Comments

  1. Robert,+not+Bob says

    Matt says there are skeptics who’d love to believe in the magic, and of course I’m sure he’s right. I for one am quite pleased to find myself in a universe without magic, and I can’t understand how people want to live in an irrational and not-understandable world. The very idea gives me the willies.

  2. Yaddith says

    Robert,+not+Bob: As Lovecraft said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” I suppose that is how religion came to be. Even a bad attempt to explain reality is more comforting than no explanation at all.

  3. says

    the continued absence of a powerball winner is pretty darn suggestive against the proposition that psychics exist — along with the absence of any previously known lotteries won through psychic manipulation. the winner’s always some schlub from schlubville. of course one might argue that the winning schlub is really hiding or even unaware of his or her own powers, but that apologetic makes the existence of psychic powers unfalsifiable, an awful lot like the god that theists insist exists outside of human perception.

  4. ttbb says

    If beings exist in another dimension who can interact with people in our own dimensions, then this is not magic, but physics that we do not yet understand. I personally am skeptical about atheist motives for discounting the experiences of billions of people throughout history that testify that they have experienced the presence and personality in some kind of telepathic way of a being they believe is God. You postulate that religion arrises from fear of the unknown or the desire to believe in magic, etc. I suggest that you should read the literally millions of near death experiences of people from nearly every country on earth which you can encounter on various sites on the Internet. You might be able to see that these types of experiences of generate belief in life after death and in both heaven – being in the presence of a loving being, and hell – being in the presence of beings who are are opposed to a loving creator, who are negative and desire to dominate and hurt others). You might classify these and other religious experiences as hallucinatory, but currently, cognitive research using CAT Scans or MRI´s don´t support this hypothesis. Cognitive therapies which rely on the perception of a higher power to aid people in recovery for additions (a physical medical problem) and other mental health issues, successfully help millions of people every day lead healthier, more successful lives. This is a feat not matched by any other secular or medical treatment that currently exists. You contend that miracles don´t exist or work. Many view the recovery of many millions of people from physical addictive processes by means of treatments that have only a spiritual basis and social basis to be proof of miraculous processes. But I and many other people would contend that the miraculous is actually learning to rely on physical processes that are just not understood by science yet. However, they are being followed because information about these processes has been shared experientially by a multi-dimensional being that does understand those physical processes. In reality, modern cognitive science, psychology and medicine is now starting to seriously study issues such as religious experiences and their relation to health and better medical recovery because doctors experience that miracles do happen in medical and psychological practice. Open-minded atheist and agnostic scientists don´t want to argue with the successes they witness. They want to understand why spiritually based treatments do have significantly higher efficacy rates than medically or secularly based treatments, even with patients who didn´t previously have any religious background. Rather than name-calling people who have different experiences than yourselves, perhaps studying this extremely wide-spread phenomena with an open, truly scientific mind is a better option.

  5. Milton says

    From a Logical point of view I think that the only logical position to take is agnostic since neither side can prove either the existence or non existence of God. I like the fact that they show religions to be bogus because they are all just cultural mythology. Myself I believe in God without a religion. I tend to be towards a Deist philosophy which is not religious.

  6. Cimmerius says

    I have heard that 70% of lottery winners use quick picks. That would just mean that it’s the computer that’s psychic, not the person.

  7. jeffh123 says

    I’ve been hypnotized to help uncover some issues bothering me. I wasn’t put into some type of trance or anything, but just a state that allowed me to look deeper into my thoughts. I was aware the entire time and remember all of it. There was no snap of the fingers to come out of it or anything like that. Once I had my emotional “discovery”, for lack of better terminology, I was out of it.

  8. Cousin Ricky says

    I have no problem standing in a circle holding hands while someone else babbles to their imaginary friend. I like the communal aspect of the ritual, and I can relate to the expression of gratitude, even though that gratitude is misdirected.

    (It goes without saying that I do not bow my head or close my eyes.)

    But this past Christmas, out of the blue, my mom nominated me to say grace. Being completely unprepared for that, I tried to wing it with a secular invocation. Well, she knew about my atheism, so she cannot complain about what she got.

  9. Monocle Smile says

    @ttbb
    That was a painful block of text, but I’ll address this:

    Open-minded atheist and agnostic scientists don´t want to argue with the successes they witness. They want to understand why spiritually based treatments do have significantly higher efficacy rates than medically or secularly based treatments, even with patients who didn´t previously have any religious background

    This is abject, dangerous bullshit and you’re a terrible human being for spreading this nonsense. The entirety of your post was crap, but this is the part that gets to me.

    @Milton
    I don’t understand Deism. You don’t seem to understand what “atheist” and “agnostic” mean.
    Why are you Deist?

  10. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Milton
    First, as defined by people who identify as atheists, the word “atheism” includes the so-called agnostic position popularized by Huxley. In other words, “I don’t know”, and “I know that there is no god” are included under the umbrella of atheism. This has been the consistent usage of the word by atheists for the entire history of modern atheism, going all the way back to Meslier and Baron d’Holbach, and including the people of today such as Dawkins and Dillahunty. In other wods, the Huxley agnostic is a kind of atheist, in spite of Huxley’s motivations which AFAIK was to invent a word that means the same thing as atheist, but without the negative social consequences.

    Second, the entire phrasing of your post is wrong. Everything we know about external reality is probabilistic in the sense that you might be wrong, and you should know that you might be wrong. For example, I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. I know that the sun will rise tomorrow. But it might not. It’s exceedingly unlikely in my estimation – so unlikely that I am not going to plan for that contingency at all. However, I cannot rule it out. It’s still possible (in a epistemic sense).

    The question should not be about formal logical deductive proofs beyond all doubt, because we don’t demand that absurd and “impossible to achieve” level of confidence for any other claim. Rather, the question should be phrased in the language of science, where all knowledge is probabilistic.

    Third, for a suitable definition of “god”, I believe that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that there is no god. I have such a high confidence that there is no god that I can compare this level of confidence to my confidence that the sun will rise tomorrow. Carl Sagan once said that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. That’s wrong. Sometimes absence of evidence is evidence of absence. In particular, when you look for evidence that is predicted by a hypothesis, and if you find that the evidence is not there, then this absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence. We have so, so much evidence of this kind that IMHO one has to be foolish to still give any sort of non-negligable plausibility to the idea that a god exists (where I loosely define “god” as any sort of intelligent, sentient, powerful creature, where that creature may be entirely inside our space time, or where it only pops in to poke around from time to time).

    In particular, we have more than enough evidence to conclude that there is no such thing as “soul” which survives after death. We know enough about neurology and science of mind to know that the mind is somehow the result of the brain, and that when the brain dies, the mind ends. There is no afterlife. This is as sold a fact as anything else in science (for the purposes of this conversation).

    Two Links:

    This absolutely amazing Aesop-like story from PZ Myers about the time that he met Thor.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/03/thor/

    This peer-reviewed philosophy paper concerning the wrong-headed phrase “science is based on methodological naturalism”.
    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

  11. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If beings exist in another dimension who can interact with people in our own dimensions, then this is not magic, but physics that we do not yet understand.

    Sure. Fully agreed.

    I personally am skeptical about atheist motives for discounting the experiences of billions of people throughout history that testify that they have experienced the presence and personality in some kind of telepathic way of a being they believe is God.

    Because they’re all woefully inconsistent. IMHO, the best evidence against any of the organized religions on this planet is that they all have the same kinds of evidence, this first person testimony of telepathic communication, and that’s all they have, and they all make conflicting claims. There’s many ways that they’re wrong, including lying, foolishing themself, legitimate mental illnesses, etc, but there’s only one way to be right. We can conclude that at least all of the organized religions of the world except one are false. When we investigate how so many people can be so mistaken about the interpretation of their personal experience, we see that this explanation works really well for all of the organized religions of the world. At that point, the question then becomes “Why would a god or any other creature communicate in a way that’s indistinguishable from all of those other false religions?”.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B46NyJFxQNoCb2hqSThDVWV2dlk
    When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

    Note: Contrary to the full quote quote, I would caution that this kind of reasoning only destroys organized religions. Deism might yet survive. However, to me, deism is almost always something that people of organized religion use as part of an elaborate bait-and-switch as part of their argument for their own particular god hypothesis. Deism is not an interesting hypothesis, and it’s not precisely because it makes no particular predictions, unlike for example Christianity.

    PS:
    You’re not accurately portraying the current state of evidence of near death experiences. Furthermore, we have really solid evidence that there is no such thing as a “soul” that survives death, and that the mind is the result of the brain, and that if the brain dies then the mind ends. Of this we have really solid evidence, more than enough to overwhelm the pitiful stories of near death experiences.

    Cognitive therapies which rely on the perception of a higher power to aid people in recovery for additions (a physical medical problem) and other mental health issues, successfully help millions of people every day lead healthier, more successful lives.

    Fucking bullshit. In fact, I thoroughly suggest that you watch Bullshit! on this topic, Penn and Teller’s TV show. They have an episode dedicated to this particular topic. Let me spoil it for you: According to well established research, the rate of success of stopping alcohol abuse via the “cold turkey” method is about 5%. According to leaked internet surveys of Alcoholics Anonymous, the rate of success for members is also about 5%.

    You may be able to find this particular episode illegally uploaded on youtube (not that I suggest doing such a thing).

    And further, so what if it’s true? So what if lying to some people makes them live happier lives? First, I care about the truth, and this is not about an argument about the truth. Just like Pascal’s Wager, at best it’s an argument to lie about the truth and pretend as though I know something is true when I do not.

    Further still, this kind of thinking is the most arrogant patronizing bullshit. In short, it rests on the assumption that you and I are emotionally capable of having a rational discourse about whether the treatment is effective regardless of whethwe know it’s true or not, but for those poor plebs, they need to be lied to in order to be happy. That’s patronizing of the most arrogant kind.

    But I and many other people would contend that the miraculous is actually learning to rely on physical processes that are just not understood by science yet.

    Doesn’t deserve a response. This is just dishonest. If that’s your understanding of miracles, then you’re being two-faced and duplicitous by conflating that with the standard definition of miracles, aka an equivocation fallacy.

    However, they are being followed because information about these processes has been shared experientially by a multi-dimensional being that does understand those physical processes.

    Citations please.

    That was rhetorical. I know you have none. Because if any of you actually had the proof, some of you would have gone before James Randi and his organization in order to claim the million dollars, but no one ever did, because no one ever had the proof.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Dollar_Paranormal_Challenge

    If you cannot meet that burden of proof, then you’re not thinking scientifically and skeptically, and thus you’re not thinking rationally. The time to believe in something is after you obtain good evidence that it exists – not before!

    Rather than name-calling people who have different experiences than yourselves, perhaps studying this extremely wide-spread phenomena with an open, truly scientific mind is a better option.

    I have. You are full of shit. You’re talking about studies which don’t exist, and which are contrary to real studies that do exist.

    You might want to start here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer

  12. Crystal says

    Great show guys. But hey…just wondering…where the heck is Tracie????? I love Tracie!!! She is so great!!!!! I really hope that she is on the show again soon! I really miss her!!!

  13. Evolbob says

    This is a message I made to the Atheist Experience on YouTube, via leave a message, then I discovered this page.
    But it doesn’t change anything, if fact it underlines the point. You have now 15 comments here, instead of 100,000 and millions of views that you guys would surely get if you just trusted the concept to allow free thought.

    You should allow comments, nothing super bad will happen if you do.
    As an atheist I’d like to see what the reaction to the uploaded videos you make are, IE the pro or con arguments made from the greater YT community. It is from these replies to your videos from the religious, that show what was misunderstood – if anything.

    Also your views are only around 10% of what they otherwise would be if comments were enabled. I find it pointless to watch your show on YouTube for this very reason – no comments, although I watch every AronRa, DarkMatter2525, and The ThinkingAtheist videos (to mention a few), because the YT members interact. What would the Atheist Experience show be like if you didn’t allow phone calls?

    Regards Evolbob

  14. Monocle Smile says

    @Evolbob
    There is exactly zero supporting evidence for your claims. Zero. YT members are mostly trolls and other people not interested in discussion. They’ve tried this before.
    The mods have decided that comments on YT are unproductive and add no value, so instead they direct here. They mention the URL of the blog at the beginning of every show and in the description box, so I’m continually baffled as to why people have so much trouble finding their way here. It seems to mostly serve as a filter, actually. I’m glad we have a low amount of trolls in these open threads.

  15. sir_earl says

    @Cimmerius

    I have heard that 70% of lottery winners use quick picks. That would just mean that it’s the computer that’s psychic, not the person.

    Or that roughly 70% of people use quick picks…

  16. sir_earl says

    Regarding hypnosis, if one accepts that meditation allows you to achieve an altered state of mind, that at least provides a plausible mechanism by which hypnosis could be producing the so called trance like states demonstrated by hypnotists. I believe there have been studies confirming these altered states of consciousness using MRI machines during meditation (I admit, I haven’t looked too deeply into their veracity).

    That said, I’ve never been very good at achieving a deep state of meditation, much to my chagrin, despite having tried on and off for years. I’ve certainly never been in a position where I wasn’t aware of my surroundings or unable to snap out of it at the drop of a hat. Maybe I’m just expecting too much, but I have heard many people claiming to go all the way down the rabbit hole, so to speak.

    There are plenty of party tricks you can try out at home on your friends and yourself that will confirm there is at least something to the power of suggestion and a deeper connection with the subconscious mind. For instance, when I was about 13 at school I gave a speech in the school hall about hypnosis, in which I asked everybody to close their eyes, hold out their arms in front of themselves and imagine a helium balloon tied to one hand, and a stack of heavy books in the other. After embellishing the details for a small while, then asking everyone to open their eyes, almost everybody was amazed to see their arms at different levels. I believe it’s this effect that hypnotists exploit – whether or not this effect can be magnified under certain conditions or not, there is clearly some effect taking place.

  17. Kit Russell says

    @Evolbob

    Personally, I’d rather read 15 well-thought-out comments, than having to wade through a thousand comments that were little more than insults.

  18. Evolbob says

    I’ll leave now, commenting here is worse than going to the dentist.
    I wont be back, enjoy the small pond.

  19. Monocle Smile says

    THAT comment from the guy who wants YT comments enabled?
    Probably the most pathetic flounce I’ve ever seen.

  20. corwyn says

    You have now 15 comments here, instead of 100,000

    Why would anyone want 100,000 comments? Is there somewhere you can trade them in for cool prizes?

    What they do want is discussion, which can not happen with 100,000 comments.

    Thank you kindly.