Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 10:36:02 +0000

>From M.C. Morgan:

'I'm not so sure Steve Krause is writing off religion and faith as
insignificant squabbles with his analogies. I read him as suggesting that
many people will place matters of religion--like matters of
taste--off-limits for discussion or debate. I see this all the time in how
FY students tend to use "in my opinion" in their papers: as walling off the
claim from discussion. It's shorthand for "That's what I believe and I
don't have to explain why because it's just what I believe and you can
believe what you want to now get off my back."'

Couldn't agree more. I don't really think Steve K thinks religion is
insignificant or that it shouldn't matter to anyone; I'm saying the
analogy tends to imply as much. And I agree totally, unequivocally
with your protest about how fys think everything boils down to
opinion; I've called it the Oprah Effect--you know, the
"who-are-WE-to-say" idea, the notion that nothing is up for
discussion and agreement, but rather that everything boils down to
opinion and, ultimately, fragmentation, where nobody bothers to talk
to anybody except to spout bald opinions. (When I was a TA, certain
statements that recurred from one fy writer to another became running
jokes, and chief among them was the all-time conclusion: "In
conclusion, everyone must form their [sic] own opinion," thus
demonstrating that the writer had a firm grasp of the obvious.)

It's times like this when I start to think that the best conception of
rhetoric is the one in which the largest group moves toward the largest
number of legitimate and honest points of agreement by reasoned
argument. Whether one agrees with that big idea, almost anyone in
higher ed would say that if you come to school, you're in an arena
where you have to play by at least one broad rule (reasoned argument)
unless you just want to take your ball and go home. Obviously, some
things ARE matters of opinion, but fys need to understand how this
attitude isolates them and makes it impossible for them to educate

s. finley