Beware skeptics - don't be an ass

Unfortunately, the situation artfully illustrated by Scott Addams above happens all too often. I can be as obnoxious as that or more but, slowly and painfully, I have learned to avoid the awkward feeling of turning someone off as Dilbert is doing and keeping relationships at a diplomatic level.

One of the things many "new" skeptics do not realize is that it does not do any good to argue with a true believer or a faith motivated person. In the situation above, if Dilbert's date were, say, a UFO fanatic, Dilbert would have two options:

a) Stop considering any further dates with this person; after all, she will not change her ways and she will consider it a personal project to bring Dilbert into the UFO community; or,

b) Be non-committal and avoid the subject. While it may be difficult to maneuver around things that may be important to the other person, it can be done on a short term relationship or on a day-to-day basis with work colleagues and customers. Not recommended for close friends or spouses, though...

I had a situation like this the other day, albeit not on a date. I happened to casually discuss the subject of evolution vs creationism with a work colleague who attends a fundamentalist church. My intention was purely scientific: I wanted to find out what they thought at her church. She ran off on a long string of nonsense about evolution being "only a theory" and how monkeys are not becoming people. So I thanked her for enlightening me and left it at that without any comment on my side.

If I had starting arguing the case with her it would have been the end of a diplomatic relationship (no friendship with that lady, no way! I choose my friends) that has worked since I realized she attends that particular merchant of faith's church. And it would have gotten me nowhere as she would only have confirmed in her mind that I am headed straight for hell.

Which is not true, since there is no hell. But that is another story. Enjoy Dilbert!

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