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How does anyone talk about God? All language, unlike God, is limited. Wittgenstein warned: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." Can anything else be said?

Liam Hudson was a Cambridge educationalist. In 1966 he subjected a sample of schoolboys to a Getzels-Jackson test (including one magic question "How many uses can you think of for a brick?"). He concluded that there were two kinds of learner. The wisdom of either, pushed to its logical extent, appeared folly to the other.

Convergers, often physical scientists, deal in literal prose. Divergers, more often practitioners of the arts, lived in a world of metaphor, symbol, and poetry. To a linear converger the only proper answer to a question was direct and contingent. A diverger used questions as open springboards for surprising cognitive leaps.

Convergers tend to espouse particular package deals of faiths and denials of faith. Their language is a medium for birds of a feather to flock together. Groups of the like-minded circle their virtual wagons around the cyber campfire, within a ring of words designed to reassure fellow believers (or unbelievers) they are right. Its main purpose for outsiders is to evangelise them.

Discussion within convergent charmed circles is largely preaching to the choir. There is a tendency towards sarcasm, in-jokes and name-calling. The purpose of discourse is to build and fence the common ideology. An occasional heretic is flamed, but the hottest roastings are reserved for outsiders.

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Category: Science