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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  16:58:51  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Making the rounds on various news sites is this one: "Atheist blogger Leah Libresco shocked the secular community this week when she announced on her Patheos blog that she has converted to Christianity"

I guess I'm out of the loop when it comes to the "secular community" because I've never heard of Libresco-- and of course, her converting to Christianity (or anything else) has little bearing on atheism.

Her conversion seems to center on the origins of morality, which I find to be a fairly lame reason to suddenly posit that there's a god. But it makes no difference to me.

I thought I'd offer this, though, for discussion and for those who might be interested.

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  17:20:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Atheist Blogger Leah Librescoís Conversion to Catholicism and Her Atheistic Detractors, by Dan Fincke.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  18:20:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

On Atheist Blogger Leah Librescoís Conversion to Catholicism and Her Atheistic Detractors, by Dan Fincke.
Thanks, Dave. I'm still reading through it, but I found this amusing:
Rude (and potentially ad hominem) as it is to start questioning someoneís psychology as a matter of understanding their changes in beliefs, the very premise of Librescoís blog was that she was romantically involved with a Catholic and, therefore, did have a powerful non-rational incentive to embrace the faith, even if it was not the usual one.
I was going to note in my original post that I suspected that there were some romantic reason for this change (much like how a Roman Catholic will convert to Judaism, etc.), and it's interesting to see this element in play here...
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  21:59:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
kind of like when you get a new girlfriend and she pretends to like all your music.

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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  22:23:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

kind of like when you get a new girlfriend and she pretends to like all your music.
Well, sort of. (Except for me, she was pretty up front that she didn't much like Zeppelin.) But when you read the link that Dave cited, it's clear that this atheist blogger was more or less atheist by default, not having thought too hard about various issues and holding Christianity (and, by extension, gods, etc.) in disdain because her exposure to Christianity was limited to fundamentalists and evangelicals.

I'm also a bit out of the atheist blogger loop and who's "big" and whatnot, but I can't imagine that Libresco was really an influential person in skeptic/atheist circles.

Was she?
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  22:26:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I never heard of her. But to be convinced by Roman Catholicism she must be a total moron.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  22:41:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

Was she?
I'd never heard of her until Jen McCreight mentioned her conversion. But then I realized she was host to the 2012 Ideological Turing Test, which I'd heard about before her conversion and which intrigued me, but I haven't actually read the entries yet.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  22:57:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The blog network that Libresco is on claims to be "Hosting the Conversation on Faith," but I'd never heard of it before now.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  23:15:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been reading through a bunch of these various blogs, and am reminded about how much I hate philosophy.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2012 :  23:55:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never heard of her before this. Her blog was not on my large list that I browse. My guess is that Libresco would have been on the Atheist C-List, if there were such a list. (Me, I'm E-list all the way.)

Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism," says CNN. I saw at least one headline somewhere calling her "Top Atheist Blogger."

Funny, isn't it, that a person can get almost no attention and is treated as a nonentity by the media until they do this particular "man-bites-dog" trick, huh? Sort of like how Antony Flew suddenly became the top-rank atheist in his dotage when some theists published a book he "co-authored."

We atheists don't generally hunt down defectors and burn them as heretics. I'm neither angry at, nor impressed by, Libresco's or Flew's "defections". Flew, for his defection to a vague Deism, went to neither Heaven nor Hell when he died. There's neither a Catholic Heaven nor an Atheist Hell awaiting Libresco. Good luck to her. I hope she develops better thinking processes in the future, though I doubt it.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 06/25/2012 03:27:40
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  08:21:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

I've been reading through a bunch of these various blogs, and am reminded about how much I hate philosophy.
I hear you!

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  10:11:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Originally posted by Cuneiformist

I've been reading through a bunch of these various blogs, and am reminded about how much I hate philosophy.
I hear you!
I think philosophy's important, but very few philosophers are.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  14:02:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Really weird that this made CNN. Slow news day?

Here's another piece by Dan Fincke: How Foolish Atheists Convinced The Atheist Blogger Leah Libresco That Catholic Philosophy Was Rationally Superior To Atheism.

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  15:49:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dan quoted Leah as saying:
It was kind of the same thing with any scientific theory almostĖthat it had more explanatory power to explain something I was really sure of. Iím really sure that morality is objective, human independent, something we uncover like archeologists, not something we build like architects. And I was having trouble explaining that in my own philosophy. And Christianity offered an explanation which I came to find compelling, especially because it had done other things that were good predictions or good moral teachings that surprised me but then I came around to.

Dan's gripe is that too many atheists failed to explain to her that there are philosophical positions that consider morality to be objective without invoking supernatural lawgivers. Since it's not really my area of expertise, I cannot comment on how coherent those positions are. I'm sure he's correct that such positions exist and have been detailed extensively.

But I'm stuck on Leah's statement that she's "really sure" that morality is objective. Leah says:
But I was as sure of the reality of moral law as I was of the reality of the physical world. Both of which canít be proven since I canít step outside them to examine them.
Huh? I understand that nothing can ever be proven with absolute certainty, including the existence of objective reality. But this seems to be turning epistemology on its head. If our standard of evidence is indisputable "proof," then everything is sure to fail the standard. It means that all metaphysical claims are equally conjectural and equally valid. But is that sound thinking? Can I be "really sure" that reality exists to the same extent that I can be "really sure" morals are objective? Or "really sure" that a supernatural lawgiver exists?

Dan seems frustrated that Leah has been convinced that her beliefs inevitably entail theism. But I have to say, I'm with the people who think she should reexamine her starting premises.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  16:22:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Libresco also thinks that the mind can exist outside the brain. Why nobody was able to convince her otherwise, I can't say.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2012 :  20:08:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert
But I was as sure of the reality of moral law as I was of the reality of the physical world. Both of which canít be proven since I canít step outside them to examine them.
Huh? I understand that nothing can ever be proven with absolute certainty, including the existence of objective reality. But this seems to be turning epistemology on its head. If our standard of evidence is indisputable "proof," then everything is sure to fail the standard. It means that all metaphysical claims are equally conjectural and equally valid. But is that sound thinking? Can I be "really sure" that reality exists to the same extent that I can be "really sure" morals are objective? Or "really sure" that a supernatural lawgiver exists?
Actually, from what I got from this guy Dan that Dave cites, there seems to be some branch of philosophy (ugh) that would argue that we can be sure of some objective morals.

Dan's quite bad at explaining himself and is lacking in things like examples to help him clarify his points-- particularly when he drops numerous philosophy jargon (which is often).

I get that Dan has objection to the reasons behind this atheist blogger's conversion, but it's difficult to get clear articulation of his point.
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