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A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter... p.write@gmail.com

Rational Self-Defence

A Legacy

Pagun

(VANCOUVER ISLAND) My regular readers probably know that I am, to all intents and purposes, a single father of a seven-year-old boy. As such, I spend virtually my entire waking life trying to make sure that my son has a safe and happy childhood. Under our unique circumstances, that proposition is even more challenging than it is for most parents. For one thing, I am 60 and JJ is 7; as well, I am fighting a 128cancer that keeps popping up in unexpected places; JJ also has a classic case of ADHD and is being assessed for placement on the autism spectrum; JJ is of a visible minority and as such is bully bait; our financial situation is precarious as a result of my having had to withdraw from the world of full employment for several years. and because of the over $250,000.00 I spent (mostly on bribes) to acquire the paperwork necessary to get him out of Indonesia and to confirm his status as my son. Nevertheless, my main concern every single day is that I am providing JJ with a good role model and a safe and happy life.

            All that having been said, I am starting to develop a counterintuitive hypothesis: that a happy childhood can have a negative impact on one’s adult life.

mental-health            Having offered that hypothesis, it’s only fair to state at the outset that I cannot claim to have had a particularly happy childhood. My mother was, for most of my childhood, an undiagnosed and untreated manic depressive, and my father, being a narcissist, was a  a control freak. I loved them both very much and acknowledge that they both heroically struggled with their mental illnesses, and that they did the very best they could as parents. I was their sole caregiver in their final years and watched them both succumb to Alzheimer’s; I was there when they each breathed their last. I learned during that stressful period just how tough their own lives had been. Nevertheless, my childhood was not exactly idyllic.

My soon-to-be ex-wife, Yolanda, on the other hand, had a very happy childhood. Her parents are extraordinarily kind people and devoted parents. She has two brothers and a sister who all love one another and consider each other to be their best friends. She was tropical-villagebrought up in a village in a tropical paradise where childhood activities included swimming in the Indian Ocean, a pristine beach being just a short walk from their home, playing in the clove and nutmeg orchards, coaxing monkeys to eat from their hands, and visiting extended family and neighbours who populated the village. Moreover, the Indonesian child rearing paradigm is extremely attentive to the desires and autonomy of children; their wishes and desires are taken into consideration in every decision that might have an impact on them.

But here’s the thing. Adults with memories of nothing but happy times and positive relationships when they were growing up seem to have no reason to question what they accepted as truth when they were children. For those people, lessons learned in lessonschildhood are eternal truths. What their parents did or said while bringing them up is rarely contested, as there is rarely a sense that they may have been less than perfect.

On the other hand, I have said many times, only half jokingly, that my surest guideline for parenting is to ask myself what my parents would have done in a similar situation, then do the exact opposite. Because, even from a very early age, I was aware that my parents were simply wrong about many things, I was never tempted to believe that simply because they asserted or believed something, it must be true. The result of that was that I was always sceptical when I was asked to accept something simply upon someone’s authority. I learned early on to look for evidence in support of claims. I learned to recognise that an expert’s opinion on a matter within his field is evidence but an uninformed and unsupported opinion is just that. I went so far as to major in and then to do graduate work in philosophy because it is founded upon critical thinking and rational analysis of propositions.

I contrast that with those people who had perfect childhoods and would never think of old-wives-talesrejecting their parents’ wisdom. Yolanda, for example, is convinced that the worst thing you can do if you have the flu or even a cold is to drink any cold or iced drink. Her parents taught her that and other Indonesian old wives’ tales as fact when she was a child. Why they did, or where that idea came from is a mystery to me, but it is unquestionably true to her. I often self-prescribe ice cold lemonade when I have a flu; my thinking is that I need liquids, the cold will keep my temperature down, and the vitamin C can’t hurt. Yolanda’s mum tells me that cold would be a shock to the afflicted throat. And that’s the end of it.

There are countless examples of other more or less harmless beliefs that Yolanda and her siblings accept unquestioningly; from their marvellously kind and decent parents, for instance, they learned that eating beer-and-duriandurian (my favourite fruit in the world) with beer is sure to kill you. Having consumed the two in great quantities on many occasions, I’m happy to report that it’s all bullshit. The problem is that some of the well-meant but utterly false notions that children pick up from their parents are not entirely harmless. And the inclination to accept those notions isn’t balanced by any inclination to apply critical thinking to them.

In Indonesia, everyone has a religion; 90% of the people are Muslims and the majority of the rest are Christians, Buddhists, or Hindus. If an Indonesian were to ask you what your religion is, answering that religious_map_of_indonesiayou have none would make no sense. It would be like telling them you have no name, or that you were not born anywhere; one’s religion is a defining characteristic of every person. Consequently, people from wonderful childhoods generally accept their parents’ religion completely uncritically. And that acceptance of the religious beliefs of good parents is not only an Indonesian phenomenon; most people here in the West who claim to have a religion, have the religion of their parents. And among those who share their parents’ religion and feel comfortable enough with it not to spend a lot of time agonising over their faith, my observation is that most will cop to having had great childhoods and to having great respect for their parents.

There are lots of things I would like my son to accept unquestioningly. I’d like him to believe, for one-raceexample, that violence is wrong, that being kind to others should be at the very foundation of his character, that there is only one race, the human race, and all members should be accorded the same respect, that knowledge, understanding, and curiosity are preferable to ignorance and intellectual complacency. However, most of all, I want him to learn to apply critical thinking skills to anything he is asked to accept as dogma.

It seems to me that the things I want him to weave into the fabric of his personality, the decency, kindness, and tolerance, are more attitudes than factual propositions; they can be modelled rather than taught. I therefore have the responsibility of living my life with those ideals in mind, and I must be in a position to articulate them without hypocrisy if their suitability as values ever needs to be discussed. But critical thinking can be taught.

conspiracy-theoristsI need to teach JJ to respect people even if he can’t accept their beliefs. He doesn’t need to respect erroneous claims of fact, but he has to understand that people have a right to be wrong. I also need to ensure that, if people try to proselytise some crackpot notion like young earth creationism, or a denial of anthropogenic climate change, or chemtrails, or Barrack Obama’s Kenyan citizenship, he has the critical skills to see through the bullshit. He needs to know that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, not just extraordinary conviction.

In short, I’m hoping that I can give JJ both a happy childhood and the intellectual ammunition even to dispute my claims when I am in error. And crucially, I want my son to have the intellectual firepower trump-fibscombined with the strength of character to survive in a post-truth world in the event that Donald Trump’s message of evil and hatred prevails this November. Since Donald Trump announced his intention of running for the presidency, truth, facts, reason, and human decency have been under assault; everyone is going to need the skills of intellectual self-defence. Being able to separate the truth from hyperbolic fact-free statements will be more important than it has ever been. I will not have the person I love the most in the world succumb to the coarsening and dumbing down that Trump spearheads.

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Splitting the Baby

A Tale of Two Opinions

Pagun

(VANCOUVER ISLAND) A favourite technique of the right wing seems to be to attempt to influence public opinion by pretending that there is a serious debate on a subject of importance when in fact there isn’t.

An obvious example of that tactic is the right wing’s insistence that the question of anthropogenic climate change is a controversial issue; that there is genuine disagreement as to whether human activity is contributing to climate change. Not that they’d ever admit it, but even that position represents a retreat from their original argument that climate change (the phenomenon formerly known as “global warming”) simply didn’t exist outside of the fevered imaginations of leftist socialist tree hugging alarmists. When the elephant in the room started to fart and trumpet loud enough that its existence could no longer be ignored or denied, the argument became: Sure the climate is warming up, but it’s part of a natural cycle; dumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has no effect on the planet. And, of course, that “argument” came from politicians who, entirely coincidentally I’m sure, accepted huge contributions from Big Oil and, bush denialalso coincidentally, voted to give those very companies billions of dollars annually in corporate welfare. Where that spurious argument did not come from was any actual climate scientist.

The level of public discussion actually included everyday conservatives pointing to every record snowfall and unseasonably cold day and shouting out that here was evidence that global warming was a liberal hoax. Rather than becoming involved in a hopeless attempt to explain the distinction between climate and weather, or to explain how planetary warming could lead to anomalous weather events in some areas, climate scientists started to use the phrase “climate change” to make the truth a little easier to grasp. Still, in an attempt to demonstrate to the public at large that there was a serious debate on the issue, at one point the shills for Big Oil managed to put together a list of “scientists” who held that there was no such thing as human generated climate change. Itclimate-change-denier-1 took about twenty-four hours for that ploy to be exposed as a fraud. Among the deniers were high school science teachers who had never published in peer-reviewed journals and a wide selection of experts in fields like anthropology and dentistry. What was absent was any representation of climate scientists. Despite the rhetoric, there has rarely been, at any time in history, so solid a consensus among scientists; only crackpots and non-experts dispute anthropogenic climate change in 2016. And conservative politicians who have sold their constituents a bill of goods.

As far back as 2001, actual climate scientists published their consensus and their scientific opinion on climate change in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its conclusions were summarised as follows:

  1. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.
  2. “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities, in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.
  3. If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100. Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise. The balance of impacts of global warming become significantly negative at larger values of warming.

 

These findings were and continue to be recognised by the national science academies of all industrialised nations. Since then, climate change has become more pronounced and the scientific consensus has become a virtually unanimous voice. There is, in other words, no meaningful debate.

Nevertheless, people with a vested interest in maintaining the current level of hydrocarbon consumption insist that there is a genuine debate to be had and insist that no serious action be taken until the “controversy” is resolved. That technique is known by logicians and rhetoricians as “the fallacy of the middle ground”. That logical fallacy is the mistake of believing or asserting that if there are two sides to a dispute or two competing opinions, the truth is to be found somewhere in the middle between the two opinions. While that may be true on some occasions, and while it may seem intuitively democratic and fair, it is an affront to critical thinking. The tactic employed here is to stake out a position absolutely contrary to reality and try to force people to move away from the truth and toward an artificial middle ground.

However, simply asserting something does not give the assertion legitimacy or any intellectual standing. Despite science-conspiracythe right wing’s anti-intellectualism and dismissal of expertise as elitism, an expert opinion caries more weight than an uneducated, unsupported claim. That is most particularly true when we are speaking of scientific propositions being contradicted by insisting that anybody’s unsupported opinion is as valid as a scientific conclusion.

There is no serious debate on climate change. There are scientific conclusions, and there are uninformed opinions and wishful thinking based on, of all things, political views. That is not a debate. The only debate is how to deal with the reality that the world is facing a clear and present danger that we continue to exacerbate while we keep our heads in the sand. And we do that so the most profitable corporations in the history of the world can continue to increase their revenues and power, and collect more billions of welfare dollars, courtesy of the politicians they own.

Another example of the technique of insisting there is a controversy where none exists is the increasingly nonsensical insistence on the part of conservative, and especially evangelical, Christians that creationism (or its uptown cousin, intelligent design or ID) should be taught along side evolution as a competing scientific theory. Their argument is simply this: Evolution is a theory; so is ID. They should have equal prominence in schools, and refusing to teach ID on an equal footing is one more example of the modern persecution of Christians and Christianity.

This, of course, is another non-debate. The fact that it is even discussed is evidence of the lack of education of the creationism-evolutionID proponents; they don’t understand what, in science, a theory actually is. Having read little but publications that offer theories like: Elvis is alive and living on life support in a cryogenic chamber in Area 51, or President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim plotting the destruction of America, or the moon landings were faked by Stephen Spielberg as a final project to graduate from film school, they don’t understand what a real theory is. They don’t understand that a scientific theory is an explanation of phenomena; an explanation that has been examined, scrutinised, and subjected a series of repeatable experiments and has survived all attempts to falsify it. A scientific explanation is only considered to be a theory if it is testable by experiment or other empirical method. And those tests must, to be valid, be attempts to disprove or falsify the proposed explanation (or, in scientific jargon, the hypothesis); it is easy to find evidence to support a hypothesis but for the hypothesis to become accepted as a theory, it must survive every attempt not to prove it, but to falsify it.

Evolution is a theory. Anthropogenic climate change is a theory. Gravitation is a theory. Even the existence of atoms and subatomic particles is a theory. In fact, most of those things are looked at as facts by any educated person. They are called theories simply because explanations of phenomena can always be refined and tweaked; to call them facts would be sloppy science. Intelligent design, in contrast, doesn’t even qualify as a hypothesis. It is merely an assertion based on an interpretation of a compilation of folk tales told by illiterate late Neolithic middle eastern nomadic goat herders and written down some time over two thousand years ago. To call it a theory is to misunderstand and misuse the word.

At first glance, it is bewildering that scientific questions are political debates with sides lining up along the CorpSpend91214liberal/conservative division. But when one considers that the denial of human caused climate change is supported by the same people and for the same reason that they denied the connection between tobacco smoke and lung disease, it becomes a little clearer. Their phony arguments are sponsored by industry and insisted upon because doing so makes right wing politicians a lot of money. The same is true of the refusal to make any real attempt to stem the flood of deaths by gunshot; politicians have been paid to insist that guns don’t kill people.

The outlier here is the insistence on the propagation of intelligent design as science. Nevertheless, there is a political element in that phony debate; conservative and evangelicals Christians, the proponents of ID, tend to be on the right of the political spectrum, so conservative politicians find themselves pandering to their crackpot notions in an effort to ingratiate themselves. It is cynical in reasonably rational politicians, and in the devout, it is simply one more example of the religious right’s constant pressure to undermine democracy and create a Christian theocracy.howinsteadofwhat

Critical thinking, self education, broad reading, and constant vigilance are all needed to push back against the forces that would twist the facts to fit a political agenda. I believe very strongly that, rather than expend enormous amounts of money and energy to teach particular doctrines in schools, there should be a combined effort, from both sides of the political spectrum, to include critical thinking as an integral part of the curriculum. When rational scepticism, an understanding of rhetoric, recognising sophistry and logical fallacies are all part of the arsenal of students it would be interesting to see how many of these idiotic non-debates simply fizzle and disappear.

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An Atheist’s Dilemma

Religion and genius

Pagun

 

My grandfather was a genius. I mean that in the most traditional, unequivocal meaning of the tesmartrm. Just by way of example, he had a bunch of Ph.Ds, all suma cum laude,before he was 25;  even in his 90s, he had never met a brain teaser that teased him for more than a second or two. He was Swiss by birth and he was also Catholic, by which I mean when he was born in the 1800s, he had been baptised and had gone to mass regularly for his entire life. His wife, my grandmother, was of English/Irish/Scots extraction and came from a very religious family; my relatives from her side of the family include, in just one generation, a few nuns, an archbishop (Alex Carter) and a Cardinal (His Eminence, Gerald Emmett Carter). My grandfather’s church attendance was mostly a pro forma affair to maintain tranquility on the domestic front. So thanks to nepotistic connections, I was able to obtain, acquired by my cousin the Cardinal for me, directly from the Pope, what is known as a “plenary indulgence”.

An “indulgence” in Catholicism is sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card; it’s a guarantee that certain sins are forgiven and a piece of your penitential time in purgatory will be lopped off. A “plenary indulgence” is the Rolls Royce of indulgences; it forgives all sins, past or present, and eliminates a purgatorial sojourn entirely. So, I’m good. I never have to worry about putting my bet down on the right side of Pascal’s wager; if it turns out that I’m wrong and Catholic doctrine is cartoon prayerabsolutely correct, I don’t have to worry about hellfire and eternal torture; my sins of heresy and apostasy (along with everything else) are pre-forgiven. An enviable position for an atheist or even an anti-theist like me to be in, I’m sure you’ll agree.

After my grandmother died, my grandfather became considerably more open about his religious views. He was, much like his colleague and contemporary, Albert Einstein, an atheist. As he explained it to me once many years ago when I was in grad school, working on a Master’s in philosophy, he was content that the basic scientific theories were sufficient to allow for satisfactory accounts of things religion is often recruited to explain. He was satisfied that ontology would be covered by the specifics within physics and evolutionary biology; epistemology could be dealt with within the framework of empirical science and the rational investigations of mathematics. People would ask him if it didn’t make sense that, although things got started with the Big Bang, somebody or something had to say “Bang!” And wouldn’t the thing that said, “Bang” be God? He simply quoted Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace and said, “I had no need of that hypothesis.”

Although, in the years immediately following the death of my grandmother, he was outspoken on the subject of his newly articulated atheism, after a while he seemed to lose interest in engaging the devout in rational debates; he gave up being a missionary for reason over superstition. Although he still felt, indeed he felt more strongly than ever, that the religion-heavenreligion of his childhood and that of his late wife and most of his family was utterly absurd and, frankly, an insult to any normal person’s intelligence, he also felt that it was wrong to deprive people of a source of comfort and security and give them nothing to replace it. Although Voltaire had said something to the effect that if he rescued someone from a beast that was devouring him, it would be ridiculous to ask him with what he intended to replace the beast, he just couldn’t bring himself to take without giving back.

In my view, that was years of religious indoctrination talking, and talking louder that his rigorous science training. His initial burst of outspoken atheism was more morally correct than his later diffidence; in short, he caved in his later moderation. The fact is that my grandfather was a moralist; he was a militarist, but he was also an uncompromising pacifist who sided with us, the hippies, during the 60s anti-war protest years. He cared for all living things and actually walked the talk; he bought up all the offal he could gather from his butcher and fed the neighbourhood stray cats; he even treated their skin conditions with some concoction he brewed himself. When he didn’t think he was being watched, I have seen him catch a mosquito and shoo it away rather than swat it. And it was that human decency, his profound compassion that initially fueled his vocal atheism.

As a man of intimidating intelligence, and as a human being of morality and kindness, he saw the unmitigated evil that is represented by religion, particularly theistic religions and most specifically, the three big Abrahamic cults. He saw them for what they are and he rejected their tenets as inhuman and deeply cruel. Most of all, he rejected the fundamental house on religionpurpose of religion\; to divide people into the elect and the damned. He saw that as soon as one cleaves to a particular iteration of a theistic creed, one has counted oneself as being among the special few and better than and separate from the rest. Religion is the great divider of humanity into them and us. As a devout pacifist, those divisions were repugnant to him.

In his last years, as he mellowed, he retreated from his overt condemnation of religions; not because he came to accept their pretenses of validity, but because he had come to abhor any form of conflict and confrontation. He would smile and nod when he was lectured by a Witness of Jehovah who thought she had spotted an old, vulnerable, weak-minded widower as an ideal mark. She couldn’t have been more wrong, but he permitted her to babble on in her fallacy-laden arguments for her absurd cult’s dogma. He could have argued circles around her and, by virtue of his superior knowledge of her bible and deeper understanding of her doctrine, he may even have persuaded her of the inherent wrongness of her religious views. He thought that would have been wrong, since she was genuinely trying to save his immortal soul; showing her the errors of her beliefs and thinking would have accomplished little except leaving her bereft of comfort and possibly shunned by her family and congregation.

I disagree. Had I been him, I think I would have taken the bait and opened up the discussion. I would have considered it a victory for the forces of good in the world to have rescued that woman from her imprisonment; for that is what dogmatic religion is. I believe that my grandfather abdicated his responsibility as a rational and compassionate man militantto save others from pernicious doctrine. I believe that the doctrine that he could have argued against is the most destructive and repugnant force in the entire history of the world. I believe that the toxicity of religion has poisoned humanity for thousands of years, and that if religion was treated like any other crackpot notion; given no respect in society, treated with dismissive contempt, and not permitted to influence the public sphere, the world would be an immeasurably better place. The energy and brain power that would be freed up to seek actual real solutions to social problems would have an incredible positive impact on mankind.

My grandfather, though, was too kind to continue to confront those who tried to sell him their snake oil. Out of compassion, he allowed them to enjoy the comfort of their chains; he pitied them, but he didn’t have the confrontational nature needed to fight back against the worst evil at work in the world today

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Religion, Logic, and Correspondence

Helping with critical thinking….

Pagun

VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA – I just thought I’d run this little bit of correspondence as an example of the kind of thing that occasionally arrives in my email. This one, despite its tone of superiority and hostility was less offensive than most that come from people who hold similar points of view, and since he or she claims to be a high school student, I didn’t simply dismiss the writer as arrogant and obnoxious. Nevertheless, the writer demonstrates a very worrying tendency that is all too common among older versions of him or herself: an inclination to extend philosophical disagreement to personal animosity. Despite my decision to address my interlocutor with civility (okay, and a little condescention), the hostility in his/her original email is palpable.

I should note that I received no response to my reply.

Pagun
house on religion

Hello,

Religion: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. (according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion).

According to this definition atheism in itself is a religion. In your articles (that lack logical arguments and correct spelling) you state many “reasons” why religion is “obscene” and should not be allowed and should be turned against. According to this definition your entire beliefs should not be encouraged and your arguments are hurting your own opinion. By informing people of how bad religion is you are saying that your beliefs are also wrong.

If you would like to gain proper knowledge of the subject you pretend to know so much about i am sure the internet would help in that research. Until then enjoy posting the defamation of your own beliefs.

Sincerely,
A high school student.

bible-logic

 

I emailed my interlocutor the following response: (Pagun)

Dear “A high school student”:

First of all, I would like to offer my sincere thanks for reading the articles on my website, and for giving them such intense consideration. I am very grateful, as I want to try to make people think about subjects that are of interest to me; it appears that I have succeeded, in your case at least!

Let me start by addressing your main point.

The definition of “atheism” with which you start your email serves to demonstrate precisely that atheism is NOT a religion.

Let’s start with religious “attitudes”. Atheism doesn’t meet the definition provided since it espouses no religious attitudes; rather, it denies the validity of any god and therefore most religion. Oh, to be sure most atheists have an attitude toward religion, but that is something quite different from having a religious attitude. But since that question of religious attitudes is the most subtle of the three benchmarks you’re using, let’s move on.quote-a-nation-without-a-religion-that-is-like-a-man-without-breath-joseph-goebbels-232253

As to your (Merriam Webster’s) second test: beliefs; atheism by definition is an absence of belief (in gods, specifically), so it doesn’t meet that standard either. Lack of belief is not a belief.

Man made god

And finally: practices. Atheists have no defining set of practices; atheists are only discernible by their absence of belief, and then, only if they tell you about it. (Unless you consider critical thinking a religious practice, in which case I would argue that religions actually discourage genuine critical thinking, so I don’t see that as a way to make the pieces fit.)

In any case, the definition you provided requires that atheism meet all three tests; it quite palpably doesn’t meet even one. I’m sorry to say, therefore, that your argument from definition fails at its first premise.

As has been said before, “Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.”

Therefore, as an atheist (a person without a belief in god and with no religion), I repeat my assertion that religion is a plague and that humankind would be far better off without it.Intelligence and religion

Now, as to the rest of your letter: I will simply dismiss your proposition that “by informing people of how bad religion is you are saying that your beliefs are also wrong” as it rests on a faulty premise. Beyond that there doesn’t seem to be much content other than your expressed desire that I stop posting until I have researched. You’re not entirely clear about just what you would have me research before I post again, but my suspicion is that you mean I should know more about religion if I am going to speak about it in such negative terms. If that suspicion is correct, I have two responses: In the first place, if I am going to proclaim a disbelief in fairies, there is no prevailing requirement for me to read every “expert’s” opinion on the length, span, colour, and translucency of their wings (thank you, Richard Dawkins). In the second place, my suspicion (again) is that I have done considerably more research on the subject of religion and am better versed in its intricacies than most people, including the most vocal true believers, and that quite likely includes you.

I will address briefly your parenthetical criticism of my spelling and logical arguments. As to spelling: I have no doubt that a spelling error – or many – have escaped my editorial eye; for that I apologise. I might caution you, however, about provincialism in your use of the English language. I tend to adhere to British conventions in my spelling, hence neighbour with a “U” and specialise with an “S” rather than a “Z”. The default spellchecker on Microsoft is U.S. spelling; I don’t use that.

This brings us to logical arguments. I see you have tried to formulate one and for that I congratulate you. It doesn’t survive even casual scrutiny, but at least it represents an logical-fallacyattempt to think rationally, something which I encourage heartily. Moreover, logical arguments are always welcome on my website…that is the place for discussion of the subjects broached in my articles.

When I get a personal and anonymous email to me criticising something on Pagunview, it is my normal practice just to delete and ignore it. On Pagunview, I have a comment section at the end of each of my articles and I always respond to rational argumentation; I’ve never censored anything except spam and raw abuse. In your case I chose to answer in this way because I admire your passion, and I hope that you fan that spark of critical thinking into a small flame and eventually a genuine fire.

I’d be happy to recommend some sources for learning about logic, argument, and critical thinking if you wish.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read and think about what I have written.

Sincerely,
Pagun

ChristianLogic

 

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