Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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27

Mar

2021

Guidelines for better discussions

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday March 4, 2021

 I enjoy good discussions. On almost any topic. My aging body no longer permits some other activities, but I haven’t lost my ability to take part in a lively discussion. Yet. 

            Along the way, though, I’ve learned that there are many ways of destroying a discussion, which range from saying too much to not saying anything. 

            In my experience, the most pernicious fault is to drag in an external authority. Perhaps relying on the insights of a famous writer. A quotation from a scientist. A definition from a dictionary. A theory from a theologian. 

            Or, in some circles, citing selected verses from a scriptural text.


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9

Oct

2019

One rule for open discussion

Author: Jim Taylor

I enjoy good discussions. On almost any topic. Although my aging body no longer allows some physical activities I once enjoyed, I haven’t lost my love of a lively discussion. Yet.

            Along the way, though, I’ve learned that there are many ways of destroying a discussion -- from saying too much to saying too little.

            Still, in my experience, the most pernicious fault is dragging in an external authority. Perhaps a quotation from a famous writer. A statement from a scientist, ripped out of context. A dictionary definition.

            Or selected verses from the Bible.

            Especially, perhaps, from the Bible. Because the Bible can be used to support almost any stance, from slavery to prostitution, from genocide to a flat earth. The same is probably true for the Qur’an, the Hindu Upanishads, and the Analects of Confucius. They were never written as reasoned arguments for a unified worldview.


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Categories: Soft Edges

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