Sunday, March 19, 2006

Addressing the recent concern about grillng an evangelist

After one of our recent weekly meetings one of our club members (who shall remain nameless) expressed concern about the treatment of another club member (who also shall remain nameless) at the meeting. Anyway to cut a long story short, Kathryn felt it necessary to offer a consoling word of explanation to Sam after his evangelistic beliefs and ideas were mercilessly scrutinized, criticized and questioned by several other members of the meeting. And it is true that it would certainly have appeared as though we were all in fact ganging up on poor Sam. This was probably due to the fact that we were all indeed ganging up on poor Sam.

Anyway this did get me thinking: My own position is that there was no consoling needed in this situation. It seems to me that this is after all one of the things that we in the philosophy club do (note I did not say that it was the only thing). That is, if I hold an idea or belief, call it x, then one of the things that I do as a philosopher is to submit x to whatever tests that those around me or the world in general can throw at it. After all as a philosopher I can only benefit from testing x in such a way. If I am right and x is a good idea/belief then in principle it should stand up to such tests and my convictions will be confirmed. If however x is faulty in some way or just downright wrong then by submitting x to such tests then I can come to learn of its problems and either correct or reject x, whichever is appropriate. This much seems to be self evident to me and I have little doubt that it would be self evident to others in the club as well. Hence as a group of philosophers it seems that this testing of our ideas and/or beliefs is, as I said above, just something that we do. It is also something that we all benefit from. As such I feel that Sam needs no consoling after his grilling since this is something that he should expect if he hangs out with us. My question here has two parts: first, is this line of reasoning sound? the second is, am I right in expecting Sam to just keep up with whats going on in the club or should we take time to consolingly explain to him how this thing works?

Of particular interest here is, what do you think Sam?


Samuel Douglas said...

Yes, I really need consoling. Or I might if I were the Sam to which you were refering.

Maybe we did gang up a little, but as you said Pete, we have all been (quite often by choice) in Sam B's position, and we have been at least as hard on each other in the past.

I think the main thing is that us doing this is not (usually) personal. That we have problems with an idea, does not automatically mean we have problems with the person defending it.

I hope Sam B did not take it personally. Regardless of what I might think of the position he defended, I thought that he took it quite well. Either that or he was in shock after getting a glimpse of the Wrath of Pete.

You are right Pete. This is what we do. It isn't an accident that we can argue this way, we've been perfecting these skill for years. Which really brings us to what we can do for people. We can teach them to argue. It might be a tough way to learn, but it works. Give it a couple of months and see if Sam B falls for the same traps we set the other day.

It's an idea we should promote: If people think they have a good idea, then they could run it past us and see if it survives.

Sladen said...

Hel-lo sailor. I'm sorry I missed it.

sam db said...

hee hee

i like the attention

trolls are hungry hee hee

also i think it is cute that someone thinks that every evagelist is part of george bush's left hand

mattgirdler said...

You talked about evangelists without ME. What would be the point? Let's do it again next time. I used to be an evangelist. I didn't enjoy it though. All those people telling me to F* off and so on.