The following post is a reprint of a post of mine on BlogCatalog. It mentions a discussion thread "Does God Exist Or Not?", started by me, which had attracted a large number of replies and comments. One fine Sunday morning, we woke up to find the thread had been suddenly and summarily deleted! Needless to say, someone started a NEW thread to discuss the deletion, and the post below is my little contribution to the new discussion. Some might say that I'm being too apologetic, some might say I should apologize more, but I've tried to express my true feelings about it. Why have I made a copy of it on this blog? Maybe you can guess the answer...
It was me that started the thread in question.
First of all I'd like to make a sincere apology for any trouble that the thread has caused. It was never my intention for that to happen.
I started the thread originally just to advertize a little post on my blog, which was looking at an ancient argument of "proof" of the existence of God by St Anselm of Canterbury. Thus you could say that my motives were mixed! One, I wanted to encourage an academic discussion, and two, I wanted some visitors to a blog that was new.
Imagine my surprise when the thread got hundreds of comments! I did not realize before that the existence of God or not was a subject of so much controversy. I had thought it was a dry-as-dust academic point.
As to the posts that were "nasty", I don't know what those were really. One post said that the ontological argument was aleph null stupid, which didn't seem to be an entirely well-considered counter-argument, but as it was not a long way from the truth, it was OK, I thought. There did seem to be a lot of bantering between people who clearly knew each other, and were continuing conversations they'd already had. But if there were any personal attacks, I must have missed them, because I didn't see any.
I did, however, read some very well-written posts arguing for one side or the other, and it's a real shame to lose them like that. Maybe I'll get deleted for saying this, but I think it's a worrying feature of the internet that your work can be deleted instantly, without any chance of appeal, by someone who doesn't like what you've done or said.
One of my main interests is in the phenomenon of misinterpretations. This is when you say one thing, but the hearer interprets your words in a way you hadn't thought of, and so believes you've said something else entirely. It's one of the main themes of Shakespeare's Hamlet, by the way! I'm fascinated by how a quite heated discussion can arise from one of these little misunderstandings. This is why I think it's so important for everyone to do philosophy, which among other things stresses the need for a precise definition of each word before it is used in a discussion.
I say this because its possible that a post of mine may have been the cause of the deletion. If so, it's because I may have expressed myself badly and caused a misunderstanding. The thing is, the thread seemed to have gone dormant, with no replies for the previous 5 days, so I thought I'd add a little last word, where for the first time, I actually gave my own view on the question! This was purely for my own pleasure, as I didn't think anyone was interested in the thread anymore, and would never see it. There was no nastiness intended in that last post, but it's possible that, as I just said above, it might have been misinterpreted, I don't know.
I don't want people to be nasty to each other. I like to hear both sides of an argument, and it's a good thing when they are strongly felt, but I believe that people should respect their opponents and learn from them.
Anyway sorry guys.
The link to the new discussion is http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/there-are-threads-being-deleted-again-instead-of-just-being-locked
The post on this blog that I was trying to advertize was http://filosofia08uk.blogspot.com/2008/10/ontological-argument-for-existence-of.html
The irony in all this is that the original thread was about a philosophical question, not about religion as many people assumed.