comment boxes and dialogue

Another experience over at PZ Myers’ blog today convinced me that, generally speaking, a comments box cannot serve as a place for dialogue.

I’ve written about Professor Myers before. He’s the teacher on the faculty at University of Minnesota – Morris who has a very popular personal blog for discussing his atheistic views.

Recently, he wrote that he obtained a consecrated host and desecrated it to show how stupid Catholics are for venerating a “cracker.” (The best response I’ve seen is from The Curt Jester.)

Today his new target seems to be the Confraternity for Catholic Clergy.

At any rate, I made the mistake of participating in the comments box on another post today, and my conclusion is that there’s no way to have a dialogue in the comments box over there. For every one comment I would post, there would be 10 comments in response, and there was simply no way to keep the conversation going. After posting comment #131, I decided to leave the conversation.

So my conclusion today: Dialogue happens in a dyad…. that is, between two people. As soon as you add a third party, fourth party, etc., the waters begin getting very murky indeed.

2 thoughts on “comment boxes and dialogue

  1. I admit up front that I got here from “Pharyngula” by way of your post stating that atheists should have no concern at all for living things. I respectfully disagree, and would like to point out that it is at least possible to infer that one who believes in an omnipotent Creator has no reason at all to value anything, as whatever happens has been preordained, and resisting it would be an arrogant affront to the Creator.I do not believe that this is what you, or other theists believe, but were I to state it as fact, do you agree that I would be, at least, acting through ignorance?

    • Hi Anonymous -You’re right that I do not believe in the doctrine of predestination as you have laid it out. Now I can’t speak for all theists, but here is what the Catholic Church teaches about predestination:

      To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace… (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 600) and God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1730)

      * * *

      If you asserted as fact that one who believes in an omnipotent Creator has no reason at all to value anything, as whatever happens has been preordained, and resisting it would be an arrogant affront to the Creator, I would at least say that this is not an orthodox Christian view and is a very problematic view. It sounds very much like quietism.It seems that a number of people commenting over at PZ Myers’ blog are concerned about the relationship between faith and reason. The Catholic tradition shares this concern. Most recently, Pope John Paul II wrote extensively on the relationship between faith and reason in an encyclical letter entitled Fides et Ratio.

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