A response to those who claim offense

(A fitting poster for this post…)

It’s often the case that people are quick to respond to content or people they happen to disagree with with a ‘sit down and shut up’ mentality in which they believe that certain ideas just shouldn’t be discussed. Is this an appropriate attitude to have? In a pluralistic society, I argue, claiming offense and objecting to content — simply because you happen not to like it — is unacceptable and immature.

Throughout my ‘career’ as a ‘professional atheist’ [a label, expressed with derision, that WILK Newsradio host Steve Corbett used to dismissively refer to me on a recent episode of his radio show] many people — no matter how mild my tone is or how much I write that persons should not interpret disagreement as disrespect — claim that my work is offensive. Some people even go so far as to assert that I should cease publishing content, criticizing religious ideas, and simply just ‘sit down and shut up.’ I’ve posted several responses to these concerns in the past, but wish to, in this post, hopefully put this issue of offense and objections to my work to rest.

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Philosophers Gregory Bassham, David Albert critique Lawrence Krauss’ ideas

Dr. Gregory Bassham, chair of the philosophy department at King's College in Pennsylvania


Lawrence Krauss’ recent presentation at American Atheists’ 2012 convention has drawn the ire of philosophers and philosophically-minded persons who take contention not only with what Krauss refers to as ‘nothing’ in his recent book “A Universe From Nothing,” but also with his comments concerning philosophy.


Krauss, in his presentation, asserted that “philosophy is the field that hasn’t progressed in 2000 years whereas science has” and insisted this his definition of ‘nothing’ is correct while saying that philosophers “don’t understand.” Krauss also noted, “…what we mean by something and nothing has completely changed since the time the classical philosophers and theologians first raised the issue. This is an idea I can’t seem to explain to philosophers and theologians.”

Dr. Gregory Bassham — Chair and Professor of Philosophy at King’s College in Pennsylvania whose areas of specialization are popular culture and philosophy, philosophy of law and critical thinking — comments for this article.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Philosophers Gregory Bassham, David Albert critique Lawrence Krauss’ ideas – Scranton Atheism | Examiner.com

A response to Lawrence Krauss’ comments denigrating philosophy at American Atheists’ 2012 convention

 

Lawrence Krauss’ speech at American Atheists’ 2012 national convention

Lawrence Krauss is quite a prolific figure in and outside of the secular community. For readers who may not be familiar, Krauss recieved a Ph.D. from MIT, is the Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Initiative, and is the Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative at Arizona State University. With these honors that are just a small portion of his impressive CV, I expect a great deal from Krauss and certainly would not expect him to denigrate philosophy and philosophers during his speech at American Atheists’ 2012 convention which I had attended, but I was tremendously disappointed … even though it might have been the case that he may have been angry or ‘in a bad mood’ (I’ll get into the anger issue toward the bottom of the post).

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PowerPoint: “Perception is Reality: A skeptical viewpoint”


You might have heard or perhaps endorsed (!) some ideas regarding the nature of truth. Perhaps you believe that all truth is relative, individuals create their own realities, or what people believe is ‘true for them.’ The phrase ‘perception is reality’ is often mentioned by many, but there’s often — as far as I’ve experienced in casual conversations with the ‘philosophically unwashed’ or perhaps people who aren’t thinking very critically — a large misunderstanding surrounding this phrase that seems to lead people to accept conclusions about the nature of truth this is, unfortunately, profoundly unreasonable.

The “Atheists.” bus ad controversy is a free speech issue, not a religious argument

Arguments regarding the truth value of religious claims have entered the controversy surrounding the “Atheists.” bus ad (see comments here) and some atheists in the comments section of the linked Times-Tribune article have taken the bait from some religious commenters who have levied personal attacks against atheists or otherwise have argued that there is good reason to believe that the Christian god exists. While I relish debates/discussions regarding the truth-value of religious claims [and have participated in a live recorded formal “Does the Christian god exist?” debate myself], view these discussions as very important, and encourage others to participate in said discussions, let us not be distracted from what the real issue is here surrounding COLTS: freedom of speech.