Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Atheist Experience

Matt Dillahunty: "How do I tell the difference between your claim and a delusion?"

The caller has no answer, but just babbles unrelated gibberish until he's cut off.

Matt: "I realize that this is his brain spinning in circles - desperately - because he has no answers to these difficult questions, and he's trying to cling to whatever it is that he believes."

The Atheist Experience is a public access TV show from Austin, Texas. It's streamed live on the web, and the shows are also available after-the-fact on YouTube. It's very entertaining - and usually quite educational - but the full shows are an hour long (some, an hour and a half).

They're well worth watching, but a bit too long to embed here. But there are all sorts of excerpts posted by all sorts of people on YouTube, and those are appropriate here. So I thought I'd start posting a few of them, with a new "Atheist Experience" tag for an easy way to find them all.

This clip is typical of many of their theist callers. You wonder sometimes if these people have ever really thought about what they believe. Have they ever stopped to think about why they believe what they believe?

In America, Christians can get by with that, because they may never encounter anyone who thinks differently. Certainly, that was the case when I grew up. But the experience of atheists is quite different. Most of us grew up in Christian homes, and even those who didn't have still been surrounded by Christians all their lives. We have thought about what we believe. We've really had little choice about that.

Here's another thing. When asked for evidence, Andrew replies, "Logical evidence or physical evidence?"

But as Jeff Dee points out, "There is no 'logical evidence.' Evidence is a thing you feed into logic to find out what's true."

The thing is, it doesn't matter if something seems logical to you. You need evidence. After all, does it really seem logical that we're living on the surface of a rapidly-spinning ball? Logic alone might well lead you to believe in a flat Earth. We need logic and evidence. Logic alone just doesn't do it.

Note that this is an excerpt from episode #738, which aired Dec. 4, 2011. The complete show is here.

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