Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, Science and Society, Uncategorized
Tagged 2010 Global Atheist Convention, atheism, Atheist Alliance International, Australia, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dan Barker, Dawkins, Dennett, Eugenie Scott, Hitchens, Krauss, Melbourne, Peter Singer, PZ Myers, Sam Harris
Echos of last weekend’s Global Atheist convention in Melbourne are still reverberating around the internet and in the print media. There have been some shocking newspaper reports in Australia (eg. Speakers true love of hatred) but also some good ones (eg. Australia’s atheists are a happy bunch).
Probably what we should expect at this stage. After all this convention was unique – the first of it’s kind.
There is good news for all those atheists who missed the Melbourne convention, or did attend this awesome event and are now suffering withdrawal symptoms. The Atheist Alliance International, which co-organised the Melbourne Convention, has planned a series of such international events. The Melbourne Convention was just the first. The next International Atheist Convention will take place in Copenhagen in a few months (June 18-20). Have a look at Atheist Alliance International 2010 Copenhagen Convention for details.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, philosophy, religion, tradition
Tagged atheism, Atheist Alliance International, Australia, Copenhagen, Dan Barker, Denmark, Melbourne, Michael Nugent, PZ Myers, Richard Wiseman
Yet another great video from the recent AAI Convention. It’s a presentation by Andy Thomson on the scientific approach to morality.
I included a past lecture of Andy’s on terrorism in my post Now I’m to blame for Stalin!
In this talk he uses Francis Collins‘ claim that morality is proof of God as a jumping-off point to discuss what we know about how morality works and where it came from.
YouTube – ‘Morality’ by Andy Thomson, AAI 2009.
There are other interesting lectures by Andy Thomson available on video. I can recommend “Why we believe in religion” and “How Religion Hijacks Cognitive Mechanisms.”
Posted in belief, evolution, religion, Science and Society, supernatural, superstition
Tagged Andy Thomson, Atheist Alliance International, Christianity, Francis Collins, god, religion, Religion and Spirituality
A great feature of the scientific endeavour is that our ideas, hypotheses and theories are usually tested against reality. In fact we get very worried when we can’t do this. Consequently there has been some philosophical discussion and concern around speculative ideas or hypotheses like string theory (really hypotheses not theories) and the multiple universe ideas.
But, in some areas of philosophy and theology reality can safely be ignored. And here all sorts of weird and wonderful preconceived ideas can get justified using a logic which basically boils down to mental gymnastics. I have always found debate with post modernists and theologians is a bit like jelly wrestling. Without reality to fall back on anything goes.
The philosopher of science Daniel Dennett gave an interesting talk, “The evolution of Confusion,” on theological justification at the Atheist Alliance International convention last month. Its based on his new project interviewing clergyman who secretly don’t believe anymore. Atheist clergymen are probably far more common than we might think. And all clergymen have problems in their profession which require theological arguments to resolve, or at least to patch up for the moment. This leads to a weird style of logic and argument – hence my feeling of jelly wrestling.
This is a fascinating talk. I understand the research will be published soon. Hopefully it will also be available in a popular format like a book.
Dan Dennett is the author of many excellent books, including “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” and “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea“. He is also featured in the video “The Four Horsemen” along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.
‘The Evolution of Confusion’ by Dan Dennett, AAI 2009.
From RichardDawkins.net: ‘Dan Dennett talks about purposely-confusing theology and how it’s used. He also describes his new project interviewing clergyman who secretly don’t believe anymore, and introduces a new term: “Deepity.”‘
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Bible, culture, Dawkins, Dennett, diversity, faith, god, Harris, philosophy, religion, supernatural, superstition, theology
Tagged Atheist Alliance International, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, theology
The origin of the universe is one of the biggest questions there is. Some people resort to easy answers – which don’t answer anything. But its good to know that others do take the question seriously and actively research it.
Here is a great lecture from Lawrence Krauss – “A Universe from Nothing”.
He is always an informative and entertaining lecturer. He injects quite a bit of humour into this talk he gave at the Athiest Alliance International Convention held in California earlier this month.
‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Krauss, Science
Tagged Atheist Alliance International, cosmological constant, cosmology, dark energy, dark matter, Lawrence Krauss, Lawrence M. Krauss, universe
In his speech at the AAI Convention (see video below) Richard Dawkins illustrated his comments on the injustice of labeling children with the religion of their parents using data from google searches. I have replicated similar searches here. Dawkins point is that it is inhumane to label children with a religion (e.g., Christian child, Muslim child, etc.) because they are not in a position to really consider what the beliefs are. We can easily see this if we label children as non-religious (e.g., atheist child, agnostic child, etc.) or politically (liberal child, conservative child, Marxist child, etc.).
The google search results, however, suggest that whereas political and non-religious people recognise the inhumanity of labeling their children in this manner, religions seem to have no qualms.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, brights, Buddhism, Christianity, communism, culture, Dawkins, diversity, faith, god, Hindu, human rights, interfaith, Islam, Jewish, religion, science, supernatural, superstition, theology, tradition
Tagged Atheist Alliance International, chidren, demonise, evil, labelling of children, Thor