"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wTuesday, February 22, 2005

PLEASE DON'T LET ME BE...: Colby Cosh is a careful reader and he about half picked up on something in my criticism of Will Wilkinson's arguments for why belief = delusion. Cosh replied that in our discussion of "the Orwellian idea that the revealed preferences of Christians are incompatible with a genuine belief in a just Christian God, or in hell," Wilkinson's way of framing the notion was "less than ideal," [I'll say! -- ed.] but then Cosh turned around and accused me of thinking that I could "refute it by calling it 'obtuse' often enough." He continued:

It requires an "imaginative leap", apparently, to understand why modern Christians are so poor at avoiding sin. Fair enough, but what would that great cleric, William of Ockham, advise us? Orwell's explanation -- that Christians feel obliged to profess beliefs they won't act on, and therefore don't "hold" in any serious sense -- requires no acrobatics at all. I am surprised to hear Lott argue that there is no issue here; the response one would expect from a serious Christian is that there is in fact something to Orwell's point. Instead he cites the earnestness of his atheist friends, on unclear grounds, as evidence of their insincerity. I'm not sure how it works, but apparently we're not hypocritical enough to convince him that our beliefs are sincere.

But here's the thing, I never argued with Orwell, nor did I call him obtuse. What I did was lay out the history of the argument so that people could have some idea what the hell Wilkinson and yours truly were talking about.

posted by Jeremy at 11:01 PM