Episode 105 - Science and Non-Belief: How Chance and Necessity Explain Our World
Posted: 12 December 2011 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Today on Center Stage … Are chance and necessity enough to explain our world, or must we assume there is something more?

Taner Edis is associate professor of physics at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He is the Associate Editor for Reports of the National Center for Science Education. His books include An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam, Science and Nonbelief, and the prize-winning The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science.

This presentation was presented by the Center for Inquiry – Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on January 9, 2008.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/centerstage/episodes/episode_105_-_science_and_non-belief_how_chance_and_necessity_explain_our_w

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Posted: 14 December 2011 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Very interesting talk.  I’m kind of ambivalent about his conclusions.  I’m not at all convinced that magical thinking is “good enough” to solve today’s problems.  It may have been good enough to allow humanity to survive up to modern times, but maybe we can more reasonably attribute our survival as a species to the contributions of non-believers as much as to the hypothetical “good enough” magical solutions to the social and physical problems of previous historical eras.  On the other hand, there clearly is a cost to maintaining a naturalistic world view in a world of increasingly strident and violent supporters of magical thinking.  I think that the price is going to have to be paid, though.  If magical thinking is allowed to run amok, we will be faced ultimately with a world of non-technically competent people who are utterly dependent for their existence on complex technology.    A more likely scenario is that if the US is unable to pull back from the brink of theocracy, it will be left behind and will become the next Pakistan with a violent, starving, mass of uneducated people constantly warring against each other and against their corrupt political and economic ruling class in a constant civil war based on religious and economic “fault lines”.  Edis should be joining with the rest of the skeptical community to fight against this nightmare scenario.  We already see what is happening in other countries where magical thinking is the law of the land.    Their crowning “achievement” was 911.  If the USA continues on the current path, it will become “The United States of Jesus” and its crowning “achievement” may well be the extinction of the human species (along with everything else with the possible exception of a few tube worms in the deepest parts of the ocean.

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