A Critique of Noble Lies And The "Theologies" They Create

In this long post, I begin by explaining Plato’s formulation of the concept of a noble lie for those unfamiliar with it and then I explain in detail numerous problems I see with employing noble lies and with attempts to persuade people through “theological” arguments. I think all theology is either an explicit or an [Read More...]

A Debate About The Wisdom of Trying To Deconvert People

Jaime: So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to debate the existence of God with religious believers… Kelly: Why would you do that? Jaime: Do what? Kelly: Debate the existence of God with religious believers. What’s the point in that? Jaime: What do you mean, “what’s the point?” We live in the [Read More...]

Judging Yourself Truthfully

One of the most important mental disciplines is to assess yourself honestly. We are so naturally susceptible to judging ourselves according to both the flattery of our admirers and of our own ego, on the one hand, and the disdain of our detractors and our own irrational fears, on the other. It takes a lot [Read More...]

Nietzsche: We Cannot "Selflessly" Investigate Morality

Nietzsche writes a lot of things which attack the ideal of selflessness. Yet he does not make any blanket call for an ideal of unmitigated, small-minded selfishness. He calls for certain kinds of self-concern and in some cases certain kinds of self-denial in the pursuit of higher purposes or higher ideals of self-cultivation. Rather than [Read More...]

Love Religious People (Tip 10 of 10 For Reaching Out To Religious Believers)

Top Ten Tips For Reaching Out To Religious Believers: 1. Don’t Call Religious Believers Stupid. 2. Make Believers Stay on Topic During Debates. 3. Don’t Tell Religious Believers What They “Really Believe”. 4. Clarify What Kinds of Evidence Warrant What Kinds of Beliefs. 5. Help Break The Spell Of Religious Reverence. 6. Don’t Demonize Religious [Read More...]

Nietzsche: "'Good' Is No Longer Good When One's Neighbor Mouths It"

I argued yesterday that Nietzsche believes that there are objective standards of value for assessing divergent moralities. In reply, Juno (of the blog Letters from Le Vrai) asks what I would make of Section 43 of Beyond Good and Evil which reads, in full, as follows: Are these coming philosophers new friends of “truth”? That is probable enough, for [Read More...]

Can Good Teaching Be Measured?

In recent posts I have been arguing that if only we interpret the word “good” to mean “effective” we can ground our discussions of values (moral and otherwise) in facts about effectivness. I argue that in that context we can have greater and lesser degrees of goodness, measurable in terms of greater or lesser degrees [Read More...]

Disambiguating Faith: How Religious Beliefs Become Specifically *Faith* Beliefs

Faith is the deliberate will to believe, in advance of all future evidence and investigation, what one perceives to be either unsupported by evidence or even outright undermined by evidence. In this way faith is essentially a matter of will and not just belief.  Simply having a belief that is unsupported or undermined by evidence [Read More...]

On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints

In a recent post, I wrote the following: Changing people’s minds to make them stop holding positions dogmatically and instead hold them tentatively is still a change of mind one may zealously pursue. On Facebook, Greg writes in reply: I want to address the peculiarity of this statement. One may passionately pursue such a change [Read More...]


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