Proper Use Of Logic
I have been frequenting your site for a few months now, but have never written in.
In a recent e-mail to Bill Garrett, you wrote,
People keep saying this, but perhaps I don't know what bash means. You will notice that I am extremely stern when people write here and start lying to me or about me. I like what Todd Smith of Peoria, Illinois, said about me in the Modesto Bee: "Cliff provides a positive forum that demands proper use of logic and the scientific method." Yup: demands! When I read that to my guest the other evening, we laughed so hard that we would have fallen onto the floor -- had we not already been sitting on the floor to begin with!
Maybe I'm a bit dense (or it could be the late hour), but what did you find so humorous about my use of the word demand? I certainly hope that you don't think I did you a disservice, as that was not my intention. I was trying to say that it seems to me that your standards for truth and honesty are high, and that you hold people who write in to those standards.
I'm glad I provided you and your guest with a few moments of hilarity, but can you let me in on the joke?
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sunday, July 30, 2000 12:47 AM
It wasn't anything other than the fact that you had me pegged. This one phrase, this one word, pins down my entire approach to working with anything philosophical.
I have only one friend in Portland who has known me for longer than three years who is still my friend. She was paying a rare visit the night I discovered the newspaper article and we were in a state of having to bond with one another again (it had been that long). When we got to the word demands we about fell off the floor, because this is precisely my style. We kept repeating the word, occasionally, throughout the evening. Then we'd wink and laugh. I will never forget this night. I guess you'd call it a private joke, but really, this language pegged that aspect of my personality to a tee.
This woman had worked very close with me as I would very carefully but very sternly work with people and help them out of the illusion of powerlessness and show them how to free themselves of drug and alcohol addiction. It was this very distinct character trait that was the key to my success in this field, because I would settle for no deviation from reality when dealing with a whiny, sniveling, self-indulgent drug user who had gotten in trouble over their immaturity and refusal to put forth an effort to exercise self-control. I originally helped her solve her own alcohol problem (by demanding that she see the alcohol problem realistically rather than how her drug-fogged head wanted her to see it and rather than how the Twelve Step programs wanted her to see it) and it was this demanding persistence never to deviate from that picture which pushed her to accepting responsibility for her own continued abstinence. After she figured it out, she'd hang around just because we instantly hit it off and liked each other and liked being together, and it was convenient for us to spend time together during my presentations and afterward.
It was this sternness, this refusal to take "I can't help it" for an answer, that separated me from others in this field, and it is this same sternness that I bring to this forum when dealing with certain people who make claims that they are simply repeating, and have never thought through for themselves.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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