We may not agree on philosophy, but chances are we’re more in agreement than not, when it comes to our basic human values.
While occasionally attempting to inject a bit of hopefully humorous wit into the observations presented on this site, I will, at the same time, be looking to stay away from the more unbridled and vitriolic attacks that many atheists, including myself, have been guilty of making in the past, and directing against those of opposing viewpoints.
Other than the pleasure to be had from ‘preaching to the choir,’ I’ve come to realize the utter futility of those barbed and brittle attacks (sometimes bordering on hysteria), that are not uncommonly mounted on both sides of an issue, but that effectively reduce any real dialogue or chance of understanding, to a mere dustup of words.
I can’t help but feel that there is an open-minded group of individuals out there who — given the chance — wouldn’t actually welcome the opportunity to present their views, and engage in respectful, reasoned, discourse, with people who hold differing viewpoints.
However, we often fail to recognize, and respect the fact that, deeply held beliefs are not only matters of conscience, but are often the touchstones that make up the navigational landmarks of the individual’s world view.
They can’t be comfortably set aside, let alone abandoned, without at least first being made comfortably familiar with the landscape of some other view.
We easily recognize that people can be riled into heated and intractably defensive positions when subjected to attack. And the biggest mistake I see us all falling into, is our smug assumption that those folks taking up the other side of an argument, are either too deeply entrenched in their own self-satisfied views, or just too slow, stupid, and unintelligent, to even understand what it is we’re trying to say (probably way too dumb to even realize just how slow, stupid and unintelligent they even are). Sound familiar?
But many times, this kind of defensiveness is automatically invoked — and provoked — from the outset. And again, it completely poisons the waters beyond all hope of thoughtful exchange, or meaningful dialogue.
In short, if you front-load your own argument with enough piss and vinegar, it’s going to be a guaranteed fail at communication.
And while it’s true, that sometimes we’re just looking to vent on one of the hot topics of the day, I will be looking to block any flagrant flaming on this site. I will, of course, also be looking to publish any reasoned comments and observations from any and all points of view.
I would like to avail myself of the opportunity, at this point, of giving those of you who may wish, the opportunity to possibly gain a broader understanding of the ideas behind, positions espoused, and issues embraced, by many fellow atheists, humanists, and even some deists.
But, before this starts sounding like a solicitation for the Watchtower, I merely wish to point out that the links provided below, are to a few of the best known, and most commonly recognized sources of knowledgeable information on the subject.
Bear in mind, it really is a big world out there.
Daniel C Dennett’s Home Page — Tufts University