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The ability to think, reason and discuss


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Guest Paul

In his superb new book, The Secular Conscience, my friend Austin Dacey writes: “This is the story of a good idea gone bad. The good idea is that matters of conscience – religion, ethics, and values – are to be left to individuals to decide, free from interference or coercion by government. The idea helped make possible the open, secular society. Here’s how it goes bad. Matters of conscience are up to us, so they can amount to no more than subjective preferences. As such, they cannot be critically discussed by others who do not share them. Conscience is personal, so politeness and civility forbid bringing it up in public. Call this the Privacy Fallacy. Conscience is free, so it must be liberated from shared objective standards of rightness and truth. Call this the Liberty Fallacy. The result of these misconceptions about privacy and freedom is a culture unwilling or unable to sustain a real public conversation about religion, ethics, and values. What culture can survive without that conversation?

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1591026040/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link, emphasis added)

Like me, Prof. Dacey believes that an advanced culture cannot remain free and is not likely to thrive under those conditions. One interesting point (among many) about Dacey’s argument is that although the religious and political right have been arguing for an identifiable set of concrete values for as long as I can remember, they refuse to put certain aspects of their own orthodoxy on the table for discussion. “How dare you criticize, or even question, my belief in Jesus” or “How dare you question what the American flag represents or reciting a pledge of allegiance signifies?” A similar point could be made about many communities on the left.

Also like Prof. Dacey, I believe that the human person is what merits respect. For us, not discussing a point of disagreement is not respect. Respect is holding each of our fellows to the same standard to which we hold ourselves, and discussing disagreements openly, honestly and as intelligently as our abilities will allow. (Listen to the brief segment from Dr. Dacey’s interview under customer Len Nobs’ customer review at http://www.amazon.com/review/product/15910...owViewpoints=1).

More than a generation of right-wing talk show hosts and the progressive deterioration of the media into a delivery system for entertainment and other forms of instant gratification have further debased our ability as a nation and a people to function as a democracy. We have become a nation of people who worship our own immediate wants instead of the long-term common good, polarized by the rise of political parties and interest groups that have lined up on both sides and virtually unable to think clearly, let alone carry on a reasoned discussion about matters of common concern. This is a sure formula for the undoing of democracy and the decline of our culture.

So I post here to open Dr. Dacey’s thesis for discussion. I invite all participants to seek out a balanced, reasoned and nuanced position, in keeping with Dr. Dacey’s thesis. I wonder whether we can.

On this forum, perhaps nothing is so prevalent as the complete unwillingness of participants from the extreme right to acknowledge another person's point of view, much less discuss it in a civilized and intelligent manner. I am posting this on another forum, and will be fascinated to see what course it takes there, as compared to here.

“If you’re living in a free society and you’re not offended at least once a day, there must be something wrong with you.” (Wendy Kaminer)

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Guest Guest
In his superb new book, The Secular Conscience, my friend Austin Dacey writes: “This is the story of a good idea gone bad. The good idea is that matters of conscience – religion, ethics, and values – are to be left to individuals to decide, free from interference or coercion by government. The idea helped make possible the open, secular society. Here’s how it goes bad. Matters of conscience are up to us, so they can amount to no more than subjective preferences. As such, they cannot be critically discussed by others who do not share them. Conscience is personal, so politeness and civility forbid bringing it up in public. Call this the Privacy Fallacy. Conscience is free, so it must be liberated from shared objective standards of rightness and truth. Call this the Liberty Fallacy. The result of these misconceptions about privacy and freedom is a culture unwilling or unable to sustain a real public conversation about religion, ethics, and values. What culture can survive without that conversation?

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1591026040/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link, emphasis added)

Like me, Prof. Dacey believes that an advanced culture cannot remain free and is not likely to thrive under those conditions. One interesting point (among many) about Dacey’s argument is that although the religious and political right have been arguing for an identifiable set of concrete values for as long as I can remember, they refuse to put certain aspects of their own orthodoxy on the table for discussion. “How dare you criticize, or even question, my belief in Jesus” or “How dare you question what the American flag represents or reciting a pledge of allegiance signifies?” A similar point could be made about many communities on the left.

Also like Prof. Dacey, I believe that the human person is what merits respect. For us, not discussing a point of disagreement is not respect. Respect is holding each of our fellows to the same standard to which we hold ourselves, and discussing disagreements openly, honestly and as intelligently as our abilities will allow. (Listen to the brief segment from Dr. Dacey’s interview under customer Len Nobs’ customer review at http://www.amazon.com/review/product/15910...owViewpoints=1).

More than a generation of right-wing talk show hosts and the progressive deterioration of the media into a delivery system for entertainment and other forms of instant gratification have further debased our ability as a nation and a people to function as a democracy. We have become a nation of people who worship our own immediate wants instead of the long-term common good, polarized by the rise of political parties and interest groups that have lined up on both sides and virtually unable to think clearly, let alone carry on a reasoned discussion about matters of common concern. This is a sure formula for the undoing of democracy and the decline of our culture.

So I post here to open Dr. Dacey’s thesis for discussion. I invite all participants to seek out a balanced, reasoned and nuanced position, in keeping with Dr. Dacey’s thesis. I wonder whether we can.

On this forum, perhaps nothing is so prevalent as the complete unwillingness of participants from the extreme right to acknowledge another person's point of view, much less discuss it in a civilized and intelligent manner. I am posting this on another forum, and will be fascinated to see what course it takes there, as compared to here.

“If you’re living in a free society and you’re not offended at least once a day, there must be something wrong with you.” (Wendy Kaminer)

When I was growing up in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, no respectable newsman or public figure would have argued that citizens should vote for their own selfish short-term interests. Now it's a matter of course.

The point I get from the quotation is that people think they are entitled to believe and say whatever they want, and no should question them. It's true. I've seen this happening more and more.

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Guest 2smart4u
In his superb new book, The Secular Conscience, my friend Austin Dacey writes: “This is the story of a good idea gone bad. The good idea is that matters of conscience – religion, ethics, and values – are to be left to individuals to decide, free from interference or coercion by government. The idea helped make possible the open, secular society. Here’s how it goes bad. Matters of conscience are up to us, so they can amount to no more than subjective preferences. As such, they cannot be critically discussed by others who do not share them. Conscience is personal, so politeness and civility forbid bringing it up in public. Call this the Privacy Fallacy. Conscience is free, so it must be liberated from shared objective standards of rightness and truth. Call this the Liberty Fallacy. The result of these misconceptions about privacy and freedom is a culture unwilling or unable to sustain a real public conversation about religion, ethics, and values. What culture can survive without that conversation?

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1591026040/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link, emphasis added)

Like me, Prof. Dacey believes that an advanced culture cannot remain free and is not likely to thrive under those conditions. One interesting point (among many) about Dacey’s argument is that although the religious and political right have been arguing for an identifiable set of concrete values for as long as I can remember, they refuse to put certain aspects of their own orthodoxy on the table for discussion. “How dare you criticize, or even question, my belief in Jesus” or “How dare you question what the American flag represents or reciting a pledge of allegiance signifies?” A similar point could be made about many communities on the left.

Also like Prof. Dacey, I believe that the human person is what merits respect. For us, not discussing a point of disagreement is not respect. Respect is holding each of our fellows to the same standard to which we hold ourselves, and discussing disagreements openly, honestly and as intelligently as our abilities will allow. (Listen to the brief segment from Dr. Dacey’s interview under customer Len Nobs’ customer review at http://www.amazon.com/review/product/15910...owViewpoints=1).

More than a generation of right-wing talk show hosts and the progressive deterioration of the media into a delivery system for entertainment and other forms of instant gratification have further debased our ability as a nation and a people to function as a democracy. We have become a nation of people who worship our own immediate wants instead of the long-term common good, polarized by the rise of political parties and interest groups that have lined up on both sides and virtually unable to think clearly, let alone carry on a reasoned discussion about matters of common concern. This is a sure formula for the undoing of democracy and the decline of our culture.

So I post here to open Dr. Dacey’s thesis for discussion. I invite all participants to seek out a balanced, reasoned and nuanced position, in keeping with Dr. Dacey’s thesis. I wonder whether we can.

On this forum, perhaps nothing is so prevalent as the complete unwillingness of participants from the extreme right to acknowledge another person's point of view, much less discuss it in a civilized and intelligent manner. I am posting this on another forum, and will be fascinated to see what course it takes there, as compared to here.

“If you’re living in a free society and you’re not offended at least once a day, there must be something wrong with you.” (Wendy Kaminer)

Reading a book penned by a loony left atheist is not high on my to-do list.

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Guest 2smart4u
When I was growing up in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, no respectable newsman or public figure would have argued that citizens should vote for their own selfish short-term interests. Now it's a matter of course.

The point I get from the quotation is that people think they are entitled to believe and say whatever they want, and no should question them. It's true. I've seen this happening more and more.

You do realize you're describing the loony left, of which Paul is a proud member.

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