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Beyond Belief

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The Wrath

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This was a conference that hosted a lot of eminent scientists giving presentations on the science vs. religion conflicts, and what each of them thinks is the proper approach for scientists to take. They don't all agree, but it's definitely thought provoking. Over 15 hours of video, in all.

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Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Michael Shermer are all pretty recognizable names. Even if you don't recognize these names, I would recommend at least watching a little bit of it. I didn't recognize the first 2 speakers, but was still very interested in what they had to say.

I don't agree with everything they say, but it's still thought-provoking. Shermer takes a bit of a shot at Objectivists, although it's pretty clear that the shot is intended at the militant type who go around insulting religious people. From what I know of Shermer, he is actually sympathetic towards Objectivism.

Edited by Moose
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was impressed with how many of the presenters supported selfishness as a basis for morality in some sense. I heard terms like "enlightened selfishness" and "self-interest" thrown around quite a bit in discussion of ethics. In session 6, ethicist Susan Neiman attacks that idea saying that <paraphrase> eventually self-interest will come into conflict with morality </paraphrase>, which, of course, is begging the question by assuming a priori that morality is different than self-interest.

Another note: Joan Roughgarden (session 3) is kind of crazy and, IMHO, a bad scientist. She really made a big point of saying that Darwinian theories of Sexual Selection were bad mainly because it amounted to <paraphrase> locker room bravado projected onto animals and then reflected back on to people </paraphrase>. As the discussion went on, I couldn't believe how much she stuck to the idea that Darwinian Sexual Selection was undesirable, therefore a theory that emphasized cooperation would be superior because of its desirability.

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