Rules for Ridicule

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Rules for Ridicule

Post by Guest on Thu May 21, 2015 10:03 am

I propose the following rules of the use of ridicule.

1) Never ridicule the reasonable. Just because you have strong, visceral, even vehement disagreements with someone, is not a sufficient justification for ridicule. So long as the other person is willing to address the issues dividing you in good faith and with rational argument, then ridicule is inappropriate. You do not have to consider your opponent's arguments to be good arguments. The fact that they are making an honest effort to engage in open and serious debate is honorable. Anyone making such an effort deserves respect, not ridicule. When you ridicule someone you are making the judgment that they have repudiated rational discourse.

2) Ridicule only those who are both unreasonable AND dangerous to others. There are many forms of harmless stupidity. Other forms only harm the ones being silly. Being a snooty, smarty-pants liberal college professor, I regard NASCAR, monster truck rallies, and professional wrestling as low-brow pastimes (college football, however, is sublime). However, getting cheap laughs by lampooning the devotees of such entertainments would make me feel cheap. No, to be worthy of ridicule, something has to be both irrational and harmful to others. If creationism were only practiced among consenting adults, it would deserve nothing worse than the occasional dismissive wisecrack. However, creationists have always been very aggressive in promoting their nonsense in the public arena. They want your children to be taught that stuff, not just their kids. Because creationism taught as science in the public schools IS harmful, creationism is fair game for ridicule.

3) Insofar as possible, direct your ridicule at the ridiculous ideas, not the persons who promote those ideas. It is possible, and indeed more effective, to ridicule creationism without depicting creationists, a la H.L. Mencken, as backwoods buffoons. Laugh at the Triceratops outfitted with a saddle at Ken Ham's museum. Why a saddle? So that Adam and Eve could ride it around the Garden of Eden. Duh. Gotta have a saddle. Could you imagine riding a Triceratops with just your bare butt? Yee-ow! No need to call Ham names. Do like Frank Capra when he made the "Why we Fight" propaganda films for the Army in WWII. That is, use their own words and claims against them. When dealing with many silly and harmful things there is an algorithm for ridiculing them: Quote them.

4) In sum: Restrict your ridicule to that which is truly ridiculous. The truly ridiculous is not only unreasonable, it is in defiance of reason; it is anti-reason. True stupidity is not committed by those with low-I.Q.s. Real stupidity is committed by smart people who have a big ax to grind. When smart people, like Texas' governor-elect Gregg Abbott, say really stupid and hateful things to promote bias--as with some of his recent comments about gay marriage, then sharpen your arrows of ridicule and let fly. LINK.


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