Re: Church and State

From: John W Burgeson <>
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 12:46:15 EDT

I had written: "Even "local atheists" are entitled to free speech of
course. As are gov't officials, religious or not. That debate needs to
be joined on that basis."

David commented: "I agree; however, I find it highly hypocritical that
these particular individuals are using their free speech to protest the
freedom of speech of others."

Quite so. Using one's rights (and free speech I a right) to prevent
others from using theirs is an interesting phenomenon. Self-defeating, in
a sense. It reminds me of david Ray Griffin's observation on some
scientists. In his book RELIGIOUS NATURALISM, he says that we have some
"hard common sense" (i.e. non-negotiable) beliefs about ourselves, which
we presuppose in practice. Among these are:

 1. We have conscious experience
2. We have at least partial free will
3. Our free will can act on the body, therefore
4. We have at least a degree of responsibility for our bodily actions

While there are those, such as Searle, Crick, and Skinner, who argue that
science has proven false one or more of these ideas. Griffin effectively
rebuts them, arguing that if one eliminates a belief in the reality,
self-determination and causal efficacy of conscious experience, the
belief still remains, because as much as one may deny these beliefs
verbally, he will continue to assume them. If a speaker tells you that
you should eliminate beliefs in these three things, he must necessarily
assume that:

 (1) you can understand what he is saying,
(2) you can freely choose, or reject, his advice, and
(3) you can freely choose, in the future, to tell others of it.

To deny this is irrational, it is a "performative self contradiction."

I like that term. It applies to the people you spoke of.


Ubi Caritas

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Received on Wed May 26 13:14:11 2004

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