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Cries of censorship

August 7, 2010

One of the phenomena I observe frequently in the skeptical community is the believer’s outcry over perceived censorship. Whether it’s creationist trolls being banned or suspended for rule-breaking, or creationist ‘intelligent design theorists’ pushing their religion into science classes in schools, they scream the loudest when society takes action to shut them up, shut them out.

At the same time, it’s interesting to consider just what they’re doing, what they’re trying to defend from so-called censorship. Creationism. Intelligent design — creationism in science’s clothing. Arguments based on quote mining, plagiarism, debunked claims and outright lies.

I recently had the experience of changing my mind on an issue based on new evidence; I shifted my position re: late-term abortions from the subject of fetal pain & suffering to viability, based on evidence that a developing baby doesn’t have the equipment to suffer until some time after birth. Of course, one might well argue that ‘aborting’ babies a few months old might be ok, but no one does that; society places value on a viable organism. So I changed my mind about the pain issue.

This is something we never see in the believer. You can demonstrate that their sources are wrong, and/or quotemines, and/or blatant lies. And it never seems to matter. The facts just…bounce off the person. They go right on arguing for their preferred god-concept. They show no remorse over the awful sources they’ve cited. They show no changed mind from new evidence debunking their positions. They cling to them, instead.

Funny how most of them seem to have rules against lying, and yet clearly show no particular concern when caught doing so. It’s hard to prove someone is lying. Hard to show a habitual liar. But not hard to demonstrate a lie. They could always be ignorant of it, as I was. My information was superseded by more current information. But who clings to the old, debunked position? Who doesn’t show some remorse over posting a bad source, or at least the willingness to adjust to better information? Who? The creationist.

From this, it seems reasonable to infer that creationists willingly and remorselessly post bad, deceptive, false arguments. They show, at least, that they’re not interested in truth. And so the cries of censorship can properly be seen as a defense for access. They just want to be able to continue spouting lies, to continue preaching, to continue to invade science classes and poison them with religious nonsense. It’s enough of a trope that it has a nickname — Liars for Jesus.

They’re not afraid to spew lies in support of their religion; the skeptic should not be afraid to call a spade a spade, and to remove the disingenuous believer’s access — their ability to spew those lies. Freedom of speech they do possess, at least in this country, but not freedom of access. Let them make their own way into the public square if they just want to lie and preach.

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