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← Full Length Talk - 'How To Tell You're An Atheist'

Full Length Talk - 'How To Tell You're An Atheist' - Comments

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 1 by Alternative Carpark

Splendid!

Haven't heard anything from the good Professor in quite a while.

Thu, 24 May 2012 02:25:49 UTC | #943202

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 2 by Agrajag

45 minutes well spent!
Steve

Thu, 24 May 2012 03:33:03 UTC | #943206

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 3 by All About Meme

I love this man!

If you're new to atheism, his book Darwin's Dangerous Idea made a lot of sense to me. A great read.

Thu, 24 May 2012 04:54:37 UTC | #943211

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 4 by susanlatimer

Wonderful talk. Worth a second view.

I liked his reference to Jerry DeWitt's five-step program.

I'll bet there are a few regulars here who are familiar with that process.

Thu, 24 May 2012 05:24:18 UTC | #943217

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 5 by All About Meme

Comment 4 by susanlatimer

I liked his reference to Jerry DeWitt's five-step program.

I'll bet there are a few regulars here who are familiar with that process.

Dennett made also made reference to a 12-Step program (which I am familiar with, lol) by saying "Fake it until you make it" -- one of AA's favorite deepities.

The man is irreplaceable. A living treasure for science and reason.

Thu, 24 May 2012 05:33:25 UTC | #943218

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 6 by Alternative Carpark

Wow, two helpings of Dan in one day!

He also appears briefly on this week's The Digital Human

From around the 5'40" mark.

Thu, 24 May 2012 05:36:33 UTC | #943220

Universeman's Avatar Comment 7 by Universeman

Hey All About Meme! Long time no see, good to see you around again! I can relate to what Dennett has to say regarding the clergy project, I have a desire to declaire my atheism but I fear the concequences of doing so.

Thu, 24 May 2012 06:59:10 UTC | #943229

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 8 by All About Meme

Comment 7 by Universeman

I have a desire to declaire my atheism but I fear the concequences of doing so.

What UP Universeman! Good to see you still hanging out! We're kind of like moths to the flame, aren't we:

Artificial light is a recent arrival on the night scene. Until recently, the only night lights were the moon and the stars. Being at optical infinity, their rays are parallel, which makes them ideal compasses. Insects are known to use celestial objects to steer accurately in a straight line. The insect nervous system is adept at setting up a temporary rule of thumb such as "Steer a course such that the light rays hit your eye at an angle of 30 degrees." Since insects have compound eyes, this will amount to favouring a particular ommatidium ? individual optical tube radiating out from the centre of the compound eye. But the light compass relies critically on the celestial object being at optical infinity. If it isn't, the rays are not parallel but diverge like the spokes of a wheel. A nervous system using a 30 degree rule of thumb to a candle, as though it were the moon, will steer its moth, in a neat logarithmic spiral, into the flame.

Okay, not like those moths.

Hey, check out what Jerry DeWitt has to say about the consequences of losing your faith. I'm listening to the podcast right now.

Thu, 24 May 2012 07:19:43 UTC | #943231

sycorax's Avatar Comment 9 by sycorax

Terrific entertaining funny and incisive. So good people like D. Dennet are around and speaking such sense

Thu, 24 May 2012 09:57:17 UTC | #943248

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 10 by Peter Grant

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0iVCxx-GkMg Daniel Dennett - 'How To Tell You're An Atheist' http://clergyproject.org/

Enjoyed that.

Thu, 24 May 2012 11:35:40 UTC | #943255

Sample's Avatar Comment 11 by Sample

This talk settles it, I am going to have to read Breaking The Spell.

Mike

Thu, 24 May 2012 13:18:15 UTC | #943274

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 12 by Agrajag

Comment 8 by All About Meme
A nervous system using a 30 degree rule of thumb to a candle, as though it were the moon, will steer its moth, in a neat logarithmic spiral, into the flame.

Heh... yet another example of "intelligent design"! :lol:
Steve

Thu, 24 May 2012 14:14:59 UTC | #943284

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 13 by Mr DArcy

I must admit that Ilke the idea of Holy Joe being an atheist! Every Easter he prays for peace and somehow God ignores the prayers! Ah well, maybe better luck next year, - or at Christmas? Or maybe the Easter after next.........?

Thu, 24 May 2012 21:10:51 UTC | #943356

Chomolungma's Avatar Comment 14 by Chomolungma

I liked the selection of Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies as his intro music.

Fri, 25 May 2012 04:30:11 UTC | #943422

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 15 by Stafford Gordon

Boy, he's on form; it's lovely to hear from the Professor again. He delivers mockery with such gentle wit.

A joy!

Fri, 25 May 2012 10:33:58 UTC | #943455

zeerust2000's Avatar Comment 16 by zeerust2000

Onya Dan!, as we say here in Australia. Hearing Prof. Dennett always leaves me with the feeling of being given the opportunity to think of things in a new and fruitful way. And he is never sarcastic or derogatory in his sentiments.

Fri, 25 May 2012 12:06:41 UTC | #943464

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 17 by Bobwundaye

Comment Removed by Author

Fri, 25 May 2012 13:31:53 UTC | #943479

achromat666's Avatar Comment 18 by achromat666

After watching this I am reminded of the path that has to be taken to go from theism to atheism for most. Specifically, how many different places people can come from in doing so, but the overwhelming amount of similarity between the paths that lead to getting there.

The constant redefining of beliefs, the pushing further and further of distance from dogmatic ideology until you simply feel the need to question whether or not you believe at all. I suspect a lot more people find themselves at this point than care to admit.

Really good talk from Dennett.

Fri, 25 May 2012 13:39:53 UTC | #943482

Degsy's Avatar Comment 19 by Degsy

I really enjoyed that. I am particularly fascinated by the Clergy Project, or more to the point, the findings of the research that is going hand in hand with it. The quip about tens of thousands of clergymen signing up if re-training were a given speaks volumes. What is also pleasing is that such help and guidance is being commissioned and delivered from secular quarters. If it is the case that doubt and loss of faith by the clergy is as rife, as testimony from those in the church would attest, I would hope that we have the guts to help. Certainly, I don't see them getting the help they need from the church they are part of.

Spare a penny for an old ex-vicar...

Fri, 25 May 2012 16:07:55 UTC | #943507

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 20 by Agrajag

Today I was reminded of the main reason I'm an atheist. I saw on old friend (only in his 40s) and learned he was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He has a 1-year-old son.
HASA DIGA EEBOWAI.
Steve

Fri, 25 May 2012 16:28:17 UTC | #943512

Metamag's Avatar Comment 21 by Metamag

Argh, some of the youtube comments there...better if I haven't looked.

Sat, 26 May 2012 23:41:45 UTC | #943727

Quine's Avatar Comment 22 by Quine

Couldn't resist putting this in:

Great´╗┐ to hear Dennett again. All agnostics are atheists, but not all atheists are agnostics. The atheists who are not also agnostics are the ones who know what they believe.

P.S. I probably should have written "... those who know what they don't believe." but it's YouTube, so some imprecision is no big deal.

Sun, 27 May 2012 00:08:18 UTC | #943733

Hume's Razor's Avatar Comment 23 by Hume's Razor

Love may not be "just a word", but God most certainly is. Most "sophisticated" believers seem unable to say anything at all about what it actually is they believe in (at least not When Anyone Is Watching) except that it's called "God" (why "God"? Why not "Ogd" or "Dog"?). As long as sophisticated believers are unable/unwilling to say anything about God that is even remotely specific and unambiguous enough to give us something to argue intelligently for or against, a sentence like "God exists" - though grammatically well formed - falls into the category "not even wrong".

Which - As Dennett has pointed out - is of course the whole point. You can't be accused of saying something wrong if you haven't said anything at all. Other believers can easily interpret a supernatural, intelligent creator of the universe into whatever's being said, but atheists can't find anything specific to criticize, and any counterargument can be easily dismissed as attacking "caricatures" or knocking down strawmen: "What you are arguing against is not what I mean by 'God'". I think I just summed up every argument I ever had with a "sophisticated" believer.

Sun, 27 May 2012 07:03:33 UTC | #943780

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 24 by All About Meme

Comment 23 by Hume's Razor

Other believers can easily interpret a supernatural, intelligent creator of the universe into whatever's being said, but atheists can't find anything specific to criticize, and any counterargument can be easily dismissed as attacking "caricatures" or knocking down strawmen: "What you are arguing against is not what I mean by 'God'".

Ah yes, the old No True Scotsman routine.

Aside from the problems with that God word, I take a bit of sadistic humour in asking believers what they mean by the word exists, and then I supply them with this link, which spells out all possible definitions in excruciating philosophical detail.

The sentence "God exists" has a subject and a predicate. And that's virtually all one can intelligently say about it.

Sun, 27 May 2012 07:39:11 UTC | #943787

Quine's Avatar Comment 25 by Quine

Re Comment 24 by All About Meme, I ask them to show that there is anything in the intersection of the set of things that exist outside of fiction, and the things with the attributes they hold for their deity. Comes up null, so far.

Sun, 27 May 2012 08:04:46 UTC | #943788

SpleenandSpiceSahota's Avatar Comment 26 by SpleenandSpiceSahota

Pure bliss, it's an incomprehensible wonder that exposing the taboo of atheist denial has to to be fleshed out by anyone ... I would like someone to one day talk about the existential implications of atheism - if god is a dulusion, this means the overwhelming majority of humanity are either deluded or dishonesty supporting a delusion for some reason. This has a saddening effect on me, but it's an inescapable consequence of atheist it seems. I suspect the deniers are also trying to escape this rather unsatisfying conclusion. I suspect idly and inanely that playing the game of endorsing this universal fraud as something that might be 'truth' and using whatever deceit they can muster to sustain themselves from confronting this awful conclusion.

Sun, 27 May 2012 13:35:08 UTC | #943816

ValerieWagner3's Avatar Comment 27 by ValerieWagner3

Daniel Dennet is 'just a name' but a very good one. I enjoyed. Thank you Professor.

Sun, 27 May 2012 18:02:50 UTC | #943839

abcdefghijklmnop's Avatar Comment 28 by abcdefghijklmnop

I'm never disappointed by Mr. Dennett's talks. I do wish he'd have as much public exposure as any of the other major figures in the atheist movement...

Sun, 27 May 2012 18:24:51 UTC | #943840

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 29 by Premiseless

What I find lamentable about humanity, is the need to have to secure funding so that studies can be covertly arranged into finding ways of helping people be truthful about how they think without upsetting the rank and file due the en mass lies they have come to insist upon as representative of "truth". Then, how this is usually reduced to something else other than a commonly shared experience reliant upon the need to build in reward systems to preserve its tokenisms.

Something about us as a species is sorely lacking in anything approaching respectability of thought procedure. It seems transparency is the least desirable thing to aspire to in all walks of life and sullied still further the further up the class ladder one communicates. The status quo is the least attractive thing humans ever hoodwinked each other with!

Mon, 28 May 2012 20:51:05 UTC | #944060

DaisyD's Avatar Comment 30 by DaisyD

Very engaging, informative, and thought-provoking. Great job, Mr. Dennett.

It really got me into thinking I might have been an atheist for longer than I thought I have. DeWitt's five steps pretty much sums up how I went from a wrongly labled Catholic schoolgirl to an atheist. Except that my step three was "God is everybody" (and therefore, nobody), since we all live in our own heads in worlds of our own making (Now that's a deepity. I was taking up psychology and was fascinated with how each of our brains construct models of the world, and how the models vary among different people, depending on what's important and/or useful to them. Richard Bach took this concept to the extreme and I was very much influenced by him). Then I jumped right into step five ("God is a delusion") after I grew out of my hippie phase.

Tue, 29 May 2012 17:25:27 UTC | #944266