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View Diary: Is the World Ready for a God-Embracing Atheist? (172 comments)

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  •   Correct. (0+ / 0-)

    And Karen Armstrong is NOT a deep writer.  She's a deepity writer.  If you aren't familiar with the word "deepity", check this video:

    One of her biggest dishonesties is to conflate the existence of the belief in god with the existence of the god itself.

    If you want an atheist thinker who approaches things from the more philosophical side rather than the science side of things, go with Dan Dennet.  He's actually honest, unlike Karen Armstrong.

    •  I'll have to check out Dennet... (0+ / 0-)

      tho I disagree with you about Armstrong.  

      Confessing my own bias, certainly for me she has played a big role in my evolving understanding of things.  To have that understanding be all based on lies would be hard for me to process.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 08:29:02 AM PDT

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      •  If you've become enamored of Armstrong (0+ / 0-)

        then you'll probably really hate Dennet.  He tears apart her arguments, and since he's a very experienced philosophy professor at Tufts University with a lot of work under his belt about the functioning of human cognition with regard to believing things, her usual screed of someone not knowing what their talking about when it comes to religion doesn't work against him.

        •  So you're recommending I skip Dennet... (0+ / 0-)

          Thanks for the heads up.  Does Wikipedia have an article summarizing his positions?

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:42:19 AM PDT

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          •  It's an interesting peek into your mindset (0+ / 0-)

            that you pretend "you would hate it" is the same thing as "I don't want you to read it".

            And yes I know you hate it when I use the word "pretend" to accurately describe your behavior.  But the only way I'll stop using that word is if you change your behavior so it's no longer an accurate description.  You can't actually be daft enough to think "He's telling me I won't like it" is identical to "He's telling me not to read it.".

        •  From the Wikipedia article on Dennet... (0+ / 0-)

          Dennett has remarked in several places (such as "Self-portrait", in Brainchildren) that his overall philosophical project has remained largely the same since his time at Oxford. He is primarily concerned with providing a philosophy of mind that is grounded in empirical research. In his original dissertation, Content and Consciousness, he broke up the problem of explaining the mind into the need for a theory of content and for a theory of consciousness. His approach to this project has also stayed true to this distinction. Just as Content and Consciousness has a bipartite structure, he similarly divided Brainstorms into two sections. He would later collect several essays on content in The Intentional stance and synthesize his views on consciousness into a unified theory in Consciousness Explained. These volumes respectively form the most extensive development of his views.[21]

          In Consciousness Explained, Dennett's interest in the ability of evolution to explain some of the content-producing features of consciousness is already apparent, and this has since become an integral part of his program. He defends a theory known by some as Neural Darwinism. He also presents an argument against qualia; he argues that the concept is so confused that it cannot be put to any use or understood in any non-contradictory way, and therefore does not constitute a valid refutation of physicalism. His strategy mirrors his teacher Ryle's approach of redefining first person phenomena in third person terms, and denying the coherence of the concepts which this approach struggles with. Much of Dennett's work since the 1990s has been concerned with fleshing out his previous ideas by addressing the same topics from an evolutionary standpoint, from what distinguishes human minds from animal minds (Kinds of Minds), to how free will is compatible with a naturalist view of the world (Freedom Evolves). In his 2006 book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Dennett attempts to subject religious belief to the same treatment, explaining possible evolutionary reasons for the phenomenon of religious adherence.

          Dennett self-identifies with a few terms: "[Others] note that my 'avoidance of the standard philosophical terminology for discussing such matters' often creates problems for me; philosophers have a hard time figuring out what I am saying and what I am denying. My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as worse than useless — a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors."[22]
          Yet, in Consciousness Explained, he admits "I am a sort of 'teleofunctionalist', of course, perhaps the original teleofunctionalist'". He goes on to say, "I am ready to come out of the closet as some sort of verificationist". In Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon he admits to being "a bright", and defends the term.

          In Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Dennett writes that evolution can account for the origin of morality. He rejects the idea of the naturalistic fallacy as the idea that ethics is in some free-floating realm, writing that the fallacy is to rush from facts to values.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:43:42 AM PDT

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          •  Consciousness is a function of our biology... (0+ / 0-)

            seems to be Dennet's assertion.  That all the deeper levels we imagine in the world are encompassed in our DNA and biological processes.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:46:08 AM PDT

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            •  Don't use the word "we" there. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't share in the belief of deeper levels in the world beyond that which is experience-able and that which is logically derivable from that which is experience-able.

              The ultimate in honest living is to have the humility to accept the fact that just because your brain is capable of imagining a thing doesn't automatically mean that it's a real thing.  It's the humility to accept that one's perceptions could be forming a mistaken picture of the real world, and therefore before making claims about life after death or spiritual states of being, or any of that you must first get the evidence to back up your imagined hunch.  This is why I get so incensed at people who pretend that religion is more humble than science.  Science puts in place a procedure to attempt to detect mistakes and try to revise knowledge if it doesn't seem to be fitting the facts.  This is a mindset that accepts and admits to the fact that a human brain isn't perfect and can be wrong and therefore desire and imagination and common sense are insufficient reasons to think a thing is true.  I admit these procedures aren't perfect at doing their job of rooting out false beliefs that were acquired with faith instead of evidence, but at least the scientific method acknowledges that faith-based thinking is detrimental.  Religion actually praises the practice.

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