On debates to have….

In response to comments, I will state beforehand that I won’t be discussing the existence of God or Creationism much.  Evolution is true.  I would just as rather discuss the validity of Newtonianism, Astrology, the molecule or phlogistan.  In other words, evolution is one of those things where I have a very high degree of certitude as to whether it is true or not, such that I feel ridiculous wasting my finite life discussing its truth or not.  As for God, the only times I have “converted” people to my own position, and through no conscious intent I might add, was through my example as a well adjusted person who needed no supernatural grounding for ethical behavior or happiness.  I don’t think discussing the merits of presuppositions is generally very fruitful.  I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I’m understandably the sort who is very fixated on useful allocation of my discretionary time.  If you want arguments about God and Darwin, you won’t get them from me….

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16 Responses to On debates to have….

  1. John says:

    I agree exactly with this. Arguments about such fundamental questions will not solve anything (though they may occasionally be interesting). Better to avoid religion entirely.

  2. David Hume says:

    Better to avoid religion entirely.

    I intend to talk about religion as a *natural phenomenon* and the psychology & history of religion. But I’m not out to convince anyone, just to clarify to the choir.

  3. cakesecret says:

    Good…but it important to highlight the destruction wraught by the religous right through stealth measures such as creationism…explaining how they utilize the same tactics that the religious left uses (environmentalism, big-statism, etc), only for different desired ends.

  4. Chris Ackerman says:

    “I intend to talk about religion as a *natural phenomenon* and the psychology & history of religion. But I’m not out to convince anyone, just to clarify to the choir.”

    Hume, don’t you already have 2 blogs on which you can do that? If this blog is to have a purpose it should be in giving voice to a contemporary conservative political ideology that doesn’t rely for its foundation on religion, and in so doing build a political tent big enough for all intelligent conservatives (even people who don’t now call themselves conservatives).

  5. John says:

    Actually, since reading Derb’s amusingly sarcastic post on Dinesh D’Souza discovering the Anthropic Principle, I have revised my thoughts about discussing religious topics.

    I would still maintain that trying to argue with the religious is a waste of time (which is why I let my Skeptical Inquirer subscription lapse – that and annoyance over the issue where the columnists nominated each other as “skeptics of the century”).

    However, witty posts a la Derb (or along the lines of Martin Garner’s “Notes of a Fringe Watcher” in SI) would be exceedingly welcome. I know I tend to gravitate to blogs which season informative commentary with a large dose of humour (which is why I love the Corner) and there is a heck of a lot of humour to be had in religion.

  6. Mesquito says:

    “Evolution is true.” Thank God for that.

    Rarely have I met any one who either belives otherwise or cares enough for me to be able to pry.

    I have a little fantasy: That the Kuhnian phenomenon is felt in the natural sciences, after 150 years of Darwin and 50 years of DNA; that somebody comes along and asks the question (and suggests an answer) that throws the whole paradigm into turmoil.

    Because there’s something missing. No?

  7. Scott says:


    I think Hume’s approach is a good one. The danger I see is getting to the point that the left has with religion – viewing everything they do as evil, ignorant, or stupid. We lose the ability to have a conversation with them. Keeping in mind where they’re coming from and understanding their perspective will help us gain influence and help present a united conservative front. We have to remember that both groups on the right alone are minorities and splintered will stay in exile.

    That’s the big issue I have with conservatives wanting to drive our the religious portion. If we did so we need to attract more moderates which would very likely entail moving ourselves to the left. I think the real key is working with the religious right to bring back a cohesive narrative presented in secular language. I still believe this country leans right but overtly religious language has begun to push people away. We can easily draw them back not by changing our positions, but by controlling the langauge.

  8. Auster says:

    In my eyes, phlogiston (n.b., I think phlogistan is one of those former Soviet republics) got a bad rap, along with Johann Joachim Becher. Okay, just because a decadent Frenchman (Lavoisier) discovered ‘oxygen’, molecules are still just theoretical. I don’t want some effete Frenchie telling me what I can breath. I plan to soon start lobbying my local school board to teach phlogiston theory as a viable alternative to ‘molecules’.

    Theory: just another name for ideology. 😉

  9. Chris Ackerman says:

    Scott, I agree with all you say. I was just making the point that religious people are going to feel unwelcome here if they get lectured about “religion as a naturalistic phenomenon” or the “psychology of religion” (I know I don’t react well when some clueless academic who’s never met a conservative outside of a few repressed undergraduates holds forth about the “psychology of conservatism”.) This blog should not be about “clarifying to the choir”, but about expanding it.

  10. Gerry Shuller says:

    No argument from me. I can type “Evolutionism is false.” just as well as you can type a contradictory proposition. What I think is worth discussing, is that although only one viewpoint has been allowed to be taught in government schools for decades, the vast majority of the American people don’t buy it.

  11. David Hume says:

    This blog should not be about “clarifying to the choir”, but about expanding it.

    You’re in no position to talk about what this blog *should be*, I am.

    is that although only one viewpoint has been allowed to be taught in government schools for decades, the vast majority of the American people don’t buy it.

    Most people believe what they are told to believe. Most people who believe in evolution don’t understand anything about it, just as most people who reject it don’t understand anything about it. Most people are also not very intelligent.

  12. Pingback: Secular Right » Yes, I am a fundamentalist….

  13. @Gerry Shuller

    Gerry, the vast majority of people can’t explain relativity or the three laws of thermodynamics either. The only difference is that neither of those theories threaten their religious identity. If they did, you can be sure they wouldn’t “buy” them either.

  14. ◄Dave► says:

    @David Hume

    A suggestion, no need to approve this for posting:

    In lengthy, fast paced discussions, I find that those who know how to use the “reply” button to create the “@xyz” link very helpful for reviewing what they are responding to. Thus, I have made it a practice to generally do so myself. Unfortunately, this counts as one of the two or more links that will cause a reply to be held for moderation.

    I have experienced offering an external link also, to hold my comment long past when it was relevant. When it is finally approved, it is often so far back up the thread that those following it closely never even see it. When scrolling back, I occasionally stumble across a comment I had not seen from others, which arrived late for the same reason. Thus, I have learned that if I wish to offer an external link, it is best not to provide the internal “@xyz” reply link.

    Thus, I think it would be useful if you would open the throttle a bit and require at least three links before a comment is held for moderation, to allow for an internal one. This is done at [Settings][Discussion][Comment Moderation]. I found two to be too tight on my own blog, and since enabling the Akismet plugin, WordPress catches all of the spambot type spam anyway, which is what this feature was primarily meant for in the first place.

    Finally, to cause this to get hung in the queue for your attention, here is another internal link. I meant it; thanks again. ◄Dave►

  15. ◄Dave► says:

    Oops! It wasn’t held up??? Perhaps you are already ahead of me… 🙂 ◄Dave►

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