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← Q and A - Adventures in Democracy

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #467408 by Friend Giskard

I noticed the same problem, so downloaded the WMV afterwards. It works fine.

I’ll critique the speakers when a transcript is available tomorrow to make it easier. I'll say now, however, that the creationist was a fascinating figure. On the one hand, he was infuriatingly evasive; on the other hand, it was nice to see a "Keep off science's turf, don't preach etc." stance being taken by a creationist for once, rather than being limited to the religious people whose beliefs are least at odds with science's findings.

They want my opinions; they can have it (on some of these questions).

Can one be a believer in God as well as a believer in the theory of evolution?
One can accept the fact of evolution on the basis of overwhelming evidence whether one believes in a god or gods or not, though believing both doesn’t work out well. At best, the latter is extraneous; at worst, religious evolutionary biologists have to misunderstand convergent evolution in order to feel at ease. (Ken Miller and Simon Conway Morris have done this quite notably.)

Do you think that a belief in the transcendent (whatever that might be, but including 'God') is important within a healthy human psychology, or do you regard it as a symptom of mental illness?
”Transcendent” is vague. In terms of believing in something unevidenced, like a god or gods, it’s a bad idea – let’s just leave it at that.

That’s a new word on me (try irreligion, researcher).

Why do you feel the need to express your views so stridently when they're not always welcome? Isn't it rather like going around to playgrounds and telling children that Santa Claus isn't real?
1. What’s so strident about saying “your beliefs are silly for reasons A, B and C, and are not similarly defensible”? We say that automatically anywhere else. 2. It’s one thing to spoil children’s fun. But what about adults believing in Santa Claus? What about them not only doing so, but also doing silly things (or calling for others to do so or to be legally required to do so or legally unable to do something OK) as a result? What about planning to get children to believe in it from now on, long into adulthood?

do you think there is any value in teaching religion in schools?
Teaching about it, yes. Teaching any of it as true, no.

Considering atheism cannot possibly have any sort of absolute morality, is it not then an irrational "leap of faith" (which atheists themselves so harshly condemn) for an atheist to decide between right and wrong, considering they have no absolute moral standard?
1. There are sources for absolute morality besides gods. 2. There can be moral facts without morality being “absolute” (at least under some of the more demanding definitions of that vague, slipper term). 3. Philosophers have considered several ways in which people can classify things as right or wrong without even meaning it in a factual sense, such as emotivism or prescriptivism. You will note these 3 points give conflicting ways to challenge this argument; there are many ways it could be wrong. Moral philosophy has no consensus yet as to which is right, but the claim the argument itself makes is pretty much rejected by all of them.

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 16:02:00 UTC | #447429