Evan’s Guide for Admirable Decorum, or Egad for short, is a set of rules I jotted down one summer when I found myself more aware that I was becoming hypocritical to the things I believed versus what I thought about people. These guidelines are meant for online etiquette but can be adapted for use anywhere.
Here is Egad:
- Never share an article that you have not read
- Do not start a debate unless you are confident in your ability to argue only the facts
- Spreading information you do not know to be true is NOT okay
- Proofread everything you write before posting it
- Some people can not be convinced they are wrong
- Sometimes it is more effective to keep posting your own content instead of refuting someone else’s
- Try to see the other person’s perspective
- Though you must always try
- Do not assume things
- i.e. if someone voted for Trump, that alone does not make them racist, sexist, etc.
- Do not lie
- i.e. if someone asks if you have read [any book] and you have not, do not say you have
- If you edit a post, include the edit at the top
- Never delete posts
- Own up to your mistakes
- Check your sources
- And their source's sources!
- Just because someone said something racist, sexist, etc. does not always mean that they are such
- Sometimes, people are capable of change
- Never mock, make fun of, or insult anyone
Of course, there is a reason I am publishing my guide to admirable decorum. When I wrote my articles about free will and robots, I took a hard stance that I see now is unreasonable. Science is not provable. Saying something IS or IS NOT a certain way is rhetoric that gets us nowhere. If it turns out that I am wrong in my beliefs, then that will be an exciting time for science and humanity in general.
We cannot prove that gravity exists, but we can have enough evidence to believe it so. If we found out that somehow gravity is different than we thought, we would change and adapt our beliefs. The concept of the soul or of god is one that has immense cultural importance. Throwing things into a toxic dichotomy will not result in finding answers.
Instead, we must focus on the common ground. Throw semantics out and talk about the mystery of the universe. Whoever you are, you must believe in a cosmic mystery in which derives all science and theology. Scientists work towards figuring out the mystery of life as we know it. Some believe that mystery includes a god; some don't. That's ok. It's no one's business to tell others what to believe.
There is no point in being closed minded. Doing so not only alienates yourself from others, but it puts a halt on the shaping of you as a person. Nothing is certain, and that is the beauty of life.