I have dreamed of coming to Minnesota since I was twelve years old and fell in love with the epic “Weird Al” song “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota”:

And now I’ve been here (though not at the twine ball, sadly) having a blast at CONvergence since Thursday. I think my panel contributions on the theme of the Philosophy of Batman got across the points I was most passionate about related to that subject and seemed to be very well received. I hope to polish up and expand on those thoughts in future posts, so stay tuned. (Especially as I will be seeing Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Dark Knight Rises in the theater as part of the DKR premiere!

But most of all I have had a wonderful time getting to know some of my fellow bloggers face to face after communicating together for so long through the internet. It’s also been a serious treat to meet various Skepchicks, so many Freethought Blogs readers, and a surprising number of people who know Camels With Hammers. I only wish I had the time to blog something interesting for the new people I may have enticed to read the blog with my mesmerizing face to face salesmanship.

If you are one of those I talked into coming here this weekend, I hope you find “Weird Al’s” tribute to the biggest ball of twine as inspiring as I do and that you use the links in the sidebars to the right to explore the kind of thinking I normally do on this site. The “About Me” sidebar has a lot of links to interviews and key posts I’ve written that serve as excellent introductions to the site. The rest of the sidebar boxes feature articles from before I came to Freethought Blogs on a number of topics related to atheism, ethics, religion, and philosophy. But if you hate having to make choices (or get overwhelmed by so many options of things to read, then just read my post on “thinking according to scale”, if you would like to dive into my writing and get a sense of my philosophical approach to things. I think the point I make there is a really important one about the importance of not being reductionists and about appreciating the differences between levels of explanation and understanding and the relative integrity and independence each can be construed to have.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://irenedelse.wordpress.com irenedelse

    Uh, oh. YouTube link borked :(

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Thanks for the save!!

  • Ned Champlain

    Maybe he had a very large kitten

  • http://fathergriggs.wordpress.com Lord Griggs [Also, Fr.Griggs & Rabbi Griggs]

    Daniel, I would that you could vet my naturalist arguments. Here are two of my many blogs where they appear:
    http://ignosticmorgansblog.wordpress.com At this one, my article of May twenty-fourth tells against the coherency of God and in particularly of Yahweh.
    Besides my own original article in each, I re-blog mine from my other blogs or from other sites and re-blog other blogs with my responses. I do combine and permute my arguments.
    I recommend this blog,WEIT,Debunking Christianity, Evangelical Realism and Atheist Ethicist.

  • http://www.darwinharmless.com Darwin Harmless

    Dan: Really enjoyed hanging out with you at Convergence. Really enjoyed the conversation. Bummed out that I didn’t get the camera on you for comments for my talking heads documentary about attitudes to infant male circumcision but oh well.
    Loved the Weird Al song. Thanks for that. Time to make up for the sleep deprivation.

  • ecchymosis

    I believe Weird Al rhymes words with ‘soda’ more than any other artist.

  • ImaginesABeach

    I can’t imagine picking Minnesota as a highly desired destination, even with the big ball of twine out there in Darwin.

    • justsomeguy

      The twine ball is massive, though! Unfortunately, its title has needed to be amended at a few points in the past. No longer the largest ball of twine in the world, it’s the largest ball of natural twine built by one person.

      And if that doesn’t float your boat, you can always drive to Austin and visit the Spam Museum. Spam is delicious.

  • brenda

    Welcome to tropical Minnesota, the New South thanks to big oil.

    “Your thoughts?”

    If my friend comes to me with her new hairdo that she is obviously pleased with and asks me:

    “What do you think of it?”

    And if my thoughts are “That is the most hideous hair style I’ve ever seen.”

    Do I tell her the truth and possibly harm our friendship or do I lie?

    Are there objective rules that are either true or false that could tell me which is the correct answer to my above dilemma?

    If there are moral rules what is it that makes any moral judgment right or wrong?

    What is your evidence for that?

    Do moral facts exist?

    If they exist are they relative or absolute (true everywhere, for everyone, at every time)?

    That should be enough for now. :)

  • Ruth

    Dan, it was truly a delight to get to meet and talk with you at CONvergence. Getting a recap of your philosophy of Batman panel in the hall and then listening to you and ‘Batman’ discussing the merits of each movie and the different actors portrayals of the Dark Knight was a wonderful bit of surreal.

  • darwinharmless

    Dan, really enjoyed talking to you at Convergence. I was surprised that you are not familiar with Julia Sweeney’s “Letting go of God” I’m pretty sure this will resonate with you and your painful journey to atheism.


  • kjellfostervold

    Had a great time in Saint Cloud the other day, Dan! Some really great conversations–as well as the pizza! Thanks again for coming out to MN, we hope to see you again!