Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FACT Critical Thinging "Skeptics" Meetup group

Not too long ago I joined the Forsth Area Critical Thinkers group on Meetup.com, and I've been to a handful of meetings since (they only meet once a month, so they accrue slowly).


This morning, I was responding to a post I made on the group, and since I have made a very nice and well-crafted piece of discussion, for laziness sake I thought I'd repost it here.
My major objection seems to be that the group isn't as much a critical thinking discussion group or even "skeptics" group as a athiests' political group. And that bothers me, although that's not my call to make, except for how I choose to use my time.


"I thought this was a critical thinking group?"

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Posted May 1, 2010 10:02 AM Link to this discussion Edit Quote in reply

user 4826257
Lexington, NC
Post #: 8

I am rather displeased by the trend I've seen in my last few visits (a grand total of two; not a real big sampling I admit...haha). The trend is this: less emphasis on critical thinking, and more emphasis on political ideology. I completely agree that the separation of church and state, religious freedom, rights of expression, etc., are very valid topics for discussion and applied critical thinking, but I do not agree that political activism (especially related to personal beliefs) is valid for a critical thinking group. There ARE political activism groups. That's not what I thought this was. Call me spineless, but I have a live and let live take on many such things. I am reminded for a quote from Voltaire (or at least I think it was Voltaire): and since he wrote in French, it is indisputably a paraphrase at best: "I may not agree with anything you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

Am I alone in this? I'm not giving up on the worth of the meetup, or topic, or the cheese sticks, or my future interest, but this is just a small objection I wanted to air.


***** ******
Posted May 2, 2010 9:38 AM Link to this reply Quote in reply Report as spam
user 10897564
Winston Salem, NC
Post #: 1

******* (agreeing with me)

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Posted May 19, 2010 9:16 PM Link to this reply Quote in reply Report as spam

user 7748278
Group Organizer
Winston Salem, NC
Post #: 4

I just saw this thread or I would have replied sooner. Feel free to suggest a topic Rich. What topic specifically did you not approve of?

Posted May 25, 2010 11:35 AM Link to this reply Edit Delete Quote in reply

user 4826257
Lexington, NC
Post #: 11

I really enjoyed the "Myths of Recycling" screening (I know that's not the actual title, but I don't recall). I thought that was going in the direction of where I would like to see this group go, thinking beyond casual socially-accepted "common knowledge." Origins and analysis of misinformation, and so on.

At the moment, I can't really pinpoint a "topic" that I disapproved of (and, of course, my disapproval is a strong word, and is merely my opinion), but it was more about attitudes. And again, attitudes have every right to be divergent from my own and to be expressed and my distaste for them doesn't suggest they don't warrant a Meetup group. Why do I feel like Seinfeld? "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

Anyway, instead of chastising ourselves into greater critical thinking, the group seems to be currently more heavily leaning towards criticizing the way other's believe. I know for a fact that I don't think about things the way I used to, and partially from that experience I feel it is important to respect other peoples' beliefs, even when in my view they are in error. That brings to mind again my objections to the whole "Draw Muhammad Day" or however it was termed. I fully acknowledge the persuasive arguments made for the effort, "we will not succumb to intimidation", etc, and I have allowed myself to become undecided on the issue.

Okay, suggestions: "Why Wal-Mart is bad for America?" type documentaries, or Global-Warming documentaries, or Lost Boys of Sudan, or just discussing what we've seen in the news lately. Personally, I remain only loosely in touch with current events, and would appreciate a discussion of news. Or maybe a roundtable discussion of "What's on your mind this week?" and then chat about the subject that comes up.

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