Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Black Sun Journal

I still love it every time I am cruising about the net, going from blog to blog, reading comments and coming across a link that for whatever reason, in a moment of spontaneity, I click on and arrive at something a like this article entitled "Atheist ‘Metaphysics’ and Religious Equivocation".

I might never have become of aware of a blog (out of the millions) called Black Sun Journal. I almost didn't anyway. I was reading an excellent post over at Why Don't You Blog that included a comment with a link that sounded interesting. I thought I would read it later and promply forgot about it. That evening it popped back into my head and I went back to "Why Don't You Blog" and clicked on the link.

Black Sun Journal is one blog I will definitely check out from time to time now. The blog is written by Sean Prophet, who was raised by parents heading up a Buddhist commune. He had every financial incentive for just going along. The religious community, which he became a leader of, was worth many millions of dollars. But he broke free of the choke-chain that held him in a state of faith, and did his own thing.

The article I linked in the first paragraph is a tremendous piece of writing, in my opinion, and deserves to be read more widely. Here's an example of the quality writing and clarity of thought:

Back to the nature of the theistic claim: I posit that this equivocation comes from a deep-seated knowledge that their beliefs are not supportable. The emperor really isn’t wearing clothes, and they know it at some level. The part of their brain which normally would question such belief on insufficient evidence has, however, been shunted permanently into bypass mode. No one wants to feel deficient. So they play up the virtues of this “cognitive bypass” and call it “faith.” They’ve traded truth for comfort as a survival strategy which allows them to maintain the requisite levels of cognitive dissonance.

But they can’t completely shut down their critical thinking–which gives them a permanent inferiority complex, albeit at an unconscious level. Though they may have outer comfort, they still feel the sands shifting beneath their feet, because they know they can’t be sure they’ve chosen the ‘right’ belief system out of the countless thousands possible. The more time they have devoted to the system they chose, the more the bypassed critical thinking skills will have atrophied, and the more likely they are to defend their faith to the death. Knowing they suffer from this insurmountable uncertainty, they simply must attempt to level the playing field. (To do so, many have devoted lifetimes or built entire libraries of theological texts based on their presuppositionalism–essentially intellectual castles in the air.)


heather said...

Absolutely great post at Black Sun wasn't it?
That blog is pretty well always good and the story of his parents' commune is fascinating.
Really enjoy your blog too.

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

Right back at you, Heather. You and TW are doing good stuff over at Why Don't You Blog.

I suggested Black Sun's post to Richard Dawkins net and they have it posted. It's already drawn about 50 comments and a VERY interesting discussion. You can find my comments there under Happy Hominid.

By the way, are you from Glasgow?