PZ Myers Video: Science And Atheism Are Natural Allies

The first, and most interesting, claim: “Nothing will ever prove that evolution is wrong.”

Second, and second most interesting, claim: “Nothing can prove the existence of gods, not one thing.”

Third, and third most interesting, claim: that all this entails not closed-mindedness but pragmatism.

Fourth, and fourth most interesting, claim: atheism is more than what he derisively calls “dictionary atheism” (the idea that all that atheism itself entails is the lack of belief in gods and nothing further). His argument is that atheism is built on positive values.
embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

From the Humanist Canada/Atheist Alliance International 2010 Convention in Montreal, October 2, 2010.

(via toomanytribbles)

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Harsha

    Can’t see the video right now, in an internet cafe without earphones. First claim, fossilised rabbits in the precambrian, as Haldane said. But evolution being disproved, is as likely the earth being flat.

  • Tim

    None of these claims is in any way extraordinary.

    1. Evolution is a fact. The fossil record demonstrates that animal and plant species have changed radically over hundreds of millions of years. This fact will remain, regardless of any changes or refinements made to the modern synthesis of natural selection and genetics.

    2. If you can name one piece of evidence that will prove the existence of a god to atheists and scientists, you will be the first to do so. No matter how amazing a new phenomenon might be, our first reaction will never be “that can only be a god.” New phenomena appear all the time, and they are treated as new data that require adjustment to existing scientific theories and sometimes, entirely new theories.

    3. If you do any significant research into what atheists believe, you will find that nearly all of us define ourselves as atheists because we do not believe in any god. Only a few take the further step to declare that there are no gods.

  • Daniel Fincke

    If you do any significant research into what atheists believe, you will find that nearly all of us define ourselves as atheists because we do not believe in any god. Only a few take the further step to declare that there are no gods.

    I take the further step. And I am not sure either that there are so few of us who do so.  And I do not think there should be so few of us who do so for reasons that should be clear from remarks towards the end of the post I just linked to.

    But, yes, I recognize the “not believing in any god” position as valid and distinct from my own, and worth respecting as legitimate.  But I also agree with Myers’s argument against saying that’s all atheists qua atheists ever can stand for.  I agree with him that atheism can be and implicitly is in many cases much more tied up with positive values and not stop at the simple dictionary level of lack of belief in gods that we all definitionally share.

    I understand the need to stress that atheism strictly has no necessary other implications besides the lack of belief in gods.  But I also think that to insist atheists never rally in common cause in defense of the values that most incline rational, ethical people towards atheism in the first place is unnecessarily absolutist and counter-productive.

  • Daniel Fincke

    evolution being disproved, is as likely the earth being flat.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX5jNnDMfxA&w=480&h=390

  • Ben Finney

    I think his point “all this entails not closed-mindedness but pragmatism” is the most interesting.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X