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Beyond Belief Science talking about religion

  1. Jan 18, 2008 #1
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=275693092937060684&q=Beyond+Belief+2006&total=207&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2 [Broken]

    Great lecture talk on science and the belief in religion. There are lots more on the right window. I have lots more videos on these topics Ive been watching over winter break. (At least 30 hours of video, so I can keep you glued to your monitor if you like this stuff).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2008 #2
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2981686806126187170 [Broken]

    Another damn interesting, but not religious video.
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  4. Jan 18, 2008 #3


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    Thanks, Cyrus. I watched about 15 minutes of it -- all I could fit in on my lunch break -- and will watch the rest tonight. I love this subject.
  5. Jan 18, 2008 #4
    I very much liked those videos, especially the ones with V.S. Ramachandran, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Michael Shermer and a few more.

    John Allen Paulos, for instance, has come out with a new book (Irreligion), which he talks about. The first chapter can be read here.

    That would be physically impossible - it is like 40+ hours :biggrin:
  6. Jan 18, 2008 #5
    Great, many of the points brought up are thoughts I've had but could never word as well.
  7. Jan 18, 2008 #6
    Hey Moridin, I have been watching a ton of Sam Harris on you tube. He has wonderful talks and debates. Also Hitchens and Dawkins. Every day I watch about 5-6 hours of talks and write down notes.

    One thing is for sure, these guys are smart, and will tear apart any opposition. There is a great video of Harris vs a rabbi. The rabbi stood no chance.

    Also, I had a thread before on religion that got locked and people keep wrongly saying that religion and science are two separate things. However, watch this videos. They are NOT separate, to say so is a fallacious argument, and in fact science does give insight into the whole God question. But I wont get into that, I just wanted to point it out. If you want more insight into this, watch videos or ask me for links to those videos and I will provide them.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  8. Jan 18, 2008 #7
    I though that Harris v. Wolpe was one of Harris poorer performances, even though he came out slightly on top. Hitchens would have been better than Harris in that particular debate. Harris is more contemplating, whereas Hitchens is more direct. I like Hitchens v. McGrath, even though McGrath has one of the most dry and boring rhetorics there is. The only person worse is Dinesh D'Souza, with his constant shouting.

    I'd recomend some videos with Daniel Dennett as well such as http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3133438412578691486 [Broken].

    There are also some audio from one of his books, kinds of minds, that can be found http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-65357891158939615 [Broken]

    Religions make fact claims about the natural world. QED.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. Jan 18, 2008 #8
    Precisely. (BTW, was it harris or dawkins that said that line?)

    Ill check out those links, thanks. As for Harris v. Wolpe, I think he bested wolpe. It was the Q&A that wolpe seemed to be strong.
  10. Jan 18, 2008 #9
    None of them. Both have probably discussed it at some point though.
  11. Jan 18, 2008 #10
    No, I remember in a video one made that line. Maybe it was hitchens. He said those exact words.
  12. Jan 21, 2008 #11
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  13. Jan 21, 2008 #12
    Cyrus, have you seen or read anything by the fifth horseman of the apocalypse (Victor Stenger)? I have almost finished his earlier "The Comprehensible Cosmos; Where Do The Laws of Physics Come From?". His latest book is very interesting.
  14. Jan 21, 2008 #13
    Sam Harris is a bit of an Orientophile.

    Gotta love the Dawkins, though. Anybody see "Enemies of Reason"? The part where the (I think) astrologer was lecturing him on DNA was awesome.
  15. Jan 21, 2008 #14
    It was a faith healer =)

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4720837385783230047 [Broken]
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  16. Jan 21, 2008 #15
    Yeah, Ive seen parts I and II. Also, I agree harris is into meditation, but that is part of his PhD area of research in Neurology. But I still think Harris is fantastic.
  17. Jan 21, 2008 #16
    Nah, I didn't mean just meditation. I saw one of his lectures on video, and while condemning the Judeo-Christian religions, he veers and starts praising Buddhists and the like.

    I mean, when he said "they are non-violent, yet religious" I was like "Sure, that's a great plus for them." But it just seems like he actually buys into some of the "Ancient Chinese" or what have you mystique concerning Buddhism.

    Here it is if you want to watch it (like 90 min long)

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8013281663903762676&q=sam+harris+lecture&total=32&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  18. Jan 21, 2008 #17
    I just remembered this is a physics forum. I can get all pissed about the guy who said physicists somehow monopolized the word "quantum". What the hell is that? I would have KTFO'ed the guy if I had been there.

    It's like saying I am eating cat, which is really pork, but veterinarians monopolized the word "cat", so that's why everybody thinks I'm crazy.
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  19. Jan 21, 2008 #18


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    Oh man, that was HILARIOUS!! Did see not know see was talking to Richard Dawkins?!:confused:

    I think when he went to the Alternative Medicine Fair and saw the "Quantum Healing with the help of Angels" stand was the moment I lost all faith in humanity...again...:rofl:
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  20. Jan 21, 2008 #19


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    While I thought the Beyond Belief series was basically a 10-hour circle jerk, this video is fascinating. It's a case study rather than "well I think that god..."
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  21. Jan 22, 2008 #20
    What do you mean by 10 hour circle jerk?
  22. Jan 22, 2008 #21


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    They all repeated the exact same thing with no input from the other side. The only guy who made any attempt to bring balance was Scott Atran, and he tore a few new a-holes when he did that.
  23. Jan 22, 2008 #22
    Not at all. If you watch carefully, the old guy in the front was quick to point out that Atrans comments were 'irrelevant', as they were. I dont agree that they repeated the same thing, and in fact there was debate among them from within.

    As for input from the other side, I dont see why they should give them that benifit. It was a conference not a debate.

    I think Atran looked very foolish, obviously mentally masterbating over his own research on what causes a person to become a suicide bomber but contributing nothing with his remarks which were mostly off topic rants. He just wanted to seem smart by talking about himself, but came off as foolish.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  24. Jan 22, 2008 #23


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    Scott brought a dose of reality when he pointed out that their observations had little to do with Islam and everything to do with Arabic culture. This entire conference was about scientists getting up there and saying "oh well Muslims are suicide bombers so Islam promotes suicide bombers". That is a logical fallacy. Correlation != causation. When Scott said their behavior was more 'Arabic' what he means is that religion itself is not the main part of the culture causing that behavior. Let me give an example. If I take a girl out for a nice steak dinner, would you say that's part of Christian culture or would you say that's part of North American culture to eat steak? Most Americans are Christian and most Americans like steak, but the flaw is to connect steak with religion. I'm not religious and I still eat steak, just like a Christian down in Texas does. Religion is not the underlying symmetry between me and a Texan. The underlying cause is that we're both part of North America, and we both follow North American culture.

    It's foolish to assume Arab politics are directly caused by Islamic fundamentalism. That's like saying all American presidents are directly influenced by Christianity, even though it's arguable that a lot of them have historically not been religious at all. Weren't the founding fathers deists? What if they were moderate christians instead? Would the constitution be radically different than it is now, or just slightly different? Would Arab politics be completely different without Islam, or just slightly different? Sweden and Norway have incredibly high rates of atheism, so would you say social democracy is caused by atheism while social conservatism is caused by Christianity? That is a gross oversimplification and it's probably wrong.

    Then Scott's second point was a graph showing that scapegoating was just as high among atheists as it was with christians and muslims. That means even if the Arab peninsula was 100% atheist, scapegoating would be just as bad as it is now and they would still hate Israel but for different reasons. Eliminating religion will not eliminate irrationality, nor will it create tolerance. That seems to be the focus of this conference and Scott Atran was the only guy willing to bust some balls and say that was a BS assumption to begin with.
  25. Jan 22, 2008 #24
    Well, no. It was about getting rid of the irrationality of religion in society (science, medicine, politics) which leads to harmful end products. It was not solely about islam or suicide bombers, hence my statement about his self masterubation on his own research.

    Thats a rather bad analogy, so I wont go into it. What harris, dawkins, and hitchens are saying is that it is the moderates that give support for these kinds of people when they do not publicly denonce them. Also, Atran must have forgotten about the Danish cartoons and the uproar it caused across the board in muslim countries. To say the mosques have no major factors is academically dishonest on his part.

    After reading that long paragraph, I'm trying to see your question but having a hard time. In regards to your first point, all I have to do is think of Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iran for Middle Eastern politics being influenced by fundamental Islam. (Or Saudi Arabia for that matter).

    Next, yes the founding fathers were mostly deists. The constitution would be radically different had Jefferson been a moderate christian. That much is obvious if you know american history. He took major issue with the bible and even rewrote it himself in what is the "Jeffersonian Bible". He read thomas Paine who was very much a deist. Were it not for Jefferson this country would be a christian nation by now.

    No one said atheism causes democracy, so I dont know why your making claims no one has said (and thats exactly what Im saying Atran is doing in his rants).

    Im not going to argue your hypothetical 'what if' the arab peninsula was 100% athiest. Its not, and its pointless to do so. No one said eliminating religion will eliminate irrationality (again a false argument). They said religion is a harmful form of irrationality that is much better replaced by more mild forms of mysticism such as deism and not theism. So, I think you missed the point of the conference and should watch the clips over again.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
  26. Jan 22, 2008 #25
    For those interested, here is Atrans talk.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5639630801606888657&q=Scott+Atran&total=11&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2 [Broken]

    While not a bad talk, I dont think it addressed the conference's main point on elimination irrational forms of behaivor in society. He was mainly tooting his own horn, and a damn arrogant ***hole in the process.

    Nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with suicide bombers. Sorry Scott.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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