Tag Reasonable Doubts

An Atheist Album

I was recently listening to the latest Reasonable Doubts podcast featuring an interview and some songs by Australian singer-songwriter Shelley Segal. Segal comes from an orthodox Jewish background, but came to reject theism in favour of atheism, and became involved in atheist activism. This, as is usual for songwriters, permeated her music and lyrics to the point that she wrote a mini-album, “An Atheist Album”.

Steve Novella on consciousness: dualism is the new evolution for theists (Part 1)

I was listening to a Reasonable Doubts podcast from a few years ago, and it was, as ever, cracking. This one was about consciousness, its hard problem, dualism, and how it, and neuroscience, are being co-opted as a philosophical area to argue for the “God of the Gaps” style argument in the same vein as evolution in the creationist and intelligent design movements.

Apologist Knechtle owned in debate with Beahan

SO this is a few years old now, but this debate is great. Jeremy Beahan, presenter on Reasonable Doubts podcast and radio show, calmly deconstructs every argument this rather smarmy apologist gives. I enjoyed listening to this one, and I hope to hear Beahan do more debates. Good stuff.

Muslims, Christians and No True Scotsmen

The No True Scotsman fallacy is a well-used fallacy in debates about religion with religionists. As wiki defines:

No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.[1] When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

“Kicked upstairs” and killing the fight against poverty – Vatican for “punishment for paedophiles”…

Beth, over at SIN’s Incongruous Elements, recently posted on the Vatican approach to sex abuse (that being cover it up or sweep it under the carpet):

Fifteen years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Archbishop Roger M. Mahony and a top advisor plotted to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement, including keeping them out of California to avoid prosecution, according to internal Catholic church records released Monday.

The archdiocese’s failure to purge pedophile clergy and reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement has previously been known.

Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God – why it is unfair that autistic people, men and scientists are less likely to believe in God

Here are some extracts from a fascinating paper – “Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God” by Ara Norenzayan, Will M. Gervais and Kali H. Trzesniewski. Gervais is certainly a name which keeps popping up in conversations about the cognitive functioning of people with regards to their beliefs and so on.

The basic conclusion to be made form this work is that people on the autistic spectrum (think particularly Asperger’s Syndrome) have, due to their cognitive functioning, a much higher disposition not to believe in a personal God. The is largely due, it appears, to a lack of empathy. Empathy seems to underscore our beliefs in a personal God. This can be seen in believers needing to put themselves ‘in God’s shoes’, so to speak. In other words, in all your words and deeds as a believer, what would God think of you? This intersubjectivity, placing yourself out of your body and imagining ‘you’ from another point of view, is something that particular groups of autistic people struggle with. And this, it seems, is why they have less propensity to believe.

The Nativity – a talk, and a debate with apologist Randal Rauser

On Thursday night I gave another talk on the Nativity to the Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub. The talk was a great success. I was able to establish the case in some good detail as I set out in my last book The Nativity: A Critical Examination. There was a good turnout for the relaunching of PSITP and it was a nice touch that I gave the lats talk to PSITP 1.0 and the first to PSITP 2.0! However, there was a Winchester Skeptics in the Pub event on the same night which was a shame and attracted away a few key members.