About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

You might like to give the Center for Inquiry some help

See here for the CFI's current dire financial situation, with a major funder evidently pulling out. I'd hate to see this wonderful organisation go under or have to cut back until it ceases to be effective. Maybe consider joining (as I did recently) or giving a small donation (which I will do)?


Robert N Stephenson said...

Indeed, iquirey and research is valuable to all people of a secular world.

But I will ask - why is secular research and study more expensive than religious.

Many Churches only get around $200 000 a year in donations and of that close to 25% - 40% is given away to needy people or in support of food aid programs.

Of course, research is not easy nor can it be cheap in certain situations.

It would be a great loss if this organization vanished but let us hope tighter fiscal controls mean better planning and set up of future research programs.

Now, if only the Crystal Towers Baptists would consider parting with part of their many millions of dollars of undeclared profit -- there would be plenty to go around for sure.

Brian said...

But I will ask - why is secular research and study more expensive than religious
Maybe it's that Tax free status not available?

Robert N Stephenson said...

Brian - could be, but it isn't that big a difference in Australia, so I do note this group is in the USA where they do have big tax free status.

I did note staffing mentioned and I did note they only mentioned total reliance of a donor - heavily so - even my business skills suggest that might not have been a very good idea. Clear in hindsight and hopefully not a mistake that will be repeated

tomh said...

Robert N Stephenson wrote:
why is secular research and study more expensive than religious.

What do the religious have to research? Research is done to find answers, but religions already have the answers. Of course, different religions may have different answers, but they're all unchanging. What would be the point of religious research?

Robert N Stephenson said...


this is a common misconception and often spread misconception about Christian research.

Today's Christians do not claim to have the answers, only a way of getting possible answers to life problems, not science problems.

Modern research is into the validity of ancient documents, some of which are locked up securely away from proper researchers. Also much archeology is still carried out by Christians as they search for answers to who wrote the stories and did these biblical stories actually have evidential proof left behind. Some do, and some don't and it is important to know these things. No just for Christians but for history in general -

It is becoming wider know that the 10 commandments as shown in the bible may in fact be the abbreviated 100 laws of a very ancient King, and the transposing of God in place of King is evident. A wall with the laws was discovered in the 90s I think, along with a township that had been buried for a long, long time - an island near Iraq. The place is real and researchers and archeologist were able to create assumptions after a time that this could have been 'The place that ended up being known as Eden'

It wasn't a garden as such, but it had a wide variety of fruit trees and from remains it showed compared to mainland populations of the time, they were taller and healthier. The add more interest to the discovery many stone jars were found and by accident a lid was dropped, it broke open to reveal a coiled snake - xrays confirmed one in each lidded jar.

So, Christian researchers are now able to work out how a story came into being and from where source elements may have come from.

Unlike, what many Atheists might believe, many modern Christians are learning about history and learning about the frame of reference for stories and for how the bible may have come about.

You might find Christian research pointless, but to the archeologist who found this town on an island it was really quite startling.

tomh said...

Robert N Stephenson wrote:
Today's Christians do not claim to have the answers

Somehow, I don't think you speak for all Christians, or even most, or even more than a few. Turn on the TV, go to a megachurch where thousands gather, or listen to just about any garden-variety preacher. They most certainly do claim to have the answers.

Modern research is into the validity of ancient documents

So you have a few scholars, poring over ancient documents, looking for evidence that this or that myth might have actually happened? This has no relation to the real world, where millions upon millions of Christians are convinced they already know the Truth.

As for your Christian archaeology, yes I've read about how you've found Noah's Ark, and the Garden of Eden, and so on. All any of it shows is that your Biblical myths had their roots in even older myths - this is common knowledge, there is nothing special about it. All this so-called research just to try and show that a few Bible stories might have roots in history. How much research is being done on the core beliefs, the stories that say God did this or that, or God said one thing or another? How much are you spending on researching God?

Anonymous said...

Donation made.

Thanks for the tipoff.


Robert N Stephenson said...


you obviously have all the answers, then why create questions if you have pre-formed opinions and ideas.

How many churches have you been a part of, how many different denominations have you sat down and discussed things with - going by your lack of knowledge I am sure you have not done much in the way of research yourself... just assuming I am.

If you view something through tainted glasses then all you see will be tainted, as fully fledged card waving Atheist I most certainly had this view, and quite unrockable it was too.

Now - you claim Christians do not need questions or research because they have the answers. Ironically, it appears you do as well. Funny that isn't it.

While I have an open mind and listen and learn accordingly, I am quite sure you are not alone with pre-set answers that are often trotted out without actually applying reasonable consideration to anything stated or suggested.

It is true I an traveling along quite comfortably in life and while I journey through Russell's blog and learn, discuss and learn some more, I do tire sometimes of very narrow view points.

To date most of what I have learned is about people wanting to be right, wanting to be the winner of an argument, wanting to impose positions that are mechanical at best. I find this quite unfortunate but not really unexpected - as I say, I use to be an Atheist but unlike you I was not content to just know narrow lines of conformity. I learned what is understood and propagated constantly is not really what happens to everyday people and how they think.