Amen to that. The Pit has been something of an oasis of (actual) free thought in a desert of poisoned wells and mirages that turn out to be little more than echo chambers. So to speak.another lurker wrote: ↑the pit was my saving grace after i finally saw the evil at FreeThoughtBlogsJohn D wrote: ↑ The Pyt has been an important part of my life over the last many years. I will miss it if it dies.
Still, even if we don't really change things, it is nice to have a place that contains some people with similar ideas.
and... it is nice to be in a place that will provide me with honest thoughts... even when they are different than mine.
a respite, with rational people, willing and able to fight the madness
Though that's not to say that the place is perfect - too many pushing questionable orthodoxies and "traditions" of their own, and who give some evidence of "thinking" that echo chambers are the way to go, most often when they get their knickers in a twist because they've been challenged on their defenses of them.
But kind of the nature of the beast. I remember reading The Trouble With Islam Today by Irshad Manji, a gay Canadian "woman" and a more or less rational Muslim - a contradiction in terms? - highly recommended. But one particularly brilliant thread in the book is her discussion and elaboration on ijtihad:
Islam of that time basically kept the candle of Greek science burning while Europe succumbed to its Dark Ages. Unfortunately though, the literalists triumphed and suppressed that spirit because it conflicted with religious dogma: "And the gates of ijtihad - our minds - remain, for the most part, closed."Dismayed by the "harrowing picture" of Islam that I'd painted, this Muslim taught me something constructive. .... Ijtihad, he told me, was the Islamic tradtion of independent reasoning, which he claimed allowed every Muslim, female or male, straight or gay, young or old, to update his or her religious practice in light of contemporary circumstances. ....
As usual, I started to read, surf, and talk to scholars. Who made ijtihad a tradition? Where was it practiced and what did that society look like? I unearthed this portrait: The spirit of inquiry animated Islam's golden age, between about 750 and 1250 C.E. .... [pg 56]
Similar thing with the Catholic Church of 1200 and later - initially supportive of science and reason, but as soon as it conflicted with religious dogma - with what feels good in contradistinction to what is actually true - then it was all too quick to come down on science and that "spirit of inquiry" like the proverbial ton of bricks - Galileo being only the most salient example.
However, even more problematically are the current efforts of the "woke" in the same direction - anything than conflicts with their "immutable" identities and "mythic essences", anything that disabuses them of their untenable and quite risible "feelz", anything that "offends" their cretinous sensibilities and odious ideologies is to be anathematized, if not subjected to the dunking chair, the rack, and burning at the stake.
Something of a recent addition to that bill of particulars from Jerry Coyne:
https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2022/01/ ... sy-pieces/
Methinks that Western "civilization" - such as it is - is hanging in the balance, is in pretty much the same state that both the Islamic empire and the Catholic Church were experiencing and dealing with in 1250. Prognosis is not all that encouraging ...