Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Listening to Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" for a bit of thought-farming on the relationship between imagination and science. I know that the quote I'm looking for is toward the end, but am listening to the whole thing anyway because I like to listen to Julia Sweeney when I'm moody.  She manages to discuss very serious subjects by making them funny but without removing the gravity.  I have this particular story on DVD as well as in iTunes.  My mother will not watch it-- as much as she likes Julia Sweeney, she believes that it's basically an attempt at atheist indoctrination and doesn't wish to be converted.  I can't really blame her for that.  I don't think that converting anyone is the point, but it's certainly a story of conversion in more than one regard.  To me it's mainly a casual, funny monologue about how an intellectually curious person underwent a long, careful examination of beliefs she found very important, and emerged able to articulate her state of mind at each point in the process.  That's valuable.  And make no mistake, she worked to reach these conclusions.  That's admirable. An intellectual appetite is an enviable thing to have, but that doesn't mean that satiating that appetite isn't still a laborious and sometimes painful process, and listening to someone describe their own journey can inspire you to begin or make further progress on journeys of your own.

I like the honesty and the humility.  You can't tear down your own fallacious constructions without those things, and having them is the surest way to avoid sounding preachy about the conclusions you've reached.

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