Gerald Rau on the habits of extreme positions

Use of antagonistic terminology has led to polarization of the question of origins. When any group feels attacked and disrespected, this naturally leads to a hardening of their position as they become defensive and seek to promote their cause. This is certainly the case with the two dominant positions in the public debate about origins, each of which vilifies the other.

Yet in almost every matter of public opinion there are not only two extremes but a range, a gradient, a spectrum of views between those extremes. For most issues there is a relatively large group in the middle, but the ends dominate public awareness because of the easily recognizable rhetoric. Those who try to defend a middle position or promote discussion between the extremes often find themselves being attacked by both ends.

It serves the self-interest of those at the extremes of any debate to polarize the issue, because if people feel those are the only options, they must gravitate toward one or the other. No matter what the conflict, this has always been the strategy of the extremists, who are usually the ones to initiate and perpetuate a conflict.

In the case of the question of origins, the extremes are naturalistic evolution, often simply called “evolution,” and recent creation in six days according to what proponents consider a straightforward reading of the first two chapters of Genesis, commonly called “creation.” For many years these two dominated the public debate to the point that all intermediate positions have been grouped by both the legal system and the press into one category or the other, perpetuating in the public eye the myth of the dichotomy.

Gerald Rau, Mapping the Origins Debate, p.35-36

About cteldridge

A beggar trying to tell other beggars were the Bread is.
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