5 Answers to Veritas48’s 2nd batch of 5 questions for Atheists.
This is about the 245345th take. I kept going well over the 10m59s mark until I wrote out what I wanted to say and tried hard to stick to it. So, yeah, I was reading from my Mini’s screen for portions of my answers. But rest assured, all of those answers are mine and mine alone. Here’s the blog post to go with this video, my written answers are below
Also I mentioned a video by QualiaSoup about why mechanisms by which to filter false beliefs from true beliefs is paramount in an accurate understanding of the world:
1: If you could choose anything to say to God upon death, what would it be
At least I’m not Fred Phelps, or Ted Haggard, or any multitude of charlatans who has made it a business of fleecing the flock. I’m not preaching intolerance, bigotry and hate to millions of people. Nor am I one of those millions who are blindly accepting their disgusting message. I am neither one of those because i did not subscribe to an ideology that demands I reject, logic, reason, compassion and ignore my own conscious.
2: What sort of evidence would you find sufficient in order to abandon
Atheism and become a believer in God?
In your explanation of this question you mentioned physical evidence. I think it is safe to say no amount of logic or reason will close the gap. For physical evidence there isn’t much that would do. It would have to simultaneously be something well outside our current theoretical understanding of the universe and be independently verifiable within that theoretical understanding of the universe. Without independent verification we’re left with the nagging question of whether it was real or just a mass hallucination.
3: Do you think the New Atheist movement is ultimately a good thing or a
bad thing for freethinkers and skeptics?
First, there is no “New” Atheist movement. That term is a red herring designed to draw attention to the supposed “anti-theist” sentiments you described. The underlying message is “Be a nice, polite atheist and go stand in the corner. Oh, and, shhhh, don’t speak.” What you describe as anti-theism is nothing of the sort. It is simply treating religion by the same rules as every other area of human endeavor. You mentioned the anti-theism of Dawkins and Hitchens. Show me a statement that they have made against religion which would not also be levied against any other field of study or practice which has been proven to be false or harmful. Furthermore, show such a field of study or practice which demands respect to the point of being above reproach simply by declaring it by fiat. So, yes, it is a good thing. We need to be vocal in opposition to religion’s constant disrespect and abuse; sometimes to the point of murder.
4: What sorts of decisions are affected by your atheism?
I know some other atheist respondents have said none but I disagree. All our decisions are based in the totality of our life experience. So there are choices I have made in my life where being without the experience of religious indoctrination has no doubt had an impact. Consciously? Some. I’ve dropped correspondence with people because I was tired of them proselytizing to me instead of talking with me. Had I been in the same cult as they we probably would still be on speaking terms.
5: What is port important: gaining true beliefs about the world or
not gaining false beliefs about the world?
When you stated this question you said the two parts are different. I disagree. Let me put it this way, how does one know they are gaining truths about the world if they have no mechanism by which to filter out the falsehoods of the world? Qualiasoup has a wonderful video on this which explains this point far more elegantly than I can in the time I have left.
I do what to address something you said in explaining this question. You said you prefer gaining more true beliefs because that makes life more interesting. However, just because something is interesting doesn’t make it true. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy books. They are interesting. Being fiction does not make them less so. But as to reality being interesting I have to ask the following question. Given all that science in just one field of study, astronomy, has told us about the universe around us and the sheer amount of possibilities contained therein how, exactly, will the scribblings of men ignorant of that reality, those possibilities, be interesting?