Guerrilla Ontology – The Christmas Episode

Listen tonight from 6-7pm for a Christmas Episode of Guerrilla Ontology on 92.9KICK-FM. I’m set to have a discussion on the “War on Christmas” where I’ll take a stance you probably won’t expect. You’re more than welcome to phone in to join the discussion 780-KICK (5425)

As well as discussion, you’ll hear some holiday tunes and a secret guest, so tune in tonight from 6-7pm on 92.9KICK-FM.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – in HD

A wonder discussion between Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins.  Eloquent, astute, and poignant; this is a wonderful introduction to the four Philosophers’ ideas.

All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion – some positive, and some negative. In this conversation the group trades stories of the public’s reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.

This video is provided free online by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) and http://RichardDawkins.net . If you would like to support our work and help us provide more videos like this, please purchase the DVD through our online storehttp://richarddawkins.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&… and/or consider donating to RDFRS:http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/foundation,donations

Check out more videos at http://richarddawkins.net

Books by these authors:
“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins
“The End of Faith” by Sam Harris
“Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris
“God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens
“Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” by Daniel Dennett

Filmed and Edited by Josh Timonen

Bill Nye Boo’d In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun’s Light

Via Think Atheist

Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,” managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco Tribune.

Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment.

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/04/06/04062006wacbillnye.html

Why Atheists Are More Intelligent Than the Religious

Via Psychology Today
Published on April 11, 2010
by Satoshi Kanazawa

Humans are designed by evolution to believe in God

Burning bushIt is natural to believe in God, so more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheists.

Religion is a cultural universal, and its practice is observed in every known human society.  However, as I explain in earlier posts (Why do we believe in God?  Part I, Part II), recent evolutionary psychological theories suggest that religiosity may not be an adaptation in itself but may be a byproduct of other evolved psychological mechanisms variously called the “animistic bias” or the “agency-detector mechanisms.”

These theories contend that the human brain has been selected to overinfer agency – personal, animate, and intentional forces – behind otherwise natural phenomena whose exact causes cannot be known.  This is because overinferring agency – and making a Type I error of false positive – makes you a bit paranoid, but being paranoid is often conducive to survival.  In contrast, underinferring agency – and making a Type II error of false negative – can result in being killed and maimed by predators and enemies that were incorrectly assumed not to exist.  So, evolutionarily speaking, it’s good to be a bit paranoid, because being paranoid can often save your life.  Religiosity – belief in higher powers – may be a byproduct of such overinference of agency and intentional forces behind natural phenomena.

If these theories are correct, then it means that religiosity – belief in higher powers – may have an evolutionary origin.  It is evolutionarily familiar and natural to believe in God, and evolutionarily novel not to be religious.  Consistent with this reasoning, out of more than 1,500 distinct cultures throughout the world documented in The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, only 19 contain any reference to atheism.  Not only do these 19 cultures exist far outside of our ancestral home in the African savanna, but all 19 of them without an exception are former Communist societies.  There are no non-former-Communist cultures described in The Encyclopedia as containing any significant segment of atheists.  Nor is there any reference to any individuals who do not subscribe to the local religion in any of the ethnographies of traditional societies.

It may therefore be reasonable to conclude that atheism may not be part of the universal human nature, and widespread practice of atheism may have been a recent product of Communism in the 20th century.  So belief in higher powers is evolutionarily familiar and natural, and atheism is evolutionarily novel.  The Hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheist than less intelligent individuals.

Once again, analyses of large representative samples from both the United States and the United Kingdom support this prediction of the Hypothesis.  Net of a large number of social and demographic factors, including education, more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheistic than less intelligent individuals.  For example, among the American sample, those who identify themselves as “not at all religious” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 103.09, whereas those who identify themselves as “very religious” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 97.14.

Religiosity

Even though past studies have shown that women are more religious than men, the analyses show that the effect of childhood intelligence on adult religiosity is twice as large as that of sex.  Remarkably, childhood intelligence has a significant and large effect on adult religiosity even when religion itself is statistically controlled for.  So it appears that more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be atheists than less intelligent individuals, and the Hypothesis provides one explanation as to why.