Answer this question: What would it take for you to lose your faith?
Do we agree on what the word "faith" means? Do you know what my "faith" is, yet?pb
(Taken aback by the socially-minimalistic character of the question, I gulp, and reply.)
If the reasons I believe in God, and in Jesus Christ (or, say, that Io has active volcanoes), proved mistaken, and none better were forthcoming, then I think I would have little intellectual right to hold those beliefs any longer. But it is the very nature and grounds of faith, that I propose to debate.
I even find this description of his methods: "All the characteristics you desire in your interlocutor you should display in your own actions: attentive listening, the openness to revise beliefs, respect, and patience, among others. This will lead to more honest and genuine conversations. According to Boghossian,
From all evaluations (almost literally), it seems Boghossian is a talented teacher, though. Students rave over his passion, knowledge, and dialectical brilliance. (Whether or not it be on display above.)
Those sorts of authentic interactions, that’s when you have the possibility to make change. When you yourself are willing to make changes in yourself. And hey, look, you should always be open to the idea that someone knows something you don’t know. That’s what epistemic humility is. That’s just what being humble is."Maybe I caught Peter on a bad day. Perhaps, as with Negy, he is merely giving advise he wants his students to follow, while he himself prefers to be dogmatic and rude. Or perhaps, as with many of us, pet peeves drive the reason out of the man. Indeed, one student writes:
His heroes: Dawkins, Habermas, James Randy, Dennett, Pinker, Hitchens, Socrates, Darwin, D. Davidson, Wittgenstein. His hitlist: Postmodernism, pseudoscience, religion, superstition, mysticism, fascism/totalitarianism, Sarah Palin. This class will give you an opportunity to live a life free of illusion.
Note that three of the "Four Horsemen" appear here: I wonder will Sam Harris feel slighted? Also, would Socrates fully appreciate this strange company into which he's cast, here?
And how do fascism / totalitarianism wind up next to the name of a housewife from Wassila, Alaska, who took on Big Oil and spent a couple years in a nice white house on the hillside above downtown Juneau? What was Sarah Palin's crime, exactly? Did she put cariboo in concentration camps?
Anyway, here's another "godless professor" (Dennett's term) apparently using his lectern as a bully pulpit to browbeat young pups out of their faith.
Bogghosian also gives an inane definition of "faith," a purely "straw man" definition like those many New Atheists use to avoid careful confrontation with objects in the real world:
“Pretending to know things you don’t know”.
Too bad Peter declined the debate. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the conversation, or even that I could have equalled his rhetorical skills. But it might do him good to argue with someone his own age, who knows what Christians really think, can talk back, and won't be getting a grade from him at the end of the semester.
Ironic new tidbit: A reader points out that Boghossian chastizes his critics for refusing to debate!
It's interesting—every time I've had a talk cancelled, I've challenged the people who cancelled it to a debate... and no one has accepted yet. If I were to debate somebody, and they could show me that there's really good evidence... that faith really is a reliable guide to reality, that would be fantastic. Then I'll be their voice. I'll be the voice of faith.
The reader adds, "But when you called his bluff, he refused to debate you."
That's because I couldn't,answer his riddles correctly, showing I had no right to be ferried across the underground lake to the secret portal that leads out of the Misty Mountains, and must be clubbed over the head and left for the orcs to finish off. Hopeful note: It appears that debates with more reasonable opponents will be forthcoming, however.