Top 10 Questions from the Reason Rally Session

April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Thanks again, Levi Meeuwenberg and Scott Blair, for weighing in on questions of reason, knowledge, faith, and the search for truth, Also, thanks everyone who attended (in person and online), as well as to Aromas and the Good Work Collective for sponsoring us.  Thanks to all of your involvement; it was a splendid start to etcetera! You can watch the video here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22148006  

We received a lot of great questions during the audience Q and A.  Levi and Scott did not have time to answer all of them, so here are Tonight’s Top 10 Questions for further discussion.  Please feel free to weigh in on them yourself – we can keep the discussion going until next month!   (I’ll add  a few of the questions at at a time to the Facebook page, which is probably more interactive).  ________________________________________________________________________________________________

1) In reference to finding truth: are we always on a journey, or do we reach a destination?  And how do we know which is which?

2)How do you define “faith?”  And do you see see this faith as something that is opposed to or exists in addition to reason?

3) Is there truth to be found beyond the scope of science?  If so, how?

4) Many worldview, including atheism, see community as important. How does your worldview account for this universal longing for community and connection?

5) Scott, Levi, and Anthony talked about ways people seek knowledge and arrive at conclusions about the the world and our existence. All noted the importance of being able to honestly process evidence that is contrary to their worldview. What is your worldview, and what would it take to convince you that you were wrong?

6) Do we absolutely know that scientific rules always are and always will be consistent and predictable?

7) If we are always skeptical, does this imply we can never know any truth, or are there some we can embrace?

8. Does the ability of science to explore and explain the natural world necessarily suggest there is nothing else to be known or studied by methods other than science?

9) Should the fact that we are emotionally attached to, or desire something, automatically mean we should discontinue the search or discount the evidence?  In other words, must objectivity be divorced from desire?

10) If evolution has developed a brain that accept things as true in order to aid in survival, by what method do we discern between things that we think are true vs. things that actually are true?

Philosophy Quotes – A Brief Primer

April 10, 2012 in slideshow, Uncategorized

In preparation for our April 26th meeting, here are some quotes about philosophy and the quest for truth from a variety of perspectives. I would encourage you to do your own research, not just from the perspective to which you are inclined, but also from the perspective of others with whom you disagree.  Socrates noted the importance of knowing ourselves; knowing others is perhaps equally important.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Philosophy is “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” – The Oxford Dictionary

“The philosopher is above all one who believes that by understanding the world, by understanding ourselves and others as far as our intelligence permits, we shall succeed in overcoming fear, through clear-sightedness rather than blind faith. In other words, if religions can be defined as ‘doctrines of salvation,’ the great philosophies can also be defined as doctrines of salvation (but without the help of God)…Philosophy wants us to get ourselves our of trouble by utilizing our own resources, by means of reason alone, with boldness and assurance.…Ultimately, to philosophize…is to prefer lucidity to comfort, freedom rather than faith.”   Luc Ferry, “What is Philosopy,” in A Brief History of Thought.

“Most notably, philosophy concerns issues which for one reason or another have not lent themselves to scientific investigation… Cosmology (such as whether the universe has a beginning in time and whether it is infinite in extent) used to be regarded as philosophical because there didn’t seem to be any way to settle them empirically; now, however, they are thought of more as belonging to physics, and empirically supported answers have been offered. In other cases, however, such as ethics, it seems plausible that the issues are not even in principle empirical ones. We can use this insight to construct an attempt at a definition of philosophy. Philosophy is  the attempt to acquire knowledge by rational means about topics that do not seem amenable to empirical investigation.’  - Curtis Brown

“Philosophy is an academic discipline that exercises reason and logic in an attempt to understand reality and answer fundamental questions about knowledge, life, morality and human nature... Before answering a question, the philosopher thoroughly analyzes it to ensure it is clearly and properly defined. This helps narrow the path to the most precise answer. Next, the philosopher proposes possible answers to the question and provides reasoned arguments to support each one. The arguments are then critiqued by other philosophers, who may give rebuttals. Through this process of criticism and judgment, known as dialectic, philosophers attempt to prove the rationality of their beliefs and discover fundamental truths.”  - What is Philosophy.net Read the rest of this entry →

A Primer on Reason, Faith, and Truth

April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

In preparation for our April 26th meeting, here are some links discussing the Reason Rally (pro and con), as well as some links for the question of how people believe we can discover truth.

The Reason Rally

 

Some links for the general topics of truth, knowledge, reason and faith.

April 26: The Role of Reason in the Pursuit of Truth

March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

On Saturday, March 24, thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC for the Reason Rally.  According to their website, the intent was to “emphasize the connection between atheism (and its championing of evidence and reason) and science.” One video proclaimed the commitment to  ”the scientific method as the route to understanding.”  This event was intended to encourage atheist and freethinkers to boldly proclaim their commitment to science, empiricism, and reason as the only way to understand facts about the world. 

There were critics, of course. According to their website, one can be Read the rest of this entry →