I spend a significant portion of my time debating and exchanging views with fellow primates on Twitter. I make a rule of never being abusive, hostile or assuming to know what someone else believes. I frequently pose my responses as questions, in order to avoid being presumptuous.
I also never tell anyone they haven’t the right to believe what they want to believe, as this would clearly be wrong. I think the most I am guilty of is sarcasm, mockery and ridicule. I’m perfectly comfortable with this.
I make sure I deal with the actual statements put forward, whether they are made to me specifically or to the “Twitterverse” in general. I aim to do this as calmly as possible and in a civil manner, often pointing out logical fallacies, or citing sources to address failures to understand established scientific concepts or terminology.
I’ve sent more than 11,000 tweets, and when I receive responses they often take the form of glaring ignorance, foul language/abuse/hostility/threats. I have never responded in kind. I simply don’t need to. Once someone decides to engage in that way, they lose any and all credibility, and I chalk it off as a victory. #AnotherSatisfiedCustomer.
It is confusing to me that religion appears to be the only domain of discourse where the mildest form of criticism at its expense is labelled as “intolerant” or “aggressive”.
This is especially concerning given the influence religion exudes on society as a whole. There seems to be a growing trend, born out of desperation, to label any criticism of religion, however mild as “aggressive atheism”, or “militant atheism”, often atheism is interchanged with secularism to the same extent, but the same fallacy remains. Read more