Happy National Day Of Reason

CandleflameDid you know that yesterday was the National Day of Reason? Despite rain, several thousand nonbelievers gathered for a pro-reason rally on the National Mall. California Rep. Pete Stark, the lone openly atheist member of Congress, had this to say:

“The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.

Our nation faces many problems—bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, creating jobs, educating our children, and protecting our safety net from irresponsible cuts. We will solve these issues through the application of reason. We must also protect women’s reproductive choices, the integrity of scientific research, and our public education system from those who would hide behind religious dogma to undermine them.”

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  • The only thing to get is money

    How sad. I didn’t even know there was a day of reason until today.

  • Camron Wiltshrie

    I just don’t see the rational in the assumption that any theist is implicitly irrational.

    This assumption is it self an unreasonable conclusion and it serves only to polarize the discussion from the outset.  Perhaps this is the agenda…  Spiritual blowback?  Metaphysical mission creep? Most likely Propaganda designed to prevent left/right, male/female and all other seeming dualities to merge in a reasonable fashion, sharing information openly without fear or judgement and letting the evidence show us the path that has already been laid before us, for those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear at least.  

    • Haystack

      I don’t see why theism needs to be rational. I like it best when it doesn’t try to be. 

    • Liam_McGonagle

      The term “rationality” is often misused as a synonym for objectivity, empiricism or factuality.

      But more precisely, “rationality” is the making and analysis of value judgments, which may place more or less emphasis on objectivity or subjectivity.

      Example of a (relatively) objective judgment:  umbrellas shield users from rainfall.

      Example of a (relatively) subjective judgment:  I don’t give a f*ck.  I like getting wet.

      Way I see it, you are correct to say that theists are not necessarily irrational, in the textbook sense.  But they sure skirt the edge.  They rarely go to the effort to explicitly say, “I acknowledge that I cannot prove the factual existence of any deity, let alone the deity that I personally endorse, or that the logical conclusion of such a deity’s existence would necessitate the specific rituals, taboos and dogmas that I subscribe to.”

      Doesn’t that sloppiness make them anti-rational in a more important practical respect?  If they aren’t diligent, conscientious practicioners of reason, carefully differentiating between objective and subjective judgments, don’t they undermine the public’s respect for reason?  Like gun ownership, the reckless, slipshod behavior of a minority provokes widespread fear and disrespect from the public as a whole.

      I often wish that atheists’ criticisms of theists were more technically precise, but I can’t say that they aren’t essentially accurate.

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