Questionable Motives

February 16, 2010

A Scientific Question: Is there a supernatural, guiding intelligence in the universe?

Filed under: Dawkins,God,Interview,Science — tildeb @ 3:38 pm

Richard Dawkins from the podcast interview with forgoodreason‘s  D. J. Grothe:

Does science have any role to play in justifying religious claims about the existence of god? It has a central role if truth matters: “I’m too interested in the truth! It really is an interesting question: whether there is a supernatural, guiding intelligence in the Universe. It’s an interesting question, not one to be swept aside as nothing to do with science.”

Commenting on the notion of a truce within teaching curriculum between science and belief in god, Dawkins says “…the larger battle (is) whether (or not) there is any kind of supernaturalism going on in the universe at all; I do think supernaturalism is a betrayal of science.”

February 13, 2010

What do we owe to secularism?

In my discussions with many who hold some allegiance to religious beliefs, I am often presented with statements that assure me that human rights, freedoms, and respect of personhood derive from religious holy texts. That’s a rather optimistic interpretation usually assumed to be true by those who wish to present their religion as a force for good in the world. But a significant problem arises when the same texts are used by many men in religious authority as a bullying tool to justify the intent to reduce human rights, freedoms, and the dignity of personhood. The standard reply to my criticism is to assure me that only ‘extremists’ and those who misinterpret god’s will abuse the holy text in such a way and so should not count against the more favorable interpretations and assumptions.

Then along comes another example of religious belief being used to justify some reduction in human rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood not by some fringe extremist but some central authority like the the pope or the archbishiop of Canterbury or some typical local clergy and I am left wondering how so many religious people can tolerate the constant undermining of hard won secular enlightenment values by people who think believing in some favored invisible sky father adds authority to their opinions about how treat others.

This latest (bold face in mine) come to us from an English vicar concerned about the divorce rate. His solution? Wives, obey your husbands and close your mouth. Such is the quality of so much ‘moral teaching’ from holy texts:

In a leaflet issued to parishoners, the Rev Angus MacLeay used passages in the Bible to justify women playing a submissive role in local church life. He urged women to “submit to their husbands in everything”.

Mr MacLeay, a member of the General Synod (that just voted 241-2 that the conflictual truth claims made by science and religion are compatible because, well, just because they say they are), is opposed to the appointment of women bishops. He has campaigned vociferously for Reform, an Evangelical group that seeks to reform the Church of England “according to the Holy Scriptures”.

The leaflet he issued It says at one point: “Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.

“This is the way God has ordered their relationships with each other and Christian marriage cannot function well without it.”

In a section called `More difficult passages to consider’, it continues:

“It would seem that women should remain silent….if their questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands at home.”

In a sermon days later, his curate, the Rev Mark Oden, a married father-of-three, built on the argument, sparking further controversy.

He told his congregation at St Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks, Kent, that the behaviour of modern women was to blame for Britain’s high divorce rate.

He said: “We know marriage is not working. We only need to look at figures – one in four children have divorced parents.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands.”

Thankfully, at least a few of the parishioners have the sense to withdraw their active support from this religious organization that champions with religiously sanctioned authority such twits as this. If the parishioners don’t like it, they can leave. And that’s usually where the critical thinking about the truth claims uttered on behalf of religious denominations  stops. It shouldn’t.

Why can people walk away from religious edicts without public penalty or censure?

Does that right, freedom, and dignity to walk away from ignorant and bigoted faithist social positions come to us from the religious teachings?

Hardly. If we have the courage to deny the edicts of the holy texts to respect their clergy’s teachings, we are assured within those texts of all the awful consequences that awaits us – if not in this life by our faithful neighbours then in the next by a veritable host of supernatural malignant creatures out to punish us for our temerity.

Why we have the right, the freedom, the dignity of our personhood to choose to walk away from such religious drivel is not a small or trivial matter to consider. We can do so because our secular laws protect individual rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood and can call upon the power of the State to enforce these laws. Part and parcel of these laws is the right of individuals to believe what they wish, known as freedom of religion, so the ally of the individual that empowers our choices with respect whether religious or not is secularism.

And that is a point more people need to spend some time pondering: it is secularism that grants us the rights, freedoms, and dignity of personhood that empowers each of us to be able to make meaningful choices and lends us its authority to force others to respect our legal ability to do so. It is secularism that deserves our primary allegiance as citizens, whether religious or not.

February 12, 2010

The End of Intelligent Design?

What’s wrong with inserting Intelligent Design as an alternative explanation to evolution in biology class? Everything, actually.

It is time to take stock: What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle.

Very few religious skeptics have been made more open to religious belief because of ID arguments. These arguments not only have failed to persuade, they have done positive harm by convincing many people that the concept of an intelligent designer is bound up with a rejection of mainstream science.
The ID claim is that certain biological phenomena lie outside the ordinary course of nature. Aside from the fact that such a claim is, in practice, impossible to substantiate, it has the effect of pitting natural theology against science by asserting an incompetence of science. To be sure, there are questions that natural science is not competent to address, and too many scientists have lost all sense of the limitations of their disciplines, not to mention their own limitations. But the ID arguments effectively declare natural science incompetent even in what most would regard as its own proper sphere. Nothing could be better calculated to provoke the antagonism of the scientific community. This throwing down of the gauntlet to science explains not a little of the fervor of the scientific backlash against ID.

The question I am raising is whether this quixotic attempt by a small and lightly armed band to overthrow “Darwinism” and bring about a new scientific revolution has accomplished anything good. It has had no effect on scientific thought. Its main consequence has been to strengthen the general perception that science and religion are at war.

And this is from someone sympathetic to the religious views. Dr. Barr’s entire article called An End to Intelligent Design can be read over at First Things.

February 10, 2010

When is a paradigm shift not a shift at all?

Filed under: Evolution,Faith,God,Philosophy,Physics,Religion,Science — tildeb @ 4:57 pm

From Jesus and Mo

A miracle?

So here’s the story reported at KUOW Seattle that I have slightly edited for length. The bold face is mine:

Three years ago, first–grader Jake Finkbonner nearly died of a horrible infection. As he fought for his life, people all over Washington state — and the world — prayed for a miracle. Now, the Vatican will decide whether his recovery qualifies as one. And if so, it could mark a historic milestone for the Church.

Jake’s face had swollen beyond recognition. And within days, he was hovering near death at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. The Strep A infection had become necrotizing fasciitis — it’s commonly known as flesh–eating disease. It ravaged through his body, killing tissue as it went.

A team of doctors at Children’s raced to keep ahead of the infection, using surgery to cut out diseased tissue where they could. They also sent Jake for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber — the kind used to treat scuba divers who suffer the bends. He was fortunate. The only hyperbaric chamber in the region is located right near Children’s Hospital. The treatment raises the oxygen levels in the body, helping kill the bacteria. But in Jake’s case, even that couldn’t shut down the infection.

Bacterial infections have claimed lives for centuries. More than 350 years ago another case — one with some striking parallels to Jake’s, had unfolded in an Indian village in New York state.

In 1656, a baby girl named Kateri Takekwitha, was born to a Mohawk chief. Her mother was Algonquin, and also Catholic. When the little girl was four, smallpox tore through her tribe, killing her parents and brother. Though she survived, her face was severely scarred.

When she grew up, she converted to Catholicism, and devoted the rest of her short life to caring for the sick. Kateri was revered for her kindness. And when she died, witnesses reported that her scars vanished. What’s more, so the story goes, the sick who attended her were healed on the day of her funeral.

The church is conducting an investigation to determine whether a miracle took place, and whether it could be attributed to Blessed Kateri. If they decide she was responsible, it could mean her elevation to sainthood. And if she is made a saint, it would mark the first time that distinction has ever been given to a Native American in the history of the Catholic Church.

Church officials have sent an investigative team to review Jake’s medical records, and interview those involved, including Father Tim, the doctors, and Jake himself. Father Tim will say only that the Vatican’s process is rigorous, and very private. The church won’t say how long the investigation will take. Jake’s parents, however, don’t need word from on high to have reached their own conclusion. Neither does Jake.

Smith: “So Jake, do you believe in miracles?

Jake Finkbonner: “Yes.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  –

So we have a bacterial infection in Jake’s case and a viral infection in Kateri’s. They are not “strikingly similar” whatsoever. We have a young boy who is treated intensively by the best medical team and medical practices available. Seems to me like that medical intervention may have played some part in Jake’s survival and the story could end right there. But how can we involve some woo and turn this event into a religious controversy?

Enter a girl from more than 350 years ago who was kind… and catholic. What is under ‘serious’ consideration is whether or not the long dead girl played some kind of active part in the survival of the boy.

Seriously.

A team from the Vatican will investigate we are told to find whether or not a causal link exists not only between the girl and boy separated by time, distance, but also by a slight impediment known as death.

And some religious people – including the Roman Catholic Church and its leadership who insist that they are concerned about proclaiming the truth – think that such an investigation passes muster for what constitutes acceptable science.

No, really. I’m not making this up.

According to this Vatican team, who Father Tim assures us is “rigorous” in its investigating, what might constitute as evidence I wonder? Does anyone have any idea? I certainly don’t. Maybe that explains why the investigation is so “very private;” whatever the acceptable evidence may be, I suspect it has nothing whatsoever to do with science and establishing a causal link as claimed and everything to do with political considerations to elevate a First Nations person who lived in what we now call the United States.

It is truly remarkable that Jake and his family lend any weight to the miraculous intervention of woo playing some significant part in his recovery but utterly fail to even remotely consider divine intervention as having caused the accident and his infection. But then such thinking might interfere with the Church’s goal of proclaiming the truth. And we can’t doubt any of that, now can we?

February 7, 2010

How compatible is the Koran with medical knowledge?

Filed under: Argument,belief,Faith,God,Islam,Medicine,Religion,Science — tildeb @ 4:51 am

The Koran gives the heart functions now known to belong to the brain, such as an organ of psyche, intelligence, and emotion, as well as an important body of the organ that can be harmed such as [by] exhibiting thrombi. Many who use the Koran as an authority but wish to compromise the literal meaning of its writings with contrary scientific knowledge call this description of the heart metaphorical, but I suspect that the writers of the Koran did not think of it as metaphorical at all. In other words, the Koran, like the Bible, is a potpourri of sense and nonsense, fact and fiction, history and allegory. Many religious believers, it seems, cannot tell the difference, but will insist that in spite of glaring evidence to the contrary, this text is truth. And that is why the conclusion from this article found in the respectable International Journal of cardiology is so bizarre:

As new advances in technology and medicine continue
to grow at an exponential rate today, there is time to reflect and
appreciate the Islamic contribution to medicine. It is for this reason
that the discoveries and medical revelations in Qur’an should not be
ignored or forgotten

The editors of medical journals should know better than to allow their publications to pander to religious beliefs in matters of medical science. This apologetic article allowed into a reputable scientific journal continues to represent the ongoing assault on science by those who wish to support archaic religious beliefs. Sacrificing medical knowledge in order to uphold these islamic texts is too high a price to pay. So, too, is sacrificing professional integrity. It must stop because contrary claims between faith and knowledge are not compatible when in conflict: one is right and one is wrong.  (Borrowed in part from a similar review over at Panda’s Thumb)

February 2, 2010

Why is it a criminal act to support Britain’s Equality bill?

From The Independent:

In the first official announcement from the Vatican that the head of the Roman Catholic Church will tour Britain, Pope Benedict XVI called on his bishops to continue campaigning against the Equality Bill which he said threatened religious freedom.

“Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society,” he wrote. “Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.

“In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.” In a separate warning to any bishop thinking of deviating from the Vatican’s lead on such controversial issues, Pope Benedict also reiterated the need for the Church to “speak with a united voice”.

“In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate,” he said. “It is the truth revealed through scripture and tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.”

I have commented on this Pope’s meddling in secular law and public policy before (see here, here, and here). And I use the word ‘meddling’ quite on purpose to counter the lie commonly put forth by faithists that religious belief ought to be left alone from criticism because it is merely a private concern and people are free to believe what they wish. The atheist response is that private belief is a freedom in need of protection, but that when that belief leaves the private domain and undergoes a transubstantiation from belief into the justification for actions counter to human rights and dignity, then the justifications are quite properly open to criticism. When organized religion – not just some private individual’s belief in god – inserts itself into the public domain where it has no justifiable reason to intrude and interfere in real world matters, then dishonest, misrepresented, and misinformed justifications need criticism.

This is certainly the case with Britain’s Equality Bill; if we are talking about codifying fairness and equality into secular law, rest assured that religious organizations will line up to fight any attempt to impose non-discrimination on their religiously inspired misogynistic and bigoted practices because it undermines the basis of their legal ‘freedom’ to do so. That is the talking point these clergy will champion, that equality in law isn’t really about addressing the blatant inequality that is omnipresent in such organizations as the catholic church, to misdirect criticism away from practices and pretend it’s really about freedom of belief. It isn’t. These church people will lie, misrepresent, and misinform others and pretend the issue is about freedom to believe rather than freedom to practice discrimination and bigotry. And they will do it by pretending to support that which they actively fight against: equality and fairness.

Let’s take a closer look at what this pope is really saying:

He argues that the Equality bill threatens religious ‘freedom’ in that it will insist on ‘unjust’ limitations – that is to say, that the limitation will impact how religious organizations act if that action is based on inequality and targeted bias. I’m not ‘free’ to drive a car at any speed in any direction I want, and reasonable constraints imposed by the state for the social good on the rules of the roads of the nation are hardly an infringement on my ‘freedom’ to travel but quite rightly address how I do so. The same responsibility for the public good does not affect the freedom to belief; the state has every right to insist on reasonable constraints on how these beliefs are put into practice. So the honest issue here is about what constitutes the ‘unjustness’ of the limitations.

The ‘unjust’ limitations are unjust, it turns out,  because they run counter to “natural law.” And what might this law be?

Nobody seems to know. What we are told is that Natural Law is apparently the grounding as well as the guarantee upon which the very existence of equality rests. And here I thought it was constitutions and bills and declarations of rights and charters of freedom and other laws passed by legislation and enforced by the state… much along the lines of the Equality Bill, for example. Silly me. Natural law seems to be what the pope or any religious person says it is. And for anyone to go against such a natural law and insist on equality in secular law is, according to this pope,  undermining equality.

Ah.

Isn’t that a lovely piece of circular reasoning? It smacks of relativism, when white means black and inequality means equality, doesn’t it? And we know this pope doesn’t think much of relativism… unless it belongs to him, in which case a miracle occurs and some relativistic piece of nonsense uttered from the source of papal bulls suddenly is ordained as a bill of truth… co-signed by god, no less.

But it is still dishonest.

To add insult to intellectual dishonesty, the pope wishes to describe any voice that dares criticize his dishonesty to be immature and unbalanced. Why so? Well, the proof for this is that the pope’s correct position is based on scripture, tradition, and the pope’s opinion, all of which is the necessary triumverate (or should I say troika)… for people to be free!  Of course. Why didn’t I recognize this simple truth right away? Any idea whatsoever, in other words, that disagrees in part or whole with the church’s interpretation of scripture, the church’s actual practices, and whatever the pope decrees to be correct, isn’t a criticism at all: such disobedience is a crime against this so-called ‘natural law’ that informs people’s freedoms. And we don’t wish to be criminals and advocate the elimination of freedoms, now do we?

So the solution is obvious: if one wishes to support real equality and freedom, the natural kind sanctioned by god and not the artificial secular stuff passed by legislation and enforced by the state, then one must allow the church… all churches, actually, as well as any and all acts justified by some religious assertion that can call upon natural law and god’s special favour… to be exempt from secular law. It’s only right and proper. To suggest otherwise turns out to be a crime against god’s natural law, making those who support the Equality bill criminals who wish to undermine your freedoms!

Good grief.

February 1, 2010

How can the United States become a loser in a competitive world?

It’s easy: just follow and implement the Texas State Republican Platform!

With its clearly laid out plan that says one thing that seems a step in the right direction only to advocate guidelines that will achieve its opposite, this is a timely and important document to turn a great state into a laughing stock, a proud state into a righteously pious theocracy, an able state to alter intelligent and capable children into idiots.

Well done,  Texas!

January 31, 2010

How does an American liberal become an islamic jihadist in a distant land?

This eleven page story from the New York Times describes how Omar Hammami from Daphne, Alabama, has become a key figure in one of the world’s most ruthless Islamist insurgencies. That guerrilla army, known as the Shabab, is fighting to overthrow the fragile American-backed Somali government. The rebels are known for beheading political enemies, chopping off the hands of thieves and stoning women accused of adultery. With help from Al Qaeda, they have managed to turn Somalia into an ever more popular destination for jihadis from around the world.

So how does one go from being a smart, popular, and talented young person with a bright and promising future into an active jihadist half way across the world? Omar explains:

“They can’t blame it on poverty or any of that stuff,” he continued. “They will have to realize that it’s an ideology and it’s a way of life that makes people change. They will also have to realize that their political agendas need to be fixed.”

Dena, Omar’s older sister, offers this conflicted reply.

“I think it’s admirable to stand up for what you believe in, but it gets hairy when you affect the lives of others,” she wrote.

Hairy. That’s an interesting way to describe killing, maiming, beheading, and stoning others.

Hammami responded that he understood how strange it might seem to “fight for beliefs,” especially as he had once been a liberal (under the influence, he wrote, of the teacher he still referred to as “Mrs. Hirsch”). But he had come to the realization that “we don’t live in a utopian society.”

So what needs to change? Well a good starting point according to Omar is a recognition that, “Human rights,” he said in an audio recording released by the Shabab last July, is “the Western form of democracy which cannot be reconciled with Islam.”

And it is religious belief that is the more important of the two, according to far too many people. And therein lies a good part of the explanation. I think it is that kind of assumption – a willingness to reduce the secular rights and freedoms of people to be subordinate to some other ideology, some other belief set – that clears a path for the transition from responsible citizen to murderous terrorist, a perspective that is essential to have in order to allow people to continue to think well of themselves while they carry out everything from small acts of righteousness like voting to reduce civil rights of others to horrendous acts of brutality on behalf of some ‘higher cause’ against other people. I am disgusted that the salve offered by religious belief about so much unnecessary suffering is so easily excused by assuming belief that all of us are merely preset pieces within God’s preordained plan. “You take solace in knowing that it’s in God’s hands,” said Shafik, Omar’s islamic father sunken in his armchair, as Debra, Omar’s southern baptist mother nodded. “And there is nothing you could have done to change it.”

I think that’s a cop out. I think we need to educate people to better understand and appreciate that what makes individual freedom possible is our collective and primary allegiance to and respect for secular enlightened values of equality, dignity, and fairness. There are far too many of us who think allegiance to the state and the religious majority it supposedly represents is where our allegiance properly belongs, but this misdirection and misunderstanding is as much to blame for creating more Omars as is the religion of islam. As the push in Western democracies continues to promote government support for christian values, the greater is the danger we face that we will lose our freedoms. We need to wake up, get off the fence, and push back any encroachment by anyone who campaigns or acts against the primacy of secular values.

January 28, 2010

Is atheism fundamentally a Straw Man argument?

There is a reprehensible opinion piece posted online at the New York Times by Ross Douthat that supposedly offers us an “illustration of militant atheism’s symbiotic relationship with religious fundamentalism.”

Specifically, Douthat criticizes Dawkins for using Pat Roberston and his diatribe of god-sanctioned blame for the devastation suffered by Haiti as an example of a ‘real’ christian (read my previous comment on Dawkins’ article and why he argues as much). This is a failure of critical thinking by Douthat. By asserting that atheism requires a Straw Man approach, Douthat fails to comprehend Dawkins’ central argument: that a willingness by today’s theological apologists to grant any credence to a religious interpretation of some holy text that focuses on what is meek and mild without accounting for the parts that are vicious and genocidal is intellectually dishonest.

Douthat’s counter argument that quotes New Testament passages to negate Robertson’s interpretation is exactly Dawkins’ point: one biblical reference is not any closer to being true or accurate than the other. The only difference is that Robertson’s interpretation takes into account the capriciousness and violence of the christian god, making such an opinion based on biblical interpretation more ‘real’ in a christian vein than one like Douthat’s which simply ignores the Old Testament’s accounts of a god that is unconscionably cruel and immoral in favour of specific passages that casts Jesus as benevolent and forgiving. Let us all remember, however, that it is from Jesus we first gain a biblical account for eternal damnation… hardly one that enhances the CV of hope and love people so often attribute to Jesus’ message.

I have read repeated criticisms of Dawkins and other New Atheists as creating a Straw Man religious argument, that is to say, that these atheists create a Robertson-ian god as the one that defines the christian god and then tear it down by revealing its obvious malevolence. But the god worshiped by most christians, this argument points out,  is not this god – the one believed in by some fringe and/or extreme fundamentalists as the one so vehemently opposed by ‘militant’ and ‘strident’ atheists – but one that is actually benevolent and wise and compassionate. The faulty conclusion then held by so many moderate religious apologists is that Dawkins and his cohorts aren’t criticizing their religious beliefs but merely the ones held by hard core fundamentalists.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

New Atheists care about what is true. They care about knowledge – about what’s probably accurate, probably correct, probably true. They care about coming to a better understanding of the natural world, of promoting honest intellectual and scientific inquiry. They also respect the rights and freedoms and dignity of individuals within a secular society. They are concerned about any influence that intentionally impedes any of these cares, and there is no greater single impediment than the false certainty of religious belief. But rather than criticize specific people’s beliefs, the New Atheists’ approach is to enter the public forum and expose unjustified beliefs – regardless whether the unjustified belief is religious, superstitious, supernatural, or just poor thinking. To do this, New Atheists point out why the unjustified foundational belief of a Robertson is no different in quality of belief than someone who insists on holding a Jesus is Love assumption. Nor is there any difference in the unjustified foundational beliefs upon which the complimentary and alternative medicine industry has been built. Belief in the supernatural, whether it be god or evil spirits or the memory of water, cannot be honest knowledge: because such ideas are beyond our ability to be examined in the natural world under natural conditions subject to natural forces and natural efficacy all which can be naturally measured, supernatural belief cannot be justified by any other measure other than more assumption and assertion. Assumption and assertion that cannot by definition undergo natural testing and rational criticism because it is supernatural is immune from honest critical inquiry. Asserted beliefs are assumed to be true because they are believed to be true. That is not a justification for the truth value of the belief but an excuse, an allowance, a willingness to suspend critical inquiry. So it doesn’t matter whether or not it is a Pat Robertson’s unjustified belief or an Ayatollah’s unjustified belief or a Pope Benedict XVI’s unjustified belief or a Sarah Palin’s unjustified belief – the common denominator pointed out by New Atheists like Dawkins is that supernatural beliefs in their entirety are equally unjustified.

When a Pat Robertson makes another disparaging public statement about suffering people deserving their suffering and backs it up with theology, it is an opportunity and not a requirement for atheists to once again point out that if not for the acceptance of the moderately religious, then the foundation of unjustified religious beliefs would be treated with the same scorn and disgust aimed at Robertson for his outrageous truth claims. Robertson and his ilk have an audience because there is widespread acceptance by religious apologists to excuse, allow, and suspend legitimate criticism in matters of religious belief. That’s a public problem and it requires a public solution.

Is unjustified belief in the supernatural and all its various promotions in the public domain in need of public criticism? My answer is an unequivocal Yes. The New Atheists like Dawkins don’t just say a meek and mild yes to this question in the privacy of their own minds; they DO something about it by bringing their arguments and expertise into the public domain to tackle the problem of a Robertson, an Ayatollah, a Pope, a Palin, head on.

So the answer to the title is No, atheism is not fundamentally a Straw Man argument but a call to action, a growing movement that will continue to challenge anyone who doesn’t care about what is true but what is unjustifiably believed to be true, and who would allow unjustified beliefs the right to take a place at any table in the public domain.

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