Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I am an Extremist
People accuse me of taking extreme or radical views. I agree, I am an extremist. And? So? So what? I do not understand what the problem is. I call this fallacy the fallacy of extremism. The fallacy says that extremism is always bad therefore one who is an extremist is committing some error. There are two major problems with this fallacy. One is that it is self-defeating. One who has the view that extremism is always bad has established an extreme position. Second the fallacy never explains why extremism is bad. There are plenty of subjects which are quite extremist but people never complain about for their extremism. Mathematics, for example, is an extremist subject. The standard of proof needs to be complete with all the important steps filled in. No mathematical statement will ever be accepted if this cannot be accomplished. The standard in science is also very extreme, it is fair to say that scientists are extremists. But so what? Scientists need to carefully review all of their experiments numerous of times. They cannot once moderately say "well, perhaps this time we should just call it a theory". There is nothing wrong with extremism in and of itself. The problem is when the extremists try to push their own views onto everyone else in a coercive manner. When it comes to skepticism I am an extremist as well. But again, I ask, what is the problem? I know it is very popular in college, among teenagers, and online discussions to take the more moderate position and say that all forms of extremism are bad. However, I still do not see why I should take moderate positions simply because they are moderate?