May I make a suggestion? First, make sure you let your parents know that you love them no matter what they choose to believe (and isn't that true?). And truly, make it okay [ this is a statement about you, not about them ]. You can…"
"Christianity is constantly being disproved. That's why there are so many variations (over a thousand denominations) and it's why Christianity today is nothing like the beliefs of the past. Every time science makes a discovery that…"
"My friend Ken - a scientist - tries to make this same point. I fail to see it. Atheist doesn't carry that sense. It might be read that way - but that is not what it means. And it is truly splitting hairs to try and draw a line between someone…"
"Sam in WV: Being an atheist does not begin to define what I am or my beliefs.
That is all that I want to convey, when I call myself an atheist. I don't have any other labels for myself. If I did, they probably wouldn't have anything to do…"
"Being an atheist does not begin to define what I am or my beliefs. It only defines an attribute of what I am not . Since 9/11 however, the influence of theism and its well-financed cultures on public policy and social identity, it is a pretty…"
I do value people with passions. And with this said, when we speak of a "torchbearer of reason behind the inquiring mind", it is quite appropriate to share that many people are required to hold up this torch. Paul may be…"
"Much of the fundamentalism that we see today is a relatively recent phenomenon and is likely very much a response to the scientific progress and abandonment of age old ways of living life which modern rationalists promote.
I see just the opposite.…"
"You don't have to explain. I do live here. I live in Chandler and have seen the place mushroom with Hispanics, including the loud mariachi on weekends down the damn street. I do not like it.
My wife does not like it, and she's half…"
"I understand your fears. You state: "By insulting their religious beliefs, we are adding to the troubles of atheists in religious societies." Unfortunately, this particular strain of religion is inherently violent towards atheists and…"
"The states have absolutely no right to regulate immigration.
I don't think they're tying to regulate immigration, I think they're trying to control immigration into the state.
(Notwithstanding that for the last 20 years we invited…"
"A|N offers free blogs; people use them to their advantage, and incoming links cost the same as outgoing links -- zero. Traffic? Let's get to the real point. Your article may be titled on the subject of Traffic Theft but you're really…"
""Unfortunately, national politics has not yet produced a vigorous counterpart to the Religious Right on the Left."
I thought Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy was doing pretty well at offering such a counter voice, but strangely I know of no others…"
Hi AcesLucky, the most info about wonderism is in the discussions on the Wonderism group. I never really could consistently make videos, largely due to my ADHD and procrastination. But now I'm writing regularly for the group, so more info will continue to be posted there.
Wonderism is an attempt to articulate what I see as a common underlying set of ideas held by many of the best defenders of reason and science (best example being Carl Sagan). I personally adopted it as my own philosophy a few years ago, as opposed to just playing around with the ideas I was seeing in common.
I'm absolutely open to any doubts, skepticism or criticism, or just questions, comments, or other feedback. Please feel totally free to ask me anything on your mind about it. I would especially like to hear from those who have serious doubts or trepidation.
From checking out your site, you may be interested in the posts on pragmatism (about truth) and faith (about, well, faith). I totally agree with your sentiment about truth above faith. I think we likely hold similar evidence-based, rational philosophies. Wonderism is about bringing those ideas to a greater public audience, very much along the lines of what Carl Sagan was trying to do.
I may be misreading Elgin's piece, but I didn't read the las page as equating "tenable" with "invalid". Rather, I feel that we could say "it may have been tenable at one time, but no longer in light of competing theories which are more tenable". So there's a sort of bounded relativity to it. I will ask her about this question on Monday especially for you!
"1.) Is faith epistemologically valid? 2.) Is the universe deterministic? 3.) How do you measure - or even discuss-aesthetics (as form? function? grace? morality?), what?"
I'll see if I can say something about these questions in a short way. 1.) It depends on how you view the enterprise of epistemology. The philosophers I respect the most see epistemology as an attempt to define the process of gaining "understanding", rather than "knowledge" (as knowledge traditionally conceived is almost impossible to get, and our understanding of the world from science depends critically on obvious and egregious falsehoods). That opens the door for faith, because one's faith might well help you understand the world. But it doesn't open the door very far, because it also requires that we judge between different ways of understanding the world on the basis of certain criteria (which end up putting faith-based perspectives very low on the list). So it becomes a case of "faith based perspectives can be minimally epistemologically valid but generally nowhere near as valid as scientifically-based systems". This puts many atheists in an uncomfortable position, but it seems to me an arguable epistemic approach. Kate Elgin's paper "True Enough", in Philosophical Issues, 14, Epistemology, 2004, is great on this.
2.) I have no idea! But I think a more important question is the question of human free-will - how it seems to us, and whether it actually is how it seems. There's a lot of debate about this amongst philosophers, neuroscientists etc. but I honestly think the jury's out at the moment. Some think that ultimately we will discover we have no free will. Others think that there are types of materialistic explanation of human consciousness that would leave the door open for free will.
3.) How you discuss aesthetics? Well, there are as many answers to that question as there are aestheticians, but I like to look at it in terms of symbolic function - how are these objects / actions functioning as symbols, and how does that affect us? This allows us to consider not only traditional art, but all symbolic interactions as "aesthetic" - including the moral interactions you describe. I am much influenced by Nelson Goodman here (a teacher of Kate Elgin's).
Thanks for the compliment. I owe my condition to the good genes my mother and father gave me. True, I don't smoke. I quit when I was a little boy after my father caught me stealing his cigarettes. Fortunately, I've always eaten good and nutritious foods and in moderation. Thanks again.
I enjoy reading your comments. I hope you'll continue posting your thoughts and make me think.
I'm also glad to see someone in my age range here. Not that I mind all of the younger ones - it gives me hope for the future. But sometimes I feel like Methusaleh.
Plus, now and then it's fun to talk to someone who didn't just learn about Vietnam in a history book, or who actually went outside and looked up to the sky when we landed on the moon. A little grey hair can be a good thing.
I agree yes these are stories of religious bigots waking up and realizing that the legendary and mythological stories and some immoral rules created by ancient sheep-herding nomads had missed the mark and they…"
"Joan, you mentioned awhile back about liking to eat a nice steak with some red wine. The Argentinians have a wonderfully simple accompaniment to their steaks: Chimichurri Sauce
It has lots of chopped parsley and garlic!!"
"I'm with you Chrissie, Dallas, and Daniel. If an anti-gay supporter wants to be a selfless martyr and end their life over two people loving each other, then let them kindly proceed, as long as they don't take any innocent victims…"
"A real scary video, Joan, but my nerves are made of straw. Glad the surgery went well! Yes, parsley fights inflammations, very good for you!
What a good picture of Ian, you look well!
And this is to wave goodbye as I'm off to the Vesuvius…"