I’ve been promoting rationality on the web for some time now. There is a good core rationalist moment that sticks to the basics of identifying and eliminating logical fallacies, cognitive biases and other barriers to clear thinking. However, many groups of skeptics and rationalists have been co-opted by those with some agenda that they are promoting with very irrational methods. Let me make a few points.
You are not rational if you…
- consider arguments contrary to your opinion to be insults
- respond to arguments with insults or sarcasm rather than with counter-arguments
- think participants in a discussion must be of a particular race, sex or ideology instead of simply being capable of presenting arguments
- create a false dichotomy by suggesting that any rational assessment of the strength/weaknesses of accusations of X is actually a defense of X.
- tell others what you have concluded they believe instead of asking them what they believe
- intentionally misrepresent someone’s position rather than interpreting their comments graciously
There is currently far too much irrational nonsense emitted from those claiming to be rational.
I’m calling it out when I see it from here on.