Tuesday, May 1, 2018
I've been thinking about this for some time now. I think it's time to take a break. There's too much to do, and too little time to do it. I spend quite a lot of my time with this blog, and now other projects are pushing their way to the front. Whereas another writer might whip out a blog post in an hour, it takes me more time than that. Thinking about what topic to choose, gathering information about it, formulating the outline of a discussion or argument, and writing it up - these things typically take the better part of a day for me. And that is a serious disruption to my other pursuits, which end up being delayed or set aside.
I started out some years ago with a desire to know whether I was on the right track with respect to my own beliefs, particularly with regard to religious matters. I wanted to gain a more philosophical understanding of what I believed to be true. So I began to read and learn. And I didn't stick strictly to material that would confirm my beliefs. I wanted to know what opposing arguments there were, and whether those arguments could cause me to change my mind. I read books and perused various internet resources. And I started debating these issues with people who don't share my own views. And after all this time, I think I've explored this area - the various arguments and their philosophical basis - enough to satisfy myself that there are no major issues in my mind that remain to be examined. Not that I profess to have all the answers. Only a fool would do that. But I am satisfied that there is no killer argument still lurking out there, as yet unknown to me, that has the logical appeal to significantly change my beliefs in this area. I agree with Graham Oppy, who has systematically refuted just about every class of argument for belief in God. They are all bullshit. They all depend on logical flaws or assumptions that aren't justified on reasonable epistemological grounds.
In my explorations, what I found was somewhat eye-opening. There are people who allow evidence to influence their beliefs, and those who are ideologically attached to what they believe, and impervious to evidence and reason. They find lots of ways to rationalize those beliefs - sometimes quite ingenious tricks that serve to hide or deny the flaws in their thinking. And I don't lay this entirely on one side or the other in a game of us-against-them. We are all guilty of biased thinking. We all are subject to flaws in our analysis of the situation. It's just that a strong ideological bent (most notably religionism) tends to override any willingness one might have to set aside those biases. It is the antithesis of skepticism. It makes people want to read only books that confirm their beliefs and hang out in blogs that echo but never challenge those beliefs, where like-minded people pat each other on the back, and opposing viewpoints are shouted down.
You simply can't get anywhere in a discussion with people like that. You can point out logical flaws in their arguments, but it usually falls on deaf ears. There's really no point to it, except perhaps for someone listening to the exchange who might benefit from seeing another side of the issue. Even still, there are probably much better places to find reasoned debate and discussion. So the bottom line for me is that I really don't think I'm getting much accomplished that is useful. Writing an article and getting some feedback on it is a great way to learn something new and organize my thinking about a topic, but I'm not sure I'm doing much that would benefit the rest of the world. And I was never interested in having one of those echo chambers. Nor am I interested in carrying on a pointless shouting match with some troll who doesn't understand or otherwise won't respond to issues at hand.
When it comes to religion and matters of God-belief, I am somewhat played out. I find myself returning to some variation of the same topic matter again and again. There's nothing new. It gets to be rather mundane, when I have other things that seem much more interesting to me these days - much more worthwhile of occupying my time. There are things that I need to spend time on, and things that I want to spend time on. And more and more, I find that this isn't on the top of my list. It's bullshit.
I may post from time to time, but I'm not going to do it on a regular basis. I will continue to look for comments, and respond to them. I'm always willing to engage in a discussion. And of course, I might still show up elsewhere with a comment of my own from time to time. But right now, I have other things I need to get to.