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Can delve more deeply into an area of specialization

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Can delve more deeply into an area of specialization with efficiency and appropriate conf idence ' Are an informed and appreciative audience for works of arts and science ' Have an informed appreciation and understanding of the nature and society Competent laypeopleV,now their intellectual limits, but also have the confidence and competence to expand them. Most of our lives are spent working and dealing with issues that are outside of our specific training: dealing with everything from car problems to personal problems, from doctors to computer technicians, from trou- bled children to architectural decisions, from an appreciation offilm to the under- standing ofpolitical affairs. The sheer breadth ofenterprises can seem daunting, but that is what is involved in the kind of personally, professionally, and publicly rich lives we hope for. Mark Battersby teaches philosoplry at Capilano College, in Vancouver, British Colum- bia, and is completing a field guide to statistical and scientific information, intended to help laypersons do the kind of citical thinking and research discussed here. This essay is reprintedwith the author'spermission andis excerptedfrom alonger piece, which may be accessed at http://merlin.capcollege.bc.ca/mbatters/competentwerson.html. in the Goddess? Govier Remember the joke about the man who saw God and was asked to describe the vision? "You won't like it," he said. "she's black." To some, this is more than a joke: the orig- inal religion was goddess worship, emerging from traditions in Africa. Belief in a Great Goddess is quite fashionable these days. The notion of an Earth Mother is extremely attractive: it removes divinity from associations with male power' domination, and war, and puts worship closer to life and the earth. For manywomen, the Mother Goddess has extraordinary appeal, soothing and healing the wounds of millennia of woman-hating. Books and lectures on goddess religion tend to avoid intellectualized theology. Mysticism, motive, and wishfirl thinking are more conspicuous than clear straight- forward arguments for the existence of a goddess. For me, this is a serious gap.
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