Street Epistemology…What is it?




There is a video by Christian apologists Tom Gilson and Timothy McGrew going around that claims that Peter Boghossian’s concept of Street Epistemology, is a way to manipulate unphilosophical minded Christians by creating a fog of confusion to derail their faith.

Now, for those that might not be familiar with Boghossian’s concept, which he details in his book A Manual for Creating Atheists, he basically applies the non-confrontational method of asking questions in the Socratic style (known as the Socratic method of dialog) to carry the conversation via having their conversation partner answer very basic questions themselves.

In so doing, the point is to get them to think about the questions and express, in their own words, what they believe. It is a way to unravel the mysteries of their faith and reveal the types of thoughts and thought processes that go into making up a persons faith. It has proved to be very effective.

But Gilsona dn McGrew seem to not fully grasp it, and they go out of there way to misrepresent Street Epistemology and Peter Boghossian.

 Of course, this being the 21st century with YouTube and the Internet and what not, there is a video floating around that takes Gilson and McGrew’s wildly inaccurate portrayal of Boghossian’s methods by contrasting their comments and criticisms against actually video of a person doing real Street Epistemology according to how it was outlined in Boghossian’s book A Mannual for Creating Atheists.

Needless to say, the video is quite revealing.



It shows how much Christian apologists are willing to distort and smear a genuine philosophy they disagree with because they perceive it to be a danger to their faith.

It seems they might want to take notes from another one of Bogghosian’s methods, however, the one where he calls for people to attempt to be more authentic, not only with others, but with themselves as well. By being more authentic, and genuine, such distortion and smear tactics as employed by Gilson and McGrew simply wouldn’t be necessary. And so a person of faith could move past such apologetic tricks and grapple with the real important questions regarding their faith head on.

Of course, being a skeptic, a freethinker, and an atheist (among other things), I can honestly say that I think Street Epistemology is a good idea. But I’ll let you decide for yourselves.
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