Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The New Skeptic is so named because the authors are skeptical of contemporary attitudes towards politics, philosophy, art, manners, &c. We are also committed to truly free thought, not the kind of self-styled open-mindedness and free-thinking that replaces one body of dogma with another. The dogmatic atheist, who simply believes in atheism, humanism, materialism, &c. without making his own beliefs susceptible to criticism and correction if they are proven untenable, is exactly as disgustingly dogmatic and closed-minded as the worst religious fanatic of the Middle Ages. Free thought and healthy skepticism are not functions of a different set of beliefs but of an attitude of humility before truth, of examination of all opinions and facts, especially one's own, and of a desire to match opinions with truth. Engaging in a sophistical tearing-down of beliefs and opposition to truth is not intellectually honest skepticism, but a kind of game played with philosophy, using thought to destroy thought, and unworthy of anyone but an errant schoolboy.

Now, having established what a free-thinker ought to be, I can show you the exemplar of the dishonest and immature "free-thinker." A few quotes, to establish the issue:
Critics contend that "Missing Heaven," the book chosen for the new Chester County reading program, has faith in God as a central theme. At least two groups have voiced concerns about the choice, and county commissioners -- who first endorsed the selection -- have apologized, saying they had not read it and were not fully versed on the story line.
The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia and the Anti-Defamation League said that "Missing Heaven" and questions posed in an accompanying discussion guide have an inappropriately heavy focus on religion for a public library program.
The book may entangle (the county and the library) in a philosophical question that is best left in the family and the church.
Why is the "Freethought Society" so concerned with silencing any discussion of religion, and indeed trying to dissuade people from reading a book that uses religious themes? Are the "free-thinkers" frightened of opinions that do not match their own? Having rejected religion themselves (except, probably, an atheism so dogmatic as to count as a religion itself), they seek to interfere with others' coming to their own open-minded, freely-debated conclusions about religion.

How enlightened of them. Perhaps we should build a fire and burn these offensive books.

The final sin committed by the book might engage in a philosophical question! How very, very telling. The "free-thinkers" don't want anyone to debate a philosophical question, since it's best left to the family and the church...except, well, the "free-thinkers" themselves are becoming involved in the question already. They must know better, and they'll keep everyone else ignorant - for their own protection.

Is it clear who the real free-thinkers are?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home