RE: Proposal for a Moratorium

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Tue Oct 16 2001 - 09:05:41 EDT

  • Next message: Adrian Teo: "RE: Proposal for a Moratorium"

    Excellent suggestion. Perhaps, rather than picking out two specific topics,
    maybe we should ask ourselves the following questions:

    * will participation in the discussion on a particular topic give me a
    new/better/alternative understanding of the topic?
    * am I likely to change my opinion as a result of the ongoing
    * will others benefit from this discussion?

    Unless the answers to these questions is 'yes,' it may be better to adhere
    to a moratorium or to continue the debate off-line. If an off-line
    discussion does lead to an unexpected revelation or conversion, this could
    always be presented as a summary to the list.
    Chuck Vandergraaf
    Atomic Energy of Canada - Providence College

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []
    Sent: Monday October 15, 2001 10:31 PM
    Subject: 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"

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Oct 16 2001 - 09:06:03 EDT