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Posts: 1424/1675
(09-Dec-2007 at 00:47)


Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Recently I found out that my atheist heroes had another get together, this time in Washington DC.

Here are the videos, most of them rock.

- Richard Dawkins on the reception of 'new atheism', a presentation mostly filled with amusing youtube videos. Kind of cheap, but interesting

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...29399558&hl=en

--

- Daniel Dennett receiving an award from Richard Dawkins (giving a Jesus Action Figure in return) and giving a talk on the "belief in belief in God". Skip the introduction by the hysterical woman (she takes about six minutes)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...47712754338659

--

- Sam Harris talking about the need to drop the term "atheist" and about meditation. There's also some reactionary bullshit regarding Islam. I hate it when he does that.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...72500371&hl=en

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- Christopher Hitchens shooting down the three most common attacks on (new) atheism, and answering a lot of questions as well

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...40634344456055

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- Ayaan Hirsi Ali talking about her physical and mental travels from Somalia to the Netherlands and from Islam to Atheism

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...55929315924267

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- Andy Thomson on Suicide Terrorism (havent seen it yet, I imagine its annoying and reactionary)

http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...&search=Search

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- Mathew Chapman with a Hollywood perspective on the science v. religion debate as well as a short historical lawsuit summary on the topic

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...25706085&hl=en

(it has some funny bits, and an awesome quote: "This should be the final stage of feminism. For the feminist who still believes in God is like the freed slave still living on the plantation.")

--

- Eugenie Scott giving a brief historical look on Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design, including recent court cases.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...96811311205941

--

- Eddie Tabash on strategy and importance of separation of Church and State. He too gives a judicial history stretching back to the founding fathers.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...52220834767437

---------------

In comparison with the Beyond Belief conference i think some progress has been made, both in the nuance of argument and the sharpness of argument. What do y'all think?

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(09-Dec-2007 at 01:24)


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(09-Dec-2007 at 03:58)


Atheist alliance? that is not the valid answer to the Great Question!

EDIT: what's amazing in the first video was that there are people who have referred to those deceitfully edited dawkins videos when I've argued with them over atheism. Propaganda machine at work.

This too will pass

Last edited by Samurai Pooh, 09-Dec-2007 at 04:06.
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(09-Dec-2007 at 13:53)


ok, i take my words on Andy Thomson, his presentation is not reactionary bullshit but observations based on empirical evidence, with lots of literature quoted.

His arguments are clearly structured and supported. One of the arguments is that suicide terrorism cannot be attributed to poverty and ignorance (alone). However at one point (during Q&A) he does say that if theres asymmetry in military power between a foreign force and a domestic one, the folks with less power are more tempted to use suicide bombing.

Thomson also said that Hezbollah suicides basically stopped after they had acquired rockets.

All in all one of the best presentations, since he actually supports his viewpoints rather than most apparently baseless (though probably supported in writing) assertions by the other speakers. He gives me the impression of a careful scientist who respects the limits of his expertise and does not try to generalize beyond his data.

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(09-Dec-2007 at 14:29)


I've watched Sam Harris' video and I must say that I disagree with his view on the atheist label.

Atheists have spent most of history undergroud and only recently has there been an activist movement. Sam seems to think that atheist is the 'normal' thing, while that simply isn't true, if it were we wouldn't be in minority to a man made delusion.

A label is a very useful thing, it might bring some risk, but the unity it brings overcomes that.
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(09-Dec-2007 at 15:01)


I only watched the first 2 and a half minutes of the Dawkins speech. I'd watch it further, but I don't particularly enjoy seeing a grown man crawling up his own butt as far as possible. He should write a new book called 'The Dawkins Delusion', for he clearly imagines himself divine. As Nietzsche would say: Gott ist tot and Dawkins is an asshole.

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(09-Dec-2007 at 19:36)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Cobra2002: View Post
I've watched Sam Harris' video and I must say that I disagree with his view on the atheist label.

Atheists have spent most of history undergroud and only recently has there been an activist movement. Sam seems to think that atheist is the 'normal' thing, while that simply isn't true, if it were we wouldn't be in minority to a man made delusion.

A label is a very useful thing, it might bring some risk, but the unity it brings overcomes that.
well, in Europe for instance atheism IS the normal thing

--

Caelis, if you want to see an atheist asshole, check the Christopher Hitchens video. He makes assholery to an art.

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(09-Dec-2007 at 20:09)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Peppie: View Post
well, in Europe for instance atheism IS the normal thing

--

Caelis, if you want to see an atheist asshole, check the Christopher Hitchens video. He makes assholery to an art.
While it is more comman I wouldn't even call it normal here, but that's not even the point. In USA it isn't so label for a movement is necessary, you can't have a movement without a name.
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(10-Dec-2007 at 05:43)
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(10-Dec-2007 at 07:25)


Quote:
Caelis, if you want to see an atheist asshole, check the Christopher Hitchens video. He makes assholery to an art.
Doesn't make what he is saying not true.

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(10-Dec-2007 at 08:44)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Caelis666: View Post
I only watched the first 2 and a half minutes of the Dawkins speech. I'd watch it further, but I don't particularly enjoy seeing a grown man crawling up his own butt as far as possible. He should write a new book called 'The Dawkins Delusion', for he clearly imagines himself divine. As Nietzsche would say: Gott ist tot and Dawkins is an asshole.
Someone already has...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dawkins_Delusion%3F


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QERyh...eature=related

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(10-Dec-2007 at 09:59)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Californication: View Post
Doesn't make what he is saying not true.
Of course not. I think one thing what makes atheists so smug is that debating religious folks is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Heres an uncut interview of Richard Dawkins and Alister Mcgrath (the dude who wrote the 'Dawkins Delusion?') where Mcgrath, a very polite and well spoken guy, is tragically inconsistent about God intervening in world events. On the one hand he claims that we dont have a nanny God who interferes capriciously, on the other hand he does believe that when one kid survives a tsunami whereas tens of thousands of others had died, it was God who protected it.

And that's one of the better speakers on God's behalf. Sheesh.

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(10-Dec-2007 at 10:38)


I completely see how Dawkins can come of as an asshole, but on the other hand I relate to him in terms of frustration with fundies - especially creationists. The stupidity and scientific illiteracy and logical inconsistency Dawkins encounters on a daily basis is a sufficient reason to warrant an "I know better, you're an idiot" attitude. May not make him pleasant 24/7, but at least understandable.

This is an impressive list of speakers by the way. As an atheist and a skeptic I really wish I had the money to go to this sort of thing at least once every few years. Will have to wait until I have a job I guess
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(10-Dec-2007 at 11:59)


if you like this stuff, be sure to check out the beyond belief 06 material as well

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(10-Dec-2007 at 20:25)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Apeiron: View Post
I completely see how Dawkins can come of as an asshole, but on the other hand I relate to him in terms of frustration with fundies - especially creationists. The stupidity and scientific illiteracy and logical inconsistency Dawkins encounters on a daily basis is a sufficient reason to warrant an "I know better, you're an idiot" attitude. May not make him pleasant 24/7, but at least understandable.

This is an impressive list of speakers by the way. As an atheist and a skeptic I really wish I had the money to go to this sort of thing at least once every few years. Will have to wait until I have a job I guess
There's a rather vast difference between being frustrated with religious people (understandable at times) and opening a speech with the number of books you sold and in how many languages its translated.

And imo, atheism and skepticism don't mix well.

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(11-Dec-2007 at 02:23)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Caelis666: View Post
There's a rather vast difference between being frustrated with religious people (understandable at times) and opening a speech with the number of books you sold and in how many languages its translated.

And imo, atheism and skepticism don't mix well.
You have to understand to what audience he was talking. These people all know him and his stuff very very well. I interpreted those opening words not as just simply smug, but as a means of encouragement and inspiration. In the US, religion seems like an insurmountable obstacle, and Dawkins shows that there is hope.

As for your last line, its silly. Are you skeptic about the existence of the flying spaghetti monster? Any atheist who has respect for proof will instantly acknowledge the existence of God(s) once evidence for this is presented. In turn, when we look at the extreme improbability of the existence of many (popular) definitions of what God is, some people despite the fact that these Gods have no better claim to facthood than the underpants gnomes refuse to let go of their ideas. That is anti-skepticism.

The agnostic position is a weird one. It seems to favour this 50-50 way of thinking - gods existence or non-existence "could go either way". I dont see why any agnostic shouldnt be going for a 99.9999999999999....% versus a 0.00000000000...1% in that regard, and lump God on the pile where so many other human machinations are gathering dust. And if the ratios are skewed in such a manner, why bother hanging on to the label of agnosticism?

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(11-Dec-2007 at 08:45)
Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Caelis666: View Post
There's a rather vast difference between being frustrated with religious people (understandable at times) and opening a speech with the number of books you sold and in how many languages its translated.
Dawkins should have done his homework and collected figures for some of the other atheist books, but it was clear that his point wasn't to point out what a great man he is for selling lots of books but to show that atheism isn't just an issue for a tiny group but has attracted lots of interest recently.
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(11-Dec-2007 at 11:26)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Bernel: View Post
Dawkins should have done his homework and collected figures for some of the other atheist books, but it was clear that his point wasn't to point out what a great man he is for selling lots of books but to show that atheism isn't just an issue for a tiny group but has attracted lots of interest recently.
Well that's the point isn't it. He should have done his homework and he would have, unless he would have thought that his own work is the most important indication of atheist popularity.

And Peppie, skepticism is about realising the impossibilities of human knowledge and especially knowledge via empirical evidence. That makes it impossible to say that you know there is no God.

And we've been over the FSM before, I don't think we need to restart that argument.

Modern world I'm not pleased to meet you

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(11-Dec-2007 at 19:03)


Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Caelis666: View Post
Well that's the point isn't it. He should have done his homework and he would have, unless he would have thought that his own work is the most important indication of atheist popularity.

And Peppie, skepticism is about realising the impossibilities of human knowledge and especially knowledge via empirical evidence. That makes it impossible to say that you know there is no God.

And we've been over the FSM before, I don't think we need to restart that argument.
It makes it impossible to make any absolute truth claim. That doesn't mean that we have to be agnostic about every human fiction, thats tedious. I will concede that there is a minuscule possibility God exists, but i put God on the same levels of probability as orbiting china teapots and the FSM. Agnosticism is a tiresome formality.

"Observers worldwide have been expressing great pity for the people of Gaza [...] This pity may be a natural emotional reaction, yet it is unethical and immoral." - Adi Dvir, Ynetnews editor
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(12-Dec-2007 at 04:15)
Re: Atheist Alliance International 2007 conference

Originally Posted by Peppie: View Post
It makes it impossible to make any absolute truth claim. That doesn't mean that we have to be agnostic about every human fiction, thats tedious. I will concede that there is a minuscule possibility God exists, but i put God on the same levels of probability as orbiting china teapots and the FSM. Agnosticism is a tiresome formality.
Just what is this other great pursuit you have in mind? Is there an ends? Is that ends not also tedious to obtain?

Of course it is. That's what all this jibber-jabbin' is for.

Last edited by Gotterdammerung, 12-Dec-2007 at 04:20.
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