NTSC: Matt Dillahunty.

This man rules.

We have two categories:

1.  Gods that exist.
2.  Gods that don’t exist.

Since no amount of searching will ever turn up a god that doesn’t exist, we only need to worry about the first category.  That category has two sub-categories.

1a.  Gods that don’t manifest themselves in any detectable means.
1b.  Gods that do manifest themselves in a detectable way.

Of those two categories, the first is irrelevant, since we’ll never turn up those gods.  They may as well not exist, and no human being could know they exist.  They’d be exactly the same as making something up – nobody would be any the wiser, and that could hardly be called knowledge.  Only the second category remains.

Those are the only gods we should be debating about.  So if somebody tells you that they’re god is untestable, they’ve pretty much just told you that they’re opinion is untrustworthy.

Now he’s talking about how magic, if the environment is changed, can really affect people’s lives.  Take away the honesty of the magician and replace him with someone completely serious, with ornate props and tarot cards, and suddenly people believe that these types can actually perform miracles.  This is far and away the best talk I’ve ever seen Matt give.

I didn’t know this: to this day, nobody has even passed the preliminary test for the JREF’s million dollar prize.  Nobody has ever even made it to the full-on test.  O.o

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    I didn’t know this: to this day, nobody has even passed the preliminary test for the JREF’s million dollar prize. Nobody has ever even made it to the full-on test. O.o

    I did know this. I mean, I think most professional psychics don’t even attempt it for this reason. They know they are full of shit, and they know they will kill their goose laying the golden eggs by taking this test. As far as I know, it is mostly attempted by amateurs, who might buy into their own shit or hope to fraud their way through it as a means to make a splash.

    And his talk is reminding me of some of my reasoning when I finally dropped out of the Christian ranks. This “god is unknowable” business is useless. If it is unknowable, then why am I listening to you? How do we even know that [holy scripture here] even applies? If god is knowable, then let’s see how he makes himself known to us.

    Funny that I still haven’t found good evidence for any god, let alone a specific god.

  • Adam

    Hopefully someone got it on video, he’s definitely one of my favorite speakers.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

    I’m so jealous! I even live in the Dallas area but a friend from Austin came into town this weekend so we hung out instead of me going to this conference. Maybe next year, if this becomes an annual event.

    A teensy-tiny grammar quibble: “So if somebody tells you that they’re god is untestable, they’ve pretty much just told you that they’re opinion is untrustworthy.” Both instances of “they’re” ought to be “their”: their god is untestable, their opinion is untrustworthy.

  • Amyc

    Gah! I’m still pissed I missed this talk! Stupid school.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X