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Davidson Loehr

Two points seem to belong here. First, it’s useful to remember — as Wittgenstein so tersely put it — that “Certainty is only an attitude.” 


Second, it’s useful to know the background of those posting opinions and comments in these discussions. Not all of us are scientists, and shouldn’t have our comments valued as though we were. To name just the two I know about: myself, and Duane Elgin. My undergrad was in music theory (Univ. of Michigan — Go Blue!). My M.A. was in methods of studying religion. And my Ph.D. was in theology, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science, with Wittgenstein’s language philosophy added into the mix (Univ. of Chicago). Duane’s undergrad was in liberal arts, and his two M.A. degrees were in finance and the history of economics. It might be useful, since we don’t know each other, to provide a sense of our education and professional experience, and its connection with our comments in this forum. For me: before graduate school (1979-1986), I had been a professional musician, combat photographer in Vietnam, owned a high-priced wedding and portrait studio in Ann Arbor, and done carpentry, first as hobby then to earn a living. After graduate school, I was a Unitarian minister for 23 years, before retiring in 2009. I have just one book, America, Fascism & God: Sermons from a Heretical Preacher (Chelsea Green Publishing Co., 2005). My concerns in these discussions are mostly with language: using it clearly, not using emotional language as though it were intellectual/factual (three decades of reading and listening to people in religion created a deep yearning for people who could say what they meant in ordinary language!) It might help if we shared a brief introduction of ourselves when we enter these discussions. At least it would help me, so I began. 


That said, I’ve been frustrated at Duane’s use of “scientific materialism” as a straw man, and what have felt like romantic/emotional arguments cloaked in scientific garb, so appreciated Ed Lantz’ challenges and clarifications in those areas. Guess I’m over-sensitive to arguments that feel more like sermons, without unambiguous arguments and support. My limitation.


Davidson Loehr