A Year in Review
[ref003]The Skeptical Review: 1990: Number Four: A Year in
With this issue we complete our first year of publication. The
results have been mixed. We have received compliments, and we have
received denunciations. Admittedly, the denunciations have exceeded the
compliments, but we expected this. We knew when we decided to begin
publication that we would be swimming against a headstrong tide of
tradition based on uncritical thinking, and we were not mistaken. The
entrenchment of the inerrancy belief was indicated to us over and over
again in the copies of TSR that came back marked REFUSED and the letters
from angry recipients asking that their names be removed from our mailing
list. None of these, incidentally, ever attempted to show that our
position was wrong.
This intolerant attitude was more than compensated for by the
reactions we received from open-minded readers. An early subscriber wrote
just recently to say, "I have escaped the religious scene and am now
attempting to enjoy life to the full in a moral way." We hope that this
person's testimony will not escape the notice of those who believe that
the rejection of religious faith leads to unhappiness and moral
degradation. There is almost universal agreement among those who have
abandoned religious superstition that they are happier and better adjusted
living as agnostics or atheists. Religious fundamentalists will find this
hard to believe; nevertheless, it is true. Our advice to them is simple:
Try it; you might like it. Countless ones who have tried it
unhesitatingly declare that they do like it.
We began publication with an open-door editorial policy through which
we intended to offer our readers the opportunity to read competently
written responses to our main articles, but in this issue we have no
rebuttal materials. This does not mean that we have abandoned our policy;
it means only that we could find no one willing to respond to our lead
article. Altogether, we sent copies of the article ([ref004]"What About Scientific Foreknowledge in the
Bible?"), which begins on page 2, to six different fundamentalist
writers and invited each to prepare a response, but none of them accepted
the invitation. In fact, we are late going to press because we waited
beyond our deadline to give a late contact to whom we had faxed the
article an opportunity to write a rebuttal. He later called to tell us he
would not write it.
Some of these writers we contacted are involved in their own
publication projects, so it isn't as if writing the response we wanted
would have been a new venture for them. They simply refused the chance to
have their response published alongside our article in a format that would
have provided our readers the chance to consider both sides of this issue.
We have to wonder why, especially since the very nature of a rebuttal
gives a last-word advantage to the rebutter.
In a monthly publication that he edits, Wayne Jackson, one of the
writers who declined our invitation, quoted a section of the article that
he thought he could handle and then proceeded to give his readers a
one-sided response to it, yet he was unwilling to let his prepared
response to everything in it be seen alongside our entire article.
No head-in-the-sand tactics like these will be pursued in TSR. We
will continue to invite and publish responses, and we challenge our
fundamentalist adversaries to do the same in their publications.
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