I don't really care what someone wants to believe or adore or worship, what their muse is, how they get off, whatever - because that's part of their personal experience and life. I'm not saying those things don't matter, they just have relatively little bearing on my life (or to quote Joshua Graham: "whether or not God exists, what you or I believe has little bearing"). Where I take issue is when someone wants to shove their religion down my throat sideways, or persecute non-believers. In other words, dislike muggles all you want, but when they stop being muggles and start being "mudbloods" and you start wanting to hunt and enslave, we're gonna have issues.
And I see a lot of the "objectivists" as taking that tack - their tactics and arguments are more akin and similar to what you'd find with evangelists (and of course they usually have snide derision for those people too, because obviously their beliefs are the only true beliefs), than science.
If you want to make an evidence-based argument, and have actual evidence and data, you should never need to resort to scare tactics or intimidation to get people to listen. If they choose to reject your evidence or disagree with you, that's their own choice. And I think the constant back-and-forth between the school of thought that says "no, we're acting in the best interests of the unwashed savages because we are more learned and advanced, and we're going to show them how backwards they are and make them like us!" and the school of thought that says "I'm okay with me, I like me, my wife likes me, and if you can't accept that, that's okay, but I'm not changing" is what makes a lot of the more in-depth discussions here kind of sickening. And this doesn't mean one side is entirely at fault - sure the guy (or gal) who jumps on the boards and wants to tell everyone what to believe and how to feel is committing a "wrong" in doing so, but the people who hop into the mud-pit with them to wrassle are just as "wrong" (two wrongs don't make a right and all that).
And none of this is even remotely related to science or how science works, science doesn't "tell its followers" (mostly because it isn't a religion and doesn't have followers, and scientism is an unrelated thing) to go out and persecute those who disagree (the real irony here is of course that scientism, in outright rejecting all organized religion, has essentially become a religion, and just like any other organized religion, its adherents completely go against the "tenets" of the belief system they're using to predicate their world-view). But don't tell those who feed on carnage that - they might just lose it.
I particularly like the last paragraph, but I agree with the post in general. Some people are always going to think they know what's best and that people who don't agree need to have it explained to them as though they were children, to be ridiculed for disbelieving, and then, if all else fails, to be silenced so that they don't inspire any more dissent. This applies to everything, not just science, but here we're getting dangerously close to politics, which we'd all better not get into. I get the feeling the nice, civil tone in this thread might take a turn for the nasty if that happened.
There's a reason politics and religion are usually banned subjects on forums. It's the same reason that the science forum is one unto itself and is the only place that things like DBT may be discussed. There's no answer to political or religious questions because none of the concepts described in religion or politics have been played out to their conclusion. There's no "point of rightness" to look back from in hindsight and say, "okay, we definitely picked the right system." It's no different with random arguments about random subjects on the Internet, with the endless circular arguments and flame wars. Nobody is ever going to solve it because there either is no solution or we're so far from one as to make the whole thing pointless.
EDIT: Decided to take something out since it went somewhere I didn't want to go.
Edited by Argyris - 10/25/12 at 3:42pm