posted on Aug, 21 2010 @ 11:22 PM
This isn't so much of an "angry rant" as what I hope will be taken as a mild, respectful complaint.
I try my utmost to be respectful and considerate of everyone's opinions and positions. I actually proof read posts to make sure that I say things
like "in my opinion," or "I respect your opinion and your right to it" when disagreeing with someone. Anger doesn't enter into the equation for
me. We're all here trying to learn and to communicate. At least that is my hope. And if I fail to be that courteous for any reason, I apologize.
It's the standard I hold myself to, because it's how I would want others to treat me as well.
That said, I am a skeptical person. That doesn't mean I don't believe in anything, or that I don't have my own form of personal spirituality, that
I don't care about or feel passionately about things, or that I don't care about people. Quite the opposite, if anything. But I try to be skeptical
in my approach to subjects which I, frankly, am about as far from being knowledgeable (let alone expert) about as one can be. Since I acknowledge and
accept my lack of knowledge about a subject, I must also acknowledge how at the mercy of others' knowledge (or propaganda) I might be.
So I question things. I question everything, essentially. I keep an open mind to possibilities, but I force myself to be skeptical and to say, "I
don't honestly know for a fact whether X is true or untrue." Because I simply don't. As a result, most of my posts do not pick a side, and
when I do form a firm opinion, I make it clear that that's what it is: my opinion. I have my political and ethical leanings like every human being on
the planet, but when it comes to discussing whether X is or isn't true, or whether person B is or isn't being truthful, I take a skeptical point of
view that requires me to say "I don't know one way or the other with absolute certainty," unless there is absolute, irrefutable proof one way or
That would all be well and good, except that sometimes, I end up getting attacked by both the "yes" and the "no" side of any given issue. And
I've seen this happen to a lot of other people as well.
Take 9-11 for instance. I'm not an engineer, mathematician, physicist, demolitions expert, construction worker, architect, or military contractor.
I'm just a guy. And I am reliant on the expertise of people much smarter and well educated than I am to inform me about the various technical factors
surrounding this horrible event that took place. And many of them appear reputable, yet disagree with one another. Furthermore, some of them
demonstrate (in my opinion) political bias despite their expertise. So I don't know whether or not NIST, the government, the truth movement,
the no-planers, the demolition theorists, or any other side of the debate over what happened that day are absolutely, for certain, definitively,
factually correct or incorrect. Like a lot of people, I have a lot of questions surrounding the events of that day, and most of them have not been
sufficiently answered in my opinion. But I lack both the knowledge and frankly the intelligence (at least it seems that way) to know with certainty
who is right and who is wrong.
So, since I try my best to be open-minded but skeptical, this inevitably results in me saying things like, "It's certainly possible, and it
definitely raises what I feel are incredibly important questions, however I for one can't say for certain what happened." That's a skeptically
sound, personally honest statement. But for a lot of people, it seems tantamount to sacrilege. From those far more extreme in their skepticism than me
come statements like, "If you think it's possible at all then you're as crazy as anyone else here," or, "nice try at playing the middle ground,
but if you place one iota of stock into these theories then you are out of your mind." From believers come statements like, "The proof is right in
front of you. If you can't see it, then I'm sorry but you're blind," or, "Skepticism and neutrality are just two more names for being a sheep. If
you aren't willing to accept the truth then you have only yourself to blame." (These are all paraphrased mind you, because it is not my intentional
to single out anyone, and many of these exchanges happened quite some time ago. I'm just interested in bringing up this phenomenon as a whole.)
Failing that, often (and this is usually the case in my experience at least) people simply won't respond at all. They will pass over the attempt at
polite discourse, and instead reply to the most politically charged, argumentative posts. At times it almost feels as though people want to argue and
are disappointed when someone doesn't pick a side. That's just a feeling though, not a fact. (There's the aforementioned distinction I make between
opinions/feelings and facts/knowledge.)
Given how hard I try to be respectful of everyone else's opinions - on both sides - I hope you can see how this would prove to be incredibly
frustrating at times. And this is by no means limited to 9-11. That was just the example I chose, since it seems to be one that most are familiar
So I would just like to make a humble request: when you see someone trying to be open-minded but skeptical, please don't assume that they are
attacking your position, your right to feel or believe what you feel or believe, or your reasoning. They might just be trying their best to be honest
and fair from their own point of view, based on what they know and don't know themselves. And if they say, "I don't know," or, "I respect
your opinion," please consider taking those statements at face value, and not as strategic attempts to simply appear respectful (as if in
reality they're brimming with disdain for your views.) Because in my case at least, that's not what they are. I mean them exactly as I say them.