Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Absence of Courtesy

This week, I unsubscribed from the Vertebrate Paleontology Listserve, having been on it for nearly 10 years. Honestly, it was high time. It clutters up my mailbox with a bunch of inconsequential guff, usually along the lines of "can anyone send me a PDF of this paper?" and "please re-send in plain text" (don't get me started on that one). Lately, however, what's been getting me down could best be described as an absence of professional courtesy. In the past week we've had one respondent level a series of accusations at the current President of the United States, culiminating in the claim that he only got his position because of the color of his skin; a second respondent has likened religious belief to a phenomenon he has observed in dogs; and a third respondent basically telling the second respondent that he didn't known anything because he had never read a paper on creationism written by the third respondent (who, by the way, has no background in theology that I'm aware of). I think it's great that the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of expression - I just wish it carried a rider that citizens think before they exercise that right.

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