Dr. Terence Meaden's Comments

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At 12:18pm on December 28, 2008, Patti said…
Thanks for your welcome. Living in "the belly of the beast" as I do, contacts such as this are very important. I used to live in the Miami area, and then in Southern California. The USA in general is steeped in religious delusion, but it's very strong in mid Florida. It's my understanding that there are many nonbelievers in Great Britain, so you probably don't feel the degree of isolation we atheists feel here.
I looked over your page quickly. Very interesting.
At 8:47pm on December 27, 2008, Ron (Cootabux) said…
Thanks for the warm welsome, and a place of common sense will be refreshing.
At 10:27am on December 27, 2008, Kaessa said…
Thanks for the welcome! :)
At 9:55am on December 27, 2008, Dalton said…
Thanks Dr Meaden. I really do enjoy being able to express my unbelief's. It's loads of fun.
At 9:52am on December 27, 2008, Marcelo said…
Thanks Dr. Meaden
At 5:49am on December 27, 2008, function said…
Thank you for the warm reception, like you say it is a pleasure to discover a place of such commonsense in what is a vast yet ignorant web. I look forward to engaging in discussion with you in future.
At 9:52pm on December 26, 2008, Loren said…
Thank you for the welcome, Dr. Meaden. I'm looking forward to great discussions.
At 8:05pm on December 26, 2008, Patric Lacouth said…
Thanks, i'm really proud of been here and read about you and others atheists :)
At 7:41pm on December 26, 2008, Michael Howard said…
To your point on Professor Dawkins article which I found interesting reading; as a product of 20th century America and having small children... we are dripping in the excess that is the "Christmas Season". It has always been a challenge to come to terms with my rational views of life (having been an atheist since childhood) and my Children's vampire like desire for all things Christmas. It was difficult to tell them just last year that in fact that there was no jolly elf that brought them goodies on Christmas Eve. Many a tear was shed all around. Instead of creating a "solstice" celebration or saying "merry Newtonday", we have decided to embrace the secular traditions; including Santa as metaphor for what we feel is what Christmas should be about. Rejoicing in the human spirit, helping those with less and showing your loved ones just how much they mean to you. If it includes an XBOX 360, so be it! Cheers.
At 7:34pm on December 26, 2008, Dorian said…
Thank you Doc. I appreciate your welcome.
At 7:06pm on December 26, 2008, Michael S said…
I should hope so after 8 years of the war upon faiths as opposed to fact and science lets hope common sense returns. After being house bound 9 days over lack of snow removal it appears there are still a few left in office that need to be replaced.
At 2:35pm on December 26, 2008, Michael Howard said…
Thank you for the warm welcome Dr. Meaden. I am very pleased to have found this site and look forward to participating.
At 4:44pm on December 25, 2008, Fentwin said…
Thanks you for the welcome. I look forward to participating in what appears to be a very interesting collection of people.


It may take a few days to gat "set up", yet until then, thanks again.
At 11:47am on December 25, 2008, Lindsay said…
Hi there! I work at a science museum. Its main purpose is to get children interested in science so we get a lot of young visitors. It makes it a lot of fun! We'll talk more later.
At 10:49am on December 25, 2008, Lee Roberts said…
Thanks for the welcome. In a quick scan of your page I see how grateful you are for your parents' lack of religious dogma.

One of my questions has to do with Western culture, literature specifically, since I am an English teacher and sometime journalist. Unlike in the U.K. C of E schools (where I went for a few years when my dad was in grad school), U.S. schools offer little to no biblical literature. Secular children--the majority here in New England--grow up with little understanding of many of the great works of art and literature because they don' t know the stories on which they are based.

As an English teacher teaching Steinbeck, for instance, in an American Lit class, I end up teaching bible stories before broaching Steinbeck's work because otherwise the kids utterly miss the allusions.

My own position on God and nature etc. is rooted in Jaynes work and neurology since then showing our consciousness tied to our ability to make metaphor from language. Lately I think that one of the best ways to make metaphor is to hear the same story over and over and over and allow the mind to drift while half listening. I have not seen any work on this phenomenon--because I barely can describe it myself, but I think if that state of knowing a story and its images and allowing free-association simultaneously enables the deep, idea, and image forming understanding humans seem to crave.

One question is, if Jaynes is right, that civilization, language, society etc. brought us this far--how do we keep the stories, the moral lessons, the (sort of) history in their right place? That is, we drop the fairy tale aspect, yet retain the moral beauty, or as John Gardner might have said, the moral fiction.

Mary Gordon parses moral fiction beautifully in this essay and describes the essential nature of story to our species. My other question is, as long as the biblical allusions are part of those stories, can we afford to distance ourselves from them and what is the best way to teach them to our children without imparting magical thinking?
At 5:15pm on December 24, 2008, Thexx said…
Always nice to have a hardy welcome.
At 12:17pm on December 24, 2008, Sarah said…
Thanks for the welcome! The Origins discussion looks interesting, and a welcome antidote to the obligatory family Myth-mas festivities today.
At 11:57pm on December 23, 2008, Slave Princess said…
Thank you for the welcome, sweetheart. I am new to the site, so I have no clue what I am doing just yet. But I'm relatively bright and believe I can catch on quick :)
At 9:15pm on December 23, 2008, David Dodd said…
Thanks for the welcome, Dr. Meaden. And thanks for pointing me to the Origins discussion.
At 1:39pm on December 23, 2008, Lucian0 said…
Thanks for the welcome!

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