The Dartmouth Observer

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Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Rationalism v. Fundamentalism? Another "Ism" Debate

I am beginning this post realizing that I want John Stevenson to explain himself. Since he has no problem asking "progressives" to explain themselves, I am returning the question. I will also attempt to explain myself and my "progressive" politics in a later post.

Reading an early post on the Observer, I was struck by Chien Wen's request that the writers on this blog defend their ideas using "disinterested, depoliticized thinking". How, I wonder, does a thinker motivated, in part at least, by faith, claim to this type of thinking? John, Karsten and I touched on this slightly when at Molly's recently, and I am eager to hear how a faith-based personal philosphy can fit into the largely Enlightenment-infatuated environment at the Observer. I can accept faith, and the idea of faith, as something that is inherently un-reasonable, irrational. I find faith to be this way personally, and I think it points to the fact that the much-touted potential of logic and reason to explain all is not as successful as some may think. Certainly, the trend in thinking in the West leads me to assume that rationalist thinking is not very compatible with faith-based thinking. The inductive reasoning of Aquinas and his ilk was thrown out by most scientific thinkers in the Enlightenment. I am very curious to see how John manages to retain allegiance to these two,as I see them, conflicting ideologies ( I use the term ideology intentionally, and I welcome someone trying to refute my use of the word).

Also, I would like to ask Chien Wen to enter into this debate, since I think that he is an atheist or agnostic and may have an interesting counter-perspective. As someone who believes in a god, but isn't too particular about religious ideology, I am curious to start a debate about religion here.