I posed a simple question to avowed ‘atheist’ Red Tani of the group Filipino Freethinkers (FFT) after checking out a rather quaint cartoon he drew that implies speculation about the personal wealth of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who currently stands on trial before a Senate impeachment court. My question to Tani was this: Do you believe or do you know? referring to what he seemed to be asserting in the cartoon he published on the FFT site which I exhibit here:
Now admittedly, there has been some fair but snide observations about the way Corona and many people who took the witness stand for both the prosecution and defense sides equivocate, dither, waffle, and squirm in their seats when thrown tough but simple questions. Most famous of all is star witness Harvey Keh who squirmed through what is arguably the biggest spectacle in this whole trial. So I find it a bit ironic that Mr. Tani would respond to such a simple question with this rather quaint equivocation:
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@benign0 That is my provisional understanding based on the arguments I’ve made here http://t.co/984ZSXTy
“Provisional understanding”. Hey wait… that just means one’s belief for now…
Anyways, in the end there was nothing much else to discuss. Mr Tani did not answer the question because he was no longer in the mood.
Coming from someone who defines his identity around his commitment to find meaning more in knowing than in believing, the act of implying a belief in something not proven comes across as a bit off-putting. It’s like spotting the pope ogling Roman chicks in hot pants as they scoot by on their Vespas just outside the walls of the Holy See.
Indeed, what this simple Twitter exchange illustrates is the expectations one attracts when one self-labels. As if labelling weren’t enough, self-labelling is kind of a self-setup for double jeopardy. Full disclosure first: I did write a while on my thoughts of why I think the concept of “atheism” may have degenerated into nothing more than a fashion statement in the Philippines…
For me the appeal of atheism, drawing from my own experience tossing it about in my head, would have come from a freedom to grow intellectually and to approach life from a broader range of perspectives. The problem is, atheism seems to be defined more by what one is not rather than what one is. An atheist does not believe in God, is what I keep hearing.
In that sense, I donâ€™t consider myself an â€œatheistâ€. There is a lot more to being intellectually free than not believing in God. Being intellectually free is to be open to confronting realities about oneâ€™s place in the universe. Religion, in contrast, considers the specialness of humanityâ€™s place in the cosmos as the cornerstone of the belief system it prescribes to its flock.
Some things are best left unlabelled.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
31 Replies to “Does avowed atheist Red Tani BELIEVE or KNOW something about Renato Corona’s personal wealth?”
Mr. Tani and his goup is a paid hack financed by those believers out to create a bad impression about the real atheists. I suspect these group who call themselves free thinkers was organized solely for that purpose.
I don’t recall Red ever saying that he’d rather know than believe. In fact, this article is not only the top result, but also the only relevant result for “red tani know believe”, so I have good reason to suspect you’ve put words in his mouth. And that’s not to mention the fact that you’ve drawn a false dichotomy between knowing and believing.
As far as I can recall, in all the interviews I’ve ever seen Red give, he emphasized the need for evidence to support beliefs–beliefs which may be overturned when evidence to the contrary is found. That’s exactly what a provisional belief is.
free thinker! – paid parrot
I’ve been watching this conversation on Twitter for a few days, and the only conclusion that I’ve been able to draw is that even ordinarily open minds sometimes have a hard time getting around preconceived notions, especially about people.
Yup, Benigno pretty much quote-mined and made it seem like that was the only response I gave. Please post the entire exchange, Benigno.
I pretty much said repeatedly that he presented a false dilemma between belief and knowledge, since they’re not on the same spectrum.
I said that neither did I belief (without evidence) nor know (with complete certainty) but it was what my current thinking has led me to conclude *provisionally*.
I then sent the challenge back to Benigno: “Do you think your understanding of the issue counts more as knowledge than mine does?”
He evaded the question several times before saying that he argues for all of his positions. I simply said that I did the same.
It was only after a lengthy exchange that I said I didn’t want to discuss the nature/philosophy of truth (which would be necessary to explain why belief and knowledge weren’t on the same spectrum) much less on Twitter.
And much less with Benigno who has obviously set out to misinterpret our simple exchange as what one commenter right called, “putting words in my mouth.”
@RedTani The spectrum that has belief and knowing on both ends is one described by the property of how big a consideration facts and sound logic are when making an assertion. But nonetheless, you decided that my question involved a ‘false dichotomy’ ONCE towards the end of the exchange – after you attempted your equivovation and after I had repeated the question twice. I didnt evade your question. I had already established that I have no record of making an assertion about Corona’s personal wealth – which means comparison between the quality of my knowledge of said matter and anyone else’s rests upon nothing.
The Chief Justice is on the verge of being convicted as a result of an ABNOY-led propaganda and you write about this athiest Red Tani. He is not significant (in fact no one really has heard of him). I am one of your biggest fans because of you incisive articles. But, this piece, considering the critical time where in now is a big disappointment
all of benign0s articles are failed propaganda
Convict/acquit, CJ wins.
Send my regards to Salceda, Puno, Mislang, Llamas and De Lima. Oh wait, the last one turned tail. Don’t prejudge corona daw.
If it was, why keep reading it?
All of your comments are pure of sheer ignorance and blatant idiocy. CJ wins if either convicted or acquitted.
Hey, send my regards to Sernno and Carpio if Corona is convicted. Your call on shedding blood is imminent. 😛
Yellow propaganda is FAILED propaganda.
i must agree with you! can’t wait till this government is over thrown and someone shuts kris aquino up, FOREVER! and abnoy/noytard is sent to a rubber room where he can just play with himself!
Yes! Yes! Last 24 hours before the conviction. Another setback for Benign0 and GRP.
Benign0 buti pa ang Freethinkers may Social Media Award na. http://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/08/27/filipino-freethinkers-bag-top-social-media-award/
Galing galing! Bakit ang GRP – isang buong dekada nang nag b blog, eh kulelat pa rin?
That’s because we don’t make friends with any committee that presumes to issue “awards” for social media “excellence” (whatever that may mean). The fact that we don’t make friends means we are not beholden to any personal relationships nor encumbered by any partisan affiliation and therefore remain vastly more objective and focused on critical analysis of ideas than any other blog out there.
Whatever the outcome of this circus the ultimate loser, as always, is da Pinoy.
Ang isang kulelat na tulad mo ay hindi ma-gets ang mission ng GRP. As Eleanor Roosvelt said:
“Dumb people talk about PEOPLE. Average people talk about EVENTS. Intelligent people talk about IDEAS.”
Kulelat ka kung hindi mo ma-gets iyon. 😀
Pfft awards yeah right. That “win” you’re talking about is like Skyrim last year winning numerous awards including game of the year but it’s actually overrated because the game is very buggy for crashing and the story is lame.
//Benign0 buti pa ang Freethinkers may Social Media Award na. http://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/08/27/filipino-freethinkers-bag-top-social-media-award/
Galing galing! Bakit ang GRP â€“ isang buong dekada nang nag b blog, eh kulelat pa rin?//
– Like! (tumbs up)
Unintelligent human being. 😛
– Never been a Judge
– Spent his career serving a master, the last of which is GMA who appointed him
Corona knows the game. He sought the power. He deserves no one’s pity or adulation.
I assume that like Bill Gates you own the company that you work for so you don’t spend your career “serving a master”.
the obvious, but not politically acceptable outcome, is guilty of a technicality, but not an impeachable offence, with censure as the outcome.
a kangaroo court which votes according to money on the table has no place in civilised societies and hence the philippines remains at the bottom of even the 3rd world order. that is what it deserves after this farce was paraded before the world.
one thing is clear – the standard of lawyers and lawmakers is abysmal in the country. no surprise that the only people who distinguished themselves are all ex harvard ( my alma mater) and that includes media pundits from universities who should take the blame and be ashamed for churning out such low level graduates. i doubt many filipino trained lawyers work for linklaters, freshfields, allen & overy etc.
i have never come across one in the london, new york or european offices.
They make money here, they have power here, I guess they’re satisfied with that.
I am so frustrated. Why didn’t the defense team prepare to give better arguments? Sad to say, they were hammered by the prosecution lawyers. The defense team should be held accountable if the Chief Justice gets convicted. Until now, I still can’t comprehend why the defense called Morales as a witness? Can’t help but suspect that the defense team is part of the yellow persecution machinery.
I am so frustrated. The defense team presented a very weak and unconvincing argument. Sad to say, they were hammered by the defense. Why didn’t they prepare? If the chief justice is convicted, the defense should be held accountable. Until now, I still can’t comprehend their logic for calling the ombudsman as a witness. Can’t help but suspect that the defense is part of the yellow machinery aimed to persecute the chief justice
… instead of “hammered by defense” , I meant “hammered by the prosecution” . Sorry for the error, was just very upset with the defense team. I expected more from them.
Hmmm. now that you’ve mentioned it, these we’re supposed to be the best minds related to law in the country.
I wonder if they intentionally annoyed the public with technicalities, that while true and legal, insult the sensibilities of the masses?
Also, as part of this theory, wasn’t Ms Jimeno from ABS-CBN? Just pointing that out.
Also, isn’t this suspect… why did the defense allow the Chief Justice to admit in open court that he has $2.4M and Php80M in his accounts? What is the logical strategy of the defense for doing this? All I can think of is that the defense really would just like the chief justice to get into big trouble. Can you really blame me for thinking that the defense team is in a conspiracy with the yellow machinery to persecute the chief justice?
Will someone please explain what’s happening? Am really very troubled with the turn of events.
I have no quarrel with any Atheist…if they don’t believe in God, or something. It is their business. If that is what makes them a better person…then, it’s their choices…However, the tactic of Noynoy Aquino to fabicate evidences and send a bunch of liars in the Senate impeachment. Makes a mockery of our Justice System. Noynoy Aquino wants to control the Judiciary and set up a virtual dictatorship for his family, and his cahoots…