24 November 2008

Hit them with your best shots

About 10 days ago, Bruce Berman from Boston, a regular reader of this blog, sent an inquiry about the impact of blogging on the evolution versus creation debate. Apparently he is writing a paper on this subject. Only yesterday was I able to get back to him. Here is my response, slightly revised today.

I think the greatest impact the Internet (not just blogging) has had on the freedom of expression is that everyone who has Internet access has a chance to publish their thoughts, at least in the U.S., where the government does not and can not censor publications. The downside of this is that the crackpots, the deceivers, the zealots, the fundamentalists, etc., get their webpages too. But that's the price of freedom; it's either all or none.

The point I am trying to make is that the evolutionists and the rationalists aren't the only ones who have taken advantage of the Internet, but so have the creationists and the religionists.

But I think the significance of the Internet is that everyone is more or less on an equal footing. And perhaps more importantly, no crackpot is immune from criticism. If one is brave (or foolish) enough to reveal one's ideas for all to read, one should be prepared to accept the consequences and not complain when and if the failings of each are exposed by others who also write on the Web.

I will paraphrase one of Bruce’s sentences from his e-mail: The web has finally given everyone with defensible arguments a powerful channel to reach a wider audience. It's up to us to create the best defenses to support our positions and to attack with the most effective offenses to crumble our opponents' lines.