Rationality Can Rise Above Anti-theism

20 08 2007

Dawn at Day by Day Homeschooling admires Michael Shermer for advancing the cause of calm rationality and quotes his open letter to “antitheists” in the September Scientific American:

Rational atheism values the truths of science and the power of reason, but the principle of freedom stands above both science and religion.

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14 responses

20 08 2007
JJ

I just posted a comment here that fits this post too — we need a lot more thinking about that calm rationality and the middle ground of FREEDOM and CHOICE, where science and religion aren’t polarized forces pulling individuals apart instead of helping them pull together.

20 08 2007
Nance Confer

Or we might say the principle of freedom supports both science and religion.

And we might hope for the day when the truths of science and the power of reason are beautiful enough.

And be thankful for the freedom to let that happy state evolve.

Nance

20 08 2007
JJ

I like that — it’s got a good beat and I could dance to it. 🙂

20 08 2007
JJ

Hey, Nance, where did your summery flip-flop avatar go?

20 08 2007
JJ

There’s a series of lines in the Scarlet Pimpernel about how the ultra-fey playing fellows are looking so “summery” . . .

21 08 2007
JJ

And did you see this? Case Western Reserve U. in infamous Ohio, plans to spend 2008-09 in cerebral celebration of “the enduring soundness and profound impact of Darwin’s concept.

21 08 2007
Nance Confer

Nice to see they have a clue in Ohio.

I, otoh, have no clue about my avatar.

Hmmm. .. .

Nance

21 08 2007
JJ

Hurray, it’s ba-ack! 😉

22 08 2007
Dawn

I do want to add that I value radicals. They tend to push ahead and break a path. But I think when there’s real work to be done they’re not the ones that will get it done and can almost hinder it at times by hurting alliances (like between atheists and moderate christians) that might have a formidable impact on issues they share.

22 08 2007
JJ

Gee, it’s almost as if people are diverse and complex, and therefore can’t be scored and graded on some standard scale for their relative abilities and intelligence? 😉

I agree and think this is so important to remember, Dawn. I minored in American history and the big theme in every course was something to the effect of “did the great man make the times or did the times make the man great?” — and the answer is of course both, the right person at the right time with the right stuff, wrapped up in a whole lotta chance and hard work and failure and risk. In recent years, Howard Gardner’s leadership studies have documented this worldwide and he’s written several “case study” type books telling that power of story.

Or another thing it connects to for me, is the change theory we studied in graduate education courses. There are the radical innovators, and then the early adopters, and then gradually a change (such as school reform) moves into the mainstream and becomes the status quo. Meanwhile those radicals are tearing off in some new upsetting direction! 🙂

22 08 2007
JJ

And Myers-Briggs personality types?

24 08 2007
JJ

A new Parenting Beyond Belief post:

“American Protestantism…is being split into two nearly antithetical religions, both calling themselves Christianity. These two religions — the Church of Law, based in the South, and the Church of Love, based in the North — differ on almost every big theological point.”

. . .Though Bawer is talking about Protestants, the same fault line runs down the middle of American Catholicism, between venomous literalists and social justice-loving practitioners of genuine agape–unconditional love.

Christians I know are too quick to dismiss the “church of law” as an aberration, something unfortunate but…you know… over there somewhere. And atheists are often just as quick to overlook the presence of the “church of love.” . . . My complaint is that the church of love does far too little to confront its ugly fundamentalist stepsister. Worse yet, it arms her by indiscriminately promoting faith as a value in and of itself.

9 09 2008
Beyond the Palin: Political Psychology for “Actual” Thinking Citizens « Cocking A Snook!

[…] leading lights like such as Sam Harris, Alison Grolnick, Michael Shermer, ooh! — and Roger Schank, learning sciences director, a MAVERICK who bucked early cognitive […]

15 09 2008
Arthur Brash

Yes, freedom is important, but should not hastily be handed over those that wish to use it to enslave others. Some of the most vocal representatives of Christianity and Islam are essentially crying for the freedom to enslave others with their dogma…

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