I'd like to take a moment to address an issue that seems to involve nearly every thread here to one degree or another and that issue would be the rampant and pervasive presence of intellectual dishonesty in this forum. I don't intend to name any names in either praise or criticism. There are certain believers here that I have actually been quite impressed by (I believe you know who you are). Believers that debate fairly and honestly, make the best arguments they can in favor of their position and concede points when it is clear that the counter-point has been established. If you are one of these individuals, I commend you. You do your faith a great service by being a good example of it. Which in my mind is much more important than the validity of any particular argument. However, there are certain others (you know who you are as well) that have descended into what can only be described as a free-for-all of intellectual dishonesty. No distortion seems to great for these individuals. At no time will they concede that an argument has even been presented, let alone admit that one is valid. They use tactics such as denying that a point has been addressed even when there are multiple pages already presented on the topic. Or changing their argument on the fly when new information is presented without ever admitting that their position has changed. Or the continual demand for "proof" when they themselves offer none and refuse to accept responsibility for even backing their own assertions. My (rhetorical) question(s) to these individuals is this; What do you think you are accomplishing with these tactics? Do you believe some undecided third party is going to come across your parade of fallacies and not see them for exactly what they are? Are you not the least bit concerned of driving these people away from your faith by putting yourself forward as a negative example? Do you feel no social responsibility in this regard at all? Is it really all just about "winning"? Now, I have certainly handed out my share of sarcasm and even the occasional ad hominem, but only after I make my case first based on reason and evidence and only as a response to either intellectual dishonesty or similar ad hominems, but I am here for a purpose. Whether you agree with me or not, I am here because I believe that I have learned something that can help others and I want to try to pass on that knowledge to them. I want to help people that are currently stuck where I was stuck several years ago as I know the difficulties it entails. For those of us entrenched in our positions, we all (on both sides) know that it is unlikely that we will meaningfully sway the other. Most threads here will be fought to a stalemate and it will be up to the reader to make their own judgment on who they agree with, but some threads clearly are not stalemates. Some are entirely within the realm of provable, and yet these threads seem to be the ones that become the most divisive. I suppose that is just human nature. Nobody likes to be wrong. I have been wrong (only once that I know of ;-), but I do my best to recognize it and admit it publicly when it occurs. In actuality, these are the instances where I typically learn something new. Which is its own reward in my opinion. Can we not all strive for this goal? I'm not talking about any lofty and unattainable ideal, but just the simple first step of recognizing what the other has actually said and addressing it on its own merits as opposed to the verbal game of dodge ball that this forum has become? Is that to much to ask? Well, something to cogitate on at any rate, goodnight gentlemen... Wanna kill these ads? We can help!