Beware the pronoun that has lost its antecedent(s), especially if other debaters, when quoting and re-quoting from earlier posts, enable the grafting-in –- perhaps through inadvertence, perhaps through devilishness -– of a foster parent.
avconway wrote: The play “mocked a bishop”? So what?
Who/what better to mock than a bishop? Well, an archbishop perhaps, or an imam, a chief rabbi or a witch-doctor. Have bishops (and imams and rabbis etc) no adequate debating points that defend them against ridicule – only gaudy clothes, tall hats and red faces?
Lootman wrote:I am not remotely religious but do not see any real value in mocking people who are.
avconway wrote:What else is one to do with them? Put up with them as a never-ending drag on the search for knowledge? If rational debate with them was possible – or effective – the battle over finding and following the path to knowledge would have been over by the end of the 17th century.
As debate on this thread has progressed, as exchanges have taken place, and quotes re-quoted, the “them” in this last paragraph of mine (i.e. of people that I proposed be mocked) is taken as a reference to Christian leaders, but by tracing back through the thread it can be seen that I have a wider target in sight. I lump bishops and archbishops, imams and ayatollahs, rabbis and chief rabbis, witch-doctors and shamans together as part of an entire class that eschews evidence. I do this not because of religion per se
, but because I value evidence, logic and ratiocination above myth, supposition and fabrication. The list above of believers in faith-above-evidence is of course incomplete – to it can be added all those groups and classes of people who are impervious to evidence and clarity of thought, small children for example, of an age not yet adequately armed with the skills and knowledge (and courage) necessary to pursue autonomy of thought and expression.
Nowhere have I suggested that mockery, satire and ridicule are the sole tools to be used when discussing issues with the classes and groups listed above (I'd favour polite persuasion), but tools to be used as a recourse when the issues are of import, and rational debate, evidence and logic do not serve.
The thought crosses my mind – I wonder if the parents in Cheshire (possibly now pleased that their children will not have to discover that sometimes bishops deserve to be mocked), will now scour school and county libraries so that all copies of Hans Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes
can be burnt, lest their children learn the fun of telling it like it is?