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It is frustrating to be labeled by both sides while trying my best to be an open-minded skeptic.

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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 the other.

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 with.

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.


posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 12:42 PM
reply to post by AceWombat04

Labels are good for food and medicine. They don't belong on people.

I would be a believer/skeptic/racist/lover of all races/kindhearted, mean as a snake and I could go on and on.

Humans are much too complex to carry one label.

Why does it matter what label a member puts on you? Unless you are trying to be popular or bag much points,flags, and stars and have the whole forum in your friends list it does not matter what people think you are if you are happy with yourself.

I've been giving 'coming out' a lot of thought lately. No it has nothing to do with my sexual preference.

It has to do with what I know and believe to be true. I have not allowed the real me to come out on this forum. It's coming and I'm sure I'll make foes but I do not care if someone does not agree with me.

I'm sick of hiding my true feelings and being so polite and nice.

Of course I will continue to abide by the ATS T&C because I love the members and would be a lost puppy with out this board.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. If someone has a problem with it then it's their problem not yours.

We still have the right to disagree with each other.

I respect the right for anyone to disagree with me. But I give no time to rude and hateful people. They just don't matter in my world.

posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 12:51 PM
I concur. It's just frustrating to have your opinion dismissed out of hand simply because you're trying to be honest and true to what you actually feel and think. Granted, I'm sure those doing the dismissing/labeling are being honest and true to themselves, as well. A bit more decorum and mutual respect, and less assumption of intent, would go a long way though in my opinion.


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