I did not want to cover this here, but it has happened, and has dragged out for long enough, so I am going to write about it.
As you all know, I am a blogger. I know, “Duh! Your on WordPress now!”.
When it comes to having a blog, the whole point of it, is to express your opinion to the world. Its a concept I understand (and love), because I love to share my opinions on various subjects, but at times its just not possible. Its idiotic for people to let one thing (such as an opinion) cloud their judgment of a person, but it still happens. Though atheists are the most obvious example, there are certainly lots more (people with differing feminist views, to traditional feminism? They tend to catch more shit then even atheists).
I love to think about, and express these thoughts and opinions. And I am not afraid to stir up shit. Never have been really, but recently, even more so (if it comes up in the normal flow of conversation, I do not feel bad about chiming in my 2 cents, so long as its a thought out response, and preferably, backed up by some sort of evidence or rational reasoning. Because evidence is not always available). I used to fight my inner contrarian, used to take the advice of others, that thought it was somehow wrong or bad to be critical of the world at large.
But I now know, that it is just as much a part of me, as my brown hair and eyes. And to fight it and try to “conform” to what is deemed as “normal” by todays societal standards, is about as fruitless as praying away the gay of a homosexual. As pointless, as wishing my hair to be blond or jet black.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean that life is any easier then it was before. Having a critical eye on the world at large, means spotting wrong in what many people accept as just normal, or correct (right). Atheists know the feeling, as do anti-feminists (I use the term loosely), as does anyone that has fought back against (or seen the flaws in) a common enemy. It certainly can be lonely, when you know your arguing from a rational point of view, and you get dumped on for simply being misunderstood (or because the other party just does not want to even entertain the possibility of anything differing to their current conclusions).
In a perfect world, people would understand and accept that there are varying opinions, and just move on. But we do not live in a perfect world. Though you may be for all intents and purposes correct, some of those with irrational views, tend to act in the same manor. Making it (in some cases) dangerous to be the contrarian.
Which is why the Internet, and in particular the blogging platform, is awesome for people like me. Social networks are good for discussion and debate, and sharing smaller bits of opinion, but they have their limitations. One of them, is that people tend to skip over “blocks of text” (blogger s on the other hand, know that they are in for the long haul). Also, social media is limited by your connections. It might be harmful to ones social, work or otherwise real life to broach certain subject matter. Where as a blog can be (more or less) confidential. A place to air grievances, without the risk of backlash from those irrational that you know.
I have used this platform to work though many different ideas in my mind. I have had them for a long time, but never really bothered to write or otherwise express them (other then the occasional conversation). This blog gave me a blank cavous, a blank sheet of looseleaf, onto which to pour my ideas and look at them. It has served to halp me further understand some things, and also has helped me iron out inconstancies in my conclusions. And sometimes, it has just served as a place to represent my beliefs and opinions in fun ways.
I have 5 or 6 different pieces on gun control alone (click to see the first. The rest are linked in the “related” section at the bottom of the page). My first was written not long after Sandy Hook (with it fresh in mind), and the rest are based either on clarified details, new understandings or just different expressions of the information.
Blogging is an excellent tool for such purposes.
While I try to stick to real world situations and issues in this blog, I acknowledge that I have a bias. That is the point of an opinion. As such, I do not expect (nor do I WANT) my readers to take what I say at face value. I am coming from a certain background, and as such I have an agenda.
When it comes to gun control, my agenda is the eventual implementation of the concept. That is obvious.
But while I am but a person that is expressing an opinion, no different then many of the talk news show anchors on many networks that I could name on both sides of the political spectrum, I DO usually attempt to base my conclusions on fact. I like to be as close to correct as possible, so I research my arguments if I have to. And in utilizing search engine results, I am careful to not use agenda based information (such as op-ed pieces and blog entries). I do not study scholarly articles (I know some that would), but I use reputable sites (almost anything that is .edu, research entities ect).
I may not cite my sources on the entry itself, but as explained, the information is out there to be found and confirmed. In fact, I ENCOURAGE that people fact check.
Far to often in this day and age, people will just swallow what someone says or explains (or what they see in a meme) wholesale, without boerthing to check if its true (see memes and misinformation ). Which can range from just unknowingly adopting a false idea as fact, to being flat out harmful (or dangerous) to whoever is being misrepresented by the meme.
I see it at least once a week. Someone spreading (or accepting) false information found on social media, a youtube video (where ever) thoughtlessly. When dispelling it is as simple as a google search, ON the device being used to spread the misinformation. Its such a stupid problem, that it drives me fucking NUTS.
As such, when in debates or conversations, I also have a high expectation when it comes to proof. If you are making a claim, you had better be able to back it up. Or for those more ambiguous subjects (such as the god question), at least be able to give me a well thought out argument.
Keep in mind, though I am agnostic atheist, my definition of “well thought out” does not JUST include atheistic backgrounds. Atheists can be just as irrational as theists, if they are taking a definite stance (“there is no god!”). All I want to see is that you have put some thought into it, as opposed to just carrying on what was fed to you in your younger years.
In this respect, I am happy for my own family.
Though they used to be predominantly catholic (a big reason why I kept my atheism hidden for years), many are now exploring the beliefs. They are still theists, but now question the integrity of the bible. Which is awesome. I may not be on the same page (in being a non-theist), but I can respect them for questioning those beliefs that they carried for 40+ or more years.
Another standard that I have in debates, is I hold the debater responsible for showing proof for whatever claim that they may make. For example, if I say that the Lochness Monster lives in my attic, it is not up to YOU, the opposition, to prove it. Sure you can fact check it yourself if you desire. But even so, keep telling the person to show evidence. Because as far as I am concerned, a claim made without proof to back it, is not a legitimate claim.
And more importantly, those that make claims but refuse to back them up, do not get (nor deserve) any credibility from me.
This whole post was written, due to a recent shall we say, “altercation” I got into over on a blog called ” Harsh Reality “. It is an excellent blog in most respects, but we just had a few recent problems that just got, out of hand.
First things first, back last year at some point, we butted heads over Obamacare (of all things). It started on twitter (of all places) after I retweeted a link to an article with some information to the then up and coming opening of the Obamacare portals (I have many american followers, so I tailor many of my tweets as such).
Opinionated Man replied with something along the lines of “you don’t have to remind us”. Which to me was idiotic (if you don’t wanna see it, keep on scrolling!). I forget what happened next, but that ignited a subsequent twitter/comment war that lasted for hours, and in the end, made us both look like reactionary idiots.
My big sticking point was getting proof out of Opinionated Man for his claims of the harmfulness of Obamacare. And I kept getting told essentially that I was an idiot and to #getaclue, and that I should find out for myself. Oh, I could have. But HE made the claim, AND he is insulting MY intelligence, so HE can back his own shit up.
Yes, my standard of proof is high. But finding proof (solid numbers!) of how Obamacare will be damaging to individuals and business, should be easy. The GOP hates the affordable care act , so numbers against it should therefore be plentiful. But even if they are, I never did get a reason that was anything more then personal bias.
Words were spoken, things were said. But in the end, I/we dropped it.
Then came last night.
It was brilliant, in its provocativeness. I can respect such work, because I am not beyond rocking the boat when I feel strongly about an issue. Which is exactly what I did in the comment area. Its all there (way down now), but I do not think I was being all that unreasonable, in my questioning. Nor do I think I was being a “troll” or anything of the such.
As explained earlier in this piece, I am opinionated. And I am comfortable with that. So as such, I feel no reason NOT to question those that also take their opinion to the world. Its not like I am bringing up the subject, its already been put on the table. As noted by many commenter’s, Opinionated Man is not afraid to “challenge” views.
But what is the point in “challenging”. if you do not like to BE challenged?
The post was followed by this:
I then asked a question on another entry ( http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/02/19/homosexuality-and-michael-sam/ ), which cullminated in this . It all played out in the comment areas.
The theme of the whole situation being, that since a blog is an opinion piece, then authors do not have to provide any evidence, proof, justification or otherwise, to back their stance.
Which is fine, if someone so choses to take that stance.
But in a situation where the person is not only “challenging” the views of others, but also (at times) taking shots at their intelligence, then that stance, looks A LOT like a cop out. Like they are perfectly okay with dishing out criticism, but not so much in taking it.
Now I am going to end this here, not go any further, or say anything that I may regret later. But I am of the opinion, that when a claim is made, one should back it up. And if they do not, they should not expect credibility from me, or anyone else.