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Old 18th February 2017, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Socrates in Your Pocket How Atheos Breaks Through Dogmatism

The most success I have had with a believer is the technique that was used on me. The pre-requisite is intellectual honesty and a "handle" that one can use.

The "handle" or wedge is to discuss something non-religious [perhaps, science, politics,etc] and find some common ground there. In other words, use reason and evidence to come to some agreement about a topic. The significance is not lost on the person provided intellectual honesty exists. The process might have to be repeated on several different topics to cement that spirit of inquiry firmly into place.

The next step is NOT to urge belief, but to get the person to simulate a scenario where god is not the first cause of "'X" ["X" can be anything from why people are good, to why gays exist to anything you like, so long as it is a mystery, particularly a mystery that they have found difficult to solve, and just put god in as a placeholder or cause.

Most of the time it is ignorance about a subject, usually science, and especially an under-appreciation of the awesome power of evolution.

Lastly, a person may actually be quite good technically, but have failed to join the dots. To recognise the significance of something. For example, if they assume god exists, but happen to be theistic evolutionists, they tend to underestimate the power of evolution to solve very complex problems. They will be prepared to allow that god invented evolution to do the "donkey work", but still believe god was/is the "prime mover". Pope John Paul II was of this category. Evolution is fine for dinosaurs or whales or even human "meat", but not the soul. That is their other mistake, to assume that the soul is immortal and secondly, that it is not a natural product of physical processes, but comes from god's grace.

My last statement might sound terribly arrogant, but it truly isn't. I doubt if I have a tenth of the intellectual moxie of scientists who happen to be religious, be that Simon Conway-Morris, Francisco J. Ayala or Francis Collins, all three of whom are leading scientists who deal with evolutionary biology and related subjects every day on a highly professional level. But they cannot have a deep insight into the power of evolution, because if they did, they would realise that god is literally surplus to requirements, especially in their fields.

The world is either magical or it is not. If god exists, then it is magical to some degree. And if the world is magical, then science could not possibly work. But science does work, therefore the world is not magical.

Ironically, all three of these great scientists are great at debunking creationism. But science and religion are deeply incompatible-not directly or on the surface, but at the philosophical level -the epistemological roots of the two knowledges. They are indeed non-overlapping Magesteria as the late SJ Gould described, but unfortunately the theological emperor has no clothes.

ETA: There was a requirement [at least in my own head] to simulate two worlds: one where the creator-god was present, the other where god was not. In other words, the requirement [for the purposes of the simulation] to put one's beliefs into "hypothetical" mode. The god world simulation, when run, became a sea of red flags [error conditions], mostly do do with violations of causality, god surplus to requirements, etc.

God became an unlikely critter indeed, and so not worthy of reasonable belief.

All that remained was a deep search an analysis for any ideas that had god as cause, directly or indirectly. A process [I hope] which is now largely complete.
Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

Last edited by Darwinsbulldog; 18th February 2017 at 07:46 PM.
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