Monday, September 21, 2009

Michael Crichton on Civility in Discussions

In November 2005 I was fortunate enough to participate in a Barnes & Noble online discussion with Michael Crichton on his novel State of Fear. Most of those participating were civil, though one man, “Adam”, seemed to have joined up just to get in Crichton’s face. The moderator dealt with him as best he could and finally Michael Crichton posted this:

Adam, debate---including spirited debate--- is enjoyable, interesting and informative. It sometimes even changes peoples' minds.

But you have to be open to it, you have to be courteous, and you have to be careful about sarcasm and snottiness.

And especially you have to be mindful, as Mill observed, to state your opponents' views correctly and with care.

You don't.

So there's no discussion possible with you.

Crichton’s advice should be heeded by those on both sides of the political aisle.

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:


Narayan said...

thats what I call a dignified snub.
The dignity, integrity and cultural sensitivity of dr. crichton is well brought out through these words.

Marla Warren said...

I had my own share of clashes with "Adam". He was highly emotional and poor at grammar. That's a fun combination for me.