Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Daniel Dennett Demolishes Dinesh D'Souza

Good old Daniel Dennett debated Dinesh D'Souza, and it went pretty well in Dennett's favor in my somewhat biased opinion.

I've corresponded with Dinesh before, and I wasn't too impressed. Why the guy is so popular is beyond me. But incredibly stupid things do tend to be popular, don't they?


Jeff said...

Hi, I spotted your catchy blog title on the "Atheist bog role". The evil of the afterlife concept has always been one of my concerns. I have a number of comics at my blog that address this issue such as this one. Its very ironic that Christians claim to be unselfish, yet they want eternal life after death. What could possibly be more selfish than wanting to live forever?

Anonymous said...

So is wanting to die less selfish?

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: yo mama,

So is wanting to die less selfish?

No. Quite the contrary. I can prove it to you if you give me an example.

Luis Cayetano said...

I watched the debate and felt that D'Souza made some notable blunders. Unfortunately, because they were more forcefully put than Dennett's points, many will think they were also more compelling. I reviewed the debate briefly, but yeah, I wasn't impressed by Dinesh either.


A great many of The Old Testament’s stories come from earlier tales (e.g., Gilgamesh, etc) and the style is, mostly, a direct rip-off of The Egyptian Book Of The Dead.

To learn more of TOT times, view this YouTube film

The New Testament, well . . . . . to learn more than enough of TNT’s creation, view this two part YouTube film.

And, as a special Humbug surprise, the hit parody song
“The Little Bummer Boy”

AND, if that ain’t enough, you may join moi’s YGroup

May you all have a delightful ‘Someone’s Been Embezzling Oil And Selling It On The Side’ Eightdays, a wonderful Solstice, the happiest possible Humbug and may your Hollowdays be filled with the most joyous of pleasures.

Stay on groovin’ safari,

Anonymous said...

I do not think the concept of an afterlife is entirely selfish. I think you can argue either or depending on the examples you use. You can also argue either or for wanting to cease to exist or hoping to cease to exist instead of living forever. Of course you can ask me to give examples which I don't mind doing but I know you all are much capable of coming up with your own pro/con versions of each in that regards.

James F. McGrath said...

I wonder what you'd make of some of the discussions on my blog (which essentially represents a liberal Christian viewpoint for the most part).

Anyway, I found my way here via your post about people like Andrea Yates, and I greatly appreciate your highlighting the role of anti-rational, antiscientific belief systems and the harm they cause, even if in the end we have worldviews that are different in key respects.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aaron....

I asked if wanting to die is *less selfish*, which according to Jeff Christians are said to be *selfish* for *wanting to live forever*. So then, if a Christian did not want to live forever he/she would cease to be selfish. They would in fact be unselfish. One could only attain the unselfish status by wanting to die which is contrary to wanting to live.

You responded by saying, "no".

It seems that you are in disagreement with Jeff's conclusion. You seem to be saying that wanting *to die* is in fact selfish, since it is contrary to wanting to "live forever." Which is it?

Jeff said...

There is a difference between not wanting an extra life after you die and wanting to die in this life. Religious people who believe in an afterlife want that "extra life" and sometimes behave in ways that negatively impact the rest of us who are trying to maximize the one life that we do have. I also think wanting the "self" to exist eternally is selfish. What could be more selfish than the eternal existence of the self? And Christians are not suppose to be selfish.

I just think think it would be better for everybody if religious people dropped their notions of an afterlife. No Muslim extremists would kill infidels so that they and their family would get an automatic ticket to heaven (according to their beliefs). Of course that not to say that extremists wouldn't kill for other reasons, but one motivating factor might be taken off the table.

Anonymous said...

I think you are making a catergorical mistake here.

You said:
Religious people who believe in an afterlife want that "extra life" ....

There is a difference between *wanting* an afterlife and *Believing* in an afterlife. The two are not necessarily connected. For instance, if I could say I believe in an aferlife, but don't want there to be an afterlife for your sake. Also, if one believes something, in this case that the afterlife is a future reality, *wanting* it to be so is never an issue.

So then, when you speak of religious people *wanting* an extra life it is a bit different than them *believeing* in such things a priori.

You also said:
"the rest of us who are trying to maximize the one life that we do have."......

By maximizing the one life you do have are you in turn acting selfishly to accomplish such ends? If so why would a muslim wanting to blow himself up, in order to secure 70 virgins in the afterlife which is selfish indeed, bother you being that you condone the maximizing of the life one does have? I realize that you don't believe in the afterlife that they do, but that person is maximizing his life from his perspective in the life he does have.

You asked:
"What could be more selfish than the eternal existence of the self?"

Well, according to you the eternal existence of the "self" is a faslehood. So then, the only other option would be acting selfishly in the existence we do have, the here & now. But since you believe in the maximizing of the "self" here & now I don't see how you can object to a religious person acting in such fashion. Do you think it is immoral for Chrisians/Muslims to act out of self interest acording to your ethical system? You should'nt.

Finally, this idea of a possible utopia arising if only religious people would relinquish siad beliefs is utter non sense. Of course you are right in that people would find other reasons to kill, namely self interset. I would venture to say that more murders in the US are a result of self interest than any religious faction in the country, per year. Of course this is just an assertion, but I would be interested to know for sure.

Thanks for the chat.

Anonymous said...

Well said yo mama, and that puts the discussion to bed!!!