Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mixing memory gets it wrong

There's a diatribe including all manner of false dichotomies, ad hominem attacks and nonsense, over at (the usually good) Mixing Memory on the PZ Myers cracker desecration. I wrote a little bit myself recently on why I don't think PZ did anything wrong. To the extent that there's a discernible argument in the piece, it hinges on this:
The lesson I'm trying to convey is that in cases like that of the Danish cartoons and the response to them, there are two paths one can take: frank, reasoned discussion, or circus-like attention-whoring, and only one is truly effective.
I don't know, but this sort of makes Rosa Parks and any number of other peaceful activists including participants in disobedience campaigns over nuclear disarmament, pass laws in South Africa, etc., etc., etc., come out as engaged in "circus-like attention-whoring". Where's the "by your actions showing where you stand on something" option? (To mention only one. And it matters, because talk is cheap.)

I wish I had more time to write about this. It seems like Mixing Memory is working with a frankly disastrous notion of the nature of communication, and that the costs of endorsing his key dichotomoy are altogether too high. PZ didn't do anything wrong in any sense of wrong worth taking seriously.


Michael Meadon said...

Well said and totally agreed.

Doctor Spurt said...

Thanks, Michael - I really do think his intervention was unhelpful.