Zach: Hello, Dr. Shermer
JeremyNYC: As for those who haven't' noticed,
our guest has arrived!
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - what would you like
to be called tonight?
PsychedelicShroom: hello Dr. Shermer
KevinBBG: Hello Dr. Shermer
pctacitus: evening dr. Shermer
JeremyNYC: He'd like to be called "Nobel
prize winner", but ....
Chris_O_Connor: At least I think he has arrived.
Hello team. Glad to be here. What's on the agenda
Chris_O_Connor: You type on the bar at the very
Agnosticus_Caesar: I have an idea for a topic
JeremyNYC: Discussing "how we believe"
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - shoot
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - just a very casual
Agnosticus_Caesar: I just read Dr. Shermer's latest
Scientific American article
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - glad you could spend
some time with us
Chris_O_Connor: And I wasn't aware of the SCAIM
KevinBBG: I'm especially intrigue by the idea
that the smarter we are the more able we are to
rationalize strange beliefs.
Michael_Shermer: Type in
the bar? I don't know anything about that. I'm
sending my messages telepathically. Everyone,
turn on your psychic powers right now...
Agnosticus_Caesar: the topic "Attachment
Therapy" reminds me very much of psychoanalysis
for some reason
Zach: Is it in the new issue? I think I gave that
one away before I got to it... I'll have to buy
another copy now
Chris_O_Connor: Thats good
JeremyNYC: Wait... I'm getting a message... something
KevinBBG: My telepathy module is in the shop.
bernt: Randy took that capability away from me
decades ago :)
Zach: I'm getting something from a man named Bob...is
there a Bob here?
Zach: Does anyone know a Bob?
PsychedelicShroom: I know a bob
Chris_O_Connor: I have a topic I would like to
discuss.... when we have time. I'm not excited
about allowing the theist world to define atheism,
which is what happens in our dictionaries. As
you have stated dictionaries go with "usage"
and not actual definitions
PsychedelicShroom: oooh thats a topic that is
close to my heart
naddia: Good topic, Chris.
Chris_O_Connor: I'm not much in support of the
"Bright" movement as a result.
concretized: Where would we find actual definitions?
In nature somewhere?
DissidentHeart: hello folks
Hypatiasm: Hi, Dis
Chris_O_Connor: No, not in nature. Words are manmade
constructs. Atheisms etymology is simple.
Chris_O_Connor: A = without, theism = belief.
JeremyNYC: Hmm. There's a name for words like
that, in grammer; I don't remember it off hand...
but words like "land line" for telephone,
Agnosticus_Caesar: its simple logic
Zach: And yet, what is a word except what people
use it for?
bernt: I wanted to ask about your view on Brights
too but thought it could be too sensitive you
knowing them personally???
JeremyNYC: it was just a telephone without the
invention of cell phones
Hypatiasm: I'd like to know what is it about us
that makes us need evidence, why can't we just
believe like other people?
Chris_O_Connor: We all know Brights
JeremyNYC: I mean, I guess, there really couldn't
be atheism without theism. It implies a reaction,
in a sense.
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - you can respond
or reply to anyone about anything you see in here.
No specific game plan.
KevinBBG: Good question Hypatia, I've wondered
about that too.
concretized: Why should we expect any thoughts
on a transcendent being, whether there is or isn't,
to have any meaning anyway?
KevinBBG: And why do so few people see the need
for real evidence?
Michael_Shermer: I'm delighted
that the Bright movement is out there and someone
is trying to make a go of it. They deserve credit
for giving it a shot. The problem, however, is
not whether the concept is a good one or not--it
is a good idea--it's a branding issue, that's
all, and "Bright" is not a good brand
name. In marketing departments they invest a lot
of time and money to determine the best brand.
bernt: If not about Brights, I would later want
to ask you about the Vincent Sarich proposal about
God within being more powerful than the God out
JeremyNYC: It is a good question. Never occurred
to me before.
Chris_O_Connor: Why can't we just believe? We
can. I suggest you believe in immaterial penguins.
Do you believe now? Why not?
Kru5h: "Bright" sounds too "Gay"
Chris_O_Connor: Kyle - I agree
Chris_O_Connor: Welcome Glowing
Kru5h: Sorry for the irony of my choice of words.
Glowing: Thanks chris
naddia: Jeremy, not necessarily a conscious reaction.
It's the opposite of belief in a god, but there
can be absence of belief in people who have never
heard of a god concept.
Agnosticus_Caesar: I'm not aware what "bright"
DissidentHeart: I dont think the Atheist or the
Theist can escape belief...whether it involve
history, present, and especially the future....
there is so much we don't know...and so many decisions
we make based on so little.
KevinBBG: I agree with the idea of Brights but
the name is terrible, I haven't seen a better
pctacitus: I know why I cant just believe, does
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - I agree that the
concept is respectable, but the brand name leaves
much to be desired.
concretized: sorry, but I don't know what this
JeremyNYC: Well sure, Naddia, people who have
never heard of a god concept would have an absence
of belief... but it wouldn't be atheism, because
they'd have no theism to a
bernt: Two persons came up with the Unifying Umbrella
for all of us who are non religious and named
us Brights and not all of us liked that name
KevinBBG: Some people tied to start the term Brights
as a name for Atheists and others of similar mind.
Zach: And yet they would be atheist, that is,
Zach: or gods
Agnosticus_Caesar: I just looked it up
JeremyNYC: It's like, we don't have a word for
people who don't' breathe water.
PsychedelicShroom: I think that "Marketing"
is a horrible way to handle brilliant ideas...
because of "marketing" an idea can be
laughed out of existence without even serious
Zach: but we do for those who don't breathe oxygen,
tarav: there is a site for the Brights
Hypatiasm: I was raised a fundamentalist and I
tried very hard to be a good little believer,
I just couldn't do it. When I gave up on that,
I searched through many belief systems from Ancient
Egypt to New Age.
Agnosticus_Caesar: it seems that "Brights"
is bad marketing, because its rather arrogant
concretized: Isn't skepticism just a tool people
use to support their own position? To knock someone
DissidentHeart: I think the term "Brights"
is unfortunate...I mean, what does Buddha mean
tarav: someone tell them the site, because I forgot
Chris_O_Connor: The spread of the word "Bright"
would be enhanced with clever marketing gimmicks,
but this meme has to catch on with the core audience
bernt: It is the lack of marketing research that
make it laughable I guess
Hypatiasm: I just couldn't find one my brain would
Kru5h: What ever happened to "Freethinker"?
concretized: freethinker....a rather self-aggrandizing
label isn't it?
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - any books in the
PsychedelicShroom: but why should there have to
be marketing research... wouldn't intelligent
people be drawn to the idea rather than the packaging?
pctacitus: I think someone just came out with
a book on freethinkers
naddia: Jeremy, sure it would. Belief in god exists
objectively. Theism exists. A child who is born
into a world of theistic belief has no subjective
awareness of theism, yet it surrounds them. They
lack belief in the gods of the world. They are
naddia: They are atheists.... until their parents
start screwing with their minds.
JeremyNYC: I thought we were considering a hypothetical
where it didn't
DissidentHeart: <-- thinks the labels should
be used experimentally...like painters on a canvas,
or a chef with a soup...style is important...as
is allegiance to a common cause and agenda.
JeremyNYC: Of course it does in the real world
Agnosticus_Caesar: we have no way to truly know
what goes on in the mind of a child
Agnosticus_Caesar: we can only deal with what
we observe and conclude
PsychedelicShroom: My children, on a long drive
to Arizona, got into a theological discussion
concretized: naddia...you seem to be hypothesizing.
How can you say no one has any subjective awareness
Hypatiasm: Dr. Shermer, are you familiar with
the Minnesota Twin studies and do you think they
have any merit when they conclude that degree
of religiosity is genetic?
Chris_O_Connor: Does anyone have any questions
for Dr. Shermer?
bernt: We don't even know what goes on in our
own grown up minds even
Agnosticus_Caesar: I do
concretized: I'm sure many people are aware of
things I'm not.
Agnosticus_Caesar: but I'll wait
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - ask away
Agnosticus_Caesar: Bombarding the man isn't fair
pctacitus: as do I
bernt: I want to ask about the Vincent Sarich
PsychedelicShroom: I came to learn that my children,
even though influenced by their Catholic relatives,
didn't buy the belief
Chris_O_Connor: Bernt - go ahead and ask.
dark_penguin: Hypatiasm- Dr Shermer talks about
twin studies in 'how we believe'
naddia: A newborn child has no conscious
awareness of his own existence. How could it conceive
of a concept of god?
PsychedelicShroom: I have to say that I was proud
of them. They are thinkers and that's what I have
tried to impart to them
Hypatiasm: We are here to discuss the book aren't
bernt: Vince on page 11 came up with the God within
being more powerful than the god out there tell
Agnosticus_Caesar: naddia...you don't conclude
that they have conscious awareness
DissidentHeart: <-- is not sure of anyone,
anywhere, ever who has looked into the mind of
a newborn child...except for each of us...when
we were newborns.
Chris_O_Connor: Yes Hypatiasm
KevinBBG: I don't recall the twin study in the
book but it's been a while since I read it.
Agnosticus_Caesar: there is a big rift between
what we conclude, and absolute knowledge
JeremyNYC: Your premise, naddia, is untestable,
and I'm' not sure about the relevance anyway.
If nobody believed in any god, then the kids wouldn't
be atheists, they'd just be kids.
Agnosticus_Caesar: I have one
bernt: My question is what kind of reactions to
this insight have you got from audiences and emails?
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - shoot
Michael_Shermer: I've just
submitted a ms. to my publisher, entitled "Science
Friction," a collection of essays that have
not appeared in my previous books but have been
published in various journals and magazines. It
includes my "Psychic for a Day," "The
Big Bright Brouhaha," "Heresies of Science,"
"Virtues of Skepticism," "Spin-Doctoring
Science" (about the Yanomamo), "Psyched
Up, Psyched Out" (about sports psychology),
Shadowlands (about the death of my mom), Exorcising
Laplace's Demon (about chaos theory and history)
What if? (about counterfactual history), The new
New Creationism (about ID creationism), history's
Heretics (who mattered most in history, The Hero
on the Edge of Forever (about Gene Roddenberry
and Star Trek), and This View of Science (about
Stephen Jay Gould)
JeremyNYC: Just like we don't' define scientists
as "those scientists who don't believe in
DissidentHeart: <-- wanting to explore Dr.
Shermer's thesis regarding the "Belief Engine"
and its relation to Howard Gardner's theory of
dark_penguin: hypa- based on the Minnesota twin
studies Dr. Shermer related that about 50% of
peoples religious attitudes is affected by genes
JeremyNYC: Wow, great range, Dr. S!
Chris_O_Connor: Yes, nice range. The Yanomamo
Agnosticus_Caesar: I have seen many arguments
that go nowhere when speaking of the veracity
of certain scientific theories (Evolutionary Theory
KevinBBG: Sounds interesting, quite a lot of subjects
to cover, I think I've read some of them in Skeptic.
Agnosticus_Caesar: I posit that the problem is
that most people haven't a clue what science actually
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - so true.
Michael_Shermer: Oh, and
I wrote a 9000 word introduction entitled Why
Not Knowing: Science and the Search for meaning.
naddia: Aggy, I'm not claiming absolute knowledge
of anything. I'm claiming that newborn children
are not self-aware based on neurological and psychological
development of infants.
JeremyNYC: There's nothing to argue there, Agnosticus;
the assertion that it is an argument with an "other
side" is simply false
Agnosticus_Caesar: rather, than see it is a method
that has products, they see it as an authority
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - you've got quite
a bit on your plate
Agnosticus_Caesar: naddia...could you be wrong
DissidentHeart: <-- is not sure of anyone,
anywhere, ever who has looked into the mind of
a newborn child...except for each of us...when
we were newborns.
tarav: Dr. Shermer, you discussed religiosity
in America and the idea of supply-side religion.
Do you have any other theories on why Americans
are so religious?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Some see "science"
as an authority that gives them truth
Agnosticus_Caesar: some see it as an authority
JeremyNYC: My recollection of being newborn does
not include a lot of self awareness
JeremyNYC: In fact my "awareness" was
PsychedelicShroom: I see science as a tool that
allows us to learn more about the universe around
Agnosticus_Caesar: rather than seeing it as a
method that can be used to derive non-absolute
Michael_Shermer: The intro
title comes from Omar Khayym's poem: Into
this Universe, and Why not knowing, / Nor Whence,
like Water willy-nilly flowing; / And out of it,
as Wind along the Waste, / I know not Whither,
Agnosticus_Caesar: I think the problem lies there
naddia: Aggy, potentially, but given that this
has been tested and observed it's not really disputed.
How much studying have you done on early childhood
development? You'll be hard-pressed to find a
child psychologist or neurologist who thinks newborns....
bernt: Sci-Fi could be a good thing to explore,
I want to ask about Vince Sarich god insight at
page 11 in How we Believe
JeremyNYC: Title of ... you lost me. I thought
the title was "science fiction"?
Chris_O_Connor: Someday I'd like a well-designed
statistical analysis done attempting to find a
correlation between faith and intellect.
KevinBBG: We humans are rather ignorant, which
is why I think it's so important to study how
we know things.
naddia: have an awareness of their selves.
Michael_Shermer: Why are
Americans so dang religious? Well, my favorite
explanation is the supply-side one where religions
have to compete for customers with other religions
because we have separation of church and state,
however there are other intervening variables
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...I have to agree with
Gould in some ways
DissidentHeart: I think Aggie leaves out the essential
element of Political Struggle, Economic Inequality,
and Social Caste....all of these components fight
against an informed Public....do not want Scientific
minds, or Critical minds.
Agnosticus_Caesar: to paraphrase him
PsychedelicShroom: what are those variables, as
you see them, Dr. Shermer?
JeremyNYC: Yes, when I read that in your book,
Dr. Shermer, it struck me as one of those "ah
Agnosticus_Caesar: "Religion isn't the enemy
of science, irrationality is"
tarav: Dr. Shermer, I liked that idea too. Do
you have any others?
Chris_O_Connor: Jeremy - I was about to say that
Michael_Shermer: Oh, I mean
the title of the intro to Science Friction (not
fiction), which is "why not knowing,"
after the poem.
KevinBBG: I think it's ironic that Europe has
far less religion than we do.
JeremyNYC: Well, true, Agnosticus, but religion
is inherently irrational
JeremyNYC: So it works out that way in the end
JeremyNYC: Oh, thanks, dr. S
pctacitus: Dr. Shermer, I saw you on Dennis Miller
not that long ago, and from what I caught, your
comments on human nature sounded rather like scientifically
supported hobbesianism. Just how much has Hobbes
influenced your view on the subject of human nature?
KevinBBG: We might have been better off if we
didn't have that separation of church and state,
JeremyNYC: Perhaps, Kevin: Law of unintended consequences.
Agnosticus_Caesar: How could one not appreciate
DissidentHeart: Likewise, Americans are so 'Religious'
because the Public is denied real political power,
are constantly deluged with propaganda/advertisements,
Religion provides solidarity.
Chris_O_Connor: Nicole - welcome. You're late,
Please stand in the corner.
Nicole: Chris - thanks for the welcome and reprimand
JeremyNYC: I'm also deeply fuzzy on why the American
Revolution was such a good thing, what would be
so bad about being British?
Chris_O_Connor: Welcome Luna
tarav: hey, Nicole
PsychedelicShroom: Chris is so dominating ;)
Nicole: hey Tara :)
concretized: Jeremy, because they wanted freedom
OF religion of their choosing.
pctacitus: Europeans remember state run churches,
so its no wonder they are less religious
concretized: They were tired of the King or Queen
telling them how to worship, or who to worship.
KevinBBG: Yes, jer, many didn't want the revolution,
they wanted to be part of the empire.
JeremyNYC: I suppose. Doesn't do ME any good
Michael_Shermer: I was on
Dennis Miller twice last week, and twice before
that about two months ago. I don't get to say
much; basically there are three panelists with
two five-minute segments, so at best you get 1.5
minutes per segment, assuming Dennis says nothing...
In any case, my view of human nature comes entirely
from modern anthropology, psychology, and archaeology
and not at all from Hobbes. I think Hobbes was
right about us being nasty beasts, but he was
too pessimistic by half. We do have a good side
Chris_O_Connor: PC - I think you're right
JeremyNYC: And was it worth all those people dying?
concretized: And they were tired of working to
pay taxes to someone across the pond.
dark_penguin: Michael Shermer- you got any favorite
books that combine anthropology, psychology, and
DissidentHeart: The dominant, primary Religion
in America is not Christianity, but Corporate
Capitalism...which is a late step-child of an
Hypatiasm: I bet Hobbes would be quite surprised
at how much life in general has improved for most
people, even the poor.
JeremyNYC: But only the rich people paid taxes
in those days, concretized. A lot of poor farmers
died for that
bernt: State church oppression made us less supportive
of the institution but maybe still religious within
but not shown on the outside
JeremyNYC: Maybe not, Susan. Depends on your perspective....
what percent of the world's population has a decent
standard of living, even today?
Chris_O_Connor: I'm not sure how any American
could miss the virtues of church & state separation.
What religion should state endorse? How should
they endorse it? It's far easier to let state
worry about state affairs.
Michael_Shermer: Books combining
these sciences: well, shucks, I just wrote one--The
Science of Good and Evil--but that's a little
uncool to say, so I do recommend The Origins of
Virtue by Matt Ridley and The Moral Animal by
Robert Wright. Although I disagree with his fundamental
premise, I also suggest Wright's Nonzero.
pctacitus: Jeremy - compared to England 350+ yrs
ago, all of us
JeremyNYC: I'm fundamentally an optimist, but
its easy to overestimate how good things are from
the comfort of a heated western home
Hypatiasm: I've looked at stats recently and the
average life expectancy has increased greatly,
even in some of the worst places like Bangladesh
it is higher than in Hobbes time.
bernt: God within the head of the believer being
more powerful is what I want to ask you
Agnosticus_Caesar: Micheal...what do YOU want
Chris_O_Connor: We'll have to add those books
to our suggested reading thread
DissidentHeart: Chris...Americans fully endorse
the State Religion of Corporate Capitalism and
all of attending sacrifices.
JeremyNYC: I doubt it, pctacitus. I bet you could
travel around Africa and Asia and find many people
who would find England 350 years ago paradise
compared to their lives.
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - Yes, any topic you
would like to discuss or share?
pctacitus: not really, England was in the midst
of a civil war
concretized: Jeremy...perhaps Ben Franklin's biography
would help. He loved the British for many years.
Something happened to turn him against the Empire
concretized: And it happened while he was in England
I think. I'm not sure of the details.
Hypatiasm: Perhaps we should all shut up and give
Dr. Shermer the floor for a bit.
Nicole: I agree with that suggestion :)
JeremyNYC: What I'm saying, concretized, is not
historical, but contemporary. I look around and
see how England is, and how the U.S. is, and think,
so what if we were a part of the empire NOW? Probably
be way better off.
DissidentHeart: <-- rejects any and all Empires...thank
you very much :)
Chris_O_Connor: I don't think there is anything
wrong with everyone chatting and Dr. Shermer responding
to questions as he sees fit
KevinBBG: Hello Wanda.
Hypatiasm: My ancestors were forced to leave Scotland
by the British.
Wanda_Duck: Hey all!
Chris_O_Connor: If this was an audible discussion
we would all need to be quiet
Chris_O_Connor: Who the heck is Wanda?
bernt: we are all competing to get your attention
it is a Tragedy of the commons just now :)
Wanda_Duck: It's been years since I've chatted
tarav: Dr. Shermer, I think of myth as being defined
as a false belief(which is actually the 5th definition
in my dictionary), from your discussion on myths,
I understand that you feel that myths can't be
untrue because "these evaluative terms are
tarav: statements of fact
Agnosticus_Caesar: Myths can be many things
JeremyNYC: Yet another Happy Hour member, Chris.
tarav: Could you please explain this more?
Agnosticus_Caesar: the common usage of the term
is the most boring
Can you all suggest some things you do that give
you purpose? This is in context of that book,
The Purposeful Life (or something like that).
What are the most important things we can do to
bring purpose to our lives? (I'm assuming most
people in this forum are nonbelievers and not
JeremyNYC: It's a good thing you run a dictatorship
here or we'd threaten your presidency
Agnosticus_Caesar: I would recommend Campbell's
concept of myth
concretized: myth is a way of explaining origins
by way of the supernatural.
lunaseafroth: I am still trying to figure out
what gives purpose to my life lol
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - most are nonbelievers,
but there are Christians and others that participate
JeremyNYC:I remember your e-zine did a survey
on that topic, Dr. S.
tarav: I want to be able to say that the Genesis
myth is untrue.
PsychedelicShroom: Myths are merely explanations
for happenings or circumstances that people don't
JeremyNYC: I thought my answer was pretty creative
but I don't' remember it now
DissidentHeart: <-- Christian, with distinct
Anarchist tendencies :)
KevinBBG: I have little problem finding purpose,
from the very small things to the big, but especially
when I'm spending time with the grandkids.
PsychedelicShroom: they are based loosely on reality
Nicole: I think it's very difficult for people
who are religious to be able to conceptualize
how people without religion can find meaning,
and I don't think explanations necessarily help
them grasp this.
concretized: If my thoughts are just chemical
reactions, why do I feel I need meaning? Electrical
circuits don't need meaning.
JeremyNYC: My purpose... is to understand Life,
as best I can;
Chris_O_Connor: Purpose? I see no inherent purpose
to life, so I take it as my own responsibility
to create my own purpose. My purpose is to touch
people's lives in a positive way leaving more
behind than I took.
dark_penguin: tarav-i think mythmaking is the
act of relating the world to yourself
JeremyNYC: to integrate what I know about Life
bernt: don't meaning emerge out of the good practice,
when I fail at good practice I find it less meaningful
DissidentHeart: <-- finds Love to be a fine
purpose...one that colors all my relationships...imperfect
and flawed....but worthy of time, talent, effort
concretized: I'm a Christian who finds skepticism
to be a platform for debunking a certain view,
not for finding truth.
KevinBBG: I think my main purpose is to live,
my second is to know as much as i can.
Chris_O_Connor: Tough question Dr. Shermer. How
dare you ask us to think!
Michael_Shermer: What do
you think of these four roads to purpose: 1. Love
and family commitment; 2. Meaningful work and
career; 3. Political and Social activism; 4. Transcendency
Agnosticus_Caesar: purpose is a human concept
bernt: Life is a word I could relate to too. How
to live a good life
JeremyNYC: You feel you need meaning, concretized,
for the same reason that underlies all your innate
perceptions; your ancestors were more successful
for having a desire for purpose, than
JeremyNYC: the people would didn't get to be ancestors.
Agnosticus_Caesar: "inherent purpose"
is an oxymoron
naddia: Mr. Shermer: I think that in figuring
out where one places the most value in life, they
can decide what will give their life the most
purpose. For me, intellectual freedom, human life,
and family are what I place the highest value
Wanda_Duck: Can not relate to your fourth category.
Hypatiasm: I've fulfilled my biological purpose,
I see the rest as gravy.
DissidentHeart: <-- thinks Dr. Shermer is on
bernt: What does spirituality refers to?
concretized: Jeremy...slugs were successful. Do
they have a purpose? Or bacteria? Strength is
what is necessary for survival, not meaning.
Agnosticus_Caesar: Michael....if that makes your
life pleasant, its great
naddia: So I derive the greatest purpose in life
from educating myself, raising, nurturing and
educating my daughter, and working in a field
where I can help to improve the quality of other's
Agnosticus_Caesar: if not, its crap
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - That's interesting.
I have 4 personal "purposes" written
right in front of me taped to my monitor to remind
me of what matters in life. Much the same as your
DissidentHeart: Spirituality, as I see it, is
the arduous task to honesty, truth-telling, and
stepping out of ego-delusions and fantasies of
punishment and revenge.
JeremyNYC: You are not a slug, concretized. You
are not good at making external slime at all.
KevinBBG: Dr. S, I find purpose in everything,
even playing games on my PDA, such a wonderful
JeremyNYC: Our strategies, as a species, are different
from the strategies of other species.
concretized: Jeremy, but you made a claim that
having a purpose gave my ancestors an advantage.
I say it probably didn't.
PsychedelicShroom: Kevin, I find agreement with
JeremyNYC: I say, concretized, that the empirical
evidence says it did. You started with the fact
that we have a desire for purpose. If it is innate,
Agnosticus_Caesar: "meaning" is personal
DissidentHeart: I also see Spirituality as a type
of Resistance...a courageous and hopeful action
towards justice...requiring a great deal of faith
KevinBBG: Life is it's own purpose, the rest is
JeremyNYC: selected for. If it was selected for,
it had survival value.
JeremyNYC: We're going in quite opposite directions
Chris_O_Connor: One of my personal interests is
the survival and longevity of the human species.
While we have a violent and ugly side to us, we're
also capable of amazing and beautiful things.
I'd like to see us survive and prosper. I'm worried
concretized: The empirical evidence as you put
it, is the evidence that you and I are here. You
can't say what particular characteristics help
my ancestors to survive.
bernt: Tom Flynn gave 95 alternatives to using
spirit or spirituality :)
JeremyNYC: Sure I can. The characteristics that
are common among us are the ones that were selected.
Wanda_Duck: "faith" seems like wasted
effort -- a pointless activity...
Hypatiasm: Good points, Chris and I agree and
am worried, too.
concretized: A 500 lb gorilla is a survivor, not
an emotionally needy and fragile, not to mention
physically weak species like a human.
DissidentHeart: Chris...I think the problems may
be unfixable, beyond repair...even if we stopped
all of the eco-damaging, justice-hating things
Chris_O_Connor: I'd like to see Homo sapiens reach
other worlds and colonize them.
Hypatiasm: But why are those of us in this room
KevinBBG: Except we will all be dead and won't
know what the future will bring, if we survive
JeremyNYC: Yup.... and gorillas grow to 500 lbs
because historically, 500 lb gorillas did better
than 400 lb gorillas
concretized: Jeremy, you're presupposing much.
That seems a bit circular to me.
concretized: Maybe I'm wrong.
DissidentHeart: Well, Wanda, obviously I disagree.
JeremyNYC: Because something works for us doesn't
mean it works for anyone else.
KevinBBG: I agree with Wanda, faith seems to mislead
us, to be wishful thinking.
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - a member that could
not make this chat, Gino, emailed me with the
bernt: Some people the apathists don't care about
purpose or do they?
JeremyNYC: It would appear circular, concretized,
if I were trying to prove that our nature is the
product of natural selection. I am not. The fact
that we are the product of natural selection is
Wanda_Duck: Better to take action if you want
something to happen.
JeremyNYC: Knowing that fact, the rest follows
Hypatiasm: I think I'm a mutant
DissidentHeart: Faith can mislead us, and it can
move towards justice and liberation when the odds
are not in your favor.... when the facts are not
on your side.
KevinBBG: But not every characteristic is necessarily
a survival advantage Jer,
Wanda_Duck: You probably are Hyp -- good thing
you passed along those genes!
KevinBBG: I know what you mean Hypatia; I've long
felt that way.
KevinBBG: We are certainly not the norm.
DissidentHeart: <-- handing Chris a brush
Kru5h: Helps if you don't use toothpaste
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - A member, Gino,
would like to know: "When speaking about
the number of religious people in the book, Shermer
quotes a survey that suggests Christianity is
the largest religion with several hundred million
followers. My impression was that most of the
population of China was Buddhist, which would
make it the largest religion. Can he account for
Hypatiasm: I think I understand the point of the
book on Why People Believe, what I don't understand
is why some of us don't.
KevinBBG: In my religious days I thought I understood
the nature of the universe that I "knew."
KevinBBG: But in the back of my mind a little
voice said "Just like those who know something
KevinBBG: I couldn't ignore that voice.
Chris_O_Connor: I think Adherents.com handles
KevinBBG: Most people don't seem to have that
voice at all.
bernt: My Vincent Sarich question is on the line
DissidentHeart: Chinese folk belong to multiple
religions at once...their family's traditional
religion, the religion of their community and
village, as well as Maoism, and Taoism, and Confucianism...complex
JeremyNYC: Maybe we're a new evolutionary subspecies
JeremyNYC: Notice I carefully avoided using the
Hypatiasm: My stats here say that there are 323,894,000
Buddhist in the world.
KevinBBG: Most Chinese have been commie atheists
for quite some time.
Chris_O_Connor: Hypatiasm - actually, 323,894,002.
JeremyNYC: Lol, Kevin, at least on paper
Hypatiasm: From the 1996 Britannica Book of the
Kru5h: Chris, One more was just born.
Hypatiasm: It's a little dated
JeremyNYC: I started to say the same thing, Kru5h,
then realized that one is not born Buddhist
Hypatiasm: But it was here on the desk.
PsychedelicShroom: Who has asked the Chinese what
they believe? All 2 billion of them?
Chris_O_Connor: Bernt - can you restate your question
for Dr. Shermer?
DissidentHeart: A KEY problem in understanding
Religions in Asia is the years of racist, euro
centric, Christ centric projections thrown on
onto billions of complex persons.
Chris_O_Connor: Is this room lagging?
JeremyNYC: Acting as though people are born into
a religion really fries Dr. Dawkins, and I don't
want to do that, even in absentia
bernt: Vincent Sarich gave his view on page 11
in your How we believe. Atheist dissing this is
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - are you getting
Chris_O_Connor: Hello Scrum
Chris_O_Connor: Bye Scrum
naddia: Jeremy: What do you mean?
bernt: Why would atheist dis that insight that
Vincent Sarich took up on page 11 in "How
concretized: I'm wondering is someone has engaged
the Dr. in private messaging...
pctacitus: I think the Chinese number approx 1.3
billion, not 2 billion
bernt: I found that insight very good and I am
Chris_O_Connor: I have no idea. He appears to
not be here.
concretized: Bernt...what was it?
bernt: That the god with the head of the believer
is what motivates them to act politically
KevinBBG: Bernt, it doesn't make any sense to
dark_penguin: how do I disable sound
bernt: It is socially powerful cause they act
upon this inner motivator
Chris_O_Connor: I have sent him a private message.
Chris_O_Connor: Maybe there is a bug
JeremyNYC: In England, Naddia, children are classified
by religion for schooling purposes; and Dr. Dawkins
wrote a very, well, almost angry article about
the practice. I've seen him question several times
in print the tendency to call a person too young
to know what it
KevinBBG: We all act on an inner motivator, we
have no choice.
JeremyNYC: means, "Baptist": or "Anglican"
JeremyNYC: I think this is way too deep for what
was essentially a gag
just had a quick dinner.
bernt: Then atheist should not dis that insight
concretized: welcome back Dr.
JeremyNYC: Lol Dr. Shermer, welcome back. And
our apologies for making you rush your dinner
naddia: Mr. Shermer: No problem. We'd rather you
not type with your mouth full.
KevinBBG: I'm munching a grilled cheese sandwich
bernt: I like to ask you about the Vincent Sarich
insight on God within being politically powerful
pctacitus: sorry folks, but I better call it a
night, goodbye all
Chris_O_Connor: Naddia - No doubt.
Chris_O_Connor: Night PC
naddia: Bye PC
JeremyNYC: Night PC... too late
KevinBBG: Still early her on the west coast.
Michael_Shermer: Yeah, west
coast, we're still watching the Lakers and eating
beer and pizza!
JeremyNYC: Dr. Shermer, I got the impression from
the book, I don't think you stated it explicitly,
that you support Gould's "Magesteria"
Chris_O_Connor: Who won this Stanley cup game?
Michael_Shermer: Okay, my
13-year old daughter says she's not eating beer.
Oh, and she says she's 12 not 13. I must be raising
naddia: Jeremy: So what you're saying is that,
whereas in the US we might refer to kids by the
religion of the parents casually, in England they
officially classify them that way? Is that why
Dawkins is pissed about it?
Agnosticus_Caesar: eating beer requires certain
JeremyNYC: I think he's pissed because of the
official classification, but I doubt he'd care
for the other reference either.
JeremyNYC: But I could be wrong about that.
Agnosticus_Caesar: skeptical 13 year olds aren't
privy to such techniques
Chris_O_Connor: I was never fond of Gould's NOMA
naddia: Jeremy: Ah, I see.
KevinBBG: I didn't like it either Chris.
Agnosticus_Caesar: Gould isn't given the credit
Chris_O_Connor: Any questions for Dr. Shermer?
Michael_Shermer: I generally
support Gould's separate magesteria, but when
one's posits the position that science and religion
are completely separate, this would have to be
a god who doesn't do anything. If god operates
in our world in some manner, then it should be
measurable. If it is measurable, then it is in
the realm of science. Thus far, scientific tests
of God's involvement in our world have proved
bernt: Sarich should have cred for his God within
Agnosticus_Caesar: Michael, I think you are being
Chris_O_Connor: Exactly. If there is a God that
effects things....we should be able to measure
JeremyNYC: Interesting methodological point, Dr.
Shermer; but it worries me from another direction.
bernt: Why do atheists dis Sarich idea about god
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris, not necessarily
KevinBBG: Simply claiming a god exists steps into
the realm of science and requires proof.
Michael_Shermer: Kobe just
had the best quarter of his career,
JeremyNYC: It seems to me that tuning morality
over to religion grants it way , way too much
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...answer some questions,
if you would
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - ok
Agnosticus_Caesar: are you familiar with Goedel?
concretized: Dr. Shermer, what is Skepticism?
Isn't it just a technique for debunking views
you don't agree with? A way of supporting your
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - not really.
Agnosticus_Caesar: not intimately, just a tad
KevinBBG: That too, Jer, anything can be justified
Agnosticus_Caesar: have you heard of "The
naddia: Jeremy, yeah, and is more likely to provide
a weaker moral framework for society.
Hypatiasm: No system can be both complete and
JeremyNYC: Not if it is done right, concretized.
Michael_Shermer: I don't
think we should turn morality over to religion.
Here I break with Gould. My new book, in fact,
recaptures morality for science.
Chris_O_Connor: Skepticism is the process of using
reason to analyze claims as opposed to acceptance
based on authority.
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I wish I had, but no.
KevinBBG: I think reason should be the basis of
JeremyNYC: Great, Dr. S!
concretized: What is the basis of reason?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Michael...From a Evolutionary
Psych standpoint, "science" easily explains
JeremyNYC: It explains the "Is", Agnosticus,
but not the should be; should be is much more
KevinBBG: Logical thought, the adding up of facts.
is science; it's a way of thinking. It's not a
position to take; it's an approach to claims.
tarav: In your discussion of the millennium, you
listed many secular conceptions of the end of
the world (e.g. bombs, viruses). Were you surprised
that the hysteria ended up being about computers?
concretized: Do wild badgers have a moral code?
Did it help them to survive? Lions eat their young....
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...From a logical standpoint,
something within a logical construct cannot define
the logical construct itself
Nicole: good question, Tara.
Devin just typed Lance because Lance is on TV
racing his bike against a train and other things
dark_penguin: Jeremy-if we should want to evolve,
then science explains why we should be moral
Michael_Shermer: And I'm
a big cycling fanatic, as you know.
Michael_Shermer: Okay, back
to skepticism. It's a verb, not a noun
Agnosticus_Caesar: I don't quite agree
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer is a pro cyclist too
Hypatiasm: Bernt, I don't see anything Sarich
says on page 11 that's really inconsistent with
Chris_O_Connor: Yes, a verb
Agnosticus_Caesar: science is a method to draw
JeremyNYC: Hmm, I didn't know that, Dr Shermer;
my atheist son in law is a semi pro cyclist and
he'll be thrilled when I tell him
tarav: Dr. Shermer, I thought computers fit in
nicely with your discussion of patterns and zeros!
JeremyNYC: So thanks for sharing!
Hypatiasm: If it wasn't for the 'gods in other
peoples heads' I doubt we'd care very much about
the question at all.
Agnosticus_Caesar: conclusions that are always
open to debate
bernt: My question was why do so many atheists
dis it when it is consistent
Chris_O_Connor: Bernt - dis what?
Agnosticus_Caesar: skepticism is part of that
Hypatiasm: I can't answer that because I've never
heard an atheist dis it.
Agnosticus_Caesar: but not all of it
Chris_O_Connor: I'm skeptical of skeptics.
KevinBBG: I've always thought of skepticism as
dark_penguin: your so postmodern Chris
tarav: thanks, Nicole
Chris_O_Connor: Dark - No I'm not! I was kidding.
Nicole: I'm skeptical of people who are skeptical
of skeptics :p
concretized: Me too Chris.
KevinBBG: As any good skeptic would be Chris.
bernt: They see the Sarich proposal as nothing
to care about they dis it as a truism
who is skeptical of skeptics should get an honorary
membership to the Skeptics Society!
Chris_O_Connor: Skeptic does not equal cynic.
Agnosticus_Caesar: science is one of the most
misused words in any language
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - I accept.
dark_penguin: i meant postmodern in the self-referential
sense not the cynic sense
Hypatiasm: Every year at Halloween I make the
Alien Cake from Skeptic Jr. for the kids.
Chris_O_Connor: I don't think there's any real
meat to postmodernism
concretized: Dr. Shermer, could an argument be
made that ID is just a skeptical response to naturalism?
JeremyNYC: That's a dangerous position, dark penguin.
If you turn all the authority over to reason,
to science, what happens if it turns out that
morality ISNT" the best way?
Michael_Shermer: when pigs
JeremyNYC: I mean, you've pretty much assumed
Chris_O_Connor: Oh no, Dr. Shermer has found the
dark_penguin: Bernt how so or are you just referring
to the disillusioned youth
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - ever debated Duane
concretized: Dr. Shermer, what's your IQ?
Chris_O_Connor: OMG An IQ question
JeremyNYC: I think Tanner explains ID best. It
is a response to our cultural urge to turn every
question into a two-sided debate: even when
Agnosticus_Caesar: JHQ, that's irrelevant
Michael_Shermer: What is
that little guy doing I just typed in? Praying?
JeremyNYC: there is no "other side"
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - you have just prayed.
Agnosticus_Caesar: can we please discuss something?
Nicole: Time for me to get back to work...thank
you for joining us, Dr Shermer, night all.
Michael_Shermer: I.Q. Which
one? My emotional intelligence--age 15.
JeremyNYC: And you too also, Nicole!
Chris_O_Connor: Night Nicole
tarav: bye, Nicole
dark_penguin: Jeremy-then moral creatures may
be weeded out via 'survival of the fittest' or
in this case 'survival of the non-moral'. Either
way evolution occurs
Agnosticus_Caesar: Michael, have you ever read
"Darwin's Dangerous Idea"?
Zach: I'm also going to have to leave--I know
I wasn't talkative (at all), but I enjoyed the
Chris_O_Connor: Night Zach
JeremyNYC: bye Zach
bernt: I'm obsessed with the dissing of Vince
Sarich obviously :)
naddia: Goodnight Zach
Michael_Shermer: The one
and only time I had my I.Q. tested it was two
standard deviations above the mean--130. Okay,
but not brilliant. Because of my job, I meet a
lot of really smart people, so most of the time
I feel dumb and dumber.
Zach: G'night everyone, and thanks for taking
time to talk with us, Dr. Shermer
JeremyNYC: Well, but penguin, if we are making
decisions - should we decide to preserve morality?
It is part of the position we find ourselves in,
Chris_O_Connor: I'm not sure how important IQ
concretized: Thanks Dr.
Agnosticus_Caesar: Michael...what test?
JeremyNYC: that we can influce our species beyond
Agnosticus_Caesar: thank you
concretized: I'm not brilliant either, but I've
found I can learn by rote and memorization.
JeremyNYC: James Watson mentions his IQ in his
book; I think it's only like 107.
Agnosticus_Caesar: I am brilliant, and uneducated
concretized: Are you serious Jeremy?
dark_penguin: studies show each time you supplement
emotions with an emoticon your IQ goes down a
Dangerous Idea: yeah, I read it. Great book, but
JeremyNYC: He made a point of how hard he had
to work, because he wasn't as smart as the other
scientists he was working with and competing against.
Michael_Shermer: And I think
he was way way too hard on Gould
Agnosticus_Caesar: I wouldn't agree with that
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - why are you comfortable
with theists having the freedom to define "atheism"
in our dictionaries simply because they're in
concretized: Jeremy...I believe in the hard work
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - as you stated, dictionaries
go by usage
Agnosticus_Caesar: but, there was a point in the
middle of the book that I found hard to muddle
JeremyNYC: Cool! I knew if we kept at this we'd
find an area of agreement
Agnosticus_Caesar: he was quite hard on Gould,
but I thought it was rather fair
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - I've always had
a problem with the world saying that atheism is
a belief, when only strong atheism is an actual
belief or affirmative claim.
concretized: In fact, I find that many smart people
I know are inherently lazy. I can beat them with
Chris_O_Connor: We were all born as atheists...implicit
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris.... that seems likely
Hypatiasm: I go out and try to define atheist
for people every day by who I am.
JeremyNYC: Actually they're being nice, Chris;
everyone knows that atheists are REALLY Satan
worshipping immoral scum
KevinBBG: I really hate it when someone calls
atheism a religion.
Agnosticus_Caesar: but isn't true by necessity
bernt: implicit seems to be an important qualifier
concretized: We are all born ignorant of math
scrumfish: that's scrum, not scum :)
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - people can be born with
beliefs in deities?
concretized: We are born ignorant of good manners,
and how to win a girls heart.
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - which deity? Or just some
sort of God?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...we don't have the capacity
to say what is possible and what isn't
dark_penguin: concretized, I disagree
JeremyNYC: Perhaps, Chris; there is a consistent
argument to be made that the baby's parents are
"gods" to her
Agnosticus_Caesar: we have the capacity to say
what is probable, and what isn't
Michael_Shermer: Born atheists?
concretized: Just because a belief isn't an intrinsic
belief doesn't make it a false belief.
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - born "without"
JeremyNYC: and the god belief is parent transference;
failure to grow up
dark_penguin: concretized, we are born with sexual
organs - that's a good head start so far
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - we are born without
belief in gods, political positions, etc..
concretized: We're not born with language either.
I didn't know my sister when I was born.
Agnosticus_Caesar: claiming to have absolute knowledge
of anything is no better than being a fundamentalist
concretized: and so forth. I don't think that's
a valid criterion for assessing something's validity.
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - so how should I word my
JeremyNYC: But we ARE born with the propensity
for language, concretized; the thought that we
may have a propensity for religion, culture fill
in the details, is very scary.
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris.... just because all
evidence points to your claim, doesn't make it
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I agree. How should I word
JeremyNYC: In fact that's kind of what I thought
Damasio was saying in his book
naddia: Aggy, how much interaction have you had
with infants and small children? Babies don't
even discover their own hands until they're around
6 months old. They don't recognize themselves
in a mirror until nearly a year.
Agnosticus_Caesar: It seems as such
Agnosticus_Caesar: observation and reason points
Michael_Shermer: Yes, we
learn about God, but our brains are wired in a
way that makes the learning of god, like the learning
of language, possible.
bernt: good arguing Naddia
dark_penguin: concretized, are you familiar with
Agnosticus_Caesar: care to answer some simple
concretized: No dark
naddia: Aggy: They don't understand the concept
of using a toilet. It takes months to teach them
that. How could they possibly understand an abstract
concept like god? I think we have a little better
understanding of early childhood development than
you care to
KevinBBG: Are we wired to be atheists then?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia, I asked you a question
JeremyNYC: In the case of language it is more
than possible, though, it is pretty much inevitable.
Hypatiasm: Yes, why do atheists exist at all?
dark_penguin: we're born with these mirror neurons,
which allow us to catch onto and mimic others,
behavior pretty fast.
bernt: We are wired to first accept our parents
and not reject them?
JeremyNYC: Very probably, Bernt
bernt: Mirror neurons is important indeed
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia, I am going to show
how you are akin to a religionist
naddia: Aggy: You want to ask me some questions?
naddia: Please do, Aggy.
Agnosticus_Caesar: I said so twice
Agnosticus_Caesar: are you infallible?
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - did you get my question
about theists defining atheism?
Agnosticus_Caesar: naddia, is any human infallible?
tarav: I must go
bernt: Aggy, we are chatting with Shermer here
JeremyNYC: bye tarav
naddia: By Tara
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - why are you comfortable
with theists having the freedom to define "atheism"
in our dictionaries simply because they're in
define atheism because we let them. That's what
the bright movement is about: taking back our
Agnosticus_Caesar: naddia...did you say that human
infants are atheists?
dark_penguin: if we're born into a culture that
speaks languages, mirror neurons lead us to speak
tarav: Dr. Shermer, thank you for chatting!
Chris_O_Connor: Night Tara
JeremyNYC: Well a provisional no would be more
appropriate, given the first fact prevents us
from knowing for sure
tarav: bye all!
Agnosticus_Caesar: Bernt...I am chatting
Agnosticus_Caesar: if Michael chooses to talk
to me, he will
naddia: Aggy: I said that human infants are without
belief in gods, which by definition, makes them
Agnosticus_Caesar: if he doesn't, he won't
bernt: Supporters of Brights in their forum behaved
very much like religious fundies IMHO
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia, might you be wrong
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - well, one day I
would like to take back that ability by fighting
with dictionaries and pushing them to define it
Agnosticus_Caesar: atheism should be defined by
KevinBBG: The Catholic dictionary gives four definitions
Agnosticus_Caesar: theism = belief in a god
concretized: Chris, do you think the definition
in the dictionary causes people to dislike atheism?
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - they cause many
problems with their poor definitions.
Michael_Shermer: What is
your definition of atheism?
bernt: Brights managed to get one dictionary to
take their definition
Agnosticus_Caesar: the logical opposite of that
= not belief in god
Agnosticus_Caesar: it is NOT "belief in not
Chris_O_Connor: Concretized - I think the dictionaries
create a false impression and erect a strawman
we have to constantly knock down
Agnosticus_Caesar: the term which is modified
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - I believe there
is an umbrella definition. All atheists are at
the very least lacking a belief in gods.
Agnosticus_Caesar: because that is the significant
KevinBBG: I really doubt that many read the dictionary's
definition of atheism.
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia, respond
Agnosticus_Caesar: don't be like a fundie
JeremyNYC: Well y'all, I really hate to leave
an author chat before our guest; but I 'm under
the weather and its past my bed time
naddia: Aggy, the possibility exists that I might
be wrong about everything I know and believe,
including that. However, just as it is highly
probably that humans have evolved through natural
selection based on logical evidence, it's also
highly probable that...
Hypatiasm: Night, Jeremy
scrumfish: I would not have been able to differentiate
between atheist and agnostic a few months ago
JeremyNYC: I really, really appreciate you spending
this time with us, Dr. Shermer, and look forward
to your upcoming books
Wanda_Duck: See ya round Jer
Chris_O_Connor: Michael - there are subgroups
of atheists, one of which is "strong atheists,"
who actually make the claim to know that God doesn't
exist. But most atheists are not in this narrow
subgroup, yet we all have to deal with being labeled
as simply a lack of belief in God is fine. Atheism
as belief in communism, abortion, and sex, drugs,
and rock and roll, is not fine.
Agnosticus_Caesar: thank you
KevinBBG: Brights was supposed to be that umbrella,
a very good idea, just the wrong name, we need
Hypatiasm: I call myself an agnostic atheist.
concretized: Chris, well, rest easy. I've never
looked up atheism in the dictionary. :)
naddia: infants are incapable of abstract thought
of the kind necessary for belief in a god. This
is basic human development, Aggy.
Chris_O_Connor: Hypatiasm - Me too
Agnosticus_Caesar: the reasonable statement would
be that is seems that humans are born atheists
Agnosticus_Caesar: no, infants SEEM incapable
of said things
Wanda_Duck: <-- grew up godless in an Agnostic
family. As a teenager I rebelled and turned atheist!
concretized: How about this: humans are born without
knowledge of God. (Or anything else for that matter)
concretized: Why put a label on it?
Agnosticus_Caesar: that isn't reasonable
Agnosticus_Caesar: humans can only say how things
seem to be
bernt: apathists don't even care about them being
concretized: Why change your entire worldview
just to shock your elders? Seems silly.
Agnosticus_Caesar: when we claim "X is Y",
we claim infallibility
Chris_O_Connor: Kevin - but I don't agree. A Bright
is a person that adheres to a "naturalistic
worldview." You can be an atheist and NOT
adhere to a naturalistic worldview. There are
atheists that believe in all sorts of paranormal
things, but they don't believe in gods.
Wanda_Duck: That was supposed to be a funny line
-- and true, nonetheless
are a problem. Like "feminism" I'm a
feminist by some definitions, but not by others.
Or, I should say, by some usages
Hypatiasm: There are a few of those on my atheistmoms
TAgnosticus_Caesar: Michael, I agree with that
naddia: Aggy: And do you say that it SEEMS as
though humans have evolved? It SEEMS as though
there are many galaxies other than our own? It
seems as though our earth revolves around the
bernt: Labels are maybe a tool for defining who
is in and who is out
KevinBBG: Very few of them, Chris, but that was
the point of the term Brights. It wasn't about
atheists only but about those who take a scientific
Agnosticus_Caesar: I am a feminist by way of being
a humanist that has to focus on the feminine because
women are not being treated as equals
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia...yes, I do
Agnosticus_Caesar: that's what science does
Agnosticus_Caesar: it helps us describe how things
SEEM to be
Agnosticus_Caesar: science is incapable of providing
naddia: Aggy: Are you saying, then, that are you
are certain of nothing?
concretized: naddia...call him Socrates :)
KevinBBG: He's extremely certain that he isn't
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia...certainty and absolute
knowledge are two different things
bernt: Aggy look like a PoMo to me :)
Agnosticus_Caesar: one can be certain, and be
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - are you certain that science
is not capable of providing absolutes?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris, I am certain of that
Chris_O_Connor: wtf is a PoMo? Sounds painful
bernt: Post Modern are Pomos
dark_penguin: pomo = postmodernists
Caesar; I like your feminist usage
Agnosticus_Caesar: thank you
naddia: Aggy: I understand that science is incapable
of providing absolute answers. However, certain
theories have enough evidence to state them with
an incredibly high level of probability.
Chris_O_Connor: Naddia - true
Agnosticus_Caesar: I have no issue with that
bernt: Naddia made my day
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I'm not following your
argument. You think we cannot say that babies
are born as atheists with a high degree of certainty?
Agnosticus_Caesar: I take issue with treating
pragmatism as if it were absolute
Agnosticus_Caesar: I didn't say that
Chris_O_Connor : Welcome Stephen
Agnosticus_Caesar: I said that we cannot know
stephankrieg: Howdy Chris!
bernt: Oh Aggy a Pragmatist, sorry giving you
wrong label then
Agnosticus_Caesar: it seems highly probable
stephankrieg: I joined as soon as I saw your BBT
Agnosticus_Caesar: I am a pragmatist, and an agnostic
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I think that's all we were
Agnosticus_Caesar: and I don't pretend one is
Chris_O_Connor: We don't know anything with absolute
Agnosticus_Caesar: it has been said that babies
ARE BORN ATHEISTS
bernt: Shermer what about my Vince Sarich question
that I fail to communicate?
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - how should it be said?
Agnosticus_Caesar: that isn't a statement of probability
Hypatiasm: So, I still haven't figured out what
makes nonbelievers different; why they don't have
the same need to believe.
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - Again, how should it be
KevinBBG: Yes, Dr. S, you talk about how people
believe, but how and why do people not believe?
naddia: Aggy: Will you answer a few questions
Agnosticus_Caesar: by all collected data, the
theory claiming that babies are born atheistic
is the one most clearly supported
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - should we say (in day to
day conversation) "I do hereby assign a high
degree of probability to the assertion that most
babies are born with what appears to be a lack
of belief in God or gods?"
Michael_Shermer: Know what
you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah
Witness? Someone who knocks on your door for no
reason at all
Chris_O_Connor: Shermer - haha Naddia is an X
naddia: Shermer: Damn, that hits a little too
close to home. ;)
Michael_Shermer: How do
people not believe? Well, they get the skeptic
Chris_O_Connor: Sunsprite - welcome
KevinBBG: Is that a mutation?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...the biggest problem
with the arguments between theists and atheists
is a lack of foundational knowledge
naddia: Aggy: Ok. Will you agree that a zygote
is incapable of abstract thought?
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - any opinions on
the Iraq war?
bernt: Shermer it could be the level of serotonin
yes or no? :)
Agnosticus_Caesar: Naddia, I will say that is
seems to not be
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - oh come on.
naddia: Aggy: What produces thought? Are rocks
capable of thinking?
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - is a grain of sand capable
of abstract thought?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Chris...I am an agnostic
Agnosticus_Caesar: and I accept things as they
appear to be
scrumfish: that is something my sister and I talk
about a lot. We can't figure out how we stopped
believing in god with our upbringing...and our
Hypatiasm: I know a Presbyterian minister who's
Agnosticus_Caesar: I won't pretend that something
is necessarily true just because it seems overwhelmingly
Hypatiasm: We worked together with the ACLU
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I'm an agnostic with regards
to a deity, but not with regards to rocks thinking
abstractly. Are you agnostic about everything?
Agnosticus_Caesar: I am agnostic
Agnosticus_Caesar : period
Chris_O_Connor: Dr. Shermer - Richard Dawkins
was VERY against the war...so just curious where
Michael_Shermer: Okay, Gotta
sign off now. Thanks a lot everyone. I had a great
time. Best skeptical wishes
Agnosticus_Caesar: the god question is no more
important than any other
bernt: Aggy is good at getting attention, help
me ask Dr Shermer will you
Chris_O_Connor: Umm...goodnight Dr. Shermer
KevinBBG: I have to go, Dr. Shermer, thank you
Chris_O_Connor: Oh well
bernt: too late to say good-bye then
Hypatiasm: Night, Kev.
Chris_O_Connor: That was an unusual chat session
naddia: Aggy: I kind of agree with your position,
but partly disagree as well. I'll explain why...
Agnosticus_Caesar: I was absent from the room
for over a half hour
Chris_O_Connor: he didn't chat much at all
bernt: Chris are you still there :)
concretized: Well, he didn't say much.
Chris_O_Connor: I am Bernt
dark_penguin: I felt that left a little more to
Chris_O_Connor: No, he sure didn't.
concretized: Maybe he had a tough day.
Chris_O_Connor: Dark - me too. I was a bit disappointed
Chris_O_Connor: Oh well
bernt: it is not easy to be flooded with all of
SunSprite86: did ya'll do a question/answer thing?
Agnosticus_Caesar: Try answering 15 people at
Chris_O_Connor: Bernt - Yes, but he types fast
and he was obviously not present in most of the
Agnosticus_Caesar: while trying to make a living
dark_penguin: Aggy-while eating dinner no less
Agnosticus_Caesar: the man has to sell books
Hypatiasm: And watching the basketball game.
Agnosticus_Caesar: do you think he'd do this to
Chris_O_Connor: Oh well
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I'm not understanding your
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - chat with us to please
bernt: Aggy your good at answering :) How could
I have phrased my question so it worked?
Hypatiasm: Perhaps next time you should take some
questions in advance Chris and have a part of
the chat where you present the questions and the
guest answers them
Hypatiasm: and then have an open chat.
Chris_O_Connor: Aggy - I'm agnostic with respect
to what motivated Dr. Shermer to chat with us
Agnosticus_Caesar: as am I
bernt: Aggy, my Vincent Sarich Question
naddia: Aggy: The way I see it is like this. We
do not have absolute knowledge. None of us do.
From a philosophical point of view, I'm certain
of nothing, including my own existence. Reality
may not be as we perceive it at all. We could
be wrong about everything.
Chris_O_Connor: Hypatiasm - we have had many author
chats with no format and most people love the
freedom. Dr. Shermer was simply not talkative.
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