Russell Blackford on science, religion, accommodationism, and Faith Versus Fact

January 1, 2016 • 10:45 am

Over at the “Cogito” (philosophy) section of The Conversation website, Brother Russell Blackford discusses (and dismisses) the compatibility of science and religion in a short essay called “Against accomodationism: How science undermines religion.” A substantial part of his piece is also a review of Faith Versus Fact, which I’m happy to see is positive.

I won’t summarize Russell’s article, which you should read in full on The Conversation site, but I wanted to highlight a few issues that Russell, as a philosopher, has clarified for me. And I’ll include at the end a bit of self promotion.

Blackford’s thrust is a philosophical analysis of the incompatibility between science and religion, and part of that is an attack on the most common way people try to comport the areas: Steve Gould’s NOMA gambit. In short, Gould claimed that “proper” religion didn’t make any empirical claims about the cosmos (that’s the ambit of science) but rather encompassed the area of meanings morals, and values. Thus science and religion were “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA). To effect this concordat, Gould had to claim, for instance, that creationism wasn’t part of religion. You have to squint pretty hard to see that as true!

Gould’s argument failed on two grounds. First, most religions, and all the Abrahamic ones, make claims about reality: the existence of gods that have a certain nature, how life came to be, the existence of souls and afterlives, Heaven and Hell, the moral codes dictated by deities, and so on. Some of these are empirically testable, some are not, but all are claims about reality. Gould’s denial that such claims are valid parts of religion is the reason most theologians have rejected the NOMA solution (see pp. 106-112 in Faith Versus Fact for statements to this effect). As Russell notes in an earlier essay (see link below):

Unfortunately for Gould’s enterprise, religions are not secular ethical philosophies dressed up with symbols. They are encyclopedic explanatory systems that make sense of the world of human experience in terms of a supernatural realm and its workings. They end up making statements about humanity’s place in the space-time Universe that are open to conflict with scientific statements about physical nature. With the example of Genesis and its genealogies, reinterpretations are possible, and not just of the first three chapters, but it seems wrong-headed to rule out the religious legitimacy of accepting the book’s literal words.

Second, it’s palpably clear that religion is not the sole source, or even a good source, for meaning, morals, and values. Those who make such a claim neglect the long tradition of secular ethics—extending from the ancient Greek philosophers, through Kant, Spinoza, Hume, and Mill, down to people like Peter Singer and Anthony Grayling in our own day.

Blackford published a longer critique of NOMA that I highly recommend. The link to that critique on his own website embedded in his present essay doesn’t work for me, but you can find it at the following link: “Stephen Jay Gould on Science and Religion.” If you want a definitive philosophical refutation of the most common brand of accommodationism, that’s it.

In showing how the advances of science have forced religion to constantly rejigger its dogmas, Russell brings up a point that I’ve unduly neglected: those god-killing advances have come from the humanities as well.

I need to be add that the damage to religion’s authority has come not only from the sciences, narrowly construed, such as evolutionary biology. It has also come from work in what we usually regard as the humanities. Christianity and other theistic religions have especially been challenged by the efforts of historians, archaeologists, and academic biblical scholars.

Those efforts have cast doubt on the provenance and reliability of the holy books. They have implied that many key events in religious accounts of history never took place, and they’ve left much traditional theology in ruins. In the upshot, the sciences have undermined religion in recent centuries – but so have the humanities.

In my own book I didn’t concentrate as much on the historical damage of science to religion’s authority as on their present incompatibilities. Nevertheless, I see “science” not as a body of facts, but a way of understanding reality that combines reason, empirical observation, testability, doubt, and so on. Using that definition, enterprises like Biblical scholarship (e.g., did the Exodus occur?), plumbing, car mechanics, and linguistics can, if approached using science’s toolkit, be seen as “science broadly construed.” My point was not really to redefine science, but to show that the way people accept important truths in their everyday lives differs profoundly from the way believers and theologians approach religious “truth.”

Russell has a minor quibble with my expansive conception of science, but I can live with that. The important point is that there’s really only one way of knowing, and that’s the way that’s either based on or mimics science. Religion, in contrast, is not a way of knowing. Russell continues from the above:

Coyne would not tend to express it that way, since he favours a concept of “science broadly construed”. He elaborates this as: “the same combination of doubt, reason, and empirical testing used by professional scientists.” On his approach, history (at least in its less speculative modes) and archaeology are among the branches of “science” that have refuted many traditional religious claims with empirical content.

. . . It follows that I don’t terribly mind Coyne’s expansive understanding of science. If the English language eventually evolves in the direction of employing his construal, nothing serious is lost. In that case, we might need some new terminology – “the cultural sciences” anyone? – but that seems fairly innocuous. We already talk about “the social sciences” and “political science”.

For now, I prefer to avoid confusion by saying that the sciences and humanities are continuous with each other, forming a unity of knowledge. With that terminological point under our belts, we can then state that both the sciences and the humanities have undermined religion during the modern era. I expect they’ll go on doing so.

That’s fine with me, so long as the “unity of knowledge” emphasizes the similarity of methods used by science and the humanities to gain true knowledge. For a lot of the humanities (e.g., the many schools of lit-crit) aren’t engaged in finding reliable knowledge.

When discussing FvF, Russell makes a further point that I’ve neglected:

Coyne emphasizes, I think correctly, that the all-too-common refusal by religious thinkers to accept anything as undercutting their claims has a downside for believability. To a neutral outsider, or even to an insider who is susceptible to theological doubts, persistent tactics to avoid falsification will appear suspiciously ad hoc.

To an outsider, or to anyone with doubts, those tactics will suggest that religious thinkers are not engaged in an honest search for truth. Rather, they are preserving their favoured belief systems through dogmatism and contrivance.

That—especially the last sentence—seems incontrovertible to me, especially in light of those believers like Karl Giberson who aver that no observation could ever refute their beliefs. No scientist would ever say such a thing about the provisional truths we accept. Religion isn’t a search for truth, but a search for confirmation of what you were taught, what you want to believe, or what you find emotionally fulfilling.

Finally, the self-aggrandizement: Russell’s assessment of the book. I’m chuffed here for two reasons. First, he’s not a man who would agree with my arguments simply because we’re friends. Anyone who knows Russell realizes that while he’s even-tempered and kind, he won’t praise something unless he really means it. Nor will he withhold deserved criticism.

Second, he emphasizes that FvF is not a strident or shrill book. Even though it’s been characterized that way by critics like John Horgan, that’s just wrong. The faithful or the petulant may disagree with my arguments, but I don’t think they can support a claim that my tone or arguments are hostile or thoughtless.

In his take on my book at Scientific American, Horgan said this after his criticisms:

In spite of these objections to religion [the problem of evil, the disparity between different faiths, etc.], I’m not an atheist. In fact, I think that science and religion converge in one important way. The more scientists investigate our origins, the more improbable our existence seems. If you define a miracle as an infinitely improbable event, then you could call our existence a miracle. Even Steven Weinberg, a physicist and adamant atheist, once conceded that “sometimes nature seems more beautiful than strictly necessary.” My sense of life’s miraculousness keeps me from ruling out the possibility of supernatural creation.

But then what kind of supernatural creation could still be in play? Surely Horgan, a science journalist, doesn’t agree with the Genesis account. Is he then sympathetic to intelligent design? I doubt it, for that would destroy his credibility as a science writer. Perhaps he sees the physical laws of the universe as having been fine-tuned by a supernatural force or being, for he considers our existence as being “infinitely improbable.” Well, that’s his take, and others like Sean Carroll disagree (see yesterday’s post). That’s all I’ll say about Horgan, and I’ll end with Blackford’s overall evaluation of FvF:

A valuable contribution

In challenging the undeserved hegemony of religion/science accommodationism, Coyne has written a book that is notably erudite without being dauntingly technical. The style is clear, and the arguments should be understandable and persuasive to a general audience. The tone is rather moderate and thoughtful, though opponents will inevitably cast it as far more polemical and “strident” than it really is. This seems to be the fate of any popular book, no matter how mild-mannered, that is critical of religion.

Coyne displays a light touch, even while drawing on his deep involvement in scientific practice (not to mention a rather deep immersion in the history and detail of Christian theology). He writes, in fact, with such seeming simplicity that it can sometimes be a jolt to recognize that he’s making subtle philosophical, theological, and scientific points.

In that sense, Faith versus Fact testifies to a worthwhile literary ideal. If an author works at it hard enough, even difficult concepts and arguments can usually be made digestible. It won’t work out in every case, but this is one where it does. That’s all the more reason why Faith versus Fact merits a wide readership. It’s a valuable, accessible contribution to a vital debate.

62 thoughts on “Russell Blackford on science, religion, accommodationism, and Faith Versus Fact

  1. Most Germanic languages do have a word for “science broadly construed”. German: Wissenschaft, Dutch: Wetenschap, Swedish: Vetenskap, Danish: Videnskab. It’s strange that English – which is a Germanic language – doesn’t have a similar word.

    1. Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Frohliche Wissenshaft” is today translated into English as “The Gay Science” which is a Renaissance expression for the craft of poetry.
      Older English translations called it “The Joyful Wisdom”.

      Any usage of Wissenshaft is a slight challenge for a translator into English.

        1. In Swedish wisdom would be a cognate for good “kunskap” – knowledge, which is learned knowing – and knowing would be a cognate to “vetskap”.

          vetenskap – natural and other sciences
          vetskap – knowing
          visdom – wisdom
          kunskap – knowledge

    2. “Science” was more broadly construed in English, for any systematic body of knowledge, and not so long ago. We had, for example, books about “the art and science of heraldry”.


      1. That would in my opinion also be the more correct meaning of the word science. “Science” is derived from the latin word “scientia” which simply means “to know”. Similarly, the Dutch word “Wetenschap” has a relation to the verb “Weten” which also means “to know”. Chemistry, biology, physics are all called ‘natural sciences’ in Dutch (natuurlijke wetenschappen).

    3. I’m no expert, but I think it is plausible in some cases to translate “Wissenschaft” as “scholarship” (I would take it that the Dutch and so on cognates are similar.) One would have to agree what the constraints are on science vs. scholarship generally to see if this makes sense.

  2. When Blackford says “they [religious thinkers] are preserving their favoured belief systems through dogmatism and contrivance,” I think “contrivance” is the key word. Theology in trying to explain the universe is the equivalent of a Rube Goldberg machine, defined as “doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary.” As science, broadly construed, continues its contributions to knowledge, theologians will stretch the limits of their minds to come up with more and more unlikely contrivances. This intellectual house of cards will ultimately collapse, if it has not already done so.

  3. My favorite example of science proffering the middle finger to religion’s authority is a well-known one: the lightning rod.

    It was only very recently in historical terms that the pious were forced to confront the fact that the most dramatic demonstration of god’s naked wrath was being unleashed disproportionately against church steeples, often the tallest structures in most hamlets. The decision to affix lightning rods to them must have been an agonizing and painful one for the faithful, since the metaphor of lightning as god’s angry punishment is such an ancient one and so well documented in their holy books.

    1. The decision to affix lightning rods to them must have been an agonizing and painful one for the faithful, since the metaphor of lightning as god’s angry punishment is such an ancient one and so well documented in their holy books.

      That would imply that there would be considerable documentation of the decision-making process – or of disputes over it. That might not be as obvious as Bishop Rod and Bishop Bolt hosting a lightning 6 round boxing match (2 falls or a knockout), but in the appropriate time, I could expect Parish Councils or Church Accounts committees having record full of proposals to spend money on a lightning rod, versus arguments that it was unnecessary, immoral or the money better spent on poor relief/ new font/ whatever.
      On the other hand, comments like “Little Hampton got burned down last week ; Here in Middle Hampton we have ordered Mr Honourable Member to secure the necessary materials and to construct a lightning rod to the sum of (blah blah blah)” would suggest that if there were a debate, it was not in the terms you suggest from our modern perspective.
      There’s a humanities/ historical project in there, enlightened by evidence in a fully scientific manner.
      We certainly have records of the baptism of the many babies of such parishes who were bound to die before their first birthday ; I can’t conceive that important matters concerning money wouldn’t be well recorded.

  4. Blackford’s review is welcome. There has been a bit of a trend for anyone with credentials in academic philosophy to default into sneer mode when commenting on anything by atheistic scientists. I commend Russell Blackford for being better than that.

    1. But there has also been a bit of a trend for people with scientific credentials to default into sneer mode when commenting on anything by philosophers or on the humanities or on the arts. One notices it here not infrequently. I think Russell Blackford’s article is excellent, and I am very glad that he brought out the importance of disciplines like history in bringing into question the pretensions of religion in general and the the Abrahamic religions in particular. I confess I have grown very tired of the ‘Two Cultures’ game, with certain people on both sides of these supposed cultures locked into trigger-happy modes and anxious to take offence on the slightest stimulus.

      Incidentally, Coel, I enjoyed the ‘rant’ you spoke of the other day, which you published on your blog, and I thought that your account, in another post, of what you argue are the weaknesses of a certain kind of ‘incompatibilist’ stance with respect to determinism was spot on. The kind of compatibilism I respect (though I don’t see why it needs to be called ‘compatibilism’) is the kind that points out that incompatibilsm as propounded by some of its proponents is simply unable to make sense of, or do justice to, our activity, and certainly not the kind of compatibilism that says we’d better pretend that free will exists because otherwise civilisation will collapse or other disasters come about. It is wrong to suggest that ‘compatibilism’ is only of the latter kind.

      1. Regarding your last paragraph: I agree. Aside from Dennett, I’m not aware (which could very probably be a function of my not having read enough) of other compatibilists who have expressed this worry.

        1. Yes, Dennett is the only person so far as I know who has expressed this view, so it seems odd to suggest that he is representative. Still, there may be others, but it seems a pretty silly line to take, and I’m surprised that someone like Dennett did take it.

    2. Russell Blackford also writes this in his good article on Charlie Hebdo, and quotes it in his year-end article:

      ‘Fair, useful cultural criticism should display some humility in the face of art. It should be grounded in an understanding of context and the relevant styles and traditions of expression. If we propose to engage in critique of cultural products, we had better show some complexity and generosity of response. That is how we earn our places in serious cultural conversations.’

      That is well said.

  5. Wikipedia writes (footnotes omitted)

    (article “History”)
    “The study of history has sometimes been classified as part of the humanities and at other times as part of the social sciences. It can also be seen as a bridge between those two broad areas, incorporating methodologies from both. Some individual historians strongly support one or the other classification. In the 20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel revolutionized the study of history, by using such outside disciplines as economics, anthropology, and geography in the study of global history.”

    (article “Archeology”)
    “Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities.”

    1. Archaeology is really a branch of biology, with methods that are hardly different from paleontology. It’s paleontology focussed on just one species.

      1. I’m fine with considering it a branch of biology but only if we’re stretching thing to include history as a branch of biology. And if we’re not, then excavating at Monticello would not be archaeology.

        Biology “broadly-enough construed” would include the study of all human activity.

        1. Yes, and I’ve long said that economics is simply the study of the autecology of a single large ape species.

          BTW — my wife is a prof. of anthropology and she’s located in the biology dept. in her college, along with the 2-3 others. She teaches physical anthro. (human evolution) and archaeology. It all seems to fit together naturally.

          1. My graduate training was Anthropology/Archaeology, too. If I had to shuffle the discipline off to another department I would go toward Biology, too. But the linguistic and cultural types would not have been comfortable with that assignment. It is an unusually wide-ranging discipline.

            I think this all points to the artificial nature of departmental boundaries in academia. Ultimately all disciplines grade off into something else. It is a bit like speciation. Everything is related one way or another. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a university with no departments.

    2. I agree completely! Although I disagree with PCC(e)’s statement on whether or not the Exodus occurred was in the purview of “Biblical Studies” (I think that question clearly lies in history and archaeology), I wish his idea of “science broadly defined” would gain wide acceptance. I think it would end a large number of science denial problems we currently have.

  6. The problem with theologians defining ‘miracles’ is that they are hamstrung, hence Horgan’s definition that they are very ‘improbable’ events. Rubbish! Very improbable is statistically explicable. A miracle is something that is, in the context of normal human experience, is impossible. Growing new limbs, or coming back to life, are just a couple of examples but, of course, they can’t be quoted by apologists, unless they are unevidenced events from 2000 years ago.

    1. Indeed. This leads to the discussion of whether “supernatural” is a legitimate category into which we could put real phenomena if they were ever objectively demonstrated.

      But I’m not here to open that can of worms.

    2. “Statistically explicable,” indeed. Which is why someone always eventually wins the Powerball lottery, no supernatural intervention needed — and which is why winning lotto tickets make it rain for the just and the unjust alike.

  7. Well deserved praise for your powerful book, and completely correct about the high quality of the writing.

    1. Here, here. I thought it was very well done and powerful. I’d be reading it again, but I loaned it to a friend and I’m waiting to get it back. Excellent job, PCC(E).

  8. Blackford is right to point out the role of the Humanities in god-killing. From the Renaissance onwards the growth of study about the past (broadly construed) including not only archaeology, textual criticism, and History were already picking apart the Bible. One only has to look at Tom Paine’s Age of Reason to see how far they’d gotten by the time Natural Philosophy producing real results beyond Physics. I am quite sure one could make the argument that the advances in Humanities really laid a skeptical foundation for the advancement of Science in the 19th century.

    1. Hume and so on were not successful at creating full sciences of human nature and Paine’s biblical criticism is very cursory. However, what was importantly seeded by the revolution in the natural sciences was the idea that these fields could be profitably studied (again?) and that dogma there was as bad as dogma in, say, physics.

  9. I agree completely with Blackford’s final thoughts on ‘Faith versus Fact’. Throughout, I also thought Jerry went out of his way to be fair to religion – it is in no way strident.

    Jerry’s wonderfully clean and clear way of writing is something I already admired from WEIT. It makes his books easy to read and understand despite covering complex ideas. Also, imo it’s impossible to do that without a deep knowledge of the subject matter.

    1. Clear writing’s prerequisite is clear thinking. Clear thinking can, of course, still be spoiled by muddled writing; but clear writing can never be derived from muddled thinking.

  10. A well rounded review!

    That religious thinkers routinely detract from their believability is a point that I wish would be exposed more. Russell is very polite when he calls it ad hoc, intellectual bankruptcy is what I would call it, and it is also an easy tell involved when children reveal religion for what it is. E.g. that grownups tend to support religion delays the insight for a year or so compared with revealing Santa Claus, but the back pedaling of religious gives the game away.

    I have some nitpicks on science though.

    Fine, I can’t stop philosophy from riding on science to adjudicate on its “philosophical naturalism”.* (But I would note that it would be equally as unsupported and superfluous for nature and its exploration as deism.)

    However, I would say that describing “traces of past events” as not observations from experiments is to give creationists too much and to confuse scientific usage to boot. One may argue it, but describing an historical outcome as an experiment (of nature) is common, especially since the same statistical methods et cetera are used. The difference with that type of experiment is rather that we can’t vary parameters, and while observations may be repeatable (say, many fossils of some species) the experiment seldom is.

    And while I am no historian of science I think this is downright erroneous: “From another viewpoint, of course, the modern-day sciences, and to some extent the humanities, can be seen as branches from the tree of Greek philosophy.” If I would use tree methods such as phylogenetics, I would say testing it should yield a much more perceptible split of science and co-evolving mathematics and technology from agrarian, mercantile and military endeavors.

    That was Sagan’s theory in Cosmos, where he observed that mathematics and astronomy derived from agrarian needs (IIRC), while the sciences flourished in Pericles mercantile (and military) era before the magic mystics of Plato destroyed it for millenniums as it turned out. The later interdependence between mechanics and thermodynamics with canons is well established. Rather, science was helped and hindered by philosophy and religion at its root because of social influence.

    *Originally I worded this much more … not so nice. =D

    1. FWIW, Pericles’s era is starting to become really interesting.

      Not only did democracy (of a sort) and atom theory (of a sort) flourished there. I recently learned that astrobiology (of a sort) did as well!

      It was Metrodorus of Chios, who pondered other worlds like Earth. “A single ear of wheat in a large field is as strange as a single world in infinite space.”

      1. The atomist schools held that there were many “kosmoi” which are sort of geocentric solar systems. Ours is just one; they held there were an infinite (or at least unbounded) number of these, in both space and time. Consequently some were thought to be lifeless, some not.

  11. It’s disappointing when people try to defend the compatibility of religion and science by simply pointing out that many scientists are or were religious. It should be easy for anyone to see the problem with this claim. No one claims love and hate are compatible because a single person can feel both love and hate.

  12. For me, the problem boils down to the data sets that religion and science use. For religion, the data set is revealed “Scripture” (oh, how I hate that word!) which is fixed and often ambiguous, leading to diverse interpretations,evidenced by the multiplicity of sects, whereas in science the data set is continuously expanding and being refined, leading to a convergence of knowledge rather than divergence of opinion.

  13. S.J. Gould’s NOMA was a terrible idea because it abandoned the field of ethics and values to the theologians. He tried to get over this problem by defining religion in such a way that the supernatural, descriptive and organisational elements were eliminated, but as Jerry says, the theists were not having any of that. (Why would they? All that was really left was secular ethics.) The fundamental problem in leaving values etc to religion is that throughout the centuries religious belief has justified and incited any number of horrific and wicked acts, as Epicurus and Lucretius argued in ancient times:

    You hear these things, and I fear you’ll think yourself
    On the road to evil, learning the fundamentals
    Of blasphemy. Not so! Too often Religion
    Herself gives birth to evil and blasphemous deeds.

    Such wickedness Religion can incite!

    Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

    (Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Bk 1; Anthony Esolen translation)

  14. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we threw out ALL the past learning and literature in science and religion, and started over with just the scientific method and whatever religion/faith does.

    I like to think after an appropriate time the body of scientific knowledge would be back to where we are now. But where would religion be? They wouldn’t have all those dusty or imaginary old writings and oral traditions to repackage. They’d have to start over and wait for some new revelation and faith and all those nonscientific ways of “knowing”. And that would look quite different from the religious “truths” we have now. Meaning that they are idiosyncratic and arbitrary and are not eternal truths at all.

    1. This is why you get attempts to say that such-and-such ancient groups somehow got aspects of the dogma correct. For example, the creationist claim about sinographs reflecting the story of Noah or the “satanic anticipations” of the Christ story, etc.

  15. Funny that religious believers can be divided into essentially two camps — those who contend that hardly anyone has ever taken scripture literally, and those that still do.

  16. Rather, they are preserving their favoured belief systems through dogmatism and contrivance.

    Bingo…I can’t count the number of times I hear my dad use the phrase, “As Catholics, we believe…”

    Not only did he claim to believe it via authority of the Church, he claimed I believe it too, as if belief is something you can arrive at through coercion. Needless to say, this sentiment is clearly incompatible with science.

    1. I am often shocked to hear Catholics, including priests use terms like “we believe” and “you have to believe…”, etc.
      How does a person chose to believe something because someone tells them to? It seem like a grammatical error of some sort. Isn’t belief something that must be justified? Without some justification it isn’t really belief, it’s just something you agree not to refute in public.

      1. I think there’s a deep-seated human desire to abandon the burden of thinking for one’s self, to seek the relief of turning difficult decisions over to some higher authority, the relief that comes with becoming a true believer. (One reflection of this is how some frustrated, humiliated young Muslims in the west — the products of social and educational privilege, some of them, with the freedoms that privilege entails — chuck it all in favor of the dire future of going to fight with ISIS.)

        I’m pretty sure there’s an evolutionary basis for this — although the explanations for such phenomena provided by evolutionary psychology sometimes strike me as a bit pat and contrived.

        1. The Hitch mentions this human tendency often. It is a form of sadomasochism in which the totalitarian enslaves the believer who gets a visceral satisfaction in being pissed on. Freud probably has it covered.

          (Curiously, I noticed I reflexively used the present tense referring to Hitch. I think YouTube gives him a form of immortality)

          1. The video men do lives after them; the writing is oft interred with their bones to the past tense?

      2. The implications of this approach become even more muddled when you drill further down.

        E.g., you are compelled to believe X lest you burn in Hell.

        This means that not only are you compelled to accept this on authority, you are compelled to accept my beliefs about the consequences of your actions. Nowhere in this fascist setup does it occur to the authoritarians that if these claims are in fact wrong, their proposed consequences are false and meaningless– just methods of inciting fear in order to control others. I can no more believe based on authority that a teenager’s masturbatory fantasies will lead him to eternal torture than I can believe 2 + 2 = 5 (even for very large values of 2). Speaking of masturbatory fantasies, this is a pretty apt description of the mental contortions required for accepting this framework.

  17. “Religion isn’t a search for truth, but a search for confirmation of what you were taught, what you want to believe, or what you find emotionally fulfilling.”

    I love this summary. It’s going into my list of quotes.

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