The who, what, and why.
And about the man behind the curtain.
Afterall.net is more or less an online filing cabinet of collected articles and snippets from my quest to find answers to the big questions, especially of faith and reason, plus a fair share of reflections and commentaries from yours truly, Nathan Jacobson. As such, it is my hope that Afterall.net reflects some of my core values: an honest search for the truth of the matter, an appropriate humility regarding our human abilities as truthseekers, and a profound respect for all who presume to address the question, no matter their point of view. For the sake of full disclosure, I come at the question as a Christian, inclined to think (and yes, also hoping) that Christian theism is true. However, my whole adult life my faith has been beset by doubt, and it is this unrelenting uncertainty that compels me to return to the question earnestly, again and again. Doubting Thomas, I guess, is my patron saint. And like Thomas, I really do want to know.
Nathan Jacobson » May 6, 2009
In recent weeks, not much in the way of fresh and original content has appeared here on the front page. This doesn't mean, however, that I haven't been working away behind the scenes. A complete rewrite of "The Illogic Primer" is underway. Originally borrowed from Stephen Downes' List of Logical Fallacies, for some time I've wanted to expand and update it. That time is now. Revised entries appear here as they are updated. They feature numerous citations from a wide variety of logic and critical thinking texts, and in some cases, original commentary relevant to the themes here at Afterall.net. I am profiting greatly from revisiting these informal logical fallacies in depth and I think you'll agree that the improvements are significant. You can compare a revised entry to the old. Additionally, our Quotes continue to multiply, including a bevy of new quotes from David Hume. Finally, a number of original articles are nearing completion, including: "Deathmatch: The Decisive vs. the Doubtful", "Anatomy of a Stupid Comment", and "How to Criticize Religion". So, stay tuned.
Dr. Trevor in Evenings with the Skeptics: Free Discussion on Free thinkers, pp. 34-5.
I come lastly to a third type of intellect, in which Twofold Truth presents itself in a moderate and altogether commendable shape; in which the disparity is not so much antagonistic as complementary, and the result of its functions is not disunion and hostility so much as a broad comprehensive solidarity. For our purpose we may call intellects of this class 'dual-sighted' or 'two- eyed.' ... This 'double-sighted man' is by no means the synonym of the nickname common in Puritan history, 'Mr. Facing-both-ways.' It rather implies the possession of faculties which enable the observer to see every object in the solid, substantial manner, in the full relief, and with the true perspective that pertain essentially to all double vision. It is the instinctive power and tendency to discern a specific object or a given truth not merely as it is in itself or in one of its prima facie aspects, but in its completeness as a whole and relatively to all its surroundings. We see this quality in the artist who simultaneously with the perception of an object also sees all its different phases as well as its relations to surrounding objects; or again in the general who apprehends by a single glance of his mental vision all the characteristics, bad as well as good, of a given position or military movement. So the philosophers I speak of catch every truth or doctrine, not in its simple and uniform, but in its complex biform or multiform aspect. They are men to whom every affirmation suggests, if only as a possibility, a negative; who intuitively meet every dogmatic pronouncement with an objection, just as a painter infers shadow from light. These are the men who in my judgment have rendered the best service to the progress of knowledge by their comprehensive vision, their cautious Skeptical attitude, their fearless criticism. ...
Nathan Jacobson (Afterall.net, 2001. Revised June 2007)
Personally, there are few things I relish more than a ranging conversation with friends over an overflowing plate of supreme nachos. And, graciously, it is in this intrinsically good thing that lies the promise of truths that can set us free. Dialogue is no panacea, of course. In and of itself, it cannot usher in peace and goodwill on earth. Indeed, very often grudges and misunderstandings find their breeding ground here. Still, good conversation is the best thing on the menu, whether it is with a book, a blog, or a bloke. So what makes any old conversation about important and controversial issues a good conversation? I'd like to suggest a few essential ingredients, mostly learned from the unsavory taste of foot-in-mouth. Take these insights with a grain — or a dash — of salt.
A Site Update from the Editor
Paper Trails, Clippings, and Book Reflections. This feature is helpful not only for printing but also if you happen to prefer reading black text on white instead of on our lovely ochre. Third, we've added the Google Translator to the left. So if you've got a friend whose "english not so good", feel free to point them to the site anyway. I'm only able to judge the Spanish translations, and though not perfect, they're not bad either. Finally, you can also use the define link at the left to easily look up some of the more esoteric philosophical terms you'll find here. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.
Nathan Jacobson » July 5, 2006.
Xaraya, a fantastic though laberintine CMS. Many Kudos to them. We hope you benefit from the new and improved Afterall.net.