Re: [asa] List rules?

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Thu Dec 17 2009 - 11:30:02 EST
Your last paragraph offers an ideal that we seem to have misplaced in much of life today, as well as occasionally on this list. In the secular dimension of society, the byword these days is "civility". While that word (civility) also would be appropriate for this particular list, my sense is that there underlies a more profound issue.

The specifics of any given strong religious belief (or any tightly held understanding) by their nature create distinction, and therefore distance from a differing belief. Commitment to that belief generally involves the sense of being right, and in turn - if sufficiently motivated - leads to a certain "evangelism" for the held belief.

In the great settings for philosophical discussion, this led to discourse that was a powerful vehicle for advancing understanding. Of course, the formalization of the beliefs manifested in the creation of "schools", the counterpart of denominations in religious life, bringing those of similar beliefs or leaning into community.

All this is pretty ho-hum obvious. But in the context of religious life, Christianity as a larger community has demonstrated a proclivity toward fragmentation and a measure of habitual distancing among its sort of federated pieces (for reasons that are both discernible and understandable). My Jewish friends point to the idea that Messiah is to bring peace to the world, and they do not see that. Among some of the more thoughtful, that observation could be made about interactions within the Christian community as well.

I've been a churchman for a long time, so I have some understanding of the upsides and downsides of the workings of the Christian community. For me, it has led to a more intentional tolerance (not so easy at times, and not universally appropriate) for the religious holdings of others within Christendom whose holdings differ from mine. [And that's a challenging undertaking!]  My ideal is to maintain that respect, while listening respectfully to differing opinions on the basis that they can inform and teach beneficially. My world of faith has not been static over the years, and I think that is desirable, else there is no opportunity for development and integration, or, simply phrased, spiritual growth.

That said, the inevitable result of "increasing the resolution" on the spiritual aspect of our lives is greater, not lesser, idiosyncrasy (unless our idea of spiritual "maturity" - whatever that may be - is some sort of uniformity of conformity). That might mean that we should find it harder and harder to live in ever smaller communities.

But something's wrong with this picture!

It should, in principle at least, be relatively easy to live in Christian community, however diverse it might be! Diversity in belief is not easily tolerated, and that is evident in Christian history even in the earliest years (ultimately profoundly shaping orthodoxy of today). But there are those inconvenient teachings of the one whose name we take in community.

I'll just slow down here and jump to the point.

With inevitable differences among us, and yet having freely adopted a model of living in peaceable community, we should at the very least among ourselves, in our diversities, be capable of very intentionally embracing the ideals of respect and civility in our internal discourse, if for no other reason than we have identified with the person and example of Jesus who calls us to do so. But the practicality is that it encourages us to ruminate and learn, and not just react.

I admit this seems almost too obvious to articulate, but there are subtleties (including the distinctive over-the-transom nature of conversation via the Internet) that pull us away from that ideal, even subconsciously, that form habits whose expression we might not be to proud of in broad daylight or upon reflection. So I'll just say the obvious, and join the plea for the bare minimum of "civility" in discourse. We do not do ourselves or our testimony proud by doing otherwise.

Gaahhh, that sounds preachy, but it is basically stream of consciousness. So I beg your forbearance -- I'm going to send it anyway.

Still striving for true respect and civility in my own walk....Regards   -   JimA [Friend of ASA]

John Walley wrote:
12/17/09 Post #1
"with some of the posts having value, others being simple forwarding of often silly anti-AGW propaganda"
I contend this is subjective. What some consider to be propaganda, others consider to be hard science and truth. This comment affirms Ted's observation about entrenched positions.
As an observer of this list for years I have seen a multitude of volatile issues discussed and several prominent participants resign such as PVM and David O, and personality induced conflict has been a given throughout. Politics will always surface these differences and there is no modern scientific discussion more intertwined with politics than AGW except for maybe abortion. In fact, if I recall, it was abortion and that was the issue being discussed that David O chose to leave over and his leaving was a great loss to the list.
But as reasonable adults, we should be able to discuss the political underpinnings and assumptions that lay beneath the interpetations of this data and that determine our biases and there should be room at the table for various political views, including the traditional evangelical Christian views.


From: Allan Harvey <>
Sent: Wed, December 16, 2009 8:01:09 PM
Subject: [asa] List rules?

No, this message isn't about the pseudonym issue ...
I'm wondering whatever happened to the rule of a maximum 4 posts per day per person.  One person in particular has been in egregious violation of this on more days than not for several weeks now (with some of the posts having value, others being simple forwarding of often silly anti-AGW propaganda), and I can think of another whose pace is not far behind.  A few others have exceeded the limit on multiple occasions.
Of course we don't want to be overly strict -- some days the discussion is such that a 5th or 6th message might be needed.  I see that even our Executive Director Randy reached 5 on Dec. 7.  But the list is being drowned in messages these days, and the signal-to-noise ratio is not good.  So I ask the powers-that-be: is that still a rule/guideline?  And if so, to preserve some semblance of value for this list would you please do something (presumably starting with warnings) about our more flagrant offenders?
Allan (ASA member)
P.S. The easiest way to spot how much people are posting is the archive pages like this:

To unsubscribe, send a message to with "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message. Received on Thu Dec 17 11:31:05 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 17 2009 - 11:31:05 EST