Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tolerance Doesn't Mean Submission

From What is an “atheist community”? by PZ Myers:

One of the essentials of community building is the construction of principles of tolerance. We don't have to agree with each other on everything, nor can we, and as we all know, freethinkers are going to be especially diverse and fractious. Learn to take the best that each subset of us offers — you do not have to swallow all of the Communist party line to see that some of what they say is useful. You do not have to be a member of the RRS to see that we share some common goals, and that we can work together. Heck, there are Christians who share some of our goals (secular government, religious liberty, good science education, and so forth), and we can and must work together with them. And at the same time, as skeptics and science-minded people, the principles of tolerance we adopt are going to have to include frank disagreement and criticism of ourselves and others. That should be a central part of who we are, that we do not muzzle our ideas and that we can go up to our fellow atheists and say, "you're wrong" on just about anything, but without simultaneously implying that they're going to be ostracized from the community.

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