Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The truth matters

Apparently, I'm an arrogant twerp, "hiding behind the mask of 'intellectual honesty.'"

How does one hide behind a mask of honesty? Does PJ therefore endorse intellectual dishonesty? And what precisely am I hiding?

I think PJ is conflating "rationality" with "sanity". Of course I don't think she's insane, and she has a right to hold whatever beliefs she wants—rational or irrational.

The real question is: What is a matter of truth, and what is a matter of opinion? If truth is a matter of opinion, there is no truth, and "rationality" becomes vacuous. When can we civilly call a belief false? Is everything a matter of merely propaganda and negotiation? Are all opinions—whatever they may be—on the laws of physics objectively equal in the same way that all opinions are objectively equal on the beauty or ugliness of much of what passes for modern art?

I have had many of my cherished beliefs overturned in the light of reason. They proved to be false beliefs, and it would have been irrational to retain them. Since I actually believe that rationality is descriptive, I hold it as normative. Apparently PJ, unconcerned with actual truth, considers "irrational" only pejorative, in the same sense that "twerp" (or "egregious stupidity") is only pejorative.


  1. Well, I don't know what you said exactly (probably been deleted by now) to get yourself kicked off yet another blog. The fact that the blogger in question demands not just respect from others in regard to her right to have an opinion (respect for the person), but that respondents must accept said opinions as reasonable, gives me a clue or two.

    What do you think of Talia's responses to PJ on this (if you're even interested in going back there to have a look)? From what PJ says in that comments section, it seems that she doesn't mind if people disagree with her as long as they don't disagree very much.

    It seems you may have been questioning the fundamentals in a place that prefers the waters not to run very deep.

  2. Three blogs now!

    I think PJ is conflating "irrationality" with stupidity, insanity and/or dishonesty.

    I'm also guessing that she thinks that everything is a matter of opinion; I have a right to my own opinion, but not a right to call hers bad. If the existence of God or Intelligent Design really were matters of opinion, I'd concede the point. But I don't believe that, and I don't think she does either.


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