Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rational thoughts on the divine

I've seen similar video compilations, but I thought this one included some particularly interesting observations.

I especially liked Richard Carrier's comment that a human brain is an energy hog (and it requires a skull so big that childbirth regularly killed mothers). If we don't actually need a brain to think and feel and remember, if a flesh-and-blood brain is entirely superfluous, why in the world would an "intelligent designer" give us one?

And as Sam Harris says, for those who think that a fertilized egg is a "person," because that's when God gives it a soul, what happens when a zygote splits into identical twins? Do they each get half a soul?

How about when two embryos fuse into one individual? What happens to the extra soul? Or does that person have two souls, then? As Harris says, that "arithmetic of souls" doesn't make any sense.

Finally, Vilayanur Ramachandran talks about studying split-brain patients. One side of a person's brain believes in God; the other doesn't. What happens to that person after he dies? Will God cut his soul in half, one part to be tortured forever, while the other half experiences unending bliss?

Those were just a few highlights. Stephen Fry was also excellent, as usual. Really, I thought the whole thing was very well done.

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