Author Topic: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?  (Read 10128 times)

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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2015, 04:59:54 PM »
There are a large number of good skeptics who are essentially deists.  Just two examples.  Ever hear of Martin Gardner? How about Dr. Pamela Gay?   

I'm absolutely in the camp of skeptics like Randi and Dr. Novella who both say that as long as you don't make reality claims based on your religious beliefs, I have no problem welcoming you into the skeptic camp. 


Deist isn't an accurate description of Dr. Gay's religious view.

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I am a Christian. I don’t believe in the literal truth of the entire Bible, especially the early chapters of the Old Testament, but I believe in the theological framework that it outlines. All men are sinners. All men can be saved. I personally believe in the salvation of Jesus Christ, 

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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2015, 05:01:26 PM »
That's absolutely true.  She is a theist.  In other words she has a belief system but I would bet that viewpoint doesn't interfere with any of her scientific naturalism.


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Offline helvetica

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2015, 05:40:23 PM »
You absolutely can be a skeptic and also be a deist.  There is no problem there

You are going to have to explain that stretch. There is a huge steaming pile of problem.  Skepticism is defined by the evidence it requires.  Where is the evidence for a deity? Faith?  I am not invoking the Scotsman fallacy by saying that no true skeptic is a deist.  You can try to explain all you want but I can say now that no argument you have will invoke any semblance of reality.  Skepticism is all about reality.  You are not a skeptic.  You may not believe in virgin birth or everlasting life but your blunt statement implies you have yet to swallow the whole enchilada.

Actually the Scotsman fallacy is exactly what youre invoking.
If you think there is any skeptic out there that doesnt hold some sort of un-evidenced or contra-evidence view I would argue that thought is itself contrary to the evidence cognitive science gives us about the way people think.

What makes a skeptic so is being able to admit that we have flaws in reasoning and are still capable of irrationality, but being willing to put in some effort to resist our cognitive biases and flaws. In this, I would absolutely agree that one can be deist and be a skeptic. We all have things that turn off our logic switch and for some, faith is an emotional endeavor separate from their skeptical intellect. Applying that skepticism to personal faith takes a certain amount of bravery to face the cognitive dissonance. Some simply haven't gotten there.

EDIT: Also to add, I would think it's smart to keep atheism on the fringes of skepticism, simply to avoid completely turning off listeners. I introduced one man to the SGU who really enjoyed it, until he felt insulted by the SGU (and Star Talk Radio) "making fun" of his religion. While I get that this person just isn't emotionally able to handle criticism over his religion, I can't help but to think if it would be more effective to avoid mentioning religion altogether so that men/women like this can slowly be introduced to skepticism without being forced to feel some cognitive dissonance.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 05:48:01 PM by helvetica »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2015, 05:51:45 PM »
Thank you for explaining their agenda for them.


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Well, do you think that those books are just random books on any genre they happen to like?
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Offline Sawyer

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2015, 06:50:45 PM »
Still don't understand what the big mystery here is.  I'm sorry if I'm insulting someone that spent hours and hours assembling that list, but I stick with my original assertion.  Steve, or Jay, or someone else that was working on this website ~8 years ago threw together a list of authors that were very popular in the skeptical community.  These include Sagan, Dawkins, Randi, Shermer, Gould, etc.  I doubt the inclusion of The God Delusion and god Is Not Great was because they are the best books in the SGUniverse, but because they came out shortly after the SGU podcast started.

But carry on with the theist/deist/atheist debate, I'm sure it will be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.   :P

Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2015, 07:01:18 PM »
Among the SGU recommended books you can find The God Delusion and God Is Not Great.

Given that the rogues typically distance their skeptical activism from atheism quite a bit (there is a wall between skepticism and atheism, but it is very porous), I wonder how come that they recommend these books.

I'm not saying they should not recommend these books (quite the contrary), I'm just asking how it squares with that they usually distance themselves from atheism.

They don't distance themselves, they just don't make it a major point of the show.  In fact, they've laid out quite specifically what their views are multiple times and had segments specifically about how stupid some aspect of religion is ala Joshie Berger's Jewy or Fiction.  I know Steve has specifically said on the show that Hitchens was essentially one of his heroes too.  They do not shy from expressing thoughts on religion, they just don't make it their primary topic of discussion.

Offline Belgarath

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2015, 08:11:07 PM »
Sawyer, so like a good skeptic you're making an assertion without evidence???


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Offline superdave

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2015, 08:47:44 PM »
The SGU makes a small commission on books bought via those links.  If they want to make any money that way, it makes sense for them to include any book that an SGU fan might enjoy. 

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Offline Sawyer

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2015, 09:42:40 PM »
Sawyer, so like a good skeptic you're making an assertion without evidence???


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Quetz asked why the recommendations do not appear to perfectly parallel the content of the show.  I gave what I consider to be a very plausible explanation.  If anyone has a better explanation (with or without evidence) they are welcome to post it.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that those books were selected ONLY because they were popular, or for any other narrow minded purpose.  They are good books.  I'm sure whoever put together the list really enjoyed them and found them to be a great match for anyone interested in the world of skepticism.  I just think that Quetz's original question is moot when you realize that the content of the list is skewed towards books published around the time the SGU started.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2015, 06:16:48 AM »
I'd go so far as to say that deism is the one form of theism that is not inconsistent with a skeptical view of religion.
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Offline Anders

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2015, 06:29:15 AM »
That and apatheism - "I just don't give a fuck".
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Offline Crash

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2015, 12:37:53 PM »
I'd go so far as to say that deism is the one form of theism that is not inconsistent with a skeptical view of religion.

Hold on there.  Deism means you still believe in some cryptic spook.  Deism is consistent with theism but not skepticism. 
  Atheism has been so vilified that the very word invokes knee-jerk outrage among many believers.  I think the baggage that goes with the word is why so many skeptics give religion and deism a pass.  Atheism is a natural progression from skepticism.  Because the word is so off putting many skeptics just let the newcomers discover the complete lack of evidence for a deity on their own.  There probably is a gradient that skeptics follow from doubt about psychics, homeopathy etcetera and eventually to the big elephant in the room which is faith.  In that case you may still be a skeptic but you have yet to overcome the cognitive dissonence that is faith in a deity.  From a biologists' point of veiw, the concept of a deity is superfluous.  The origin of life is just a string of peptides self replicating a few billion years ago and now here we are. No need for the mythic spook anymore.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2015, 02:14:04 PM »

 The origin of life is just a string of peptides self replicating a few billion years ago and now here we are. No need for the mythic spook anymore.
Sure, but lack of need is not proof anything. 

Offline Sawyer

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2015, 07:06:54 PM »
I'd go so far as to say that deism is the one form of theism that is not inconsistent with a skeptical view of religion.

Hold on there.  Deism means you still believe in some cryptic spook.  Deism is consistent with theism but not skepticism. 


Hold on there once again.  I am unaware of any specific aspect of skepticism, science, or methodological naturalism that requires one to abandon deism.  The fact that deism is unstructured and unsatisfying for most people explains why so few skeptics would bother with it for very long (most former religious types treat it as a stepping stone to atheism), but that does not mean it is logically prohibited.


Offline Anders

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Re: Why does the SGU recommed The God Delusion and God Is Not Great?
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2015, 10:47:15 AM »
There's no better evidence for a deist God than there is for anyone else.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin