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RDF TV - The Unconsidered Life - Comments

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 1 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Interesting video. I really can't understand how people can just float through life without giving it much thought.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 22:26:00 UTC | #423434

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 2 by GodsDontExist

I went to see "Collision" last night. I went with a friend who believes in a higher power and keeps saying over and over again, "everyone's entitled to their own opinion". I disagree. Why do I support militant Atheism? Because when we indoctrinate young minds with fairy tales, we stifle their brains and ability to seek out Science. If Science wasn't the only way we know our world, then Creationism would be taught in school. The education authorities are smart enough to know that Science is real, Creationism is not. You may say, no to that. If you do, tell me why both are not taught, then.

Christianity and religion do not allow humans to live up to their full potential. We could just say oh well. But, every human deserves to be able to think freely without indoctrination of religion. Why have a brain if you are going to take it out and let others play with it?

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 22:46:00 UTC | #423439

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 3 by NewEnglandBob

Instead of using critical thinking to be a well-informed citizen of the world, many people have "me, me, me, me, me" running through their mind.

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:06:00 UTC | #423442

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 4 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I remember in high school being frustrated at how many people seemed more worried about if they had a boyfriend/girlfriend than giving the world some thought. I am sure that this is a gross generalization, and I just didn't know how to seek out/identify such people. But the ones who were more worried about getting a date than anything else in the world were the ones who were most obvious, likely because that attitude was the most socially acceptable. I just remember feeling lonely and isolated because it seemed that nobody questioned anything, nobody wondered about anything...

I'm glad those years are over and that I am in NYC, where I have found a lot of like-minded individuals.


Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:39:00 UTC | #423451

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 5 by Sally Luxmoore

A great addition to the canon.
More from AC, please!

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:52:00 UTC | #423453

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 6 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Grayling was one of my early introductions to philosophy (via his pop-phil book "The Meaning of Things" -- the entry on Christianity is amusing, and highly recommended). He has become something of an idol (in the sense of doing philosophy for philosophy's sake) and not just because of his awesome philosopher-hair.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #423465

Logicel's Avatar Comment 7 by Logicel

What a charmer ACG is. And a superb citizen of the world.

And how few citizens of the world there are. Tony Blair? Nope. Francis Collins? Nope. The Pope? Nope. But all these dipshits would consider themselves citizens of the world because there is a world and they sponge off it.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 01:22:00 UTC | #423471

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 8 by InYourFaceNewYorker

What's wrong with Francis Collins? Sure he's religious, but he's also head of the Human Genome Project.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 01:28:00 UTC | #423472

Paine's Avatar Comment 9 by Paine

I thought it was the 'unexamined' life....sounds a bit more poetic than 'unconsidered'.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 01:38:00 UTC | #423473

njwong's Avatar Comment 10 by njwong

In computer science, we are taught the following:

Having data does not imply having information.

Having information does not imply having knowledge.

Having knowledge does not imply having wisdom.

This aptly describes people like Francis Collins. They may be extremely knowledgeable, but that doesn't imply they are wise.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 01:52:00 UTC | #423474

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 11 by chewedbarber

10. Comment #442037 by njwong

Eww, eww, then is it possible for the opposite to also be true, can an empty head like mine sometimes stumble through reflection and find wisdom? huh...

Oh well, I did hope...

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:12:00 UTC | #423479

njwong's Avatar Comment 12 by njwong

Just found the BBC link to an interview conducted by AC Grayling with Lawrence Krauss. I heard this over the BBC World Service radio yesterday.

Podcast (valid for 1 more day):

BBC live (internet radio):

In the next episode (tomorrow), Grayling will interview Patricia Churchland.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:28:00 UTC | #423483

njwong's Avatar Comment 13 by njwong

11. Comment #442042 by chewedbarber on December 15, 2009 at 2:12 am

Well, it was a child who cried out that the emperor had no clothes! Sometimes, it is the ones who are unencumbered with any form of mental baggage who develop the keenest insights into a problem.'s_New_Clothes#Plot

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:39:00 UTC | #423485

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 14 by Alternative Carpark

Thanks NJ.


Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:40:00 UTC | #423486

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 15 by SaintStephen

12. Comment #442046 by njwong on December 15, 2009 at 2:28 am

Thank you!

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 04:40:00 UTC | #423497

Roland_F's Avatar Comment 16 by Roland_F

So A.C, Grayling thinks that people should investigate things and know about the world.
Many people *know* that only Jesus saves, and many philosophers think the most important thing to know and study is God e.g. Theology, then philosophy and then science in this sequence.
And a funny story I came along this week about *knowledge* as people in the Southern Philippines *know* what their god wants: animal sacrifice:
negotiators said they would bring tribal leaders to sacrifice animals as part of a ritual demanded by the gunmen's leader. We will ask assistance from our god to help us and solve this problem because this is a custom and tradition of our people. We are going to use chickens and pigs. All of these will be sacrificed.”

And please do not make fun, as religious rituals demand the full respect of the entire society and are often protected by blasphemy laws.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 06:32:00 UTC | #423505

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 17 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #442035 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Doing some relatively menial administration that doesn't hold a candle to the brilliant time-saving breakthroughs of several others like Craig Venter doesn't make up for the fact that his best reason for believing in the Trinity is a waterfall split into three parts, or that he has made claims about what questions about its subjects science - and in particular medical science - can and cannot answer that run counter to the predictions by experts (of which he isn't one) in such fields about what will be understood very soon, or that he is now in control of the world's biggest budget from which they would benefit better if someone more level-headed was in charge, or that the Vatican gave him a job shortly afterwards, presumably to pressure him into blocking various forms of stem cell research. In my view he doesn't qualify as a citizen of the world until he goes beyond merely being on a team to actually being on board with the larger team of rationality, on whom our future critically depends.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 07:16:00 UTC | #423511

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 18 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Well, to be fair I don't know that much about him, so I can't comment further...

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 07:41:00 UTC | #423512

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 19 by SaintStephen

18. Comment #442075 by Jos Gibbons on December 15, 2009 at 7:16 am

LOL... take a breath, Jos!

19. Comment #442076 by InYourFaceNewYorker on December 15, 2009 at 7:41 am

Well, to be fair I don't know that much about him, so I can't comment further...
With all due respect, Julie, ignorance is no excuse on Using the Search utility in the upper righthand corner, you will be amazed at what you can find. Here is Sam Harris's take on Francis Collins, for instance. And here is a debate between Collins and Richard. Lastly, here is a Forum thread on Francis Collins.

Study these links and judge for yourself, of course, but I don't think it's far out of line to state that Doctor "Barnabas" Collins (no offense, Barnabas) is not a popular figure on Richard's website, for all of the reasons stated by our brilliant and pedantic future Dr. Jos Gibbons.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 08:34:00 UTC | #423517

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 20 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Thanks, I'll look at them tomorrow.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 08:45:00 UTC | #423519

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 21 by Enlightenme..

"12. Comment #442046 by njwong on December 15, 2009 at 2:28 am
Just found the BBC link to an interview conducted by AC Grayling with Lawrence Krauss. I heard this over the BBC World Service radio yesterday.

Podcast (valid for 1 more day):

Thanks nj.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 09:05:00 UTC | #423522

raketenflugplatz's Avatar Comment 22 by raketenflugplatz

that's a pitty that so rare we can see new videos in RDF TV :(

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 10:39:00 UTC | #423538

A's Avatar Comment 23 by A

All this highfalutin philosophy talk is great, but can we have these RDF TV clips as a ring tone.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 12:17:00 UTC | #423554

f451's Avatar Comment 24 by f451

Turkish subtitled version of the video:

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:06:00 UTC | #423561

Ilovelucy's Avatar Comment 25 by Ilovelucy

"Socrates said 'The unexamined life is not worth living.' How did he know?"

Simon Munnery

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:54:00 UTC | #423572

beeline's Avatar Comment 26 by beeline

Thanks for the link to the Lauwrence Krauss interview, njwong - very interesting too. I especially liked this point towards the end, when Krauss - a cosmologist - is talking about the importance of the public being informed about science, and appreciating it as a source of wonder at being alive. He says:

When I talk about esoteric things sometimes people say "well, what does it matter?" But the funny thing is, they rarely ask that of a Picasso painting or a Mozart concerto. I mean, you don't get a better toaster out of a Mozart concerto, or a Picasso painting, but [those things are] what makes it worth being human.
And in fact I often quote physicist Robert Wilson, who was the first director of the FermiLab... He was asked by Congress at the time whether that would help aid in the defence of the nation, and he said "No, but it'll keep the nation worth defending."

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 14:31:00 UTC | #423578

Aztek's Avatar Comment 27 by Aztek

12. Comment #442046 by njwong:

Thanks for the podcast. It's always fascinating to hear scientists talk about the size of the universe and how it has come to be. For example, when Krauss said that all the matter that we now know of was once contained in a region smaller than an atom, I couldn't help but to think about the insignificant little fairy tales religions have to offer. Here we are standing in awe of the beauty of the universe, astonished with the progress we have made in understanding it, and still religious people clutch their unchangeable "truths" which bring us nowhere closer to understanding the world.

How on earth can someone choose the explanations which religions offer over those given by science? I would imagine that a smart religious person (yes, I've met a few of those) would be struck with an acute inferiority complex when listening to someone like Krauss. How can listening to the never changing explanations given by religions be in any way satisfactory? That I can never understand. Someone who has been a priest for thirty years is nowhere closer to knowing what a god is than at the beginning of his career. At the same time a scientist like Krauss has gained so much new knowledge in his field.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 15:20:00 UTC | #423587

beeline's Avatar Comment 28 by beeline

How on earth can someone choose the explanations which religions offer over those given by science?

Emotion can trump intelligence in most people, and it's quite common for people to accept an 'explanation' that appeals to their emotions - security, importance, ego - than anything intellectual.

I recently came across this excellent debunking of the biocentrist nonsense from Deepak Chopra, and it contains this excellent excerpt which addresses the point well, I think:
volutionary biology upholds the materialist view of modern science that consciousness is a product of purely inanimate matter assembling in highly complex states. Such a view is disillusioning to anyone who craves a more central role for the human ego in determining one’s reality. The view that human life is central to existence is found in most philosophical and religious traditions. This view is so fundamental to our nature that we can say it is an intuitive reaction to the very condition of being conscious. It has traditionally been the powerful driving force behind philosophers, poets, priests, mystics and scholars of history. Darwin dismantled the idea in one clean stroke. Therefore, Darwin became the enemy. The entire theory of biocentrism is an attempt to ingrain the idea of human destiny into popular science.

Whole article here:

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 15:56:00 UTC | #423600

zendeyebidar's Avatar Comment 29 by zendeyebidar

The example of a football being kick about here and there is a thought-provoking example. Critical thinking on the other hand gives a sense of direction and smartness to the football! A sense which does not allow the football to be kicked about in the field of life. A sense which makes the ball to think it is not a ball anymore.
Bravo Grayling!

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 16:17:00 UTC | #423612

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 30 by MAJORPAIN

Julie, I agree with your first post about people (in high school) mostly caring about having a boyfriend/girlfriend. That was my experience as well, and I think that's why religion works so well, which is AC's point, I suppose. Most people aren't deep thinkers. They want want want. I think newenglandbob said me me me is what is running through their minds. Religion helps out with all of that because these people pray to god for a good boyfriend, they pray to god for something good to eat, they pray for a nice car, etc. etc. etc. What are they going to do if you take that away from them? Well, probably not much more than they do now, but hopefully you see my point. Religion is not going to go away for a very long time, unfortunately. It just works too well for the ignorant and the uninformed -- who are way too happy to be ignorant and uninformed. I all too often encounter people who come across as proud of being ignorant and uninformed. They wear it like a badge of honor.

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 16:47:00 UTC | #423627