Last modified on November 17, 2007, at 01:19


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Thoughts on discussions

  • You cannot change someone else's mind unless you are willing to take the risk of having your mind changed.
  • State someone else's opinion in your own words and keep trying new wording until that person agrees that your statement is accurate. Then have the other person do the same. If you can do this, you have accomplished something. Two adults should always be able to accomplish that much. And this is the most that can usually be accomplished.
  • A set of data so clear that it points to only one possible conclusion is probably phony data.
  • To win an argument means to convince an audience that you performed better than your opponent. Convincing your opponent that your beliefs have merit is a different goal. Which is your goal?
  • Take a few moments right now. Say the words "You're right," a few times. And, because this is an online environment, open an editing window, and type them a few times: "You're right." "You're right." "You're right." If they seem difficult, practice them until they come quickly and easily. Sooner or later there will come a time you will need them, and it's wise to be in practice to use them promptly and graciously.

To people who left Wikipedia and are disappointed when Conservapedia "seems the same:"

Drove up a newcomer in a covered wagon: 'What kind of folks live around here?' 'Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?' 'Well, they was mostly a lowdown, lying, thieving gossiping, backbiting kind lot of people.' 'Well, I guess, stranger, that's about the kind of folks you'll find around here.' And the dusty gray stranger had just about blended into the dusty gray cottonwoods in a clump on the horizon when another newcomer drove up: 'What kind of folks live around here?' 'Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?' 'Well, they was mostly a decent, hardworking, lawabiding, friendly lot of people.' 'Well, I guess, stranger, that's about the kind of folks you'll find around here.'"

—Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes

Notes and quotes

  • You can now email me by using the "E-mail this user" link.
  • I live a couple of hours from Grover's Corners, New Hampshire; the United States of America; the Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God.

"I see," said the judge. "Your ideas aren't the same as most people's are they?"
"No," said Brush. "I didn't put myself through college for four years and go through a difficult religious conversion in order to have the same ideas as other people have."
—Thornton Wilder, Heaven's My Destination, Ch. X

"Then he saw also that it matters little what profession, whether of religion or irreligion, a man may make, provided only he follows it out with charitable inconsistency, and without insisting on it to the bitter end. It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies."
—Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

[Queequeg] then went about his evening prayers, took out his idol, and removed the paper firebrand. By certain signs and symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case he invited me, I would comply or otherwise.
I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth--pagans and all included--can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?--to do the will of God? that is worship. And what is the will of God?--to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me--that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world.
—Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or, the Whale, ch. X, "A Bosom Friend"

Brag list

Articles to which I've made significant contributions: Average, Barbershop harmony, Billy Sunday, Bond, Brown University, Christian Science, Compulsory chapel, Credit card, Cryptozoology, Doo Wop motels, Drug resistance, Ivy League, Thomas Kinkade, Liberal Arts college, Moon (portion preceding "Unusual Characteristics"), Mother's Day, Pill splitting, Princeton University, Rainbow, Slippery slope, Social investment, Stevens Institute of Technology, Synthesizer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Venus, Virginia Tech, John Wayne