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Accommodationists, Don’t Lead With Your Straw-Man Argument

Thanks to Bala for the link


Ophelia Benson over at Butterflies and Wheels writes about the latest Point of Inquiry episode featuring a debate between Chris Mooney and P.Z. Myers, in which the supposedly objective interviewer, Jennifer Michael Hecht, takes Mooney’s side, automatically forfeiting mediator status. Ophelia writes:

Ten minutes in and she just starts arguing away as if she’s a participant and not the interviwer. A few minutes later she just plain interrupts PZ to say what she wants to say – the interviewer!

I have been an avid listener of POI for many years, and consider D.J. Grothe, the original host for many years, a great champion of reason. Mooney and Hecht are no lightweights when it comes to promoting science and freethought. But Ophelia gets it exactly right in her observation. In fact, I didn’t have to wait the 10 minutes. Right at the beginning Hecht leads off with a straw-man.

I’d like to welcome P.Z. Myers and Chris Mooney and start off with a question, which each of them can answer in turn, about, just in general, how they respond to the notion of either attacking or in some ways trying to gently bring over to our point of view those of us who disagree.

So here are the two sides, as she presents the case:

1. New Atheists: Attacking (religious people).

2. Accomodationists: Trying to gently bring over to our point of view those of us who disagree.

Now why is this a straw man?
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