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Go to: Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss: Something from Nothing, at ANU (Canberra Australia)

chrgodskesen's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by chrgodskesen

A great conversation.

The young catholic woman who asked several questions at about 1 hour and 5 minutes is a very interesting case, I think. For one thing she claimed that Richard would have a problem with her challenging him. From where did she get that idea? Richard correctly pointed out that she was in fact challenging him at that very moment and he had no problem with that. She gave an exasperated sigh and said "fair enough".

Then the questioner said that she disagreed with Cardinal George Pell but that that didn't mean that she thought he was a paedophile as if insinuating that Richard thought example that about Pell. Again, what gave her that impression? Richard calmly answered that neither he did suspect such a thing. And once again she gave that exasperated sigh. She almost seemed annoyed that she couldn't get Richard to be an unreasonable aggressive atheist who persecuted Catholics.

The young woman then appeared to restate her original claim that Richard would "disagree" with her challenged his theories or opinion. Here, she seemed to conflate disagreement with reacted in an intemperate way. How can she not know the difference between disagreeing and arguing a point on the one hand, and coming to verbal blows and being intolerant of other people's right to challenge, on the other?

At that point, Lawrence jumped in an made the point that no student should be afraid the challenge a professor to which the young catholic asked why Richard and Lawrence were getting upset at her questions. They weren't getting upset! I am getting a little bit upset now, but Richard and Lawrence calmly answered her questions without telling her to shut up or denigrating her in the least. Why did she attribute any kind hostility to them at that point? Unfortunately, Richard seemed downright befuddled by her statement and Lawrence probably became a bit upset and cut off the exchange saying, honestly, I believe, that he and Richard were "trying to have a discussion". It's a shame, I feel, that Richard and Lawrence didn't respond more fully to her since she seemed to wildly misunderstand their intentions.

This questioner might exemplify how incredibly threatening Richard and atheists in general and what they think he and the rest of us stand for appears to a great number of religious people. The point has been made before, many times by Richard, that you can't challenge religious belief without appear inordinately strident in the eyes and ears of the religious. Why did she attribute the accusation of paedophilia (against Cardinal Pell) and so much hostility to Richard? What kind of disinformation about atheists is going on among the religious if a person who is able to study physics at a university (as the the questioner apparently was) can make the presumptions that the young woman did? Oh well... Religiosity really is dysfunctional. A part of me thinks that Richard and Lawrence would have done well to continue the discussion with the woman in a slightly more light-hearted manner in order to dispel her notion that they were getting upset and to demonstrate that debate and disagreement is okay but only reason and evidence cut any ice. Another part of me thinks that Richard and Lawrence actually should have gotten upset at her attributions and pointed out that she was the one making stuff up about them.

How can we best break the negative preconceptions that religious people have about us and import into conversations with us in a situation like this one? I, for one, think that Richard and Lawrence didn't quite get it right in this case. They did, however, do great in the rest of the conversation.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 23:27:21 UTC | #936378

Go to: 'Quadruple rainbow' caught on film for the first time

chrgodskesen's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by chrgodskesen

Double rainbow-guy would have a heart attack and die if he had seen that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 09:00:42 UTC | #878685

Go to: Christians more militant than Muslims, says Government's equalities boss

chrgodskesen's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by chrgodskesen

How the hell can a Salvationist be put in charge of the Equality and Human Rights Commission? That faith has a mean streak of homophobia and anti-abortionism! I wouldn't trust that guy to ensure equality for a second.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:11:58 UTC | #640341

Go to: Who wants to go through life defining themselves as a 'non-believer'?

chrgodskesen's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by chrgodskesen

Well. It's a good, at least, that Brendan O'Neill has found a way to feel superiour to both religious people and so-called New atheists.

Sat, 26 Mar 2011 14:30:00 UTC | #607400

Go to: Are You There God? It's Me, Brain

chrgodskesen's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by chrgodskesen

@ Comment 1 by MajorTomWaits99

Your professor is right if he or she is a Rylean or Wittgensteinian "philosophical behaviourist." On the other hand, if he or she is a "psychological behaviourist" (that must be contradiction in terms - e.g. Pavlovian, Watsonian, Skinnerian) then he or she is, of course, wrong. In that case you might want to show him or her the book Seven Psychologies (1933) by Edna Heidbreder - that is, if you can find a copy of it. It point out in the rather ridiculous inconsistencies of most of the psychological varieties of behaviourism.

Wed, 09 Feb 2011 20:23:58 UTC | #590168

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