Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Skepticism justified

This quote on making websites accessible has stuck with me ever since I read it:
"Since [most web developers'] world consists largely of able-bodied 26-year-olds, it's very hard for them to believe that a large percentage of the population actually needs help accessing the Web. They're willing to write it off as the kind of exaggeration that people make when they're advocating for a worthy cause, but there's also a natural inclination to think, "If I can poke a hole in one of their arguments, I'm entitled to be skeptical about the rest."

"They're also skeptical about the idea that making things more accessible benefits everyone. Some adaptations do, like the classic example, closed captioning, which does often come in handy for people who can hear. But since this always seems to be the only example cited, it feels a little like arguing that the space program was worthwhile because it gave us Tang. It's much easier for developers and designers to imagine cases where accessibility adaptations are likely to make things worse for "everyone else."

- Steve Krug, "Don't Make Me Think" (emphasis added)
It's a great point. I love this concept of justified skepticism, and have been seeing opportunities to use it ever since.

For example, see this story about some religious "compound" in Arkansas raided under suspicion of child abuse. For those disinclined to religion for some reason or another, it's one more reason to feel "entitled to be skeptical" of religion altogether -- "If that's what religion makes of people, even in rare cases, keep me out of it!"

I have a feeling the Devil knows that's how people's minds work, and works hard to keep the connection between the bad apples and "religion".

When I think about religious leaders in other churches, I tend to believe that what principles we held in this life will matter far less than how well we lived the principles we had. And as long as one of our principles is to seek for and accept truth wherever we find it, God will continue to teach us.

And if the allegations are true, I'd bet the folks in that compound were not trying very hard to live their principles. Sad.

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Does anyone read this thing?

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