This is a public talk by Dawkins that runs for nearly 45 minutes.
This one comes courtesy of P.Z. Myers. It’s a little long, but pretty good if you don’t mind the bad flash animation.
Germany’s sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese acknowledged it transferred a suspected pedophile priest while Benedict was in charge and criticism is mounting over a 2001 Vatican directive he penned instructing bishops to keep abuse cases secret.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, a teacher at the Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown had police escort a student from the classroom — simply for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, as was the student’s right. The teacher’s illegal and unconstitutional actions found fertile ground among other students who subsequently mocked and teased the student, causing enough trauma that they wouldn’t return to the school.
Even before I started writing Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be I knew that it would very briefly mention religion, make a mild assertion that religious questions are out of scope for science, and move on. I knew this was likely to provoke blow-back from some in the atheist community, and I knew mentioning that blow-back in my recent post “The Standard Pablum — Science and Atheism” would generate more. And, I should have realized that I was muddying the water by packaging multiple related issues together in one post: the specific wording of a passage in my book; the question of whether that passage should have been included; and, the wider question of how science and skepticism relate to atheism.
Still, I was surprised by the quantity of the responses to the blog post (208 comments as of this moment, many of them substantial letters), and also by the fierceness of some of those responses. For example, according to one poster, “you not only pandered, you lied. And even if you weren’t lying, you lied.” (Several took up this “lying” theme.) Another, disappointed that my children’s book does not tell a general youth audience to look to “secular humanism for guidance,” declared that “I’d have to tear out that page if I bought the book.”
I recently “came out” as an atheist and it has been somewhat difficult on a number of fronts. Although I have been skeptical of religion for many years both as gut instinct that it was self-serving, and rational analysis that what they teach is nearly impossible, when I finally decided to officially tell people that I did not believe in a god rather than hiding behind “I’m spiritual not religious” things have gotten strange.
Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses may also want to read this article. Not unlike a few of my own articles, the Friendly Atheists is offering advice to an atheist who came out as a non-believer to his religious friends. And they’re not buying it, unfortunately. Sound familiar to anyone?
I’m afraid I won’t be doing much posting live from the Global Atheist Convention; I’m busy, I’m having fun, my dancecard is full, and whenever things slow down a little bit some new person comes up to say hello. But have no fear, I’ll put up some comments afterwards, and also, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has dispatched a crack team of ace believers to cover the convention and scowl primly at us all. You can get the fun-house mirror version of the conference from those weirdos…and much amusement.
Spiritual experiences are just intense emotional experiences. Most atheists and many religious folks (of the not blinded by their beliefs and taking everything literally kind) recognize that those experiences are biological/psychological in nature. Emotional situations give us a particular sort of high which those so inclined interpret as supernatural phenomena. In fact, there’s nothing supernatural about them.
A bit of electromagnetism hovered over the right part of the brain, a few puffs of cannabis smoke, or a temporal lobe seizure can produce the same effect.