Go Back   Bloggingheads Community > Diavlog comments
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Notices

Diavlog comments Post comments about particular diavlogs here.
(Users cannot create new threads.)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-12-2009, 03:50 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
BhTV staff
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,936
Default Why We're Religious (Joshua Knobe & Jesse Bering)

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-12-2009, 07:01 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Wow, only watched about half of it so far, but this is GREAT!! Fascinating discussion. And great job by Joshua asking all the right questions. Happy Easter/Passover/Equinox etc, everyone!!

I think when Bob's book finally comes out, a Bob/JK diavlog might be in order.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-12-2009, 08:56 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 592
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Such a refreshing change from the endless hashing and rehashing of "the economy" blah-blah and the never-ending war between paid-to-lie ideologues from opposing think-tank noise-machine camps.

Please: More of this and less of the same-old, same-old which tendeth otherwise to make BHTV seem really, really old to point of uninteresting.

Thanks to both. JK is one of my favorites, not just for his impish sense of humor and startling out-of-the-box questions, but also in his careful choice of DV partners. I wish he were more of a "regular."

Although I think some of the underpinning presumptions of evolutionary biologists & psychologists & philosophers are a bit suspect (as for instance with the inference that "secrecy" was impossible in ancient cultures and hence determinative for default psychological patterns manifest now), it's still fascinating to get a "pulse-reading" on some of the latest theorization and experimentation.

EW
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-12-2009, 08:59 PM
dankingbooks dankingbooks is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 83
Default Re: Why We're Religious

It's not all that hard to imagine non-life after death. All you have to do is think about life before birth. Where were you when Lincoln was assassinated? And no, you probably won't answer "all I remember is darkness, which means I wasn't born yet." Life after death is surely unknowable, but it can't be all that different than "life" before birth.

By the way, check out my book on another enduring human trait: prostitution. www.dankingbooks.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-12-2009, 09:44 PM
CinemaRing CinemaRing is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 43
Default Re: Why We're Religious

At the risk of being obvious, isn't promiscuous teleology in the young a reflection of their developmental situation? In other words, children see teleology in things because it is their job at that time to find the purpose of things.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-12-2009, 10:01 PM
CinemaRing CinemaRing is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 43
Default Re: Why We're Religious

moreover, it's not the least bit surprising that we would find causality in natural events. That's how we developed science. The fact that we sometimes see causality where none exists does not imply that finding causality is maladaptive; rather, it simply shows there are mistakes made. Most events follow natural laws, after all. Gravity is a supernatural agent if you want to think of it that way. After all, we don't know the mechanism for acting at a distance (how does the sun "attract" the earth? anyone?)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-12-2009, 10:26 PM
radmul radmul is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 27
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Many of us do not think in terms of omens and portents. We do not all feel the need invent purpose. The new Atheism is pretty dull because, "there is no meaning" is an uninteresting truth but truth it is.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-12-2009, 11:04 PM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

I liked this exchange. It was interesting throughout. Both guys are smart and amiable.

One of my responses though was to fight some mild exasperation with my sense that Bering, such a smart guy, was overly complicating some understandable things. Why does it take experiments and a barrage of psychological language to understand that little kids cannot imagine life ending with death and would think even after the alligator eats the mouse, the mouse retains its mousiness? We cannot imagine extinction on death but we can understand it. Little kids aren’t there yet conceptually, being little kids.

They are not really incipient theists in any significant sense. That is much too grand. It is just not within them to understand or conceptualize non existence.

That same sense of exasperation, a tad less mild, also surfaced in Bering’s dismissal of the “new atheists”, saying that he found them a bore, and that they were missing the point. I can understand all that from the perspective of an experimental psychologist, but it sounds limited and narrow from a more general perspective.

This exchange convinced me that religiosity was an adaptive thing and we bear its traces, which manifest themselves in countless ways, which are, no doubt, good fodder for psychological investigation. But that’s one thing. The projects of consciousness to make moral and meaningful sense of our existence are another. If I may that other is somewhat more compelling than showing little kids pictures of mice eaten by alligators and then drawing certain inferences as typical of the experimental psychological enterprise.

The foundation of these projects ought to start with the non existence of God, I think. That and the oppressive amount of religious thinking and influence in North America make me think that the new atheists are entirely to the point and cannot make their point often or emphatic enough, for me in any event.

Still as I say this was an enjoyable exchange and stimulating too, and not without irony in me watching it on Easter Sunday.

Itzik Basman
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-13-2009, 12:56 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
One of my responses though was to fight some mild exasperation with my sense that Bering, such a smart guy, was overly complicating some understandable things.
I didn't feel that way. I think these experiments are on the cutting edge of understanding how hardwired we are for supernatural beliefs. The problem that Jesse discussed of getting at what people really believe (in spite of what they articulate) is quite interesting. Leave God out of it for a moment (or forever, if you like): If you ask most educated people if they believe in luck, they are likely to deny that they do and furthermore, they believe in their own denial. But it's very rare to actually meet someone who attributes all the events of her life to chance. People do have a sense of being lucky or unlucky. We all seem to hold magical beliefs. We all think we have some purpose (illustrated by Jesse's going to the bookstore and finding he was "meant" to read a certain book).

Quote:
That same sense of exasperation, a tad less mild, also surfaced in Bering’s dismissal of the “new atheists”, saying that he found them a bore, and that they were missing the point.
If you're already an atheist (as I am and as the two Blogging Heads are), the New Atheism is boring, and the New Atheists do miss "a" if not "the" point. The point for them seems to be to refute the more ridiculous claims of theism (including the belief in a God who hears prayers and intercedes in human affairs). They miss the point that you can't think yourself out of the supernatural anymore than you can think yourself out of moral values.

We are moral and religious beings. These are facts of our humanity. When Richard Dawkins says we don't have to believe all those silly things, he's arguably further mystifying human psychology, although his debunking of religion is true.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:07 AM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

...They miss the point that you can't think yourself out of the supernatural anymore than you can think yourself out of moral values...

Why not?

Instinctive relapses to magical thinking, instances of superstition, all that kind of thing, don't mean that one can't approach the world as feeling, rational beings, who try mightily not to let occasional recourses to irrationality count for anything more than being ocasional recourses to irrationality.

...We are moral and religious beings. These are facts of our humanity. When Richard Dawkins says we don't have to believe all those silly things, he's arguably further mystifying human psychology, although his debunking of religion is true....

Speak for yourself. I am not a religious being and take a crack at trying to be a moral one. What to your mind would constitute my religion: that some times at moments of stress I wish for something supervening to intervene and resolve my problems, that sometimes I feel wonder at things? I don't know what "silly things" you think Dawkins says we don't have to believe, but I read his book and Harris's and they are right, right down the line, except for Harris at the end of his when he gets all Eastern and such.

I'd neeed you to be more concrete, as I asked, as to what counts for you as "religious".

Itzik Basman

Last edited by basman; 04-13-2009 at 10:58 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:27 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
I'd neeed you to be more concrete, as I asked, as to what counts for you as "religious".
I would define religious as ascribing more meaning to the life of a person than to the life of a gnat or a microbe.

The feeling of "mattering" is a religious sentiment, i.e., based on intuitions of something vaguely supernatural, invisible and transcendent.

It seems to me that our brains are organized around this false belief of mattering. It's something we take on religious faith and something that is almost impossible to eradicate. If we didn't believe in mattering, we would collapse into nihilism or catatonia. You get up in the morning because you think it matters (although there is no evidence that it does, or could).

Of course, you can define religion more specifically. That might be useful in order to distinguish Christians from Scientologists or atheists. But again, I find that boring. It's not boring if you have a creed or want to debunk someone else's creed, but I haven't been interested in that since adolescence.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-13-2009, 06:27 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 592
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I would define religious as ascribing more meaning to the life of a person than to the life of a gnat or a microbe.
Actually, that's not "religion" so much as just another form of species in-group self-cherishing.

On the contrary, from the standpoint of deeply reflective mystical gnosis one could just as easily make the case that genuine spirituality involves a realization of the inherently equal meaning between the life of a person and the life of a gnat or a microbe. (But don't expect this mind-state to arise as a genuinely constant spiritual experience outside of a life steeped in deep meditation.)

We're forever hearing about scientific ignorance and illiteracy among the drone-like masses of the religious. (Actually, I tend to concur that this is a huge problem.)

But we never hear too much about "metaphysical illiteracy" wherein seriously plausible evidence for reincarnation for instance is presented in a manner most difficult to definitively refute, but is nonetheless derisively "waved off" with no real attempt to explore the evidence, sometimes merely anecdotal, true, but sometimes replete with undismissable facts explainable in no other way. This is reflexively cast aside, not based on clear-eyed refutation, but, frankly, on the basis of out-and-out bias that one will not, under any circumstances, allow oneself to entertain the possibility that such a phenomenon could represent the facts of what transpires after death.

This is itself a form of intellectual laziness and ignorance and, frankly, dishonesty. For just one instance of a piece, which if read in an unbiased fashion, should give one serious cause for pause, see Tucker's Life Before Life
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Before-Sc...9612929&sr=1-1 His work is probably one of the most responsible treatments of the topic taken up and explored without bias and constantly referencing every possible counter-argument.

(The paperback edition is around $10 with free shipping. There's a Kindle edition as well.)

EW
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-13-2009, 05:08 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,644
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
?
I am not a religious being
Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
Science, I’m all for it, a hundred per cent, passionately--it's like a religion to me
thank you. That sums up my experience with the "new atheists".
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-13-2009, 05:12 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
thank you. That sums up my experience with the "new atheists".
It is incorrect for you to pick out one person, particularly some random coment from some random commenter on the Internet, as representative of the so-called New Atheists.

On the other hand, you did say that "sums up [your] experience," so maybe it's just the case that you've had very little exposure.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-13-2009, 05:30 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,644
Default Re: Why We're Religious

yes, that post was mostly bait for you ; )

I really couldn't help myself after the discussions we've had on this topic. and honestly, with the shoe on the other foot, i really doubt you could have resisted an opening like that either.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-13-2009, 05:39 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
yes, that post was mostly bait for you ; )

I really couldn't help myself after the discussions we've had on this topic. and honestly, with the shoe on the other foot, i really doubt you could have resisted an opening like that either.
I do like to snicker at such glaring contradictions. That much is true.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-13-2009, 06:44 PM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
thank you. That sums up my experience with the "new atheists".
Oh, for God's sake, I was kidding when I said it's like a religion to me.

Uhm, I'm kidding too when I say, Oh for God's sake.

Itzik Basman
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 04-13-2009, 07:34 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
Oh, for God's sake, I was kidding when I said it's like a religion to me.

Uhm, I'm kidding too when I say, Oh for God's sake.

Itzik Basman
Emoticons, Itzik, use emoticons!
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-13-2009, 08:43 PM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Emoticons, Itzik, use emoticons!
I will I guess from hereon in.

But slightly more seriously: quick question: why would it be a "glaring contradiction" for a new atheist type to say in a figurative sort of sense that science was *like* a religion to him or her. If the atheist wasn't making holy pilgrimages to the lab, wasn't about to burn his grad students in sacrifice, was not literally intoning prayers, but just meant to suggest that he or she put a tremendous amount of stock in science and felt kind of reverential toward it, as in revered it as a magnificent enterprise of the mind, what's the big megillah that in its incoherence brings down the whole new atheist house of cards?

I'm not seeing that.

Itzik Basman
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-13-2009, 08:56 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
I will I guess from hereon in.

But slightly more seriously: quick question: why would it be a "glaring contradiction" for a new atheist type to say in a figurative sort of sense that science was *like* a religion to him or her. If the atheist wasn't making holy pilgrimages to the lab, wasn't about to burn his grad students in sacrifice, was not literally intoning prayers, but just meant to suggest that he or she put a tremendous amount of stock in science and felt kind of reverential toward it, as in revered it as a magnificent enterprise of the mind, what's the big megillah that in its incoherence brings down the whole new atheist house of cards?

I'm not seeing that.

Itzik Basman
Well, it does depend on what you mean by "like a religion." You, and Wonderment, seem to have a very broad sense of what this means compared to me.

I fully acknowledge that an atheist can feel awe about many aspects of the universe. I fully acknowledge that an atheist might say he or she had reverence for the scientific method, or how amazingly well it works, or why it should even be that so much of the universe is amenable to it. But to me, saying these feelings are the same as saying "science is like a religion" has all sorts of bad connotations. It suggests unwarranted faith, a hesitance to be skeptical and/or curious, a reluctance to discard what was once believed, and so on.

Now, maybe you do not mean any of these things. But especially given the way the creationists and the young-earthers and the like have spent so much time saying that atheism or acceptance of the theory of evolution or that the age of the Earth is measured in billions of years is "just your own faith," I'd rather not be complicit in their efforts to distort matters.

And, you must already know about my fussiness for precision in language. We do, after all, have plenty of other good words to describe our feelings, like the already mentioned awe and reverence.
__________________
Brendan

Last edited by bjkeefe; 04-13-2009 at 09:00 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 04-14-2009, 10:58 AM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Brendan, Thanks for your answer. I understand what you are saying and agree entirely with the thinking that motivates it, but think that perhaps you are being a bit too picky in objecting to the use of religion as a metaphor, even though in your explanation of that,as I say, your concerns are well taken.

That said, there are of course in these issues bigger fish to fry, and I'd like still like to tangle (:-) with Wonderment or someone on the new atheists on the basis I put to Wonderment.

Itzik Basman
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 04-14-2009, 11:12 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
Brendan, Thanks for your answer. I understand what you are saying and agree entirely with the thinking that motivates it, but think that perhaps you are being a bit too picky in objecting to the use of religion as a metaphor, even though in your explanation of that,as I say, your concerns are well taken.
Yes, it's entirely possible I'm rabbit-eared about the careless use of religion as a metaphor. What can I say? I view the mindset and political goals of fundamentalist religious types as the biggest impediment to societal progress and the greatest threat to the world I want to live in.
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-13-2009, 08:01 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
They miss the point that you can't think yourself out of the supernatural anymore than you can think yourself out of moral values.
I think this is the kernel of your disagreement with Basman, and I would take your side - with caveats. I read one of Bering's articles, viewing religion through the lens of Sartre's No Exit. I wouldn't call it "moral", so much as a predicament of human social adaptability that has evolved over generations. I say "predicament" because I couldn't help but compare Bering's discussion with Taleb's discussion of how the narrative fallacy is hardwired in The Black Swan. I think the New Atheists are a bit simple too, but because I think there is a mismatch between how religiosity works in the brain and the current state of human technological and social development.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:58 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
I wouldn't call it "moral", so much as a predicament of human social adaptability that has evolved over generations. I say "predicament" because I couldn't help but compare Bering's discussion with Taleb's discussion of how the narrative fallacy is hardwired in The Black Swan.
Yes, that's also part of it.

Interwoven among human brain adaptations that foster irrational assumptions about the world are: religious sentiment (creator, afterlife beliefs), superstition, morality, narrative structuring (with protagonists/antagonists and heroes on quests), archetypes (Jung was on the right track with this, though he overdid it), etc.

It would take a test like Jesse's, for example, to tease out Richard Dawkins' belief that he is on a meaningful quest in life. I think the zeal with which he pursues his causes betray this sentiment, but I'm open to being proven wrong. Is a quest belief "religious"? Yes.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-13-2009, 10:42 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
...

One of my responses though was to fight some mild exasperation with my sense that Bering, such a smart guy, was overly complicating some understandable things. Why does it take experiments and a barrage of psychological language to understand that little kids cannot imagine life ending with death and would think even after the alligator eats the mouse, the mouse retains its mousiness? We cannot imagine extinction on death but we can understand it. Little kids aren’t there yet conceptually, being little kids.
...
There's a difference, wouldn't you say, between bringing intuitive assumptions - however seemingly self-evident - into a study like this; and, attempting to build an empirical model of as much of the foundation of the ideas being studied as possible?
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-13-2009, 01:51 PM
basman basman is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 648
Default Re: Why We're Religious

...There's a difference, wouldn't you say, between bringing intuitive assumptions - however seemingly self-evident - into a study like this; and, attempting to build an empirical model of as much of the foundation of the ideas being studied as possible?...


There sure is.

But what separates valuable experimental activity from the trivial investigation of the self evident in the name of experimental psychology?

I don’t need, I don’t think, a controlled experiment to understand that little kids can’t conceptualize non-being and to understand the reason why they can’t. It's no big mystery to me why we sometimes speak of the dead as if they were alive even when we know they are dead, as did Jesse Bering's sister in "feeling bad" for her deceased mother.

How many of such experiments represented by the kinds of illustrations unfolded by Jesse Bering are there leading to how many publications in how many journals contributing what exactly to what we understand of the world?

Science, I’m all for it, a hundred per cent, passionately--it's like a religion to me; the investigation of the obvious and clothing it all in heavy language and so on, I have my doubts about.

Itzik Basman
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-13-2009, 02:29 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
...There's a difference, wouldn't you say, between bringing intuitive assumptions - however seemingly self-evident - into a study like this; and, attempting to build an empirical model of as much of the foundation of the ideas being studied as possible?...


There sure is.

But what separates valuable experimental activity from the trivial investigation of the self evident in the name of experimental psychology?

I don’t need, I don’t think, a controlled experiment to understand that little kids can’t conceptualize non-being and to understand the reason why they can’t. It's no big mystery to me why we sometimes speak of the dead as if they were alive even when we know they are dead, as did Jesse Bering's sister in "feeling bad" for her deceased mother.

How many of such experiments represented by the kinds of illustrations unfolded by Jesse Bering are there leading to how many publications in how many journals contributing what exactly to what we understand of the world?

Science, I’m all for it, a hundred per cent, passionately--it's like a religion to me; the investigation of the obvious and clothing it all in heavy language and so on, I have my doubts about.

Itzik Basman
I think, as a matter of protocol, people in the field have strong motivation to make as few assumptions as possible. There's a limit to how far that goes, of course, and there's a real discussion to had in the attempt to define the limits. I feel pretty strongly that the sort of question we're discussing in this instance ought not be assigned a default answer, when it's relatively easy just to construct a test. I also suspect that if it wasn't explicitly asked, that that would be seen as a flaw by almost anyone else in the field.

None of that really goes to whether experimental psychology has any inherent value, but I think that's another question.
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-13-2009, 12:27 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Very interesting research presented in this diavlog.

One possible adaptive function for believing in an afterlife could be coping with the death of loved ones. The emphasis in the diavlog seemed to be on the function of afterlife for the individual, in addition to the described cognitive origin of the concept of afterlife itself.

It wasn't clear to me how they evaluated what is defined as "cultural residue" and how much weight it has in the kind of subtle phenomena they are studying.

I agree with other commenters that J. Knobe always brings very interesting topics to BHTV.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-13-2009, 01:12 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
Deactivated User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea (ROK)
Posts: 1,690
Send a message via Skype™ to Baltimoron
Default Re: Why We're All Knobists!

I look forward to listening to this diavlog, but bhTV has really been less compelling without Knobe diavlogs. Please, Joshua, don't be a stranger - rescue us from rank punditry!
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 04-13-2009, 02:13 AM
Tara Davis Tara Davis is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 193
Default Re: Why We're Religious

To celebrate Easter, the highest of all Christian holidays, Bloggingheads.TV invites two atheists to ponder the question of what biological imperatives lead everybody (except people like them) into such obvious missteps of self-delusion.

Stay classy, BHTV!
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 04-13-2009, 02:51 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Not Real America, according to St. Sa®ah
Posts: 21,798
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara Davis View Post
To celebrate Easter, the highest of all Christian holidays, Bloggingheads.TV invites two atheists to ponder the question of what biological imperatives lead everybody (except people like them) into such obvious missteps of self-delusion.

Stay classy, BHTV!
Given that BH.tv is described as a global media juggernaut, this does not seem inappropriate (visual aid).
__________________
Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-13-2009, 09:52 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara Davis View Post
To celebrate Easter, the highest of all Christian holidays, Bloggingheads.TV invites two atheists to ponder the question of what biological imperatives lead everybody (except people like them) into such obvious missteps of self-delusion.

Stay classy, BHTV!
It seems a perfect time. Are you claiming that it's effrontery to engage on non-Christian ideas at times that Christians deem to be special? Does Christianity hold some special status that atheism lacks, such that a discussion of atheism on a Christian holiday is inappropriate, insulting to true believers? Should we hold off on atheist conversations on Christmas day, as well as during Passover, Ramadan, and Diwali?

What about Aleister Crowley's birthday?

Update: and to be clear, this really isn't explicitly an "atheist" discussion, is it? It's just an elaboration of the cognitive science underlying religious feelings - something which really ought to be viewed neutrally.
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!

Last edited by AemJeff; 04-13-2009 at 04:10 PM.. Reason: mispelled word
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-13-2009, 04:06 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Yeah, these sort of comments like Tara's, remind me why I'm so happy to be an instinctivist (love that expression.) Bloggingheads puts two extremely smart and respectful guys on to talk about what is to me THE big question of all time (even bigger than if there is a God); do people innately believe in God and why? But because the diavlog airs on a day that some people consider sacred, they take offense. It's only through the lens of a mind distorted by religious kool-aid, that one could even conceive of how this diavlog was in any way offensive. But since Christians have been the majority in this country for so long, we the non-believers are supposed to walk around on egg-shells lest we step on a topic that offends them, on the day that they choose to celebrate their preferred myth of re-birth (and I know it's blasphemy to point out how strikingly similar resurrection stories are considered as myth if they come from other, more primitive religions, but calling the Xtian resurrection account a myth with doubtless get a much stronger reaction.)

But the point is, this diavlog was a fascinating discussion and nothing more. If Sam Harris and Chris Hitchens spent an hour railing on the idiocy of religion, I think greater sensitivity and criticism of the choice to air it, would be reasonable (though I would still basically respond "tough shit.") But this diavlog was not at all demeaning to believers and even went a good way to highlighting some empirical evidence that I would think they would welcome.

In other words, listen to your boy. Turn the other cheek, forgive, let it go. Don't watch a discussion of two secular scientists on a day that is sacred to you, if that's your concern. But remember, the rest of us are under no such constraints. Yesterday was 1 of 365 days and nothing more, to many of us. And we are just as entitled to a good diavlog on that day as much as any other.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-14-2009, 04:13 PM
Tara Davis Tara Davis is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 193
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
It seems a perfect time. Are you claiming that it's effrontery to engage on non-Christian ideas at times that Christians deem to be special? Does Christianity hold some special status that atheism lacks, such that a discussion of atheism on a Christian holiday is inappropriate, insulting to true believers? Should we hold off on atheist conversations on Christmas day, as well as during Passover, Ramadan, and Diwali?

What about Aleister Crowley's birthday?
Darwin's birthday was celebrated on BhTV by an outstanding episode of Science Saturday where his great contributions to science were discussed. I highly recommend going back and watching it.

The holiday of Christ's resurrection was celebrated on BhTV by a discussion of religion as a congenital pathology of delusional thinking.

These data points pretty much speak for themselves with regard to the editorial posture of BhTV.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 04-14-2009, 04:57 PM
Thanks, dad!
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Why We're Religious

yeah, that's how normal, rational people think - nonreligiously...we're also anti-conservative because we actually like to use evidence to back up our beliefs. weird, isn't it?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 04-14-2009, 05:21 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,644
Default Re: Why We're Religious

what do you mean by normal?

if you mean "average" or "usual" or "customary" then you are completely wrong. The average person thinks quite religiously.

aside from being wrong, you're also an ungracious ass.


Tara - i don't think you're complaint is all that valid either, but you are probably right that those choices point toward the editorial stance of BHTV. I guess i don't see the editorial stance as being all that strong, however.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 04-14-2009, 05:43 PM
Thanks, dad!
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Why We're Religious

gee, thanks, dad!
they do?? i had no idea that religion is popular. thanks for setting me straight on some obvious, nitpicking bullshit regarding a throwaway statement that's not even directed at you but someone even more retarded and not worth defending. <-- that sentence is a "run-on" sentence just for you. the only thing that's more pathetic than a conservative is a "word usage dork."
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 04-14-2009, 05:30 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
The holiday of Christ's resurrection was celebrated on BhTV by a discussion of religion as a congenital pathology of delusional thinking.

These data points pretty much speak for themselves with regard to the editorial posture of BhTV.

Tara, So far you seem to be the ONLY person who viewed this diavlog with such offense. (or at least the only person who has taken such a stance in the comments section) Granted, I don't know if the more faithful x-tian commenters: (BobbyG, Pisc, JuliaInIA etc.) have refrained from commenting because they haven't watched it yet or because they are just indifferent, but either way, I think the singularity of your data point (of view) is worth considering as well.

I would add that if "delusional" means having beliefs based on zero perceptual evidence, or in contrast to empirical evidence, then I'm afraid there's no other way for two cognitive scientists to discuss religion vs. rationality without using this approach.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 04-14-2009, 01:44 AM
Thanks, dad!
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Why We're Religious

no one here likes you
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 04-14-2009, 02:05 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Why We're Religious

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanks, dad! View Post
no one here likes you
First, that's flatly false.

Second, Titstorm/VeryWeak.../Federovington/etc... I'd tread carefully around that sort of assertion if I were you.
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!
Reply With Quote
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.