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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) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The public responds to Jerry...

... and he discusses it here (where there's also a good thread of comments including a couple by me in a discussion about the word "secular").


Darrick Lim said...

I thought your definition of 'secular' was a given. In the context of Prof Coyne's article, what else could it mean?

Seems like Egbert was being contrarian just for contrariness' sake.

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Russell Blackford said...

Or maybe it was just a blindspot on his part, Darrick. I guess it's no big deal, but it's nice to clear up the point. We csn hardly go through life explaining words that are not very technical every time we want to use them.

Darrick Lim said...

We wouldn't have to Russell, if it wasn't for postmodernist bunk and its linguistic contortions. (~___~)

Dave Ricks said...

Suppose Daniel Dennett gave his book Breaking the Spell the subtitle Religion as a Secular Phenomenon, and that would mean Religion as a Non-Religious Phenomenon. Hmm.

Cromulence is necessary but insufficient. Personally, I limit the word secular to human activities that offer choices between religious versus non-religious motivations and reasoning -- e.g., the US Constitution was guided by secular reasoning, but I can't ask a dog if his motivations are religious or secular.

Storytelling may be religious or secular. A scientific description of the evolution of morality is a secular story. But the action of evolution itself is not a human story, any more than raindrops falling are a human story.