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A Response to Johan Swarts Re: Freethinking Maties

February 15th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 67 Comments

This post is largely in response to Johan Swarts’ post, Freethinking Maties: Atheists Anonymous. I made a poor translation in a comment on my previous post.

Background: Freethought

Many people consider “freethinker” to be a euphemism for “non-theist”. In particular, the Campus Freethought Alliance, as well as Maties Freethinking, defines “freethinking” as “free thought combined with doubt or disbelief in the supernatural”. (My paraphrase.) I suppose “naturalist” would also be a useful label.

The society is meant to be a place where atheists can vent some of their frustration, without being responded to with Bible quotes, Christianese and dogma. At the same time, it is also a society where science is promoted and discussed.

On Hypocrisy, Anti-theism and Education

Yes, scientists are “almost certain”, and scientists “believe” this or that theory. This is very true. And good scientists are aware of it, and humble about the limitations of science. That is what makes the scientific method so powerful: the humility to challenge every theory and test it thoroughly.

Johan knows this. I believe what he is responding to, is the kind of approach he sees too many “atheists” take. Or the approach I see, rather. In this country, the label “atheist” refers to a particular niche population. All too often, those representing the “atheist” label have a habit of brutally attacking belief not based on evidence. (Or it looks that way, at least.) Much the same as those representing “Christianity” to the atheists: the most vocal and outspoken groups.

I suspect the hypocrisy that bothers Johan, or rather, that bothers me, lies in that. You cannot ridicule the “religious people” for rejecting evolution when they don’t know anything about it. You can, however, teach them about it. Hence the question: is this going to be a society for another exclusive group thinking they’re better than everyone else, or a society that honestly and humbly, and with the necessary understanding, seek to promote scientific understanding?

On Objectivity

While it is his blog, reflecting his opinions, not a piece of impartial journalism (the same goes for my blog, my past is also littered with melodrama and strong rants), I still think his summary of the evening isn’t fair.

He observed a group that was watching a film. There was no real interaction after the film, there was no opportunity to see how the audience really felt about the film. In many cases, the laughter could also have been about realising the silliness or uncomfortableness of some of the statements/jokes. I think jumping to the conclusion that the laughter is the same as the laughter in creationism seminars*, is a rather hasty and uninformed judgement call. Or maybe Johan is just better at interpreting an “atmosphere” and the nature of people’s laughter? He was sitting one row further back, and was probably observing the audience in greater detail than I was.

On the Movie, Education, and Questions

The movie wasn’t exactly advertised as “let’s prove evolution to the evolution deniers”. I don’t think the event was intended as an educational event. (Was it?) I suspect the majority of the audience already accepted evolution, and was there for the social gathering, and to learn a little bit more about Darwin. (An uninformed suspicion, sure.) Yes, it was preaching to the choir. It was entertainment.

What I’m more curious about, would be the “massive number of unlogical statements” he saw in the documentary. (I’m not denying they’re there, I just wonder if he has something interesting we can discuss.) I’m curious about having some nice discussions about any questions anyone might have.

Which is the big problem really: watch a video, ridicule some religious people, chase everyone out because of time pressure: not good PR, unless your purpose is to feel better about yourselves at the expense of others. I’m sure there will be an opportunity for some informal discussion at the next event, at least.

To Johan du Bois, Chairperson

I know you say you’re a do-er, not a thinker, but your society is called a Freethinking society. I hope you can eventually learn to refrain from ridiculing people that differ from you. That is not conducive to thinking, it is not conducive to teaching. I know you’re not interested, you’re gatvol, but give the other Freethinkers a chance. Thanks.

On Societies

Johan, earlier you mentioned maybe we should just start our own society and be done with it. (A humanism society, for example.) Do you think there is a place on campus for yet another society? What would its purpose be? (For those that are interested, there is currently a Stellenbosch Humanists Facebook group. Let me know if you don’t like my group description.)


*Yes, I also wonder about and re-evaluate laughter in creationism seminars. Might it be that the audience are aware of how lame or incorrect the jokes are, and are laughing out of politeness? Or is this pure wishful thinking? I still believe it’s the latter.

Categories: Religion and Science
Tags: ·

67 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Johan Swarts // Feb 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Ah, gesprek :-)

    “I suspect the hypocrisy that bothers Johan, or rather, that bothers me, lies in that. You cannot ridicule the “religious people” for rejecting evolution when they don’t know anything about it. You can, however, teach them about it.”

    That, yes, and the illogical jump from “evolution is real” to “therefore, god doesn’t exist”. Dis die snedigheid wat my pla. ‘n Goeie dosis skeptisisme is tog die litmustoets vir enige vrydenker. Die algemene probleem wat ek ondervind met sommige vrydenkers (en ek gee toe, dalk het ek Du Bois se uitsprake te veel opgevat as dié van die hele organisasie) is dat hulle in hulle afskiet van essensialisme en universele sekerhede ‘n klomp nuwes in plek stel.

    Its a very arrogant way of thinking, and that’s where (to me, anyway) the hypocrisy resides – in proclaiming the uncertainty of certain certainties with extreme certainty.

    Dankie vir jou kritiek ;)

  • 2 Hugo // Feb 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Plesier. Loer asb weer, ek het bietjie bygevoeg by die post. (Ek moet beter proeflees.)

  • 3 gerhard // Feb 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    You cannot ridicule the “religious people” for rejecting evolution when they don’t know anything about it.

    too true, but you can ridicule them for NOT WANTING to know….
    your solution of teaching them just doesn’t factor into it anymore ;P

    There was no real interaction after the film, there was no opportunity to see how the audience really experienced the film.

    didn’t you say there was a time constraint involved ? was johan aware of this?

    illogical jump from “evolution is real” to “therefore, god doesn’t exist”.

    its not illogical , you are misrepresenting the entire thought by this .. evolution is real, evolution removed the need for a god. if there isn’t a need for a god, and if there isnt prood or evidence of god .. then the illogical jump is ‘god exists’

  • 4 gerhard // Feb 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof….

  • 5 Hugo // Feb 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    There are Christians that do want to know. So why push them away, because there are some that do not want to know?

    Gerhard, if your definition of a “need” for God is as “original cause”, then the need remains. It has just been shifted. You must realise this?

    It is an illogical jump. You cannot make the conclusion “God doesn’t exist”. (Which is why Dawkins doesn’t take the strongest stance possible on his linear “scale of belief”.)

    Let’s not get into what classifies as extraordinary and what doesn’t.

  • 6 gerhard // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    yeah, but you are saying its wrong to ridicule those that _DON’T_ :P which is as morally wrong (in my opinion ) as making fun of those that _DO_ want to know :)

    dude , the illogical jump is the assumption that life had to be engineerd for a _reason_ for a _purpose_ :P it happen .. a chemical reaction after chemical reaction happend … beyond that , it is an assumption … the illogical assumption is that there is a _need of purpose_ in the first place because of your ‘need’ for need :P

  • 7 Hugo // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Fukkit gerhard…

    but you are saying its wrong to ridicule those that _DON’T_

    Where the bleep did I say that?

    the illogical jump

    If you are unable to understand why we say “(evolution is true) implies (there is no God)” is illogical, you clearly have no grasp for what logic is.

    You keep changing the subject to what you want to discuss, you keep hijacking this blog. Why don’t you get your own blog? Then you can write blog responses and debate your stuff there?

  • 8 PienkZuit // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Dude, wag to johannes_11 jou blog oorneem. Gerrit is ‘n sondagskoolpiekniek teen hom :)

  • 9 gerhard // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    You cannot ridicule the “religious people” for rejecting evolution when they don’t know anything about it.

    which i qualified , then you argued with that qualification ?

    There are Christians that do want to know. So why push them away, because there are some that do not want to know?

    because the majority don’t want to know :) the common joe .. the majority of people think evolution is the fact that we came from apes :P wtf? thats the majority made fun of :P god forbid someone should ridicule the masses when they are _some_ that want to know otherwise and could be offended…

    how is my saying: “(evolution is true) implies (there is no God) because it implies there is no ‘need’ or ‘proof’ or ‘evidence’ for god in creation of life” , illogical? yes that debateably shifts the ‘need’ for god as you say to something else , but it shift its away from the direct creation of life!!!!!! btw, the ‘need for god’ as i am using it here implies ‘explaining the yet unknown by oversimplification’ , you know , afterall if we cant explain it then zeus must have done it..

    dis true , i hijack this blog :P after all it was me who said … the illogical jump from “evolution is real” to “therefore, god doesn’t exist”.. not johan not you … me apparently :) totally agree, i took this discussion waaaay offtopic by responding too that :P i mean god forbid…

  • 10 Hugo // Feb 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Hehehe, PienkZuit, dankie vir daai een! Dit is so waar…

    Viva gerhard_11!

  • 11 Hugo // Feb 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Gerhard, I apologise. Sincerely. (I’m going to spend some time “repenting”. Next thread/post I’ll be doing better.)

    On this one, I’m also retiring.

  • 12 Johan Swarts // Feb 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    lol @ gerhard_11

  • 13 Johan Swarts // Feb 16, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Ja, dalk moet ons net ons eie society begin. Maar ek weet nie of mense sal join nie.

    Terloops, ek het vergeet om te noem: die onlogiese stellings in die film was meestal op ‘n retoriese vlak. Swak deduksie.

  • 14 Ben-Jammin' // Feb 16, 2008 at 4:03 am

    You cannot ridicule the “religious people” for rejecting evolution when they don’t know anything about it.

    When those same people do NOT reject aerodynamics, do not reject electromagnetism, use computers, depend on modern medicine, etc., you absolutely CAN ridicule them for it.

  • 15 Ben-Jammin' // Feb 16, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Hugo, for those of us who were presented with a God-concept and thought it was obviously made-up from age 7 or 8 on, what do you think we should do? Pretend we don’t find the ideas ridiculous? Remain silent on the topic?

  • 16 Hugo // Feb 16, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Ben, no, I don’t suggest you remain silent. My gripe here is mostly with a group getting together and ridiculing other people behind their backs, etc. The “us and them” thing. Purely to feel better about themselves, rather than trying to make a difference. (Yea, they’ve given up, maybe. Because they don’t know how. Can I ridicule them for their lack of a grasp of psychology? What idiots, these Freethinkers be.)

    About the evolution thing, “the wedge” is working too well. Speaking to someone in leadership at “my church”, he mentioned he sees people saying the one thing, and people saying the other thing (creationism), and both looks equally valid to the person that isn’t scientifically trained. How is he supposed to know what is science and what isn’t?

    That is the kind of person I’d like to reach. Open to truth, keen to learn. Not accepting evolution because he doesn’t know it is the only scientific theory right now. But not exactly rejecting evolution.

    Now people have different God concepts. With certain God concepts, God is very much a reality. Associating “evolution is true” with ridicule and “you are stupid” does not help science education. Psychological defence mechanisms kick in. You get nowhere.

    Evolution is not the same as aerodynamics and magnetism, computers, medicine… Not to the average person in this country. The other science fields are uncontroversial, and something they know something about. Evolution is this “controversial theory” that they think is an “alternative”, that they think “atheists believe this because they don’t want to believe in God”.

    Please tell me you understand what I mean?

  • 17 Hugo // Feb 16, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Ja, dalk moet ons net ons eie society begin. Maar ek weet nie of mense sal join nie.

    What would this society do? All sorts of cool “let’s improve our community” things? Help out with the outreach programs already in place, go help build a house, chip in at Funda Fundisa, work together with the churches that are already out there making a difference? Live the path of the humanist?

    Social gatherings? Let’s start doing some thinking about what the needs are out there.

  • 18 Auke // Feb 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I have to wonder what’s wrong with combating “belief not based on evidence.”

    Seems to me it’s dangerous to base too much of your behaviour (which is the outcome of belief) on, well, nonsense.

    Hugo, please delete this post, cos I’m just in a bad mood and my tolerance-levels are low.

    Cheers,
    Auke
    A proud card-carrying member of the “reality-based community”.

  • 19 Ben-Jammin' // Feb 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    The “us and them” thing.

    I hear you on that.

    Evolution is not the same as aerodynamics and magnetism, computers, medicine… Not to the average person in this country. The other science fields are uncontroversial, and something they know something about. Evolution is this “controversial theory” that they think is an “alternative”, that they think “atheists believe this because they don’t want to believe in God”.

    Please tell me you understand what I mean?

    Only to a limited extent. I believe you said the theory of evolution wasn’t taught in schools in South Africa, which would be different from (many) of the public schools here, and would set it apart in people’s minds.

    I wasn’t at the meeting so I have no idea what kind of tone and such was present. Benefit of the doubt, I guess.

  • 20 Hugo // Feb 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I believe you said the theory of evolution wasn’t taught in schools in South Africa, which would be different from (many) of the public schools here, and would set it apart in people’s minds.

    Yup, that’s it. The creationists find a rather easy audience here.

    “What Evolution Is” is waiting at my post-office. (I’m under the impression it is a third-year biology textbook.) This blog wants to branch into science education. For that, its author needs more detailed knowledge, or its author needs to find guest authors. I think both would be a good idea. We’ll see.

    (All of this might be an inefficient use of my time? I’m qualified as a signal processing / electronic / software engineer, I should probably start working on getting returns on that investment.)

  • 21 Pieter // Feb 16, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    As participant in the event, I must confess that when I first read Johan’s post I felt slightly insulted. Here we have the first get together of a fledling society…we watched we lol’d…simply a group of students watching an interesting documentary.

    And here comes this dude comparing us to over-religious alcoholics! ZING! Haha we didn’t even do anything!

    But thanks Hugo, I understand his point of view better now.

  • 22 Johan Swarts // Feb 17, 2008 at 12:16 am

    pieter – toegegee, dalk het ek julle verkeerd geoordeel? ek vra om verskoning. ek staan egter by my standpunt- ek dink nog steeds die society is meer ‘n klomp mense wat kwaad is vir georganiseerde godsdiens as ‘n klomp vrydenkers.

    nie dat daar fout is daarmee om kwaad te wees vir georganiseerde godsdiens nie. allermins. maar dan moet julle die integriteit te hê om te dit kan erken en die society eerder iets soos “die k3rk sux0rz(tm)” noem.

    myns insiens is dit onregverdig om onder die vaandel van iets so edel soos vrydenkery weg te kruip.

    dalk besef julle dit ook nie, maar in 2008 is die wys van ‘n darwin-dokumentêr (wat in elk geval konstant verwysings maak na Darwin se “triomf” oor die kerk) outomaties ‘n intertekstuele vertakking van ‘n baie groot en lang gesprek tussen twee baie gepolariseerde kante. deur bloot net die dokumentêr te wys, neem julle onbewustelik deel en koppel julle julleself aan ‘n sekere diskoers, of julle dit nou wil weet of nie, nes ‘n digter homself outomaties in ‘n literêre kader inskryf, al wil hy ook nie.

    hugo – hmm…ek is nie seker of die society enigiets moet doen nie. ek meen, soos ons daaroor dink kan dit netsowel ‘n vertakking van die kerk wees (in die sin van naasteliefde betoon).

  • 23 Pieter // Feb 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    A society like this tend to exist out of “refugees”, so I suspect some k3rksux0rz-elements is a sure bet. And I’d guess there is a need for these people to have a social safe place.

    So perhaps you will turn out to be right…if these elements dictates what the society stands for that would be a shame. We don’t need another bunch of angry people society. What good would that do?

    For me thinking freely is an ideal that can probably never be achieved. If the society assumes a “we have arrived” mentality, then they have failed. It is all about challenging your preconceptions and engaging people constructively that believe in something different.

    If you consider yourself a freethinker, I’d like it if you participated again in a few of their meetings. Help them find their balance.

  • 24 Johan du Bois // Feb 17, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Hugo, thanks for writing about the event. And, for your feedback.

    I wonder though why you have not communicated with me directly? I welcome your sharing your views, but it would be more effective if you contacted me too. One would not like to think that your only aim is self-gratification.

  • 25 Hugo // Feb 17, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    JdB: I suppose I should, yes. Thanks. I’ve not had time though. (Why then all this blogging? Bad time management, I suppose. So bad excuse.)

  • 26 Bad Ben // Feb 17, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    nie dat daar fout is daarmee om kwaad te wees vir georganiseerde godsdiens nie. allermins. maar dan moet julle die integriteit te hê om te dit kan erken en die society eerder iets soos “die k3rk sux0rz(tm)” noem.

    myns insiens is dit onregverdig om onder die vaandel van iets so edel soos vrydenkery weg te kruip.

    Jolly fine writing Johan. jou bliksem.

  • 27 Rudolph Basson // Feb 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    to Hugo, Johan Swarts and other assailants of Freethinking Maties:

    Remember that Freemasons don’t get their name for going around randomly building things. There is a history behind the name. Something about a mason’s guild merging with a something something whatever.

    Similarly, Freethought refers to a renaissance movement with opposition to organized religion as a central feature. Please go ahead, read up on it. Today, it might as well be called “Yoghurt-thought”. Calling someone untrue to “Yoghurt-thought” because they do not think of everything yoghurt-wise would be ridiculous. You don’t phone up the Freemasons because you don’t want to pay for your house.

    Freethought needs to be understood for what it is, a movement away from desperately clinging to arbitrary and silly convictions towards a more critical approach to knowledge.

    Furthermore, with regard to criticisms of our society’s atheistic flavour, I make no apology. We will change our stance when the evidence changes.

    The reason we are called Freethinking Maties as opposed to “die k3rk sux0rz(tm)” is not that we wish to underplay our current (pending evidence) rejection of the God hypothesis. It is simply that “Atheist” does not say enough, in fact it says nothing really. It is a negative definition, saying only that we are not theists. Freethinker is a more positive definition of our society, it refers to what we are rather than what we are not. We believe in science and reason, and that claims about the universe must abide by their laws or committed to the flames.

    Evolution is a fact. If you disagree, take your groundbreaking evidence to the Biology department and enjoy your Nobel prize.

    The supernatural (including God) is made up. If you disagree, take your groundbreaking evidence to Stephen Hawking or James Randi and enjoy your Nobel prize.

    That sums it up for Freethought. Now let’s ,ove on to Free Thought. Calling something bullshit does not a closed mind make.

    If I impartially examine the evidence and decide that the great A’tuan does not exist and you (without presenting evidence) claim that he does, I am right to summarily dismiss your claim. Courts don’t convict people of crimes based on the testimony of one witness amounting to “he did it”.

    If, however, you back up your claim with evidence, this does not mean that I will not dismiss it. If it is evidence that I have previously found to lack merit I will explain this to you and dismiss your claim. If it is new evidence, it deserves consideration. If found wanting, the claim remains dismissed.

    And thus we come to the fact that constitutes the core of the relationship between Freethought and Atheism:

    God (along with blue flamingos with phosphorescent farts) does not exist.

    We will stand by this with confidence and without apology until the evidence changes.

    P.S.

    If our society seems a bit preoccupied with religion, this is because the fight keeps coming to us, as exemplified by this most recent bout of criticism. If left to our own devices we would focus on a much broader range of thingsies, as we shall in the coming year. We also look forward to conversing with our critics in an environment where we realize they are talking to us less than 2 days after the fact and get an opportunity to respond immediately and with equal coverage.

    Thank you.

  • 28 Negate // Feb 19, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I agree with Rudolph belief in god has nothing to do with critical way of thinking. It is pointless to talk about god in a freethinking society, since there is no evidence for or against it

    It is because of a materialistic understanding of the world around us that notions of natural laws like evolutionary process arose. Unlike faith, natural laws are based upon concrete evidences, but what johan said was also true. Materialism is theistic in a sense, since it requires man’s surrender to natural laws or to historical forces.

    Everything rides upon man’s attitude of surrender to this world, whether it is understood spiritually or materialistically.

    I’m sure my next statements wont be liked, but spiritual surrender is not supposed to be welcome in a freethinking society because Theists who believed in a supremacy of the world already surrendered to it. Theism stands for man’s surrender to his world, atheism is man’s mastery over his world. Mastership manifests man’s sense of freedom while surrender represents his slave-mind.

  • 29 Rinus // Feb 19, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    *sigh*

    I find it worrying that I can’t help to feel that the most vocal ‘fighting freethinkers’ on this thread sound rather close minded and keep banging their heads on the same wall over and over again.

    If I didn’t know any better, my assumptions from this reading would put them in very different boxes than they would believe they fit in…

  • 30 Rudolph Basson // Feb 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    *exasperated vomit on keyboard*

    Rinus, Clarity in writing is a virtue.

    First, I have a suspicion that you’re criticizing my post, but even this is not clear.

    Then, interpreting the rest of your post in this vein, it appears that you find mine to repeat a by now familiar (invalid) argument, particularly from the banging of heads bit. Please expand on this.

    Also, what do you mean by close minded, and please expand on “very different boxes than they would believe they fit in…”

    I’m not going to pretend that I can respond adequately to criticism that I am unable to full understand.

  • 31 Johan Swarts // Feb 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Rudolp, moenie enige aanstoot neem as ek die volgende vir jou sê nie: jy is ‘n regular Dawkins fanboy. (En verstaan mooi, hierdie is nie die begin van ‘n uitgerekte ad hominem nie.) Ek sweer ek kan 90% van wat jy skryf in ander mense se werke gaan uitkrap.

    “God (along with blue flamingos with phosphorescent farts) does not exist.”

    Ek het twee probleme met hierdie stelling.

    1. Daar is nie ‘n manier hoe jy dit kan bewys nie
    2. Jy definiëer nie jou terme om mee te begin nie. Wat is “God”?

  • 32 Johan Swarts // Feb 19, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    “I’m not going to pretend that I can respond adequately to criticism that I am unable to full understand.”

    Dink harder, dalk?

  • 33 Negate // Feb 19, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    johan dit is jy wat in god glo nie Rudolph nie so asb dit is jy wat god moet definiëer in jou konteks. Rudolph kan nie uit sy poepol trek die defenisie wat jy me gaan saamstem of beste verstaan nie.

    Jyt die hele punt gemis wat rudolph ook gese het, juis omdat daar nie enige bewyse is om god reg of verkeerd te bewys nie, hoort god nie in a vryedenke groep nie. Dit ondermyn die hele beginsel waarop so groep gebou is. Logiese en kritieke denke!

  • 34 Johan Swarts // Feb 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Hokaai, rustig. Waar het ek gesê dit gaan om iets wat ek nie verstaan nie?

    Rudolph proklameer: “God bestaan nie”. Goed en wel, maar ek soek dan ‘n definisie van die onderwerp in daai sin.

    En ek is seker hy kan vir homself antwoord?

    Logiese denke is nie veel werd nie. Ek kan baie logiese argumente opbou wat in werklikheid verkeerd is. Logika is ‘n tool, maar dis about dit. Hou op daarop hamer, jy’s besig om jouself te embarrasseer.

    Jy sal veel verder kom met kritiese denke. Logika in die verkeerde hande kan iemand so mindfuck dat hy nie meer weet wat aangaan nie. Trust me – ek was ook ‘n filosofiestudentjie. Dit beteken niks as jy nie common sense by jou logika kan sit nie.

  • 35 Negate // Feb 19, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    >Rudolph proklameer: “God bestaan nie”. Goed en wel, maar ek soek dan ‘n definisie van die onderwerp in daai sin.

    Want daar is nie enige bewyse vir of teen die argument van god nie johan. Jy kan god defineer tot jy blou is, dit gan oor die bewyse.

    >Logika is ‘n tool, maar dis about dit. Hou op daarop hamer, jy’s besig om jouself te embarrasseer.

    Dankie, sal dan meer probeer om my naam nie gat in jou oe te maak nie. Ek het met “logieka” in die konteks van ‘n vryedenke groep verwys johan. Dit beteken dat daar gedebateer word oor goed wat bewyse het, nie oor goed wat op geloof gevat moet word nie, maar ja as jy my woorde so uit konteks haal kan enige iets met a tool vergelyk word selfs geloof en wetenskap.

  • 36 Rudolph Basson // Feb 19, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Johan, indrukwekkende superior badass attitude, maar dit tel nie eintlik in hierdie tipe gesprek nie.

    Ek het die volgende al baie gesê maar dit lyk nie of julle belangstel om na my te luister nie:

    As daar nie bewyse vir of teen die bestaan van ‘n entiteit is nie neem ons aan, vir tyd en wyl, dat dit nie bestaan nie. Dit wil sê ons los dit uit ons berekeninge uit. So, of God (enige empiriese eerder as abstrakte human-emotional definisie) bestaan of nie, ons moet aanneem dat hy nie bestaan nie. Perfectly reasonable. As jy gaan kamp vat jy ‘n tent saam, want jy neem aan daar gaan nie een vir jou wag by jou bestemming nie. Jy eet nie vlieë as jy AIDS het nie, want daar is tans geen bewyse dat dit jou gesond sal maak nie. Dis hoe die wetenskap werk en dis hoe ons alledaagse lewe werk.

    Ek het nie logika in my post genoem nie. Logika sonder feite of met swak feite is niks, enige eerstejaar weet dit. As jy belangestel het in ‘n sinvolle debat/gesprek/argument eerder as ‘n sofistiese spierbultery sou jy minder nitpick wanneer dit geen ander doel dien as om jou posts langer te maak nie.

    Kritiese denke. Wat presies bedoel jy daarmee? ‘n Standpunt hê en dan mense fanboys noem as hulle nie met jou saamstem nie? Hehe.

    “Dink harder, dalk?” Nog sofisme. Lees die hele post. Rinus se post was baie vaag en ek was nie lus om vrae te beantwoord wat hy eintlik nie gevra het nie. Meer Clarity, minder attitude.

    tl;dr : Burden of proof

  • 37 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Sigh. I wonder how many people understood the point/question I was trying to make. Oh well, never mind.

    If “God” is defined as “the original cause of existence”, even if that is a recursive definition, well… y’know, we kinda “exist”.

    If “God” is defined as the thing that makes people fly into buildings, well, people flew into buildings.

    Definitions do have a big impact. So maybe I should embark on my “What is God?” posts. But wait, let’s first make a post about Dawkins stuff…

  • 38 Rinus // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Rudolph,

    My post was nie direk op jou gemik nie en was ook doelbewus vaag. Ek wou maar net gehad het mense wat so vinnig op hulle ‘high horse’ spring moet dalk, net vir ‘n oomblik, dink hoe hulle deur (veral oningeligte) mense percieve word deur hulle stellings. Die hele ‘ons is reg, en julle is verkeerd, so ek gaan nie eers na jou argument luister nie’ klink darem vreeslik ‘extremist muslim’ van aard.

    Ek moet bieg: Ek het ongelukkig die fout gemaak om te bly dink dat ‘freethinking’ beteken ‘free thinking’. Dankie dat jy vir my so mooi uitgewys het dat dit eintlik maar net beteken presies wat julle wil he dit moet beteken sodat dit julle pas.

    Wat op die ou end my irriteer, is dat hier het ons mense wat van die ander kant van die argument kom, hande uitsteek en probeer sê: “Kom ons verstaan mekaar eers, voor ons enige iets anders doen.” Hierdie ouens stel nie belang om julle te bekeer nie. Hulle gee nie om of jy in God of in Die Teepot glo nie.

    Die standaard antwoord daarop blyk: “Haha, kyk die primatiewe idiote!” “Free thinking” het obviously niks daarmee te make nie…

    Disclaimer: Hierdie ene was op jou gemik Rudolph. Jy’s welkom om te antwoord. As jy wel gaan terugval op jou vervelige retoriek, stel ek nie belang om te antwoord nie.

  • 39 gerhard // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:52 am

    rinus : you are right , you did make the mistake of thinking freethought means free thought , lets go back to what it is supposed to be :P

    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logic and not be influenced by emotion, authority, tradition, or any dogma.

    the free implys belief based on science and logic , free of emotion, authority, tradition, or any dogma
    and so the job of a free thinker is to start from zero , not to make the assumption that god exists based on faith or hope. the proof of burden falls on the person making the proclimation that god exists ,they are the ones supposed to be questioned. regretably they keep shifting the proof of burden without reason to do so, which is emotionally frustrating .. at least to me .. ridicule is the expression of this. the idea of free thought isnt to freely entertain which box god fits into, ie to discuss the nature of god philisophically… look, free thought does entertain the idea of god , but only when it comes to the claims given , which everytime become more and more obtuse and absurd.

    my problem is that i do let emotion get the better of me.

    anyway , Rudolph is perfectly right in his mocking the belief , it doesn’t conform to the ideals of freethought and as such has the right to express that opinion within/to the society.

  • 40 gerhard // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:04 am

    he idea of free thought isnt to freely entertain which box god fits into, ie to discuss the nature of god philisophically…

    the idea is to discuss the existance of god on the basis of science and logic … not discuss the belief of god based on feelings and emotional reactions to idea ‘god does not exist’… riddicule or not ..

    i think johan/hugo is/are just reacting emotionally to the offence he/they took from the riddicule ..
    so the question actually changes to ‘is it closed minded or morally wrong to ridicule people’ esp when they miss the point…

  • 41 gerhard // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:10 am

    last thing , and this is gonna sound like repitition to people who can extrapulate.

    the role of freethought isnt to entertain any and every possibility it is to entertain the possibilities that are brought forward by science and logic and to do so within sceptical limitations …

  • 42 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I think gerhard doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Especially here:

    i think johan/hugo is/are just reacting emotionally to the offence he/they took from the riddicule ..

    Gerhard, you so miss the point, and I’m tired of trying to help you get it.

  • 43 Negate // Feb 20, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Gerhard I don’t think Hugo acted emotionally, he made it quite clear

    >The society is meant to be a place where atheists can vent some of their frustration, without being responded to with Bible quotes, Christianese and dogma. At the same time, it is also a society where science is promoted and discussed.

    I also understand johans view better after reading some of Hugo’s comments. Atheists indeed act theistic in a sense that we only rely on evidence and thus denying another deeper, spiritual part of humanity. I also touched on this in my blog, Everything around us can be explained in terms of someones favorite theory, but of course that doesn’t make it so.

    Acceptance of diversity is key, just my labeling myself an atheist I’m already proclaiming god does not exist. Don’t fight me, this is my life choice. The same respect must me shown towards a theist or deist.

  • 44 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    The same respect must me shown towards a theist or deist.

    Of course, in so far as the theist or deist doesn’t harm other people. We’re not saying you need to respect someone that goes on a holy war or flies into buildings.

    So… can we discuss consequences? Can we discuss behaviour that bothers you (plural, everyone), rather than establishing a thought-crime unit here?

  • 45 Rudolph Basson // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Rinus sê: Wat op die ou end my irriteer, is dat hier het ons mense wat van die ander kant van die argument kom, hande uitsteek en probeer sê: “Kom ons verstaan mekaar eers, voor ons enige iets anders doen.”

    en dan

    Die standaard antwoord daarop blyk: “Haha, kyk die primatiewe idiote!”

    As jy my posts lees sal jy sien dat ek net my bes gedoen het om my standpund en my redes daarvoor te verduidelik. Die naaste wat ek gekom het aan die “primitiewe idiote” tipe statement was toe ek verwys het na “arbitrary” en “silly” oortuigings. Ek het nie op enigiemand ander se post reageer met bespotting nie. Ek het niemand primitief genoem nie.

    Wat jy lees as retoriek is ‘n eerlike attempt van my kant af om my epistomologie, oortuigings en bedoelings so helder as moontlik te maak.

    Daarenteen het julle kant oor en oor beledegings geslinger, dat ek en die ander “fanboys” onsself embaraseer, nie weet waarvan ons praat nie, ens.

    Ek sal dit waardeer as julle (eintlik meer Johan en Hugo as jy) die ordentlikheid sal hê om dieselfde etiket as ons te gebruik: helder argumente en teenargumente eerder as summiere afskieting gevolg deur beledigings.

    Lees my posts voor julle antwoord.

    Hugo sê byvoorbeeld:

    If “God” is defined as “the original cause of existence”, even if that is a recursive definition, well… y’know, we kinda “exist”.

    If “God” is defined as the thing that makes people fly into buildings, well, people flew into buildings.

    wat totaal en al ignoreer dat ek hierdie definisies van God, for the sake of this argument, uitgesluit het.

    Rinus, as jy die posts op hierdie board, en veral die Artikel op Swarts se blog wat aanleiding gegee het daartoe lees sal jy sien dat jou quote aan die begin van hierdie post heeltemal waar is.

    Ek, en die “mense wat van die ander kant van die argument kom” probeer onsself verstaanbaar maak en verwag dieselfde van julle.

    Waarop die standaard antwoord blyk: “Haha, kyk die primatiewe idiote!”

    Die punt van my besoek aan hierdie blog was eintlik net om die definiesie van Freethought op te klaar en klagtes van skynheiligheid van die hand te wys. Lyk my dis nou gedoen.

    P.S.
    The society is intended less as a place to “vent anger” and more as a place to affirm Freethinker solidarity and appreciation of the universe through popular science, participation in events and contact with similar societies and individuals from elsewhere. We also intend to serve as the public face of Freethought (Secularism) in Stellenbosch as this minority does not currently have a collective voice or visible presence. We are not here to oppose religion, only to provide a clear alternative.

  • 46 Rinus // Feb 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Rudolph:

    Eerstens, dankie vir die sinvolle en posetiewe antwoord op my post. Ek stem absoluut saam dat almal die reg het tot hulle eie geloof (of lack thereof).

    En pasop voor jy ‘julle’ en ‘ons’ sê. My argumente mag jou dalk laat aaneem ek neig na een kant toe, maar dis nie noodwendig die waarheid nie ;)

    Ek was wel onbewus van die ‘freethought’ movement en het die fout gemaak om die term letterlik op te neem (yes Gerhard ;)). ‘Free thought’ geld natuurlik vir almal. Ek stem saam met jou dat sg. gelowiges wat sg. ongelowiges verkleineer, kritiseer en selfs demoniseer is absoluut verkeerd.

    Ek kry net deesdae die gevoel dat die ‘Dawkins fanboys’ (ek wys geen vingers) so maklik dieselfde met gelowiges doen. Hoe maak dit dinge beter? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Gerhard: I’m tempted to take your bait, but I’m just to busy at the moment :p

  • 47 Johan Swarts // Feb 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Rudolph:

    “Die naaste wat ek gekom het aan die “primitiewe idiote” tipe statement was toe ek verwys het na “arbitrary” en “silly” oortuigings.”

    Ou vriend, ek dink jy kan gerus weer gaan lees wat jy geskryf het. Die strategiese plasing van “blue flamingos with phosphorescent farts”, byvoorbeeld, is ‘n woordkeuse wat jy mooi sal moet verduidelik as jy wil hê mense moet dit nie neerhalend lees nie.

    Voorts, waar kry jy die idee dat ek en Hugo “assailants” van Freethinking Maties is? Kritiek is net ‘n aanval as die gekritiseerde voel die wêreld draai om hom. Ons kritiseer. ‘n Ware vrydenker sal tog kritiek willekeurig oorweeg, in plaas daarvan om kritici se strotte uit te sny met indrukwekkende analogieë?

    Jy’s ‘n Dawkins-fanboy uitgeknip. En moet tog nou nie begin skree dat ek jou probeer beledig nie, ek het dit baie duidelik gemaak dat ek nie ‘n uitgerekte ad hominem begin nie. No offense, maar ek het baie beter dinge om te doen met my tyd as om jou karakter aan te val. Regtig. (Moet asseblief nie hierdie paragraaf ook as ‘n persoonlike aanval sien nie. Dis matter of fact met’ n tikkie tong teen my kiestand.)

    Ek wag steeds op my teen-antwoorde.

  • 48 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Baie cool artikel innie Matie vandag oor julle!

    Behold – the mighty Teapot!!! Ungod of Freethinkers and vicious slanderer of dogmatic underdogs – The Flat Earth (Almost Like a Pancake) Society.

    Baie Cool!

  • 49 gerhard // Feb 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    negate : i said reacted … not acted .. he acted rationally , he responded rationally , but out of everything there to critisize or talk about , he/they choose to act on this because it stirs his emotion :) that is how its meant … he’s complaining/highlighting the percieved hypocrisy..

    hugo , mate i know where you are comming from but that still doesn’t mean it wasn’t an reaction to the emotion of the situation :) take the reply you gave me on my comment, you chose not to comment on anything but the bit that emotionally charged you :)
    thats why i wrote imediately afterwards …

    …so the question actually changes to ‘is it closed minded or morally wrong to ridicule people’ esp when they miss the point…

    consider that in the context of the rest of the quote ..

  • 50 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Johan Ek moet sê dat ek met wat jy sê saamstem: Rudolph se oorspronklike comment het ‘n baie ander prentjie geskets as wat hy nou wil voorgee.

    Maar is dit nodig om nou weer die teenoorgestelde te doen? om hom ‘n fanboy te noem?

    Will this mudslinging ever end?

  • 51 Johan Swarts // Feb 20, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Jy’t gelyk.

    Rudolph, ek vra om verskoning dat ek jou ‘n fanboy genoem het.

  • 52 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Negate,

    you chose not to comment on anything but the bit that emotionally charged you

    Maybe I didn’t comment on anything else, because I had nothing to say.

    You are also coming across as arrogant, and making unfounded statements about my intentions and emotions.

    *sigh*

    I’m disappointed in all of you. (And in myself. And at how naive I am to think “you people” can have a decent constructive conversation.)

    *another sigh*

  • 53 Al Lovejoy // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    This is much cooler than wasting time on iron age myths, superstitions and events like a literal six day creation that could never be an eye-witness report since human eyes only appear in the sixth day of the myth and the writer only wrote down the account thousands of years after the event – just after encoded writing had been invented.

    I like this society… big time

    I personally believe that we came here through an incredibly old and immeasurably complex macro and micro form of creation for want of a better word, an event with its true genesis in what scientists call the Big Bang.

    I also believe that we are not alone and that billions of planets in billions of galactic systems resemble our world, maybe even very closely in terms of species and biomass and furthermore as one travels inward towards the more gaseous heart of our galactic spiral, we would find younger, much hotter worlds, recently born and yet still only nascent biospheres capable of sustaining simple organisms – and alternately, as one travels outward toward the outer part of the spiral – you would find far older planets further up the evolutionary ladder and much closer to needing to be permanently evacuated by their sapient inhabitants because of the ageing star systems becoming supernovas.

    True spirituality should be thinking hundreds even thousands or possibly millions of years ahead, gleaning all the knowledge we can possibly pool. If I could imagine our purpose as humans, it would be that we overcome our current and very dangerous post-pubescent behaviour and realise that our future both substantial and spiritual – lies with our children and only with our children. And their purpose is to go out one day and explore this entire Universe – with all its other inhabitants…

    (Maybe I should save the rush and just shoot myself down in flames…Hugo are you done with your foot…, ankle…, knee…?)

  • 54 Bad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Crap. En net toe ek vir Al wou dankie sê oor sy laaste post my aan die dink gesit het toe shutdown jy die post. Hmmm. Maybe certain topics should be avoid in free thinking…

  • 55 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    OK, I’m opening that post/comments again.

    /me is optimistic that the discussion is turning less sour.

    I’d like it if we don’t have to shy away from any topic. We will just have to figure out how to keep the tempers down. (Um, that goes largely for me as well, who went a little bit crazy with frustration today. I’ve just had some victories over some of the gadgets that have been torturing me today, so I’m in a much better mood already.)

  • 56 Sad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    JAY!!!

    Let there be dialogue.

  • 57 Rudolph Basson // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Dankie vir die verskoning, Johan. Ek kan inelkgeval nie onthou wanneer laas ek iets van Dawkins gelees het nie.

    Bad Ben, Ek wil nie ‘n ander prentjie skets as in my oorspronklike post nie. Ek dink nogsteeds Teisme Is sonder meriete. Ek wil net hê dat mense wat nie met my saamstem nie ordentlik en puntsgewys teen my argumenteer, en ek sal dieselfde doen. In verband hiermee:

    Johan , hê ‘n bietjie van ‘n humorsin. Ek dink die “blue flamingos” ding was nogals ‘n snaakse image. Sien dit gou in jou geestesoog. komaan. Dit is funny. Om ‘n idee irreverently te bespreek is nielkgeval nie dieselfde as character assassination nie.

    Laaste punt voor ek gaan:
    Voorts, waar kry jy die idee dat ek en Hugo “assailants” van Freethinking Maties is? Kritiek is net ‘n aanval as die gekritiseerde voel die wêreld draai om hom. Ons kritiseer. ‘n Ware vrydenker sal tog kritiek willekeurig oorweeg, in plaas daarvan om kritici se strotte uit te sny met indrukwekkende analogieë?

    Jou bekotsingswaardige artikeltjie oor die Darwin Day ding, die manier waarop julle “Freethought” gemisinterpreteer het sonder om die geskiedenis van die term te ondersoek toon op ‘n houding van agressie eerder as oop diskussie. Dus die “assailants” ding. Inelkgeval, soos reeds bevestig, ek het gesê wat ek wou oor ons beweerde skynheiligheid. Dankie aan alle deelnemers, ek het defnitief ‘n paar dinge geleer.

    Over and out.

  • 58 Sad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    >Bad Ben, Ek wil nie ‘n ander prentjie skets as in my oorspronklike post nie. Ek dink nogsteeds Teisme Is sonder meriete.

    Rudolph!

    Ek het niks gesê oor die veranderde posisie teenoor Teisme nie! ek het gecomment dat soos Johan gesê het oor die Blue flamingos ding (btw. nie so ‘n snaakse beeld as dit teen jou neerhalend gebruik word nie. Ek het opgemerk dat jou oorspronklike comment nie so onskuldig was soos wat jy dit wil uitmaak om te wees nie. Fair enough Johan se blog was nie so onskuldig as wat hy dit uitgemaak het om te wees nie. Maar dit was vir my weer nogals snaaks (die faith like potatoes ding vir ateiste – classic!)

    Konteks Konteks Konteks!!!

  • 59 Sad Ben // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Wat ek probeer sê is dat as jy verwag dat Johan moet verantwoordelikheid vat vir sy kakmakery, dan moet jy dieselfde doen!

    Respect. Jou comments is van die beteres.

    Shit, mag ‘n Shofarian vloek in die blogosphere?

  • 60 Hugo // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks guys. I hope this means we’ve laid down the weapons, and are moving on.

    With regards to labelling people “Dawkins fanboys”, I realise that “fanboy” is probably a rather loaded word. I will try to think of an alternative some time. Furthermore, I will quite easily label someone a Dawkins fanboy even if he (or she) has not read any Dawkins. I’m referring mostly to a particular sentiment, a particular kind of fundamentalism (oops, another loaded word). This is very much similar to the way I’d consider some people as “following Jesus” even if they’ve never heard of him before.

    So, that’s me. I’m a geek, an Open Source fanboy, a Borg fanboy, a Jesus fanboy, and… um… I’m fundamentalistic about compassion and placing myself in other people’s shoes and contexts. I’m apparently incurably optimistic about human potential. Etc.

  • 61 Negate // Feb 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I kinda like the Fanboy terms. I have read two Dawkins books and liked it so i am in a sense a fanboy of his. I also read most of Matthew Reilly’s books for those interested in some good suspense, action books.

  • 62 Johan Swarts // Feb 21, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Hugo, van die punt af – dankie vir hierdie blog. Jy skryf copious amounts of entries, wat (ek raai) copious amounts of readers beteken en dus tonne gesprek, en ek dink dis die essensie van blog – die gesprekke.

    Dankie.

  • 63 Hugo // Feb 21, 2008 at 2:30 am

    Dankie vir jou dankie.

    Ek is bietjie te verbose, dalk. Moet dit dalk minder maak. Ek het amper visitors stats gepubliseer hier, maar dag toe dis dalk té off topic.

  • 64 gerhard // Feb 21, 2008 at 10:33 am

    hugo , wasnt your comment (#52) directed at me ? negate didnt say that .. i did ?
    i didnt make an unfounded statement. I was telling you what i percieve as your motivation.
    I think you are acting rationally, but reacting emotionally to frustration/offence you took, the context of the post and comments made make me think this. If you disagree then fine .. I dont think i’m being unreasonable in making this assertion. (i think you can see why i say it)

    i’m actually glad you find this frustrating, not because i wish you ill, but because then you understand what i am feeling. What frustrates me most is the fact that you think we don’t understand the theistic point of view, we do , reallly, we understand where you are comming from. (replace we/i) this communication is just hard when talking about this topic because the angle you take is just so different… you sometimes see certain things as ‘bad’ comments because of their nature … they are contradictory to the way you see it..
    (goes both ways btw).

    sad ben, i don’t mind that you think i’m arrogant, i can see /understand why you say.. Honestly , i feel this about the asertions made from you/your camp too, but i don’t think you see this :P (i just don’t feel there is a need to censor it/myself, you need to hear the “truth”… not some meaningless P.C. that will make you feel good, see my comment about the value of calling people ‘assholes’)

    i think where alot of confusion comes in, is that theists think that when a-theists talk about theology that they are talking theology and that discussion should stay within their, often personal, framework of theology.

    This makes discussion difficult, because we aren’t talking about theology in theological terms.

    When I see something like shofar or islam or scientolgy or liberal theology i don’t differenciate between them. I see them as _exactly_ the same thing , just to a different degree.. I don’t dismis the ‘good’ that theology can provide in theory.. (this keeps comming up) please accept this .. I honestly dont think its _all_ bad, but i think its mostly bad.(maybe it sounds better if i say , the good is given too much credit).

    look , this all has been discussed before. hugo has tried to explain why this view is wrong, but i dont accept it. that is my opinion and so far noone have sufficiantly shown to me otherwise..
    (no matter how much i try)

    i’m not here because of a atheism vs. theism but i do feel i need to hold things i disagree with accountable or at the very least question them. (jst like you are doing :) ie. to discuss things.. discussion is good, and one of the main reasons i like this blog.

    re: hugo’s fanboy comment (#59)
    fanboys has an association with unreasonable fanatisism. if its meant like that then i disagree, but if its meant as ‘fans of this’ then i like the label.

  • 65 Hugo // Feb 21, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Thanks gerhard, a beautiful comment. I’m happy with everything you wrote there. Except maybe this bit, but I’m not sure, I might be contradicting something I said in the past:

    hugo has tried to explain why this view is wrong

    Right now, I’d say “this view is different“, rather than “wrong” or “right”.

    I think we’re beginning to understand one another better now. (Or maybe that’s just me understanding better.)

    Halleluja! ;-)

    Methinks every human has a great need to be understood.

    Now I’d like to put the past behind us, and move on. I’m hoping we can have fruitful discussions and can successfully try to keep the emotions in check. It won’t always be the case, but if someone flairs up emotionally, can we all work together to try and keep things kinda calm? Something like that?

    Tricky. I bet things were probably calmer than I thought, because if you look at something from an emotional point of frustration, everything looks more emotional.

    Thanks guys.

    /me is a happy camper.

  • 66 Sad Ben // Feb 21, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I agree Gerhard, mature comment. still not sure I follow you on some points.

    Honestly , i feel this about the asertions made from you/your camp too, but i don’t think you see this

    i think where alot of confusion comes in, is that theists think that when a-theists talk about theology that they are talking theology and that discussion should stay within their, often personal, framework of theology.

    I have some issues with these two statements. In my opinion every bit of knowledge, whatever it’s nature or context is stained and strained by interpretative judgements. This is a good place to start a discussion, because if empericists want to assume that we can know positivistically & purely, w have a problem which is going to haunt every single discussion behind the curtains.

    Am I still uninformed to this dilemma?

  • 67 Hugo // Feb 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    We will be strained in every discussion if people cling to “the only thing that can be known, is that which we can test empirically”. This is a fundamental, that one can be a fundamentalist about. This is the kind of fundamentalism that often receives the “Dawkins fanboy” label. That’s not saying it is incorrect, it’s just not going to be conducive to discussions. Other people hold other fundamentals.

    By all means, when it comes to things that can be empirically tested, we can draw from empiricism. But I suggest we need to agree to converse a little less strongly routed in each of our traditions, to facilitate useful conversation.

    Thanks guys! (And gals…)

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