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.
Atomic Energy of Canada - Providence College
From: SteamDoc@aol.com [mailto:SteamDoc@aol.com]
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
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
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
Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado | SteamDoc@aol.com
"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