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THE SE FALSE DICHOTOMIES
There are a couple of false dichotomies that seem to keep running rampant on SE. I thought I'd point them out and briefly address them.
1. Global Warming
- The false dichotomy: If you aren't a chicken little, then you're a global warming denialist.
- Warning signs of irrationality: This one is pretty obvious. You'll see people quite haughty about their scientific insight who can't seem to realize that global warming is a symptom of the problem of overpopulation, one with many other bad symptoms.
You'll see the fantasy that somehow scientists trump the agendas of the politicians who control the scientists funding and very livelihood, and that the other way around would just not be possible. (Despite the fact that political meddling in educational curricula has to be continuously and strenuously resisted in order to prevent the teaching, as science, religious concepts unanimously rejected by the scientific community.)
You'll see a complete lack of any knowledge or awareness of historical correlations between political financial struggles and social/science movements (such as the rise of nouveau riche rap moguls and the influential effects of music, the anti-smoking movement and the fight for tobacco profits, rain forest and tree-saving activism/ecology while logging industry political contributions were being fought over, and now another left vs right fight over the oil industry's contribution money via public perception of oil usage).
Also you'll see a complete lack of consideration that anyone might just want to make a few quick bucks off of a controversy while it's hot.
2. Ayn Rand/Objectivism
- The false dichotomy: If you don't reject everything written by Ayn Rand as devoid of insight then you're a Tea Partying religious nut (pretty good for an atheist philosopher and atheistic movement!).
Really, Ayn Rand shined a light on the contemporary aristocratic mindset in the way Machiavelli shined a light on Renaissance aristocratic mindsets. This doesn't mean they were devoid of insights, it means they were full of insights, even if you don't like them.
3. Islam. This might in some way be an inverse.
- The false dichotomy: Because there exist examples of violence and evil in current Islam and current religions apart from current Islam, then current Islam is equal in violence and evil to any other current religion. (Religion is boolean.) To think otherwise is racist against Islam.
- Warning signs of irrationality: Directly stating or subtly implying the "race of Islam". Absolving religious moderates who encourage belief of the acts of literalists who hold the same beliefs. Western atheists are frequently accused of picking on Christianity exclusively: Claiming Islam-racism for applying atheistic critiques to Islam, too. (aka Eastern-philia, where only western religion is treated atheistically and eastern religions are given a free pass.) Failing to differentiate religious con-men (David Koresh, Jim Jones) from religious leaders (the Pope, Archbishops, Ayatollahs, Imams).
Most of what I'd say can be better said by Sam Harris: