and I know the chicks get old when you can’t touch them
I wouldn’t do that anyway. Jade would hurt me. In terrible, terrible ways.
I myself am only atheist so far as the “god of the throne” is concerned and have the feeling there is a lot beyond our ability to comprehend and I still think “absolute” atheism does more to disconnect a person from the universe and flow of time than anything else.
I’d probably qualify as one of those “pure atheists” in so far as I’m a strong atheist and a metaphysical naturalist, but I don’t think I’m disconnected. I find the cycle of creation and destruction in the universe fascinating. We are made of the flaming guts of stars that reached the ends of their lives and then collapsed in on themselves and exploded, sending their burning innards out into the cosmos. Those burning stellar innards eventually coalesced into our solar system which eventually gave rise to us. Then some day, our own star will go nova and broil our little rock into atoms only to then collapse into a white dwarf tossing its bits off into space to begin things anew. It’s beautiful really.
Metaphysical naturalism is the idea that nothing exists outside of nature and natural laws. Basically, any and all supernatural, divine, magical, or paranormal ideas are crap and either misunderstood natural phenomenon or made up crap. At least, that’s my understanding.
And yeah, the cosmic cycle is pretty awesome. Well, until we’re all sucked into black holes which then decay into subatomic particles and the universe is left a soupy mix of random particles. But hey, that’s not for trillions of years yet. So we’ll be long dead. I hope.
Thanks for this thread. If I might make a comment or two…
I’ve done 9 Point of Inquiry shows so far. I only see two that are directly about climate change (Michael Mann and Bill McKibben). You might add Naomi Oreskes (though her book is about misinformation across a large array of issues, including climate) and Eli Kintisch (though geoengineering is, to me, a subject unto itself, though obviously climate related). But calling it weekly climate change shows is a bit much. And the next show is certainly not about climate change.
Also, for my views on the Templeton Cambridge fellowship, please see this long post
Fair enough Chris, you are mixing it up better than I had recognized. However, I have read your post about accepting the Templeton money, and am not convinced. I would like to hear you discuss this with someone who disagrees with you and has relevant points to counter your viewpoint. This is important, and the Templeton Foundation is working hard to make religion seem as relevant to our lives as is science, and your grant has been very controversial. Also, you have been engaging in ad hominem attacks on people you label New Atheists, with no chance of them replying to your main audience. Good journalists give both sides of a controversy equal time to express views and proffer evidence.
Your interviews are very well done, you read the book before the interview and questions are spot-on.
When D.J. Grothe interviewed you, you guys seemed to realize that you had gradually mellowed from a very in-your-face atheist to “what” you are today. I don’t fully understand the mellowing—but thanks for continuing the present the case.
When it comes to the practice of confirmation bias/selective attention PoI is no better than any other gathering of like minded people. IMO.
What would be interesting is a long range effort by the hosts to not so much interview those of opposing viewpoints but invite the best brains opposed to secular humanism to make their strongest attacks on its perceived weakest points.
Every effort to have empathy with the attacker is the best route to embrace serious challenges. IOW listen really well, eliminate straw men positions not important to their case.
I suppose I’m far from unique in having my mind changed by just such a process, self research on t’internet of course.
Dialogue need not form part of this process but could be good as well. Some opposing views may not wish to dialogue, but in a way that would be a benefit in that they would not feel under pressure to bat a defence whilst making their attack.
I would love it if they had on Ibn Warraq (What Virgins?) or Austin Dacey or Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nomad) on to talk about all the anti-Muslim brouhaha that’s been playing out over these past few months. The “Ground Zero Mosque”, the belief that Obama is a Muslim (and implicitly therefore sympathetic to terrorism or otherwise a priori unfit to be president), and Pastor Jones’s attempted Koran-burning, and so on. Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the New Atheists have been critical about the overuse of the term “Islamophobe”, yet irrational fear and hatred of Islam seems to be very high, especially or exclusively among those who think that Islam is an evil religion because (among other more tangible concerns) Muslims do not believe Jesus is the Son of God (uh, duh).
The climax of this was “International Burn the Koran Day”, which is the crux of my suggestion, because it seems that (apparently) only an atheist could formulate a plausible liberal case for burning the Koran. I don’t think it is consistent to condemn someone for threatening to burn a holy book (even if their intentions are Manichaean and bigoted) and yet praise those who criticize or satirize religion (like Salman Rushdie, the creators of South Park, the Danish cartoonists, and so on).