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[I]f you want to *reason* about faith, and offer a reasoned (and reason-responsive) defense of faith as an extra category of belief worthy of special consideration, I'm eager to [participate]. I certainly grant the existence of the phenomenom of faith; what I want to see is a reasoned ground for taking faith as a *way of getting to the truth*, and not, say, just as a way people comfort themselves and each other (a worthy function that I do take seriously). But you must not expect me to go along with your defense of faith as a path to truth if at any point you appeal to the very dispensation you are supposedly trying to justify. Before you appeal to faith when reason has you backed into a corner, think about whether you really want to abandon reason when reason is on your side. You are sightseeing with a loved one in a foreign land, and your loved one is brutally murdered in front of your eyes. At the trial it turns out that in this land friends of the accused may be called as witnesses for the defense, testifying about their faith in his innocence. You watch the parade of his moist-eyed friends, obviously sincere, proudly proclaiming their undying faith in the innocence of the man you saw commit the terrible deed. The judge listens intently and respectfully, obviously more moved by this outpouring than by all the evidence presented by the prosecution. Is this not a nightmare? Would you be willing to live in such a land? Or would you be willing to be operated on by a surgeon you tells you that whenever a little voice in him tells him to disregard his medical training, he listens to the little voice? I know it passes in polite company to let people have it both ways, and under most circumstances I wholeheartedly cooperate with this benign agreement. But we're seriously trying to get at the truth here, and if you think that this common but unspoken understanding about faith is anything better than socially useful obfuscation to avoid mutual embarrassment and loss of face, you have either seen much more deeply into the issue that any philosopher ever has (for none has ever come up with a good defense of this) or you are kidding yourself.
Daniel C. Dennett
_Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ (1995) Delete Comment

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At 12:39pm on September 19, 2008, Jerome said…
Awesome to such a close neighbor here! I did a stint at Bevill myself. Just to let you know, since you live close to and will soon be in Florence, I've been to two meetings of Micah's group, and they're a pretty good bunch of folks.

Anyway, it's cool knowing there's at least one clear headed person in 40 mile radius!
At 9:03am on August 8, 2008, Micah said…
Hello jynxhaste! It is always good to find another Alabama Atheist.

There is a group for Alabama Atheists on A/N. Please feel free to join us and weather out your year living in the middle of the Bible Belt.

If I have met Jerome on here and he is in Hamilton, which is not too far from you.

Also, you might be interested in my group. I have a social group for atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers in Florence, AL. We have events on weekends and our monthly meeting is a Sunday Lunch at 11:00 AM on the 3rd Sunday of every month. I do realize that it is a bit of a drive to Florence, but still I extend the invitation.

For more information on Florence United Nontheists, please join our meetup page.

Please contact me if you have any questions about these groups.

Best regards,

Micah Cochran
Organizer, Florence United Nontheists
Assistant Organizer, North Alabama Freethought Association



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