A problem I am starting to see in the battle against delusion, may be down to evolution of our group alarm/fear response. This is a discussion in its own right but consider that in other animals, if one animal raises an alarm, the entire group usually flees. Even if the danger is not really there - better be a live coward than a dead hero, if you like.

 

Believers are often histrionic - particularly evangelists; scientists are measured, quiet and careful. It's a hallmark of most science: and it may be our undoing.

 

Evidence of this is seen in the 2002 mid-air collision of a Russian passenger aircraft with a DHL 757.

 

Both planes are fitted with TCAS (an electronic system specifically designed to prevent such things) but in spite of the warnings, the planes still
went down - killing 77 people many of them children.

 

The crash was primarily caused because the Russian pilots obeyed the Swiss AT controller ("descend to new flight level: expedite") in direct contradiction to the orders from TCAS which is coolly telling them to ascend.

 

These are not raw military recruits or naughty children, these are well-trained, experienced pilots yet due to lack of clear directives, their instinct told them to follow the panic-stricken ATC: and to their death just seconds later.

 

I think we can learn something from that; maybe it's time to stop being polite.

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Though I completely agree, I don't think we should take to insults or generally stooping to the level of fundamentalists.  For example, we should be excited and shout about new scientific discoveries that blow the roof off of their absurd beliefs.  And we should point out just how absurd their behavior is.  I am currently in the middle of this situation with a family member how thinks everyone should just enjoy hearing "Merry Christmas" instead of expecting "Happy Holidays."  I can post if you'd like.

 

I am vocal about it.  I do point out people's absurd ties to their weird beliefs.  I do point out to them, with detail, the danger in their apocalyptic views.  And I try to be as factual as possible while still incorporating some humor.

 

I love a good debate.  I just think we need to maintain that degree of measurement and professionalism.  We can be loud - let's just not resort to bullying, threatening, or anything that remotely resembles their behavior.  In most cases, we're the more intelligent, more focused debater (often the only debater, because they resort to kiddie tactics of temper tantrums in arguments, merely repeating the same ridiculous banter) - and, as I've found, we usually know more about their religion than they do!  Let's use that against them.  

 

But I'm with you, brother.

Exactly.

 

We should never, ever stoop to the level used by fundies - BUT we have to wear reason LOUD and PROUD.

 

Positive emotion is the key - lack of any emotion (cold, calculated science) belongs among people who actually understand it.

Richard Healy raised a few good points in the discussion about the UK's national broadcaster - the one about mustard seeds was a new one on me; I really must read my bible more carefully. ;-)

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