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Seeking Good Debate"Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life"$
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Michael S. Evans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285071

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285071.001.0001

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Religion and Bad Debate

Religion and Bad Debate

(p.110) Chapter 7 Religion and Bad Debate
Seeking Good Debate

Michael S. Evans

University of California Press

This chapter argues that the ways in which some people and not others pursue credibility in the public sphere shape the possibilities for good debate in the future. In general, respondents understood public religion to be contrary to good debate. They negatively evaluated individual representatives who were seen as “conservative” in public life. They also negatively evaluated religious attributes and language in public life, even when they shared religious commitments with the representative being evaluated. Ultimately, respondents mobilized a normative preference for deliberative debate that conservative religion was seen to violate. Yet to ordinary persons, it is only conservative religion that operates in public life, in the form either of individual religion representatives or of religious arguments and reasons.

Keywords:   public credibility, public sphere, good debate, public religion, deliberative debate, conservative religion, religion representatives, religious arguments

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