More Pointless Babble from Tom Smith
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on November 29, 1997.)

In an earlier letter to the Review (7/26/96), I challenged Tom Smith of Ulster to a public debate on any subject. The only stipulation was that the debate be moderated and in a Lincoln-Douglas format. He claimed that I was asking "debater's questions" in my letters, ignoring the fact that this letter-to-the-editor forum is a perfect vehicle for rational objective debate and argument. Smith seems to prefer using the unfounded accusational method instead of using critical thinking and logical argument. His style is cute and mildly entertaining, yet pointless.

As an example, in his Nov. 21 letter, he implied that his prayers (to minimize my writings) had been answered. This claim can neither be proved nor disproved, and is therefore worthless. I could make a similar claim that my prayers for Smith to increase his pointless rantings were answered, but I won't.

His next assertion tried to invalidate arguments I made in previous letters to the Review (10/8/97) and Star Gazette (10/14/97). My argument stated that simple nudity is neither obscene nor pornographic, and that attempts to relate the two were nothing more than censorship. His reasoning was that my argument is invalid because of the proximity to the holidays. I guess I can't refute ironclad logic like that.

Then he asked who you would prefer to lecture your children: James (not John) Dobson, Randall Terry, or me. Since I'm against censorship, you may select whomever you prefer - they're your children. Actually, I wouldn't mind attending a lecture by Smith. However, I would reserve the right to ask questions, and would hope that Smith would be civil and attempt to give serious answers instead of avoiding issues with his usual snide remarks and irrelevant comments.

His closing comments about how I would personally know about laws against child pornography are typical of his style of insinuation, personal attack, and rambling. For the record, I am against any form of exploitation of minors, be it sexual, mental, or physical. In such cases, the minors should at the very least be separated from the abusive parents or guardians. As he asked me, maybe Smith can enlighten the readers about such matters. Tom?

And by the way, the challenge for the public debate still stands.

John L. Ferri

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