Monday, July 17, 2006

Dan Simmons responds, sorta

I had not really expected Dan Simmons to read my response to his April message in full, let alone follow the extended links to supporting arguments. I did post a link to my argument on his web forum, and he has now responds without responding:

Obviously if you oppose something or its effects, you must be afraid of it; obviously if you are afraid of it, the fear is based upon unreasonable and discriminatory biases.

This is in allusion to my use of the word Islamophobe. As I stated above, I used the term for the purposes of this essay in the non-racist sense of the word; ie I am not accusing Simmons of being a racist (how wouold one be a racist with respect to a religion, anyway?). I don't know what Simmons' views are towards Arab culture but they are irrelevant to my argument, which took issue with two basic assumptions of his essay. He has still not addressed them. Perhaps I should have written this essay in a more politically correct form so as not to offend his sensibiilties.

Still, if it's a semantic argument he desires, then I note that the word "phobia" has two meanings:

1. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.
2. A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.

If it was not clear enough before, then let me be again explicit. I am using the word Islamophobe in the sense of meaning #2 above, not #1. If anyone reading my essay, especially any muslims, interpreted my use of the word Islamophobe as per meaning #1, please re-evaluate accordingly. For what it is worth, I think that Mr. Simmons' arguments are not irrational at all; I just think they are flawed. If in fact the two foundational assumptions he makes (which I have tried in good faith to address above) are actually true, then I would be hard-pressed to find a reason to disagree.

The value of further dialouge with Simmons is probably zero, unless he does decide to engage me on the issues I raised rather than search for semantic loopholes with which to dismiss. I am at least grateful to him for not deleting my link to my response on his forum. My goal was simple; to register my dissent. That much I think I have accomplished.

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