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Beyond Belief

I've just begun watching the excellent Beyond Belief video. Many others have also been watching the video. Here is a clip that onegoodmove reader Alric liked. It is an exchange between Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins. Here is a list of the participants. If any of you find clips that you thing are worth posting here let me know. Tell me what segment it's in and where it starts and stops.



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Tyson makes an absolutely correct point about persuasion. However, Richard Dawkins isn't the only crusading atheist out there, and I think there's plenty of room for both the persuaders and the polemicists.

On the other hand, Dawkins is probably the most famous atheist alive today, so there is an issue about what tactics he uses, as he is so often the "face" of atheism.

This clip is just wonderful. Thanks so much for editing and posting it.

"Articulately barbed", that's good! It's true to a certain extent. But on the other hand, the overwhelming impression you get of Dawkins is politeness and firmness. He himself would never say "if you don't agree you can fuck off".

Dawkins was actually quite kind to all these "poor" people (not exactly his words but almost) from Liberty University - but stern, as well. Which is probably the right mix for a teacher, an educator. And, of course, there are always the pupils that don't want to learn.

However, Richard Dawkins isn't the only crusading atheist out there, and I think there's plenty of room for both the persuaders and the polemicists.

That's probably a good point. But what does that have to do with science?

Anyway, Dawkins has a short "rant" in segment three. From 34m to 34.45 or so, he picks out the problem extremely well, imo.

..Can I nominate Dawkin's expression at 1.08.24 and on for a bit, as well?

HAHA! I never thought I'd hear him say or quote something like that. Humor when done well and appropriately is a great method in debates to break walls of animosity or to get people on your side and Dawkins usage of it is always superb.

That's hilarious! I love Dawkin's recount of the guy from New Scientist.

Hm, I don't think Dawkins is the most famous Atheist alive today?

There's Woody Allen? And of course hundreds of celebrities that don't believe in god, without having claimed themselves as Atheists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listofatheists

This is a great series and more than worth the time to download and watch.

I've gotten through about five hours of it so far and I've learned a number of new things in the process.

I particularly recommend the session with Mahzarin Banaji. She talks about testing for hidden bias in self reporting surveys. Most interesting and deals with racial bias in an interesting way. Given that it's a topic that comes up here a lot, it's worth checking out for the regulars here.

This is slightly off topic, but thought I'd pass it on: Today's podcast of the BBC 4 show, "In Our Time," is on Altruism, and has Mr. Dawkins as one of its guests. Haven't listened to it just yet, but it's bound to be interesting.

This show, by the way, is my most-looked-forward-to podcast, and I highly recommend it. Here's a link to the BBC site, where you can grab the podcast URL.

I really liked the clip. I hadn't ever heard of the show before, I hope they post up more clips of it. Tiny request from semi-regular at the site. Btw, sorry for any noob comments in this (hey you never know).

This is really a great set of talks. A piece I found especially good is Steven Weinbergs description of religion as a "crazy old aunt". Not half as "barbed" as anything that Dawkins (who's brilliant but tends to piss people off) says, but in the end much more effective. It's in the second session near the end (Position 01:07:48)

Tyson puts it very well. There's a problem to be had when a challenger listens to Dawkins and hears his seeming dogma. For those that need only hear something unpleasant, it's enough to hear him rant for two minutes before they feel justified in storming off ...

that microphone girl is cute

Tyson puts it very well. There's a problem to be had when a challenger listens to Dawkins and hears his seeming dogma. For those that need only hear something unpleasant, it's enough to hear him rant for two minutes before they feel justified in storming off ...

...I'm not sure I really see the problem. The question is what you're storming off about, in the absolute worst case, after all. And the most common problem simply is how it's perfectly possible to shape the agenda by noise and muddled debate alone. As there are, unfortunately, many examples of lately.

So instead of fearing the problem of having strong opinions, isn't it a better cure to take those strong opinions seriously, and debate them on their own merits?

Because failing to do that, instead arguing for insinuating "the correct" view by bloviating platitudes and elliptic rhetoric - when in reality the points are not as fantastic or technical as some insist - then that simply will legitimize the substanceless noise as proper debate.

Either by the acceptance of certain opposing points, or by reinforcing the idea that substance is not a reason to be motivated, but that motivation and belief alone is enough to sell any cause. Which, probably, is not going to solve much.

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I'm slowing making my way through the Beyond Belief series.

I highly recommend a brief segment from Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan.

In session 4 starting at 1:40:58, Darren Schreiber (sp?), one of the few scientists of faith in the audience, tells a personal story of his faith. In rebuttal, Ann Druyan gives one of the most poetic descriptions of the majesty of scientific discovery that I have ever heard.

Her segment starts at 1:44:50 but the full power of her message is best taken in context with Darren's short talk.

Thanks for tuning us into this wonderful lecture series. I think your readers would enjoy this segment.

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