The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Sat Jun-04-11 02:53 PM
Just Blew Up Some Bible-Thumpers
What a blast!
Well... I talked to them. No explosives were harmed in the exchange.
So I'm pulling a left turn at an intersection on my way home. On the opposite corner is a Family Video store. On the curb were two men holding placards. I could see the words "Don't Rent Here" on the top of the signs, but it wasn't until I was through the intersection that I could make out the bottom of the signs; "Porn Destroys Families".
This was just what I needed to perk up an otherwise cloudy day.
So I pull into the parking lot (nearer the demonstrators), get out of my car, and said; "Hey! Cool! I had no idea they had porn here!", then trotted merrily into the store.
I asked the guy behind the counter about them. He said they're there about once a month. Even though they won the suit to prevent them from renting porn, they let them do their thing because, as he put it, "Heh... it's free advertising."
So I rent a couple of movies, and trot merrily back out to the two fellows. One appears to be in his fifties, he's thin with dark hair, glasses, a bit of scruff, wearing a green windbreaker. I find out later his name is 'Al'. The other is younger, early thirties, had the look of an ex-jock type meathead... and the dull look to boot.
They looked anxiously at the movies I was carrying. So just to mess with them I said, "Hey! How's it going?" and gestured with the movies toward the dull one. He backed up, gaze locked on movies.
So I asked, "What's the big deal?"
Dull Guy, "Well, you obviously think there's nothing wrong with porn."
Me; "Not necessarily. There's some illegal stuff out there and stuff that I find personally objectionable. But what people like is none of my business. Why is it yours?"
DG; "It causes infidelity, higher divorce rates, objectifies women and demeans them."
Me; "Really? What about the men in porn? What about gay porn?", as I gesture deliberately and hold the movies toward him. He stuttered; "Well, I, uh... it... I don't know what people's preferences are."
Me; "Ok, so why are their preferences your business?"
DG; "There are studies showing that people who watch porn have a higher rate of divorce and infidelity."
Me; "Ok, do those studies explain how porn actually causes those things?"
DG; "Well, would you watch porn with your daughter or your mother?"
Me; "That's insane. Why would I do that? Do you really think that everyone who watches porn does so with children?"
DG; "Well, no, but some do."
Me; "Some people screw mules, that doesn't make it right. What's illegal is illegal. So you have studies that show correlation. Do you know the difference between causation and correlation?"
Me; "Then you know that porn is not necessarily the cause of infidelity or divorce, but just as likely incidental to whatever the circumstances are. I'm just looking to see what kind of integrity you have regarding this issue."
Then, seeing his fellow in trouble, the older guy jumps in; "Well, if we're talking integrity, then the other side of that same coin is that you can't say there is no causation."
Me; "True, but the fact of the matter is that there is no proof, or even solid evidence of causation. You really can't say 'Porn destroys families' as though it is a fact."
Al; "Well, that's an opinion."
Me; "Yes, it is, but one with no foundation yet stated as a fact."
DG; "Well, when there's so much strong correlation, I mean, really... how much more does it take for someone to see the problem."
So we go back and forth a bit, and I nail them down on the 'well, there's a strong correlation' position.
By now, they're still going to be certain of their convictions and I'm telling them that's great, it's great they're standing up for what they believe in, and so long as strong correlations are enough to have them convinced of something.
Then I pull out the cannon.
"So, for over thirty years scientists have told us that our activity will result in climate change."
Al; "Oh, we don't want to get into that..."
Me; "Bear with me.", I hold up the movies again, they shut up for a second. I continue; "Nearly every prediction that scientists made decades ago are happening now. The Glaciers and sea ice are melting, the oceans acidifying, coral reefs dying, extreme weather, and rising global temperatures all in direct and indisputable correlation to increasing CO2 levels with no other explanation. The correlation is far stronger, with real facts and evidence to back it up, than the correlation you are basing your belief on."
Al; "Well there are studies disputing that we..."
Me; "And every single one of them flawed in ways I can prove. But the point is that you cannot argue with the fact that warming is happening in direct correlation to increased CO2 levels. You know those two things are true whether you agree with the conclusion or not, right?"
Al; "Well, sure."
Me; "Then you must, in the face of an indisputable correlation, agree that we are indeed the cause of the warming, just as you believe that porn is the cause of divorce and infidelity on the strength of mere correlation, right?"
Al; "Well, no. I don't."
Me; "So, correlation is adequate for you to justify your moral position, and enough to support one belief you chose to have, but not enough to believe something you don't want to. You, sir, make your chosen claim based on the strength of something you simply ignore or throw out when applied to other issues. I'm not saying this to insult you, but it's a fact; You, sir, are a hypocrite."
Al; "Well... yes. I suppose I am."
I could hear the Dull Guy's head burst behind me.
I told them it was great they were out there and having fun with it. I thanked them for the conversation, and went to shake Al's hand... which he pulled away. He visibly relaxed and shook my hand after, with my hand still out, I showed them the movies; "The Big Lebowski" and "Stone".
Oh, what a fun day!