or not. We can say we have no reason therefore to think that they do. That doesn't amount to disproving, but it does justify unbelief in ghosts while making belief unjustified. If evidence of ghosts is ever forthcoming then we'll have something to go on. Unless that happens, it will remain purely in the imagination. Those people who believed in dragons are not validated by the discovery of komodos. They were right by accident. A broken clock is right twice a day. Unless a person's belief connects to reality, they can only be said to have accidentally stumbled across the right idea.

    I don't see that it is right to call unproven scientific hypothesis/theories 'non-science' and draw any analogy between that and the sort of non-science we are really talking about here. The difference is clear - when it comes to popular non-science, ideas continue being believed even after they fail to be proven by science, or indeed are evidenced against. That's where the conflict arises. People believe things for human reasons other than a desire for truth. Science is nothing but that desire for truth.

    I don't know if we have to confront every member about their personal beliefs. We certainly can condone unscientific discussion while also providing scientific information about drugs, that's what we are doing now.

    The question is what the consequence of this is. If DF is to be a place where unscientific elements of drug culture come to thrive, then this could erode DF's scientific/intellectual reputation, and DF will inherit the existing conflict between science & nonscience as it welcomes both. It also puts us in the position of using science to give us accurate drug information, but then ignoring science when it comes to judging the unscientific nature of many elements of drug culture. In my mind that's hypocritical or opportunistic. It's certainly ungrateful. It is too similar to the politicians who use science to inform policy when it suits them, but then ignore science when it comes to drug policy. To me this really doesn't seem a completely wild analogy, unfortunately. Do you want science here because you care about the truth, or do you want science here because you care about getting the particular facts which suit your agenda..?

    You seem to be saying this is worth it, or that it's impractical to do anything else. The fact seems to therefore be that I could make a scientific argument against inaccurate drug facts in one area of the forum, and then make an identical scientific argument against some mystical idea on another area of the forum. One of these I would get +rep for, and the other I would be seen as being confrontational.

    That's a level of cognitive dissonance which can only be endured by someone who shares your beliefs about the nature of science. Beliefs which only represent one side of a huge debate. I don't see how you can expect this of the scientifically minded people you want to attract here. Nor do I see how you can blame anything except the setup of welcoming two conflicting factions to your website for the conflict, and the loss of the value you mention.

    You might think that there doesn't have to be conflict, but as far as I can see that rests on your particular view/understanding/interpretation of science. We can talk about that view, but the point will remain that your view is a particular view which isn't shared by many scientifically minded people. This is about more than what you and me think.
  9. Phenoxide
    I don't see a problem here. DF's position is a pragmatic one, which is all one can really expect of a site with such a diverse readership. DF is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal, nor should it aim to be.

    Discussion of tangibles (e.g. what dose should I take, is this combination safe, why does alcohol cause hangovers etc.) benefits from an objective grounding. This supplements and adds perspective to the vast amount of anecdotal information that is posted. While there are differences of opinion expressed, there is rarely outright polarization in such threads, and consensus typically tends towards an objective basis.

    Discussion of the intangible doesn't benefit in the same way. The outcome of such discussions is never definitive, nor does it serve any practical purpose. It is however an important aspect of drug culture, which people want to discuss and share. Sharing an alternative interpretation of a 'mystical' experience from a scientific perspective is also great, as a neutral exchange of ideas, but nothing is gained by turning it into a multi-page "science is right, you're wrong" point scoring exercise, which is the course such confrontations tend to take. That doesn't win hearts or minds, it doesn't minimize drug-related harm, and it certainly doesn't enhance DF's content or reputation. It makes us look insular, condescending, and smugly dogmatic. That's off-putting to new and old members alike, especially if the site is viewed as advocating such attitudes.
  10. Joe-(5-HTP)
    I don't think it is a particularly significant problem, like I said it's not the biggest deal. However, it does come up sometimes. Usually in the form of a member expressing an inaccurate or even dangerous belief about drug use which they justify by recourse to some superstition/mysticism/whatever. That does happen, and I'm not sure how to go about dealing with it except saying that science is right and they are wrong.

    You're wrong to completely reduce the confrontation to point scoring Phenoxide, there is this important purpose there. Obviously it could be done much better though.. maybe you should do it :p

    It seems we will be eternally in the position of having to deal with these confrontational situations because they are just the symptoms which will inevitably arise as long as the site welcomes unscientific ideas.

    So how do we criticise those unscientific ideas in the situations when they are directly against accurate information or harm reduction? If they are justified on the basis of a mystical superstition, then we have to criticise that. How do we go about expressing such a criticism without also criticising all of the other forms of benign mystical superstition? This is just another problem we are working ourselves into with our attachment to unscientific ideas.

    The case of unscientific ideas directly conflicting with accurate information or harm reduction is an 'extreme' example of the indirect conflict I am talking about. I regard them as on the same spectrum.

    What is our criticism of unscientific ideas which directly conflict with accurate information or harm reduction? That they are scientifically inaccurate. But doesn't the same criticism apply to the other benign unscientific ideas..? Yes it does, because they are on the same spectrum. So I'm convinced we should care about both benign and malicious unscientific ideas, otherwise I'm not sure how we could criticise either. For science, there is no difference between a malign irrational belief and a benign irrational belief. Both are equal in their irrationality.

    I'm not sure that I've suggested an alternative position for DF to take, I'm really not sure if there's any better position for DF than the one it currently has. I just wanted to express this perspective and have it be acknowledged. You haven't really acknowledged what I've said other than implying that it's impractical to do anything about it, assuming you agree with any of it. That's fine I suppose, since it really is all that ultimately matters, but I would be interested in whether you agree with anything I said, or what you think DF should do if it didn't have to be so pragmatic..
  11. Alfa
    The line of thought you are describing in the bolded part is not scientific but subjective. I'll explain why.
    If there is no proof to substantiate or disprove a theory, but there are a significant number of people who claim to have seen evidence of the theory, then this doesn't justify unbelief per definition. The result is either neutral or depending how you look at it, the result can lend towards a slight plausibility of the theory.
    But what is happening is that you conclude that belief in the theory is unjustified and therefore the believers in the theory must be psychotic, delusional and suffering from other psychiatric disorders. That is a very irrational leap to take. I can describe it as nothing else as your personal irrational beliefs. Yet, you state this in the name of science.

    This does boil down to pointless (excuse the pun) point scoring in practice, because it is not a matter of supplying evidence and convincing others of your beliefs. What was happened instead is abstracting the other person to inferior and delusional, and people engaging in discussions in a very confrontational manner until the other party called it quits. There is no positive or productive result. Nothing was proven. Science has won nothing. People feel hurt and the reputation of the DF community gets hurt. The result conflicts with the aims of Drugs-Forum.

    The bottom line is that this site does not only cater to rational needs. Even though we focus on rational aspects and facts, we also have plenty of room for social, emotional, mystical, humorous, entertaining topics. This decreases our emphasis on science. So what? If anyone has a problem with viewing discussions about unscientific matters, then don't go in those forums. Its very simple really.
  12. Joe-(5-HTP)
    I don't mind admitting that it leans toward a slight plausibility of the theory. Certainly it seems there is something going on which should be investigated. Whether it will turn out to be an aspect of the human mind and perception or not remains to be seen, I make no judgment regarding that because I have no rational basis for judgment. Regardless, the slight plausibility of a theory is not sufficient to warrant actual belief in ghosts. I said that their belief was unjustified. I do not know why they experienced what they experienced, and the point is that neither do they. I wouldn't claim that it must be psychosis or delusions, because I'm saying I don't know what is going on with ghost experiences.

    The leap seems to be made by you, with this assumption. Or perhaps I just wasn't clear enough. I certainly wouldn't dream of saying science knows that experiences of ghosts are psychosis or delusions, when I'm not aware of any scientific evidence establishing that. It looks like you don't want to realise that the rejection of someone's belief as irrational is nothing more than a judgment that there is a lack of evidence for that belief. You seem to think it must also include negative claims about their personality or something. I don't think it even implies that. I'm sure I have many irrational beliefs. I'll certainly do my best to get rid of them if you point them out. This isn't an example of one though.

    The default neutral position is to not believe something unless we have reason to believe it. That's not to claim that it isn't true, or even that it is unlikely. It's just to claim that there is not reason for belief.

    The positive or productive result of confrontation could be that people who believe dangerous or inaccurate things call it quits on spreading those ideas here. Isn't that good? It doesn't have to be so confrontational, I agree of course that it's done badly. So do you therefore think that if it could be done better then it would be good?

    Your last paragraph seems to miss the point for me. I think I've done a good job of answering the "so what" question. I'm presenting some concerns regarding what I view as the systemic tension between conflicting purposes of the site. I'm not gonna leave the site if you don't change it or anything lol, I just thought people might be interested in responding.. which you were, so yeah.. not sure what to say there.
  13. Alfa
    You may state now that you wouldn't claim that it must be psychosis or delusions, but that's exactly what you did here, here and in deleted posts.

    Scientific proof can under some circumstances be reason to assume something. In cases were science offers no such basis, its muddy waters. If a traveler comes back from his Indonesia claiming to have seen dragons he may get laughed at. If he does not have any proof to back up his claims then there is no reason to assume the existence of dragons. Yet, there is a reasonable basis for the traveler to assume the existence of dragons, because he has seen them. If his fellow traveler backs up his claim then you have the option to assume they are both are delusional, eaten some Indonesian Mushrooms or that there may be some merit in their claims. Its up to you really to define your worldview. It doesn't help much if your chosen perspective is then attacked ferociously by others because they think that your statement are inaccurate. That's censorship.

    I do not think there are systemic tension between conflicting purposes of the site. I do not see the problem at all. Multiple things can coexist.
  14. Joe-(5-HTP)
    I'm unable to view those posts. If that's what I said then I was wrong. However, I hope that what I said was that delusions/hallucinations are potential/possible explanations. There's no justifiable reason to assume a supernatural cause over naturalistic explanations. That's no different to what I've just said now.

    Anyway I change my mind a lot, if you're digging up some post I made when I was 18, god knows what you will find :p

    Maybe I am a hypocrit, but it's evasive to leave your criticism of my argument at that. Putting aside whether I'm hypocritical or not, is this argument I'm making here right or wrong. Surely that's the more important thing.

    I don't need to assume anything about what the travelers tell me. It's a story, maybe it's true or not, who knows. I don't. You seem to essentially be saying that they are either telling the truth or lying/delusional/mushrooms. I suspect reality may have other options to choose from. If we aren't making the appropriate effort to investigate reality to find out, I'm prepared to say "I don't know, I make no judgment".

    I think I've been persuasive in showing that my motivation for confrontation is based on good intentions. Your attempts to portray me or my perspective as ferocious are just like.. kind of lame. Sure I might get frustrated and even angry sometimes, as do all humans. That hasn't happened to me in a long time now though. It's clear from what you've said that you regard calling someone's belief irrational as an attempt to make that person inferior. Also you won't accept that I really make no judgment about things I have no rational basis for judging. I see how convenient it would be if you could ignore everything I've said here by believing that. It's not true though. There's the problem though... truth. You're just not that into it. You have an inaccurate and negative view of the perspective I'm representing here.

    Well, I did my best to explain myself. No doubt I failed. Maybe if I'd actually kept my cool & never gotten frustrated/angry while challenging non-scientific ideas on the website then your evaluation would be less negative. Can't change the past though, but does it make me wrong now..? Maybe you think it does. But does it make the idea I'm representing here wrong..? Think of it like that.

    I've made an effort to change, and I think you're being a bit unfair mentioning my past like this. Though since you kindly put up with it, I obviously can't complain too much lol.. Nonetheless, the argument I'm putting forward now in the present remains, if you are interested.

    I'm a typical left-wing socialist liberal Alfa, I believe in free speech & freedom of religion/spirituality & the right of everyone to say, think & believe what they want. I'm horrified to be connected to censorship in any way.

    Could you at least give some guidance on what to do when members give inaccurate or dangerous drug-related information which they explain or justify in reference to some non-scientific belief system? How do I deal with that without being accused of ferociously attacking and censoring them, or discouraging similar non-scientific people from expressing their views? Is it possible to do that on your website..? I'm finding it hard. I know that mostly I make it hard for myself, but I don't think it's totally my fault.

    Anyway I just thought I'd defend myself from those implications, and we might as well move on. This topic really isn't important enough to get this serious about.

    I thought this was a pretty good discussion.. at times.. =/

    Would you look at that though, it's hard to discuss personal beliefs without getting personal. See, even you can't avoid it :p
  15. Beenthere2Hippie
    Everyone seeks their own reality, Joe. It's the least we can do for each other in life. :)
  16. Alfa
    Yes, I agree that there is a difference between your past approaches and this blog post.
    To clarify, your posts were almost 2 years old. In one you called someone delusional for believing in a Multiverse with reincarnation through fluid time and string theory. In the second example you said 'nothing will stick to the walls of the padded cell of delusion that is your mind' because the member beliefs in the existence of a God. The posts are not visible because the threads are located in our garbage bin.
    While this is some years ago, its hard not to make the connection because the arguments are literally the same now. Except that there is no offensive argument in this blog.
  17. Joe-(5-HTP)
    Right, I remember that one. That is pretty bad huh. I'm not representing that view here though. I said at the start of the thread that i'm not advocating flaming, and that I think belief in ghosts in unjustified because of the lack of evidence. So I've given enough here to encourage you to not make that connection.. though I get it.

    I think I've shown that I am more interested in the argument than its power to offend people now.

    Well, hopefully I've at least said something vaguely interesting here. I still stand by the arguments of course, though I'm persuaded that practically there's no solution nor significant cause for concern.

    Maybe in 5 years or so we can discuss it again.
  18. Crazy Insane Sanity
    I'm with Joe on this one, though it appears to me that there is some confusion as to what is being put forth - hopefully not on my end. The way I've interpreted the blog post is that it should not be considered taboo to confront beliefs that are perceived to be held on improper or insufficient justification, not that we should out-right censor such beliefs.

    It is one thing to offer a subjective experience as a subjective experience, but it is an entirely different situation to claim such an experience is the true nature of reality. I personally think the world would be a better place if more people understood this distinction, and so if I suspect someone isn't sufficiently justified in their truth claims, I address it. It makes no difference if the claim is about proper drug use, homeopathy, crystal healing, or the existence of supernatural beings.

    The problem, it seems, is in how one offers their criticisms. Are they intended to be constructive, or offensive? The issue is further complicated by the fact that the line between constructive and offensive can often times appear blurred in a discussion involving deeply rooted convictions - especially in text format.

    At any rate, I think some very interesting points have been raised, and I can't honestly say that I have any solutions to offer either.
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