Apologia for Voice of Reason

Let me do a Voltaire here for Voice of Reason, Longrider and The Nameless Libertarian.   Apologia here is being used in the formal sense.

The issue we had in that notorious post and the earlier one of AKH was that of manner.  Though my position was obviously closer to Libertarian lost in Scotland, I didn’t like the way the debate went at all and I really must spring to the defence of those gentlemen in the first paragraph.  If you can get it away from the topic of Christianity, even for a second, if you waded back through the posts and comments, it would be obvious that I agree with and defend their positions on many issues.

What we have here today is a divide and rule agenda.  Now we could argue the toss over this as to who the guilty party[ies] is/are but I think it’s those who wish to divide and rule in the society.  So their men in the church, backed by money, take out a series of bus adverts deliberately designed to p*** off most people and cast gays as victims of the church.  That way, the PTB get the natural resentment of people over the 6% dictating to the 94%, together with a whole lot of free Christian bashing by those who can’t distinguish between agents-provocateurs and the majority of quiet believers but go by the diktat “religions cause all wars”.

I’ve much to say about that and no doubt VofR would have much to say in reply but what is being lost here is that he is a most reasonable guy on so many issues, his post itself was reasonable [apart from certain assumptions IMHO] and the bottom line is that he’s genuine.  So is LR, so is TNL.  So I’m going to throw my lot in and defend these guys.  I’d rather have a thousand guys like that who speak from the heart and with no beg pardons – and many of you don’t know LR outside of the blog but he’s a really nice guy – than one troll [and no, I’m not including LliS here] who was stating something I might believe in.

Is that just being contrary?

Look, we are in great danger of liberty being lost – it’s everywhere.  We have differences over various issues but we don’t have differences over liberty here and every single move the PTB make should be opposed by all of us.  We really much watch this divide and rule business too.  I’d rather concede a dozen arguments on Christianity in order to preserve the confederacy of liberty protecting people against the PTB’s agenda because we need to get our priorities in order.

I mean, who cares if G-d exists or not?  If He does, then He’s a big enough boy to look after Himself.  Sure I’ll still put together that post on it as a debating point – that refusing to acknowledge your main defence is lunacy – but if it descends into divide and rule again, I shan’t.  It’s of vastly more importance for us, at this worrying time, to stymie the countless nasty little moves in vilifying and marginalizing freedom than to push one dogmatic line on either side [and it is on both sides too].

Chuckles said that in his field of engineering, the way they solve issues is to throw all points of view onto the table and thrash out a solution, rather than go  away and write defences of positions and put them in learned journals.  I agree with the former, though I’m schooled in the latter.  We hoped that that was what OoL would do – allow all the points of view to be put and readers can draw conclusions from that.  We didn’t want a “party line” or even the one sort of person writing.  And speaking for myself here – I’m loathe to delete, even if you say I’m talking s***.  Readers can make their own minds up on that – they’re big boys and girls too.

From that, there’ll be a certain heat but that’s better than the bland nothingness of the Monty Python “yes, we’re all individuals” mentality.  That’s also why the rules of the debate must preclude direct ad hominem, if only to allow the debate to go on, on the issue and not get sidetracked into something else.  There’s a big difference between “no, that’s rubbish, you’re talking s*** on this” to “you are s***”.  Huge difference.

And I’m going to say, here and now that I’d much rather have a pleasant drink with VofR, LR and TNL than with so many so-called Christians [who aren’t at all] or Dawkins devotees.

9 comments for “Apologia for Voice of Reason

  1. April 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    James, I’ve kind of responded in a post in response to your Becher’s Brook post.

    The issue here is quality of debate. Listening properly to what is said and responding to that, not a misinterpretation of it.

    While some may find it frustration, I will not defend a strawman and I will always respond negatively to boorish behaviour.

  2. April 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I did watch the emerging thread on the “Virulent Religion” post with interest; at one point I thought about getting involved but didn’t (mainly because life is too short for that sort of thing). And I would say that there is a clear difference between the level of debate on that thread and on the one on the AK Haart post. Because while our debate was certainly passionate and at times testy (and I will certainly concede that some of the testiness came from my good self) it was far more productive, interesting and reasonable than the sort of level LLIS was debating at.

    For me, I always try to play the ball and not the man when it comes to that sort of debate. Yeah, we all feel passionately about it, and while I may feel you are wrong on certain points, that doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to insult you as a person for making those points.

    As always, the problem isn’t people who disagree on certain issues, but the zealots of all stripes who want to silence those with whom they do not agree.

    • April 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Testy – good description. Testy is okay. Logical fallacy, temper tantrums, demands and misrepresentation is not.

  3. Greg Tingey
    April 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Sorry but.
    Religion kills
    Religion tortures
    Worst of all, religion LIES, and lies to children, who are then brainwashed.
    And what’s wrong with Dawkins, anyway?
    Don’t like the truth of his statements? Tough.

    If there is a BigSkyFairy, why isn’t he/she/it/they detectable?

    • David A. Evans
      April 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      People kill! End of!

      What’s wrong with Dawkins?

      He’s a religious atheist!


    • April 16, 2012 at 5:46 am

      As David has said, it is people who kill, and they do so in the name not only of religion but also in the name of secular faiths such as Marxism, Stalinism and fascism. As I’ve said elsewhere, the problem is not religion, faith or ideology but unreasoned dogmatic absolutism.

      I can only speak for myself, but the problem I have with Dawkins is twofold. Firstly, I am not convinced by the terms in which he conducts his debate with religious followers. Call me a pragmatist, but I really cannot see him winning over many converts by referring to their belief system as delusional. But the second, and far more fundamental problem I have is that he is looking for converts in the first place. He is a secular evangelical, looking for everyone to agree with him and adopt his way of thinking. As a libertarian, I feel far more comfortable allowing people to believe whatever they want as long as they leave me the hell alone. And religious, ideological and atheistic evangelicals steadfastedly refuse to do that, which is why they tend to get on my nerves.

      I also think that our old friend the law of diminishing returns is with us now, and unlikely to go away. Neither side of this debate on religion (which is now spreading across three posts) is likely to budge, and the tone has long since become foul enough to put off casual readers who might want to engage with the issues raised. I’m perfectly happy to leave it at what has already been said – not least because I’m pretty sure that nothing new is going to be said in the near future.

  4. Voice of Reason
    April 16, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Just a quick couple of comments:

    1. While it’s not true, I could well be posting from a maximum security prison. I believe I’m a nice guy, but that’s for others to judge.
    2. I have met Dawkins, and he is also a genuinely nice man, passionate about his view of the world. The appearance of outspoken atheists like him and Sam Harris are absolutely inevitable, given some of the virulent aspects of modern Christian and Aislamic fundamentalism.

  5. April 16, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Have a lovely day, lads.

    • April 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Ta. I’m waiting to see if we get any unwanted visitors from Norwich today 😉

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