Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reason in an Age of Credulity

Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot Narrative

I had a great dinner and conversation with some friends tonight. We walked over to Surin of Thailand in Virginia Highlands, a local favorite, for dinner: http://www.surinofthailand.com/

After that we started discussing the state of credulity and unreason in today's American culture. We covered a lot of ground! All of us are gravely concerned about the lack of critical thinking in today's society. None of us are religionists. We all believe in personal responsibility and action.

Here are links to many of the YouTube video clips we discussed as well as links to other information about the topics.

Mr. Deity

We talked about the hilarious Mr. Deity video series. My favorite happens to be the one about Lucy, otherwise known as Lucifer.

http://mrdeity.com/

"You're the deity! Come on, who's the deity!"

Why Won't God Heal Amputees

We discussed the great web site http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com, a site that is very critical of supernaturalistic religion. Here are a couple of great videos from that web site:

Proving That Prayer is Superstition

This video demonstrates that praying for silly things like having dice turn up all sixes never results in creating any prolonged ability to roll six die any greater than normal probability.

I'd just like to add my observation that a much better test of prayer could be done by setting up an experiment like this:

  1. In order to avoid loss of life, use 50 Barbie dolls instead of real people.
  2. Set the dolls on the ground.
  3. Raise an anvil high above them.
  4. Pray that God will make the anvil move out of the way of the doll to protect the doll from destruction should the anvil fall.
  5. Drop the anvil.
  6. Observe the result each of the 50 times.

I will bet you that will not ever see the anvil fail to destroy the Barbie doll. This kind of test is far better than most prayer studies because we can actually test for an expected result. In prayer studies that attempt to measure the result of people praying for others to recover from an illness, there are too many complicating factors involved, too many variables that have to be accounted for. But, in this experiment, there is an expected outcome, so unless the expected outcome is observed, one is justified to explain that's it's likely there is no deity listening to and responding to the prayer.

How Do We Know That Christians Are Delusional?

This video discusses the Muslim Bubble of Delusion, the Mormon Bubble of Delusion, and the Christian Bubble of Delusion.

Richard Dawkins

We talked about Richard Dawkins' encounter with Ted Haggard, his book The God Delusion, and his TV series "The Root of All Evil",

Richard Dawkins Versus Ted Haggard

The God Delusion

The Root of All Evil Part I

The Root of All Evil Part II

Richard Dawkins Interviews a Bishop Who Accepts Evolution

See the whole interview here: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=richard+dawkins+anglican

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (also known as the Spaghedeity) is the deity of a parody religion called The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.[1] The religion was founded in 2005 by Oregon State University physics graduate Bobby Henderson to protest against the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution. In an open letter sent to the education board, Henderson professes belief in a supernatural Creator called the Flying Spaghetti Monster which resembles spaghetti and meatballs.[2] He furthermore calls for the "Pastafarian" (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarian) theory of creation to be taught in science classrooms.[3]

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Treaty of Tripoli, or More Evidence that the United States is Not a "Christian" Nation

We talked about the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797. The Treaty of Tripoli clearly stated that the founding fathers did not intend to create the United States on top of any religion.

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Read more at http://www.nobeliefs.com/Tripoli.htm

Watch this video to learn more about the Treaty of Tripoli.

Gregory Boyd on The Myth of a Christian Nation

Carl Sagan and Cosmos

We talked about how our world would be a better place, full of more critically thinking people if more young students watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos at a young age.

Here are just two incredible clips from Cosmos to illustrate this:

The Origins of the Universe Part I

The Origins of the Universe Part II

You can view my Carl Sagan playlist on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=099F26B6D0103731

 

We discussed more videos and resources, but I'll have to add them later as I am tired.

 

 

1 comment:

Marianna said...

Josh, this is great!!! How do you find the time??? Anyway, many thank you's for doing it.
MB