From Cary

Cary is a good friend of mine that has many great philosophical insights.  He’s clear and concise, and I enjoy is logical reasoning.

2/1/17 .

There is no sound argument made with philosophical jargon that can’t be made more clearly (though possibly not as briefly) without philosophical jargon.

You know what justice means when you’re on jury duty.  Its meaning doesn’t change when you discuss theology.

What Bronze Agers thought about God should be no more relevant to us than what Bronze Agers thought about science.

Respecting a person does not require respecting his erroneous beliefs.  All minds have a right to periods of infancy and adolescence.  Some take longer than others to grow out of it.  Others grow out prematurely for erroneous reasons, and fall into counter-errors – possibly even greater errors.  Honest errors should be tolerated up to the point that they harm other people.  Diversity of evolutionary paths should be respected.

A stable epistemic foundation is always built on logic rather than authority.  It is always figured out rather than believed.  I’m not asking you to believe that.  I’m not even asking you to figure it out.  I’m saying you will figure it out whether you believe it or not.



Dialog between a truth seeker and an agnostic a-believer

Do you believe X is true?


OK, since you believe X is false…

I never said that.

You said you don’t believe X is true.

That doesn’t mean I believe X is false.  It only means I am not engaging in belief relative to X.

Are you engaging in disbelief relative to X?

No, I’m not doing that either.  I am not required to apply any kind of belief or disbelief relative to X.

Do you acknowledge that X is either true or false?

Not necessarily.  There are some statements that can be shown to be neither true nor false.

Can this particular X be shown to be neither true nor false?

No, but it can’t be shown to be true, and it can’t be shown to be false.

But is this particular X necessarily either true or false?

Yes, but there’s no way to know which it is.

I know you can’t know it, but which do you believe it is?

I don’t believe anything about it.

Are there any statements you believe to be true or false?

Yes, obviously.

What is the difference between statements which you believe to be true or false, and statements which you don’t believe anything about?

I don’t know.

This dialog could be protracted, and it could have gone different directions at any point, but what’s the point



 (Dialog is a mostly Christian discussion group that meets once a month in Placentia, CA)
I thought this Dialog was gonna be a dog, but it wasn’t.  Perry pulled it off.  He actually made the concept of sola scriptura philosophically relevant – not to me of course, cause I’m beyond all that shit, but to the Christians.  He got them considering new concepts and thinking more clearly than when they arrived.  Anybody who makes Christians think more clearly is on my worthwhile persons list.
He also inadvertently gave me the opportunity to lay out some of my obviously right on stuff that theists would have learned decades ago, if they weren’t so afraid of their unjust God.  After Perry helped them tie themselves in irresolvable knots, I pointed out that the reason they are so screwed up is that they are trying to think and operate by conflicting principles – a malady common to all scripturalists.  I don’t have that problem because my epistemic and operational principles don’t conflict.  I hastily wrote down this list of 4.
1. Admit that you think what you actually think even when you think God doesn’t want you to think it.
2. Do what you think God wants you to do whether you want to do it or not.
3. Ask for correction every day.
4. No God worth serving would disapprove of this.
They could have rightly forced me to qualify #2, but they didn’t think fast enough, and agreed with all of it.
Perry then asked me what any of this had to do with sola scriptura. I then didn’t think fast enough and said, “Nothing”.  I should have said, “It makes sola scriptura irrelevant”.  But… woulda, shoulda, coulda.


Atheism is a religion like …
… bald is a hair color.
… not collecting stamps is a hobby.
… abstinence is a sex position.
… off is a TV channel.
… barefoot is a shoe.
… unemployed is a career.
Yada, yada. You get the idea.
All this is cute, but it’s not correct. Here’s correct:

Some terms have singular definitions; some terms don’t. Terms that don’t have singular definitions can have a range of popular definitions from broad to narrow. Unless a term is ambiguous, there is only one broadest definition of it. There are many narrower definitions depending on context and need for specificity.

Religion has a range of popular definitions. The broadest is “any worldview or set of ideas that is acted on”. (You don’t need to look it up; you can figure it out.) You can add qualifications to that definition to make it as narrow as you like. So can anyone else who wants to make it mean something else. If you try to make any definition the official one, you are just trying to sell a dogma.

Atheism originally had one definition: “belief that a God (or gods) doesn’t exist”. Actually that should have been called anti-theism, but unfortunately atheism (the term) caught on. Now many people have figured out that atheism can (or should) mean lacking belief in a deity, like asocial means non-social, not antisocial. A-privatives can mean lack as well as opposition. Of course there are counter-examples: Atypical means the same as anti-typical.

The effort to sell this new definition of atheism as the official one is just as futile as similar past efforts have been. In order to call atheism a religion or not a religion, both terms must be disambiguated.