An attempt at promoting free thought

This is a question to all you guys, especially admins.

I posted the pope's speech and Dawkin's reply and there was instant backlash. I handled it the best I could, tried to be impersonal and so on. But one guy, kept ranting and I finished it with blocking him from my facebook profile.

My point of posting this thread are these.
1) How do you handle people who wont listen to reason. Especially one that keeps insisting in making personal remarks and not argue about the issue at all. This applies to face to face, chat, phone conversations and everything. Each medium of communication has its own advantages and drawbacks in the topic of an argument.

I'm a little sad at the fact that after all this was over, he sent me a mail which I quote
Quote:You cant answer all questions can you.

Fuck yourself and fuck darwin. Dont send me mails you jerk.
Do you catch this early, if the debate is going to be productive or not and cut it short by walking out? Is that the way to save and not terribly end a friendship (distant as it may have been). I kept hoping that he would start at least listening to my arguments.

The post is!/...4449145595 if you want to see what I'm talking about.

For those who arent yet a facebook contact of mine, send me a request. ;). Its about time anyway.

2) What do you feel about promoting free thought on an open forum like facebook. Should it be a come and get it if you want, like Nirmukta, or should we go out and actively pursue promoting free though. If so, what are the best ways to do so. Is it alright to delete a post which is trollish. (In the sense that I'm the author of the wall post and someone distracts the audience reading it). I might get more questions as people reply, so looking forward to the replies.

Why do you not share your detailed concerns with us here?
@Shantanu: Concerns about what? I did share my questions on what are the best ways to handle such a situation, because I think there is a better way.

If you mean concerns about the pope's speech, its pretty obvious what my stand is right? I side with Dawkins on the issue. But i really hope this thread dosent discuss that. We can create a new one for that if needed.

Or did you mean that you wanted me to copy the facebook wall thread here for reference by "share your detailed concerns" ? I'm sorry, but I dont think I've understood your question and i'm just randomly guessing here. A little help would be nice smile.
I see. Is facebook the appropriate place to try and promote freethought? This is simply because you are going to make friends with people who do not wish to be bothered by the subject matter that concerns you. You will lose friends that way, surely?

If you like you can send me a note to be a facebook friend. This will give me a chance to see your wall in detail. My username there is Shantanu Panigrahi.
The guy was seriously being a dick. In his first post itself he came across as one of those whiny people who are "hurt" by religious criticism. That should have been your first clue.

As to your other question, I try to promote freethought by telling people "Here's how it works. you don't need any supernatural explanation for that". Beyond that I don't push them with towards atheism. That has to come from them.

Also, there is nothing wrong with deleting a trollish post unless you want to leave it on record that the guy is being a dick. In that case, you just ignore that guy and continue the conversation with others who are being reasonable.
Here's my point of view on this. The first thing to do is to identify your motives for using facebook or any other social-networking site. Only when the goals are clear can you know what actions are best. This might sound simple enough, but it is not immediately clear to most people that freethought involves a great many different areas of interest, philosophical focal points, political and social agendas, cultural agendas, personal agendas and unique approaches towards understanding and solving problems.

For many people, freethought is not the only reason they use facebook. So there is room for clashes in ideology and outlook with friends that share some interests and not others.

Once you have decided what your goals are, then there are many different approaches available towards those ends. I do not disparage any goal or approach, as long as it lies within the general freethought agenda. The one thing that I dislike is people who think that the entire freethought enterprise should push forward their personal goals. But this is a small minority of freethinkers. The majority understand that a pluralistic approach is necessary in promoting freethought. This pluralism necessitates compartmentalization of aspects of our work, both online and off.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.

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