This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← What do you say to your faith-based neighbors?

susanlatimer's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by susanlatimer

"I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence." I can now rattle that off in about three seconds. What usually happens, then, are several seconds of blank silence while that sinks in. It would be nice if I had a single term that had a definition that most people would recognize as the same thing as saying that whole sentence, so if you know such a word, please tell me.

I'm not sure a single word would be as effective. If you have a three-second phrase that is met with several seconds of blank silence, then you have made progress. The trouble with a single word is that it will usually be shape-shifted by theologians or even by the missionary's personal psychology.

That phrase is the perfect length. How much more brevity could the subject bear? I prefer phrases to single words. Or we just end up with single words like "meaning" and "consciousness" and "nothing" that demand whole disciplines just to interpret.

A well-phrased question or statement is a beautiful thing, and difficult to come by.

"I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence." Stick with that. That's what good discussions are made of.

Sat, 10 Mar 2012 03:58:25 UTC | #925787