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Go to: Mr. Deity & Cast at the AAI 2009 Conference

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by DalaiDrivel


Yes, I thought that comparison was poignant for me, but the climax of the presentation was when Dalton declared that Christians were wrong, because when they had the chance to pioneer a free, open democracy, they didn't.

I agree that Christians have become dissociated from their book, and certainly what that book had inspired their predecessors to do.

I agree vehemently that Hell is the most wicked and damnable idea to ever have been concocted and imposed upon one another in the history of our species. It is what thankfully inspired me to apostatise.

I think that God, if such a thing exists, must be powerless, wicked, or indifferent given the degree of evil that exists in our world, particularly the evil committed in the name of the supernatural.

Finally, while I'm a big fan of humour myself, we should have more of a backbone in the first place to deal and receive honest criticism. Whether the beliefs being attacked are supported or not empirically is beside the point, I think. We must establish ideas and the minds that hold them as separate concepts, which they are, as well as respect for each as different concepts, and furthermore we should take it upon ourselves to know the difference. There have been quite a few people in my past whom I was glad to offend, as I think they were wrong to be offended in the first place.

(The moment in the Four Horseman video where this was discussed, and from where I pretty much quoted Sam Harris verbatim, springs to mind.)

Tue, 24 Nov 2009 05:56:00 UTC | #416007

Go to: Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Taleb

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by DalaiDrivel

OK- A spoiler alert is in effect for all ensuing paragraphs. However, I think that everyone, at least the atheists on this forum, should watch this video, for entertainment, but also for the bad form of the theists and the excellent form of the Horsemen.

It'll cheer you up. It did me :)

Alright then.

Sam Harris' contributions made this debate worthwhile in themselves for me.

Someone already pointed out I think what a gem his closing statement was. I fully agree. In fact, everything he said resonated with me, but he always does. He is my favourite public speaker. If Boteach had his delivery the Rabbi might actually stand a chance, but then, his arguments wouldn't...

I also echo others who say that Taleb was incoherent. His comment about blowing up the earth at the end of one of his speeches took me right off guard (perhaps I wasn't listening close enough, but he had already become of a waste of attention by that point). However a waste he was, his absurdity made him the most interesting to me. His logical fallacies that I hadn't heard before (belief in religion is based on probability, we were wiser before science than we were after its creation) and tone of a conspiracy theorist set him apart from the conventional worn arguments from D'Souza and Boteach.

Boteach's two flat jokes at the beginning of his opening speech sure made me laugh.

Hitchens I liked, although I thought he came across a little rushed and and not so smooth in his opening statement.

His second time around was more comfortable I thought, and I liked when he called D'Souza out on his (lack of a) standard of evidence. That's the fearless, flawless and merciless Hitch I know and love!

Dennet was as effective as ever. He didn't resonate me quite like the others (the theists and atheists for different reasons) but I think that's just personal preference. He is a force to be sure.

And Wright's "New Atheist" references spoiled his speeches for me. The accusation that the Four Horsemen are condescending is entirely in the eye of the biased beholder and not their intent, certainly.

It is a shame that many confuse their intellectual honesty with disrespect.

Fri, 20 Nov 2009 04:49:00 UTC | #414986

Go to: I prefer to reason rather than believe. That's why I'm an atheist!

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by DalaiDrivel

The power of that statement strikes me very hard indeed.

It's so succinct- I have forgotten that "reason" is also a verb as well as well as a noun.

It is a process as well as an entity not coincidentally related I imagine to the fact that science is a process, and a mode of thought, as much as it is an enterprise, as science uses reason.

When people press on in future to me about the limits of reason, I will be sure to press back and ask them just by what process they make sense of things, and judge the different finished pictures that appear to make sense.

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 00:52:00 UTC | #412639

Go to: The secularist case against ''Atheism 3.0''

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by DalaiDrivel

And wherever education and affluence are on the rise, it finds that traditional religions are increasingly irrelevant to the answers.

I think I have highlighted the critical element in the above statement. The only further change I would make is to replace "traditional" with "all" before "religions."

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 08:48:00 UTC | #410193

Go to: Two White Guys Walk Into a Bar...

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by DalaiDrivel

I agree with Lisa Miller that debate for the sake of debate is tiresome, if that's what she means. Maybe "Collision" really is just entertainment and not educational. I don't know.

It could be both. I'd rather not it be just the former.

If we were playing for no more than that, than staging debates where no one, including the debaters themselves, are going to change our minds then I think such sparring matches would indeed be useless.

I think Lisa assumes that people's minds do not change, and that reason vs. faith is equivalent to blue vs. green.

But we do change people's minds. A billion people (if the subtitle of "Good without God"- I think I might buy that book- is accurate) is a big interest group that can influence policy and confront others about their own views using reason.

The game then, is much larger than mere debate for debate's sake.

As an aside, I don't much like arguing with anyone anymore, in the emotional, "blue vs. green" sense. I look for opportunities for reason to pull the weight of argument for me and force agreement from the other side. If that can't be done, the other person is not worth arguing with, or the conversation is of a trivial nature.

If I am drawn into a debate with someone, it's easier to have them to submit to reason, logic and evidence, than to me. As Sam Harris observed, no one wants to be be an enemy of reason.

9. Comment #425923 by Ned Flanders on October 23, 2009 at 12:40 am
avatarA search on Amazon:

"Jesus" - 421,404 Results
"Christianity" - 416,845 Results


"Atheism" - 50,073 Results
"Secularism" - 23,449 Results

Ms Miller, we've barely started the conversation. You'd better get used to it.

Good illustration. Yes, she should!

20. Comment #425947 by SPS on October 23, 2009 at 3:21 am

Let's move beyond faith versus reason.

Nah.Let's move beyond faith.

Let's! Reason needs a fresh challenger- if there is one.

(*edited for clarity)

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 03:57:00 UTC | #407700

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