Re: Apology to Ms. Morgan

Stephen Barnard (
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 09:00:37 -0800

Phillip Bigelow wrote:
> Stephen Barnard wrote:
> >
> > While I have no sympathy for the AAH (I'm a mere layman in this area), I
> > have to say that I find Elaine Morgan's posts to this newsgroup to be
> > very reasonable and civil,
> While I disagree strongly that Ms. Morgan is "very reasonable" in
> her ideas, I have to agree that there is a strong motivation for
> Elaine to maintain an aura of civility in her posts: her ideas are
> at best "out there" in terms of believability. If she spouted
> an attitude while she promoted these ideas, it would do her a grave
> dis-service.

Geez, this is ghost from the past. I hope you're not trying to
resurrect the tedious AAH wars.

Everyone should have a strong motivation to to be civil if they want to
be taken seriously. You make it sound like some sort of underhanded
debating tectic.

> > and I find the tone of her detractors to be
> > often obnoxious in the extreme.

[snipped irrelevant stuff about OJ's trial]

> Back in this newsgroup, about 6 months ago, I remember one participant
> state that he felt that Ms. Morgan "must" have a good point, because
> there are so many cranky anti-AATers who are rude to her.
> In other words, this person was basing his "scientific" opinion on
> the AAT on the degree of politeness of the pro- and anti-participants!!
> What nonsense!

I agree. That is nonsense.

> > In my (admittedly limited) opinion, the AAH very implausible, but so
> > what? I've read so much implausible speculation in this newsgroup that
> > mere implausibility has no power to piss me off any longer.
> Many Americans feel this way. Scientific skepticism has *never*
> been an "in-vogue" thing for the non-scientific public to practice,
> but it is even less popular today than ever before.
> People believe in things, and vote for things, more with their emotions
> rather than from analysis of the evidence. And historically,
> the general public has also been lazy when it comes to such things
> as critical thinking.
> Why do you think that psychics are so popular today?
> Part of the reason is that they are nice people: They tell people
> what they want to hear; they always make it sound exciting, and
> they over-generalize.
> <pb>

I am probably the most skeptical person you will ever come across. As I
said, I think the AAH is hooey. My point was to question *why*
otherwise rational people feel compelled to get so worked up about it.
Awhile ago people were dumping on Elaine Morgan as though she were
equivalent to the most ignorant creationist nut case who ever sent a
screed to this newsgroup.

Steve Barnard