Open-Mindedness

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 29, 2010 in Video

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael October 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

My favorite video of his. It’s always gotten a favorable response when shown in class.

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Jacopo October 29, 2010 at 8:41 am

QualiaSoup videos in class?
Is it one you teach or attend? What subject? :)

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Bill Maher October 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

Qualia and Potholer are easily the 2 best skeptic channels on youtube.

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Al Moritz October 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

I am a theist.

I am a scientist.

I don’t believe in ghosts.

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Michael October 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I teach critical thinking at the college level. Yes, I show a video every other class period to generate discussion. Qualiasoup’s Open-mindedness is well-received. This week I showed an excerpt from Big Bang Theory which illustrated counterfactuals. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6MNciSb85E&p=76D9A530BB1299FB&playnext=1&index=11 .

@Al Moritz
There is at least as much evidence for “ghosts” as there is for “the Holy Ghost”, no?

If you are a theist because you find Einstein’s God or Spinoza’s God plausible, then okay, no good evidence or good reason to believe that thing exists, but I can see how one could conclude they do. If you believe in Santeria or Huitzilopocatli or Samantabhadra or Allah or Jesus, then… well…

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Hermes October 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I particularly like his emphasis on evidence and skepticism (3:45-5:10).

This is why I emphasize that atheism at it’s core is in the category of a belief (a lack of theistic belief) and not a knowledge claim.

I’m happy to admit that I don’t know for a fact that no gods exist (agnostic), yet at the same time (~4:50-5:10) it’s annoying that many people (not just theists) assert that if I say I’m an atheist I must be making a knowledge claim.

I’m equally glad to make a knowledge claim if I have enough to go on and the evidence allows for a basis for that claim. That’s why I do say that many conceptions of the Christian deity can not exist in actuality, but I do not say that no conceptions of the Christian deity can point to something that actually exists.

Some conceptions of deies are incoherent, so there’s nothing to discuss. Others are coherent in part but simply incomplete so there’s not much to comment on. As for specific categories, the deist and pantheist deity types are most consistent and logical and they can’t be refuted, yet they are also not discoverable.

As for some Christian claims, often enough the description slides into a deistic style deity. Yet, there are many Christianities. So, I’ll take the person’s word for it they say they are a Christian and that they conceive their deity to be deistic. What is unfortunate is that the deistic claim often is a placeholder; the Christian god stops being described as a deistic one at some point and other divergent attributes are slammed in the same slot as if they were always there. This is nothing but a bait and switch, or shows that the speaker wants to force their logical deistic conceptions to get along with more conventional Biblical ones. The Hindus could do the same trick with a pantheist slant if they wish and it would be as endearing.

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lukeprog October 30, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Shown in class? Excellent.

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Eric October 31, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I remember posting a link to this vid during a discussion I had with a Christian on the post “Naturalism of the gaps.” I’ve always found this video to be very useful, if the viewer doesn’t construct a straw man out of the video’s message. Sadly the Christian I was talking with thought this video considered everyone of faith to be those who believe everything they hear. Although, it seems pretty obvious the video is trying to appeal to the viewer’s desire not to believe EVERYTHING they hear, regardless of faith.

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Hermes October 31, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Eric, agreed. I’m happy to hear that someone is a theist based on their belief in some deity while at the same time they do not claim actual knowledge. When they claim knowledge, they have entered into the realm of claiming actual evidence and are responsible for those claims.

None of that, tough, is negated by what QualiaSoup posted. Evidence and verified knowledge are neutral to the claim being made; either the claim is supported, or it is not.

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