Ethics of Metaphysics
Gear Change

Second Anniversary

Bdaycake2years Sunday is the second anniversary of Only a Game. It's fitting that we celebrate this with an unexpected flurry of posts and comments, a revisiting of the kind of games-and-narrative arguments that Corvus and I enjoyed back at the beginning, and a weighty post about metaphysics and ethics that wonderfully encapsulates where my philosophy is at the moment.

To all my players, thank you for being part of Only a Game - there could be no game without you!


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Happy day!

I was going to post this comment on your last post about not having read Dawkins' book, but thought it would go better here.

I am similarly conflicted about Dawkins' book. I've read enough secondary material by people whose judgement I trust to convince me that I'd profoundly dislike it if I read it.

My life experience to date has taught me that engaging with that sort of stuff is rarely edifying for anyone. There's that philosophical/academic tradition of respectful discourse that requires one to engage with the best arguments that one's opponent has put forward - or indeed *would have* put forward had they had the time. If someone is clearly determined not to play that game, you can't make them. (You both get covered in mud and the pig enjoys it, as the secular parable has it.)

If I were a theist I'd leave Dawkins entirely and concentrate on better arguments.

Alas, as an atheist, I feel some responsibility to take him on and present the better form of the valid points that he has (or rather, appears to me second-hand to have) muddled and muddied.

I really do worry that the moderates are being crowded out of the entire debate, which then of course becomes nothing but a shouting match. Which makes for great media, so the moderates get less airing, and the cycle intensifies.

So a huge measure of thanks to you, for providing a fascinating and thougtful oasis of constructive engagement, reflection and discussion in an area not currently notable for it. All this and games too!

A very happy birthday, and fervent wishes for many more from one very satisfied occasional player.

A very happy birthday and again sincere thanks for the great wealth of intellectual discourse and discussion that this site has brought into my daily life since joining the proud cadre of OAG regulars. Here's to many more fine years!

Happy blogday. I remember celebrating mine by dropping two tabs of a lit ol' something.

Hehehe - not many things I can think of come in tabs :-D

Many Happy Returns to the OAGer. Here's to plenty more.

Congratulations on Only a Game longevity! Luckily for us, it's great to see you keep updating it consistently.

Take care!

Happy birthday!

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone!


Michael: I appreciate you sharing your view here, and I agree with what you are saying.

I find it interesting that as an atheist you feel obligated to tackle Dawkins - this shows a kind of responsibility the world could use more of, in my opinion. If the atheist moderates tackled the atheist extremists, and the theist moderates tackled the theistic extremists, we might make some progress! :) (My own belief system doesn't necessarily simplify to 'theist', but it certainly doesn't simplify to 'atheist').

As you say, there is a problem here of moderates being crowded out of the discussion - and you cite the media effect as the reason, which I feel is astutely observed. This raises the question: does the media presentation also distort the seriousness of the issues? This is harder to judge.

Irreligious atheists (Sam Harris et al) accuse moderate or liberal religious people of providing cover to extremists by objecting to criticisms aimed at religion. There are two problems with this assessment: firstly, it presumes that the religion *is* the root of the problem, which is in not decisively manifest, and secondly, it ignores the parallel situation with atheist extremists. I'm forever pointing to the Tamil Tigers, but it can't be helped. If an atheist organisation uses more suicide bombers than anyone else, the first claim is dubious and the second issue worthy of more attention.

We are desperately short of intelligent discourse on these topics in the media, perhaps because the media craves sensation and this drive exceeds its social responsibility. I wonder what, if anything, can be done about it?

Best wishes!

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