Videos of L.A. panel discussion on accommodationism

October 13, 2010 • 8:46 pm

The panel debate at the L.A. Secular Humanism conference, involving Chris Mooney, Eugenie Scott, Victor Stenger, and P.Z. Myers, is now up. If you didn’t see it live, here’s your chance.

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Part 2

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part 2, posted with vodpod

h/t: ennui

21 thoughts on “Videos of L.A. panel discussion on accommodationism

  1. I think that the points that Chris Mooney brings up are quite true–many religious people simply WONT listen to reason, and despite how “intelligent” they may be, they will only use their rational thought to strengthen their own beliefs. While the new atheists may seem “angry” or “aggressive”, I think that to make any significant changes in society, we can’t simply say what what we believe when others ask, we need to live what we believe in. Our society isn’t going to suddenly change in one society, and if we keep up the “accommodation” it is our nations children, our future, that is being tainted by these religious beliefs. So when some religious fanatic starts spouting some bullshit, while at the moment may not make a huge impact, it’s really better to criticize than to accommodate. Let’s think about the future guys.

  2. Thank you very much for notifying us about the videos. I watched them live via ustream, but couldn’t record them.

    1. There are programs that can record anything. Replay Video from Applian Technologies is one. If you already knew this just ignore me.

    1. is that Jennifer Michael Hecht moderating? I listened to the POI show between Mooney and PZ where she was supposed to be moderating, but sided with Mooney and insists on babbling on and on incoherently.

      i truly abhor listening to her

  3. Thanks for posting the videos.

    Is there any way to lobby or strongly suggest to CFI that Jennifer Michael Hecht is never allowed to ‘moderate’ any of these debates again.

    We could have seen a much more robust discussion between these participants without her lengthy personal excursions. The same goes for the PoI podcast in which her attempts to ‘moderate’ were almost farcical.

  4. These seem to be set to “autoplay”…or is it just me? I hate it when that happens. I prefer to be able to start them myself.

    1. flashblock.
      With flashblock, the flash element is not even downloaded until you click on a button it places in the center of the area the flash will appear in. (I am told there are equivalent extensions for browsers other than firefox, so don’t despair if you’re using one of those.)

  5. Yes, indeed, thanks for posting this. I live in the Atlantic Time Zone, which puts Pacific Time out of my reach, unless I’m willing to stay up all night, and I’m not.

    I stopped the show — to write this note — just at the point where a questioner pointed out that there is an entire critical-historical study of scriptures, archeology, anthropology, etc., which brings the whole project of religious belief into serious question, and the panel decided to pass on it.

    This, it seems to me, is very unfortunate. One of the areas where religious believers are very weak and vulnerable to defeat is right here, where the religious rubber hits the road, because it has so little traction. This is an important question that needs to be addressed by critics of religion.

    I suppose one of the reasons for not doing this is because most people, except a very select group of scholars, trained in philology, and other aracane studies, cannot address these questions with confidence. However, these are vital issues, and as Qu’ranic studies begin to take off, and people begin to take a searching look at the critical basis of Muslim beliefs as well, I think we will find more and more reason to hold that religious beliefs of all the great monotheisms, based on such historically questionable sources, will be greeted with increasing levels of incredulity. It is simply not plausible that religious texts, whose structure and history of formation can be traced and criticised, can survive the process and still be regarded as somehow divine. This is a point made over and over by Hitchens in god is not Great.

    One of the things that seems most obvious to me is that the claim that there is some sort of entente cordiale between religion and science is called into serious question by the failure of religions to address themselves to the question of the critical (scientific) study of their own beliefs, practices, and foundations, especially in regard to things that we can investigate critically, whether through textual studies or through the study of the religions’ cognitive foundations (cf. Avalos, Ehrman, Boyer, Tremlin, and others).

    It is very easy to defeat claims that there is a god or gods. There is simply no evidence for such beings. But all the arguments are old and hackneyed. They no longer convince, and rehearsing them is obviously not going to convince the hardened religious. But the critical study of those aspects of religion which are open to critical study is much more powerful, it seems to me, and will have a much more profound effect, especially if there are people around who will not hide these discoveries under mountains of hermeneutic.

    1. It’s a sore point for me that most of those who pound their Bibles or Qurans the strongest seem to completely ignore most of the scholarship on where those books came from, how and by whom they were produced, how they were altered over time, etc.

    2. “…It is very easy to defeat claims that there is a god or gods. There is simply no evidence for such beings. But all the arguments are old and hackneyed. They no longer convince, and rehearsing them is obviously not going to convince the hardened religious.”

      Don’t forget, the arguments may be old, but they’re still right and, more importantly, the people you may be trying to convince are not necessarily old. Use all the arguments at your disposal; young people may not have heard them before.

  6. The first message that came up when I started the video was a Google ad that suggested “Start your spiritual adventure now.” Ironic?

  7. Here’s what I don’t like about Chris Mooney. He’s wrong, and he can be an asshole about it. I think George Bush is either an idiot or an award-winning actor (he made eloquent speeches in the ’90s, which makes me think a strategist told him to dumb it down, because that’s what the voters want, and he did, and it was, and it worked). (Full disclosure–I’m not a Republican.) Anyway, at the beginning Mooney’s talk he mentions the Bush quotation about the tsunami and he laughed, because as we all know geologists have nothing to do with tsunamis. And I laughed for a second, but then for some reason my brain automatically thought to fact-check what I had just heard. Was the point of Mooney’s laughing that Bush wasn’t a geologist or was it that geologists have nothing to do with tsunamis? If it was the former, then okay, ha-ha, of course Bush clearly isn’t enough of a thinker to be a scientist like a geologist. But if it was the latter…he’s wrong, isn’t he? What causes a tsunami? Well, I thought it was some sort of geological activity, like shifting plates. I checked, and yes, that is the standard cause. So while maybe the most accurate title of someone who studies tsunamis is a hydrologist or some more specific term, it seems to me that the people who would have the most expertise on tsunamis are generally in fact geologists. I can’t tell exactly what the point of Mooney’s laughter was, but if it was some sort of perceived disconnect between tsunamis and geology, well, the joke’s on him.

    1. It’s funny you mention that. I had the exact sane reaction; when I first heard it I thought it was the latter joke. I smirked and then thought “well wouldn’t a geologist be a reasonable expert to talk about tsunamis?”.

      I hadn’t even considered that the joke was that of course bush isn’t any kind of scientist.

  8. Question: Is Secular Humanism a religion?

    Ask a humanist and don’t be surprised if you get both affirmative and negative answers.

    The conference where these videos were recorded was done under the auspices of Free Inquiry magazine and the Council for Secular Humanism which has as part of its agenda denying that secular humanism is a religion, a position with which many humanists disagree.

    There is discord in every domain except science.

  9. PZ’s opening remarks are beautiful in their tenor towards Mooney and pointed in where the differences lie. I wish I could think on my feet like that.

  10. For those who’re complaining that the videos started automatically, try installing NoScript (at least on Firefox). They won’t load until you tell them to.

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