Proposal for a Moratorium

Date: Mon Oct 15 2001 - 23:30:42 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: Proposal for a Moratorium"

    To the ASA discussion list:

    A while back, Jack Haas noted how this list had degenerated over the past
    several months. Since then, things have not improved. The signal-to-noise
    ratio continues to be bad. Discussions degenerate into unedifying
    back-and-forth arguments. The hostility level increases, and we get
    celebration of another's misfortune and un-brotherly insults like "you
    neither respect nor understand the Word of God." Somebody else tosses in a
    few cryptic sentences with no thought behind them, starting another round of
    unfruitful dialogue. And so it spirals downward.

    Active moderation would require a suitable person doing a huge amount of
    work, and seems not to be an option. Therefore, let me offer a suggestion
    that might provide some improvement. It has been my observation that certain
    topics, when brought up on this list, *always* lead us into trouble and
    produce no edification. This is not entirely the fault of the people who
    bring up the topics; many replies have produced more heat than light. But,
    since these topics *never* seem to lead to worthwhile discussions, I think it
    would be best if they were given a rest, at least for a while.

    In particular, I propose a moratorium on the following two areas:
    1) Scientific "proofs" of God
    2) Numerical patterns in the Bible
    This should not be construed as a judgment that those topics are never worth
    discussing; it is just a recognition that *here* they have inevitably been
    sources of the strife and noise that threaten to destroy this list.

    A moratorium means that those who post on such topics should refrain, and if
    they do not refrain, others should refrain from replying (that part is
    important!). I suggest that this moratorium apply *for the remainder of
    calendar 2001*. That might be enough time for the level of hostility around
    here to cool down and for the signal-to-noise ratio to improve enough that
    this becomes a worthwhile discussion forum once again.

    Of course I'm just one contributor to this list -- I can only suggest this,
    not impose it. Maybe somebody else has a better suggestion. But I think we
    must do something. I value this list and many of its contributors. But
    things have been bad for quite a while now, to the point where I'm beginning
    to feel like it is not worth subscribing (a feeling that seems to be shared
    by many).

    So, I would implore people to give a rest, at least for the next 2.5 months,
    to those two topics that have been so unfruitful. We need to try something
    to return this list to "iron sharpens iron" rather than throwing rocks at
    each other.

    In Christ,

    P.S. To Terry or whoever maintains the "filter" to trap Spam. Can you filter
    out anything that has the string "SEMINARIO" in the Subject field? I think
    that would rid us of these Spanish-language Spams that have been plaguing us.

    Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
    "Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
     attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"

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