Catholic vs. Atheist – 2016-08-02 – David Rand

Mr. Rand is the president of the Atheist Freethinkers association. We had a nice long chat in behind the Sanctuaire Saint-Sacrament church. He was a great speaker, which made editing a breeze.


Please excuse any errors as these captions were automatically generated by YouTube.

0:00 my name is David Rand and you’re
0:01 listening to Catholic vs. atheist let’s
0:08 start by just having you introduce
0:09 yourself a little bit your philosophical
0:11 journey up until this point how you got
0:13 where you are what you believe in why
0:14 you believe it I’m an atheist and I have
0:16 been for most of my life since I began
0:20 to think consciously for myself I was
0:23 raised in a Christian household but I
0:24 realized as a teenager that or even
0:28 earlier that Christianity was not for me
0:29 and by the time I was in my early 20s I
0:33 was consciously calling myself an
0:34 atheist but I was nae this since before
0:37 that but I didn’t know what it was
0:38 called for the folks that might not know
0:40 you already by name in Montreal or
0:43 elsewhere what is the group that you
0:45 represent the group is atheists
0:47 freethinkers or liberal apostle at a in
0:50 French my name is David R and I’m the
0:52 president of the Association we’ve
0:54 existed since about 2010-2011 and our
0:58 website is a theology CA or at the ology
1:03 panacea our focus is to defend the
1:09 rights of atheists defend atheists
1:12 against defamation to throw the rights
1:14 of religious non-believers such as
1:17 ourselves to prote secularism as one
1:21 aspect of that and to promote
1:24 philosophical materialism you personally
1:27 and or your group would deny
1:29 supernaturalism anything supernatural is
1:32 that yes we deny the we deny the
1:34 existence of the supernatural although
1:36 it’s a little more subtle than that if
1:38 supernatural phenomena exist and they
1:42 can be detected in any way whatsoever if
1:44 they can be observed no matter how
1:46 indirectly or matter how poorly if they
1:49 can be detected then they’re part of the
1:51 natural world and they’re not
1:52 supernatural anymore and they they’re
1:54 just part of this world and we can
1:57 examine them and study them and and
1:59 that’s part of the natural world and so
2:02 and if they cannot be detected in any
2:04 way then it’s as if they didn’t exist
2:07 and they may as well not exist so either
2:09 there are supernatural phenomena which
2:11 are badly named and they’re just part of
2:12 the natural world we don’t know
2:13 well or they don’t exist
2:16 you mentioned something about the
2:18 defense of the atheist or the defense of
2:20 the non believer in our society it seems
2:23 to me that you’re not in a position to
2:25 need that oh yes we are could you
2:28 explain a little bit about that well
2:29 because things are not too bad you know
2:33 here in a country like Canada but the
2:36 attitudes toward atheism atheists are
2:38 very negative throughout the world and
2:40 atheists are often subject to direct
2:43 persecution for example in in Saudi
2:47 Arabia is an extreme example they
2:49 classify atheism as a form of terrorism
2:51 which is absolutely ridiculous basically
2:53 atheism is illegal in many other Muslim
2:57 countries as well the Saudi Arabia
2:59 apostasy is a crime it’s criminalized
3:03 and maybe in some countries punished by
3:05 death and apostasy means leaving a
3:07 religion and what they what they mean is
3:09 leaving Islam and so to leave Islam to
3:12 become a Christian or to become an
3:14 atheist or anything else is a crime
3:16 which may even be punished by death
3:18 that’s extremely severe even in the
3:20 United States the idea being an atheist
3:23 is considered very bad it’s worse than
3:26 being gay being gay is more acceptable
3:28 now than being an atheist a person who
3:30 is openly atheist could probably never
3:32 get elected in the United States one of
3:34 the ways in which apparently some people
3:36 in the Democratic Party wanted to
3:38 slander Sanders was to call him an
3:41 atheist which turns out he isn’t but
3:44 that was a that’s a form of slander
3:46 because atheists are so badly looked at
3:49 as as having no morality it’s an old
3:51 prejudice which has been around ever
3:53 since Plato or longer called a Thea
3:56 phobia and that’s a major focus of our
3:59 aboot you mentioned Saudi Arabia as an
4:01 extreme example but it brought to mind
4:04 martyrdom are there martyrs of the
4:06 Atheist movement well martyr I don’t
4:09 like the word martyr because there are
4:11 atheists who have been killed for being
4:13 atheists in Bangladesh and in Pakistan
4:18 especially Bangladesh recently very
4:20 well-known high-profile cases I can’t
4:23 recall the names of the victims right
4:24 now but there’s been several in recent
4:26 months and years and they have been
4:29 murdered by is extreme radical Islamist
4:33 groups because they published a blog
4:36 which defended secularism more which
4:38 criticized Islam or which criticized
4:40 religion and so to be an explicit
4:44 non-believer an atheist or secular and
4:46 to talk about it openly can be very
4:49 dangerous in some countries now in my
4:52 religion Catholicism if you explicitly
4:56 die for your faith and it’s your faith
4:57 you’re dying for you are a saint you go
4:59 straight to heaven what is the case well
5:01 the best case scenario for an atheist an
5:03 atheist that atheism is not a faith
5:06 there is no faith it’s simply a
5:09 rejection of fears and and by extension
5:15 supernaturalism in general theism being
5:17 the most important supernatural belief
5:19 the belief in a an all-powerful God as a
5:21 supernatural entity and so it’s not a
5:24 question of faith it’s a matter of
5:25 saying we don’t buy your faith in a
5:29 Creator God you do not share your belief
5:31 and death is the end of life there is no
5:35 afterlife where that’s why this life is
5:38 so important because the only one we
5:40 have and that’s why it is so important
5:41 to live it to the best you know as as
5:43 best we can that’s why it’s important to
5:46 warp drive for justice in this life
5:47 because there’s nobody’s going to get
5:48 punished in the afterlife or get
5:50 rewarded in the app tonight do you
5:51 believe that justice is achieved in the
5:55 overall balance no I think that Justin’s
5:58 vestas is very often not achieved and
6:00 it’s up to us to do it justice will
6:02 never be achieved if we human beings
6:03 don’t work for it that’s the only way
6:06 justice gets done the scales of justice
6:08 they’re supposed to be impartial but if
6:11 the bad guys are getting away with stuff
6:13 and the good guys are suffering then I
6:15 would say the scales have been tipped
6:17 are the scales tipped a little bit a lot
6:19 what is your I think I can’t put a
6:21 number on it but the scales are being
6:22 tipped a lot there’s a whole lot of
6:24 injustice standards of living are rising
6:27 globally so am led to understand from
6:30 the statistics that so there is good
6:31 news nevertheless there is there are
6:34 massive inequalities and there are
6:36 people who don’t have adequate water
6:39 there were adequate food there are
6:41 a women who do not are not able to
6:44 control their own reproduction and and
6:46 so they and their families are condemned
6:48 to poverty by restrictions on their
6:50 sexuality and the reproduction and that
6:52 is a gross injustice it seems that you
6:55 have a picture of reality such that
6:58 justice is an ideal that hasn’t been
7:01 achieved and if we all could get
7:03 together and work towards it maybe we
7:05 could help tip the balance but
7:07 ultimately the record is marred
7:09 throughout history such that will never
7:11 have a perfect record of justice but we
7:13 could just fix it a little bit over time
7:15 and perhaps forget about the bad old i’m
7:17 not i’m not working for perfection i’m
7:20 working for improvement ok the concept
7:22 of perfection is probably a religious
7:24 concept anyway there’s no such thing as
7:26 perfection we want to improve things and
7:28 that we certainly can do when you
7:30 improve are you moving towards the good
7:32 and the perfect and the just we’re
7:34 moving towards towards justice for the
7:36 good yes ok but not toward the perfect
7:38 as I say I don’t really think because we
7:41 would have to agree absolutely wondrous
7:43 on what is what is the perfect situation
7:45 for perfection to exist there’s there’ll
7:47 always be lots of disagreement about
7:49 what direction we should be working in
7:50 but we can most humans can agree that we
7:53 would like to get rid of hunger disease
7:55 or war you know we can agree on a lot of
7:59 things and work toward those things the
8:02 notion of good better best that seems
8:05 valid to a scientific to you well that’s
8:09 good better yeah it’s just if we improve
8:11 from good to better and better to best
8:13 that seems like a logical progression
8:16 yes it’s not offensive to you to move
8:19 from better to best offensive no it’s
8:22 just that I think that these definitions
8:24 are very abstract there they’re abstract
8:28 in there I don’t know if they’re well
8:30 defined I mean the only thing we can
8:33 work for is the better ok ok I mean the
8:37 best is I don’t know what your best
8:39 you’re a bit hesitant to embrace the
8:41 notion that there is a best well I in
8:44 absolute what I what I will not embrace
8:46 is the concept of perfection because I
8:49 don’t think such a thing as possible or
8:52 I don’t think it can even be defined
8:54 pragmatically is it is
8:55 useful to strive for this perfection it
8:58 is pragmatic to strive towards and
8:59 betterment yes it’s making things better
9:01 you don’t aim high you’re never going to
9:03 even yes mediocrity it’s probably a good
9:06 strategy when you talk about justice
9:08 when you talk about achieving justice is
9:10 there an eternal objective standard by
9:13 which you’re judging justice no like I
9:16 said I don’t I don’t think there’s
9:17 perfection but I know that one thing we
9:19 can do is to completely neutralize the
9:22 power of the Catholic Church
9:24 internationally that would be an
9:25 excellent thing because the Catholic
9:27 Church is a motor of poverty and misery
9:29 throughout the planet it doesn’t
9:32 necessarily do it deliberately and
9:33 explicitly but it denies women control
9:36 over their own bodies by restricting
9:37 contraception and family planning and
9:40 abortion and all the various tools that
9:42 that people need and it’s specifically
9:44 women need so that they can plan their
9:47 lives and live better and by not
9:49 allowing them to do that they’re
9:51 condemned to be at the whim of their
9:54 body they get pregnant or they don’t
9:57 they have five children instead of they
9:59 only wanted to or whatever and the
10:01 situation condemns women in particular
10:05 and societies in general to poverty
10:08 creates a whole lot of misery and so one
10:10 thing we can do to make the world a
10:11 better place is to kill the power of the
10:14 Vatican to stop the Vatican to stop the
10:16 Catholic Church from preventing women to
10:18 control their own reproduction I want to
10:20 present you with the two enemies of
10:22 atheism that you mentioned Islam and the
10:24 Catholic Church which one do you fear
10:26 most of which one do you hate more Islam
10:29 and Catholicism being one very large
10:33 current in Christianity are both very
10:37 negative they’re very harmful to
10:40 humanity in different ways it turns out
10:43 that Islam is currently on a bit of a
10:45 roll and it’s extremely dangerous
10:47 because of the radical terrorist aspect
10:51 of Islam Islamic fundamentalism but
10:54 there was a time when Christianity was
10:57 worse than Islam and it’s Christianity
11:00 remains of a force a very very harmful
11:05 force worldwide as well what can you see
11:08 that I
11:09 can’t see about how the church’s harming
11:11 me as a man a white privilege Western
11:13 man or am I not in a position to be hurt
11:16 by the Catholic Church your harmed a lot
11:18 less than other people just be and so am
11:21 i am harmed a lot less than a lot of
11:22 people simple by virtue of living in a
11:25 relatively well-to-do country where we
11:28 have certain basic freedoms that I mean
11:31 it’s not perfect but as a whole lot
11:32 better than to some other countries
11:34 being a man it things like that to the
11:36 harm is highly mitigated for us but it
11:39 still exists I think everyone is harmed
11:43 when people are denied basic rights will
11:47 you be willing to hazard a guess as to
11:50 how I’m suffering in the church I have
11:52 no idea I can’t talk about you
11:54 personally know well I would say that
11:56 Roman Catholicism distorts the relations
12:00 between the genders women by virtue of
12:03 the reproductive capabilities are more
12:06 directly harmed but that harms everyone
12:09 it means that people in general cannot
12:12 plan their reproduction it impacts women
12:15 directly but in it impacts men
12:18 indirectly man who are in relationships
12:20 with women or you know men who want to
12:24 be Father’s or don’t want to be father
12:26 is it the church’s attitude towards
12:29 sexuality in general towards
12:30 homosexuality is very damaging basically
12:32 for the Catholic Church homosexuality is
12:35 okay as long as you’re a member of the
12:37 clergy and you’re sufficiently
12:38 hypocritical but if you are honest about
12:41 it and open about it it’s a sin or
12:43 there’s something wrong with it and it’s
12:45 it basically the Catholic Church is an
12:48 engine for hypocrisy in the field of
12:51 sexuality in general and homosexuality
12:52 in particular and the trouble is it says
12:55 this with the pretense of divine
12:57 authority a priest who happens to to
13:02 abuse someone sexually or even abuse
13:06 them in some other way it’s a little
13:09 different from just an ordinary human
13:11 being who abuses another person because
13:12 that priests is imbued according to the
13:16 Catholic Church with divine authority
13:17 and that means that that gives that
13:20 person a great deal of power which means
13:22 a great
13:23 you love a potential for abuse the
13:25 corruption of the best is the worst well
13:27 I wouldn’t say they’re the best but you
13:31 let their corruption can be the
13:33 corruption of those who have who are
13:35 reputed to be of the best who have the
13:38 authority of as if they were the best
13:40 their corruption yes can be very helpful
13:42 which form of Christianity were you
13:44 raised with I was raised in a Protestant
13:47 church a very liberal Protestant church
13:48 d know the name of the denominations oh
13:51 yeah the United Church of Canada it’s
13:52 the most important Protestant
13:54 denomination in in Canada that’s the
13:56 church I was baptized in okay as a child
13:58 okay and it so it’s very you know it’s
14:01 very open minded compared to two
14:03 probably the majority of Christian
14:05 churches but I think it’s naive to
14:08 credit them or give them too much credit
14:10 for what they’ve done they still hang on
14:13 to the idea of morality being situated
14:18 to create Creator God they’re a big
14:22 proponent of multiculturalism which his
14:28 is become very damaging in Canada
14:30 because it’s used as a as a sort of as a
14:33 vehicle to oppose secularism and I mean
14:37 by multiculturalism it used to mean
14:39 cultural diversity it doesn’t mean that
14:40 anymore and now it means more like
14:42 cultural relativism means that people’s
14:44 attachment to their ethno-religious
14:47 community is more important than their
14:48 citizenship and that’s what’s that’s
14:49 what’s harmful for example when a
14:51 previous Quebec government tried to
14:53 implement secularism here they’re
14:55 accused of being racist and intolerant
14:58 and xenophobic all of which is nonsense
15:00 but and this is all based on the
15:03 ideology of multiculturalism if you
15:05 don’t like it to erase this whereas in
15:07 fact I think that multiculturalism is
15:09 like a soft form of racism but anyway
15:11 the United Church of Canada is a strong
15:12 proponent of that it’s it’s it’s very
15:15 much I call it the religious left we all
15:17 know the religious right you nitrogen
15:19 Canada that’s the religious left do you
15:21 place the Catholic Church on the writer
15:22 in the center oh it’s more on the right
15:24 okay it’s it’s sort of in a classified
15:26 stuff it is the biggest Christian
15:30 organization on the planet I think yeah
15:32 it’s very right-wing but it’s also very
15:36 large and varied and the
15:37 there are left-wing Catholics and would
15:40 you include the Pope by the left-wing
15:41 path no I would consider him as a clever
15:45 marketer and someone not to be trusted I
15:47 think he’s very sort of fashionable
15:49 these days because he says a lot of nice
15:52 things but basically it’s the same old
15:54 same old he’s just a very good he’s a
15:56 really good propaganda it turns out the
15:58 pope is catholic yes yes how you say it
16:01 seems pretty catholic and if we go um I
16:04 don’t know the details but I believe he
16:06 has some pretty close associations with
16:08 the dictatorship in our in his native
16:10 argentina I need to research that
16:12 further but I do know that he was
16:15 involved in administration of a Catholic
16:16 University in Argentina and the
16:18 Declaration of Principles of that
16:20 university and there were there were
16:21 three basic principles and I forgotten
16:23 what two of them were but the first one
16:25 of them and the first was the fight
16:27 against atheism and I don’t think he’s
16:30 changed his opinion on that at all
16:32 basically the idea is that atheism is
16:35 bad because atheism atheists have no
16:38 morals because morality belongs to the
16:41 Catholic Church we we own it that’s what
16:43 the Catholic Church says we own morality
16:44 and that is nonsense what you’re saying
16:46 makes me think immediately of
16:49 Freemasonry because Freemasonry seems to
16:51 have your same objective in mind which
16:53 is the eradication of religion and the
16:55 elevation of reason I wouldn’t say the
16:58 eradication because i would say remove
17:01 its power and then it it will fade into
17:04 insignificance but removing its power is
17:06 a big job I’m not familiar with the
17:09 Masons I’ve heard of them i think i was
17:12 actually accused of being one because i
17:14 was involved in the fight for secularism
17:15 and and sort of the Masons are sort of
17:18 like the Jews of secularism like you’re
17:21 the Jews of anti-catholicism if somebody
17:25 criticizes the Catholic Church so no
17:26 goddamn freemason and so I got accused
17:29 of one of her boots what’s a freemason
17:30 but I believe the Freemasons are there’s
17:33 a large variety there’s a whole gamut of
17:36 them and some of them are religious and
17:39 some are not and some are more
17:42 progressive than others some are more
17:43 anti-catholic than others but there is a
17:46 very old organization or a very old
17:47 movement with many organizations what I
17:50 would say is that I’ve met vegetarians
17:52 who eat meat but that doesn’t change the
17:53 definition of vegetarianism Freemasonry
17:55 has a doctrine your movement and has a
17:59 clear agenda and it seems to me that you
18:01 should be working together because
18:03 you’re you’re very United in your gold a
18:05 secular world with reason as its well
18:09 the most the most secular non-religious
18:12 Freemasons have apparently a political
18:16 position which is compatible with ours
18:18 to my understanding but I don’t that the
18:21 older such an organization exists in
18:23 Quebec of oh yeah this is that there’s a
18:24 freemason lodge right by a church that I
18:27 go to I consider them sort of very
18:30 old-fashioned like sort of old boys club
18:33 almost medieval that like they’re like
18:36 they’re among the original critics of
18:37 Christianity which I think gives to
18:40 their great credit there’s a lot of rich
18:42 pseudo religious ritual apparently and
18:46 also then because they’ve been around
18:48 for so long they it’s a movement that
18:51 started at a time when it was extremely
18:53 dangerous to criticize the Catholic
18:55 Church and so they had to be very subtle
18:57 and careful and and I think that’s part
18:59 of their tradition is that they’re not
19:01 quite open enough in their criticism now
19:03 what do you think of another group that
19:04 I think is very similar and that’s the
19:06 Satanist I’m not familiar with Satan
19:08 this either very similar goals reason
19:11 Liberty from religion what yes I mean
19:14 religion I considered to be at best
19:17 harmless but generally harmful and often
19:20 extremely harmful and we have examples
19:22 that today but the Satanists I’m not
19:25 familiar with they have a taboo to be
19:28 associated with someone with that well
19:30 not me you know no I do have one sort of
19:32 a reservation Satan is it’s a myth it’s
19:36 a supernatural mythological character
19:38 and I can understand if they’re using it
19:40 in a strictly metaphorical boy it means
19:42 and that’s fine but that’s something I
19:44 need to clarify the atheistic Satanists
19:46 are the theistic Satanist also there are
19:49 always like the Freemasons there’s
19:50 something okay well then she I don’t
19:52 know enough about it they seem like
19:53 resources that you have not yet tapped
19:55 but maybe you’re busy enough with the
19:57 regular Joe Blow atheist well I mean in
20:00 addition to atheists there are humanists
20:04 who
20:04 have very similar goals to us there are
20:06 people who call themselves secular but
20:09 they don’t necessarily call themselves
20:10 atheists and they have goals very
20:11 similar to ours and you know there are
20:14 people who call themselves agnostic and
20:16 you know we reject that term but you
20:18 know often they have similar goals
20:19 sometimes not but there’s a whole gamut
20:21 of people with whom we share some values
20:23 do you know any closet atheists that go
20:26 to Catholic Church I don’t personally
20:28 but I’m sure there are he’s probably a
20:30 lot of it is probably have a lot of
20:31 closet atheists in the priesthood for
20:33 that matter yeah I mean I mean those who
20:36 are who have studied the have studied
20:39 the theology long enough who come to the
20:42 conclusion that it’s a house of cards my
20:45 journey from atheism in to Catholicism
20:49 was via western philosophy how do you
20:52 view me psychologically as someone
20:55 that’s gone off the rails how would you
20:57 describe my I don’t know I don’t know
20:59 you personally I don’t know how you
21:01 could get from Satanism to Catholicism
21:03 but at least you’ve informed me that
21:05 your Satanism was atheistic okay so I
21:07 know that now my leap was a very short
21:11 jump from me as God to God has got a
21:14 very short leap you as God yeah this is
21:17 logical outcome of atheism if you’re
21:19 going to ask yourself Who am I how did I
21:22 get here what is the source of my life
21:24 there only two answers I am the source
21:26 of existence or God is no no that’s not
21:29 that’s not correct atheism does not
21:31 posit that the individual is God you am
21:34 NOT God you would lose membership for
21:36 sure if you explicitly said that but
21:38 that is the lodge out in very much you
21:41 do realize that there’s a gnostic
21:42 new-age mole right that people are
21:46 expressly coming out of the closet
21:48 saying i am god you do understand oprah
21:50 winfrey and people like that she said
21:51 are saying that yeah I find the whole
21:53 concept kind of silly anyway why there
21:57 is no God and so we don’t have to be one
22:00 the point I know where we came from we
22:03 came from evolution of other species
22:05 that happened over billions of years and
22:08 you know that’s where we came from do
22:10 you believe in the Big Bang I don’t
22:12 believe in anything in the sense of
22:16 being attached to that as
22:18 belief if if the scientific evidence
22:21 points to that okay then show me the
22:23 evidence would you be opposed to the
22:25 idea that the universe has no beginning
22:27 that i think is plausible yes i mean
22:30 there could of if if there was a big
22:32 bang at the beginning then maybe there
22:34 was something before the Big Bang and
22:35 though so that wasn’t really the
22:36 beginning and you know maybe there’s a a
22:38 bang and is in a shrink and a bang in a
22:41 shrinking every 30 gazillion years you
22:43 know would it be safe to say that you
22:45 prefer a universe that’s infinite in
22:47 both directions past and future would
22:49 you prefer that philosophically because
22:51 then you don’t need to deal with that
22:53 troublesome beginning going from nothing
22:56 to something an eternal universe is
22:59 simpler than one that was created so I
23:03 would have some preference for that but
23:05 it’s only a time you don’t you don’t see
23:07 the logical necessity of a first cause
23:09 in the universe where cause and effect
23:11 determines every no I don’t accept the
23:12 idea that you go back and back and you
23:14 have to stop and there oh and then
23:15 that’s God do you believe in cause and
23:18 effect of course there’s cause and
23:19 effect but there’s also random
23:21 fluctuation and randomness do those
23:24 random fluctuations obey the laws of
23:26 nature the laws of nature are not
23:28 written down in some big book that we
23:31 discover them we see patterns and we
23:33 recognize them and and we predict events
23:35 based on those laws which we make up
23:38 from the data we’ve observed and if our
23:40 predictions turn out to be true then
23:42 that violates the law is probably being
23:44 a good one but it’s there’s nothing
23:45 sacred about them do you believe that
23:47 randomness is truly random and uncaused
23:50 do you believe that randomness is
23:53 uncaused it is not part of the cause and
23:55 effect chain I could ask you I could ask
0:03 you another way are you a determinist or
0:04 do you believe in free will oh that’s a
0:08 huge question and my mind is not made up
0:11 from my limited knowledge of philosophy
0:14 is an extremely difficult question that
0:17 philosophers have been bending their
0:18 brains around for millennia and still
0:21 not solved would you prefer to have free
0:23 will real free will as opposed to just
0:25 the illusion of freedom do you
0:28 experience the illusion of free will at
0:29 least oh yeah I experience the illusion
0:32 but as you say it may be an illusion it
0:34 may be a reality it may be a reality as
0:36 well would that damage your determinism
0:39 with cause and effect in science I would
0:40 have to see how they fit together I mean
0:42 the reality may be some combination of
0:45 determinism and randomness and with some
0:47 portion of free will mixed with a
0:49 certain degree of determinism is free
0:51 will by definition supernatural no free
0:55 will is a scientific notion in the
0:57 laboratory can we test free will can we
0:59 find free will or you’d have to define
1:01 it first before you can test for it I
1:03 mean what are you going to test a human
1:06 being or some animal and how do you
1:08 define free will an action where no
1:13 cause can be found or in principle even
1:17 though in the lab it’s difficult there
1:18 are many things in the lab that are
1:19 difficult but in principle do you think
1:21 that free will follows cause and effect
1:24 is free will bound by cause and effect
1:29 clearly if we have free will it’s not
1:31 infinite you can’t do everything some
1:33 things are possible where where where we
1:35 are bound by certain constraints I can’t
1:37 fly no matter how much free will I have
1:39 if you watch water tumbling over a
1:42 waterfall you would agree that its
1:45 movements are all bound by the laws of
1:46 nature and by cause and effect no its
1:49 general movements but there’s a there’s
1:52 probably a great deal of random motion
25:55:00 within the water at a microscopic
25:57:00 submicroscopic scale I mean molecules
26:00:00 moving around randomly because of their
26:03:00 other particular temperature that’s
26:04:00 thermodynamics if I flip a coin is the
26:07:00 outcome determined by the laws of nature
26:10:00 and cause and effect well if you could
26:14:00 describe and quantify all the variables
26:17:00 maybe but there’s a help a lot of
26:20:00 variables what if it’s a little little
26:22:00 current air current they didn’t take
26:24:00 account of is you know if we in a vacuum
26:26:00 we let a coin fall if it’s in a vacuum
26:29:00 that simplifies things greatly it
26:31:00 removes a lot of variables and you know
26:35:00 it’s completely deterministic unless it
26:37:00 happens to land on its edge and the edge
26:39:00 is infinitely thin and I don’t know what
26:41:00 are you and the
26:43:00 this is when you decide to have
26:44:00 chocolate versus vanilla ice cream is
26:46:00 that decision deterministic in the same
26:49:00 way or is there a different process I
26:50:00 don’t know he’s the complexity
26:52:00 preventing you from having an opinion
26:53:00 about free will just the complexity
26:56:00 that’s probably it yes because I’m I’m
26:59:00 not a professional philosopher and I
27:01:00 think I would have to be one to fully
27:02:00 understand these concepts of free will
27:04:00 in principle would it change your a
27:07:00 theistic worldview if you realize that
27:09:00 free will is real and that it’s
27:12:00 supernatural well first of all a free
27:15:00 will were real and on delusion I don’t
27:18:00 think that would change anything but
27:20:00 your statement that that it could be
27:23:00 supernatural I’d find that a meaningless
27:25:00 statement okay what about your mind if
27:29:00 you came to understand that your mind is
27:31:00 not just activity in your brain it’s not
27:33:00 an epiphenomenon what your mind itself
27:36:00 is supernatural with that change your
27:38:00 atheistic worldview the mind is simply
27:41:00 the result of brain activity if a
27:44:00 criminal commits a criminal act and the
27:47:00 judge sentenced him to prison do you
27:49:00 think that the deterministic scientific
27:51:00 nature of his act removes guilt from him
27:54:00 if there’s no free will if there is no
27:59:00 free will okay but that’s a big if I
28:03:00 think it’s pretty clear that punishment
28:05:00 doesn’t work very well anyway and so I
28:08:00 expect an evolution of criminal law in
28:11:00 the future but I can’t say I can’t give
28:15:00 any details in principle you believe
28:18:00 that we are moral agents we have
28:21:00 morality
28:24:00 well morality is simply intelligent
28:28:00 self-interest who’s a better example of
28:30:00 a moral person the one who lives in
28:32:00 reality or the one that lives in a
28:35:00 delusion I would say the one who lives
28:37:00 in reality would you agree would you be
28:40:00 willing to agree in principle that if
28:42:00 God created you that you owe him worship
28:46:00 and love and obedience in principle not
28:49:00 necessarily and to say that God exists
28:53:00 is it is a humongous leap of faith to
28:56:00 begin with but then even if we accept
28:59:00 that and take that leap of faith why the
29:03:00 hell with that entity need to be
29:05:00 worshipped or adulate it God doesn’t
29:09:00 need anything but let me let me ask you
29:11:00 a different way if you receive love is
29:14:00 it natural for you to reciprocate that
29:16:00 love not necessarily it may be undesired
29:21:00 love his loves about stalking our child
29:28:00 abuse her you know love is not always a
29:32:00 good thing and hate is not always a bad
29:33:00 thing is that all depends on context if
29:36:00 we define love as the church does that
29:38:00 love is the willing of the good of the
29:40:00 other would you say that that’s always
29:42:00 good the willing of the good of the
29:46:00 other it’s I where you well if it’s
29:51:00 limited to simply a wish which app does
29:53:00 nothing then it’s harmless it’s
29:55:00 irrelevant but if it if it leads to
29:57:00 action then that action may have
30:00:00 consequences and it may be misguided if
30:04:00 somebody does something for me without
30:06:00 me asking for it they could do something
30:08:00 I don’t like and I could interpret that
30:11:00 as hostility and not love did you
30:15:00 consent to every loving gesture your
30:18:00 mother made towards you when you were an
30:19:00 infant no but that doesn’t mean I
30:22:00 children are unable to consent to
30:25:00 everything and even adults and we have
30:27:00 our limitations in principle if there is
30:30:00 an all-loving God who doesn’t need
30:32:00 anything but just gratuitously created
30:36:00 you and loves you
30:37:00 and knows that what’s best for you is to
30:41:00 go to him because he’s the source of
30:42:00 everything good and only with him can
30:44:00 you be happy would you be willing and
30:46:00 principle to go to god I’m not going to
30:49:00 answer that question because it starts
30:51:00 with a whole lot of ifs each one of
30:56:00 which is a humongous assumption if you
31:00:00 had a distant relative that you were
31:03:00 unaware of that has lots of money and
31:05:00 that is eager to get in touch with you
31:08:00 to help you with whatever projects you
31:09:00 have yes would you be willing in
31:12:00 principle to meet with that person share
31:15:00 have you heard of Pascal’s wager yes
31:18:00 what do you think of Pascal’s wager I
31:20:00 think it’s a pretty lame excuse to
31:24:00 believe in God I think it’s pretty lame
31:26:00 if you believe in God and God exists you
31:28:00 win if you believe in God and God
31:30:00 doesn’t exist you lose nothing and if
31:33:00 you don’t believe in God but he or she
31:35:00 or it exists then you lose big time but
31:38:00 it’s not true i mean if if you believe
31:41:00 in God and God does not exist and if you
31:46:00 spend your entire lifetime basing your
31:49:00 actions on a belief in God which causes
31:52:00 to do you to do a whole bunch of things
31:54:00 you wouldn’t have done you may end up
31:56:00 wasting your life I mean you could be
31:58:00 doing other things more interesting if
31:59:00 you spend your entire lifetime trying to
32:02:00 please a fictional entity in ways which
32:06:00 do not please you’re either yourself or
32:10:00 other people then why not go through
32:13:00 life enjoying this short precious time
32:17:00 we have here instead of attempting to
32:20:00 please a fictional entity in the hope
32:22:00 that he she or it will somehow reward us
32:25:00 after we’re dead or I’m not sure I have
32:29:00 11 interesting thought experiment for
32:31:00 you I think you find it interesting in
32:33:00 your atheistic worldview what’s
32:36:00 preventing someone if in principle they
32:38:00 could find a way to hide their sick and
32:41:00 malicious pleasure seeking which is at
32:44:00 the expense of helpless victims but he
32:47:00 covers it up to such an extent that no
32:49:00 one ever finds out of course the victim
32:50:00 is fine
32:51:00 they’re they’re not going to tell anyone
32:52:00 and he he gets extreme pleasure from
32:55:00 exerting this power and all the sexual
32:57:00 things he does and he lives life to the
33:01:00 fullest he has all the things that all
33:04:00 of us want in terms of money and
33:05:00 pleasure and dies peacefully in his
33:09:00 sleep in your atheistic worldview what’s
33:13:00 wrong with the choices that that man
33:14:00 made what’s wrong with the choices yeah
33:17:00 because he maximized his pleasure those
33:20:00 types of others and no one ever
33:21:00 suspected him he was treated as a pillar
33:23:00 of the community the what’s wrong is
33:25:00 that we human beings are social animals
33:29:00 we live in societies and no person is an
33:31:00 island but he was the talk of the town
33:33:00 he everyone thought he was a saint well
33:36:00 he was extremely lucky that’s all okay I
33:38:00 mean people were harmed by this person
33:41:00 at first I thought you were positing the
33:43:00 idea of an evil god but you were talking
33:45:00 about an evil human being okay but
33:47:00 that’s another interesting idea the
33:49:00 hypothesis about a idea of it of an evil
33:50:00 God pretends to be good and loving but
33:52:00 no okay you’re talking about an evil
33:54:00 person get that never gets found out
33:56:00 well I mean that that’s that there are
33:58:00 limitations to human justice you know we
34:02:00 don’t always detect injustice you know
34:04:00 there were imperfect we’re limited but
34:06:00 we nevertheless have laws and procedures
34:10:00 to enforce those laws and all of which
34:13:00 are highly imperfect but they’re better
34:15:00 than nothing and the idea is to is to
34:19:00 read out or prevent the most egregious
34:22:00 examples of harming other people do you
34:25:00 think that that person in principle
34:27:00 could exist even though he’s rare
34:28:00 because it’s a rare form of genius but
34:30:00 do you think that that sort of person
34:32:00 would be violating his own conscious
34:35:00 necessarily because there is like you’re
34:38:00 describing a psychopath they have such
34:39:00 people do exist and there are people who
34:42:00 are devoid of the sort of voice of
34:47:00 conscience the the psychological makeup
34:49:00 that most of us have the majority of us
34:51:00 have that that caused us to feel what
34:54:00 you might what I might call emotional
34:56:00 pain mmm that is guilt remorse things
34:58:00 like that that is a handicap for which
35:03:00 the person him
35:04:00 for herself does not apparently suffer
35:08:00 but other people do and but it’s still
35:12:00 suffering and we are social animals and
35:14:00 you know if you want to be absolutely
35:16:00 one hundred percent egotistical about
35:18:00 that one person okay they’re happy great
35:21:00 but you know no person is totally
35:24:00 isolated and you don’t you don’t think
35:26:00 he’s in an env Obel position really
35:28:00 objectively speaking no because this
35:34:00 person is apparently unable to connect
35:35:00 with other people emotionally it sounds
35:38:00 like the person is a psychopath and they
35:39:00 probably lose out a lot in the quality
35:41:00 of life for the same way like don’t they
35:42:00 don’t feel that guilt and remorse but
35:44:00 they probably don’t feel other feelings
35:45:00 that are more friendship love loyalty
35:48:00 the whole range of human emotions is
35:50:00 probably perverted or distorted or you
35:53:00 know in that person I don’t know but so
35:55:00 it it seems that you value these
35:58:00 intangible things Justice loyalty
36:00:00 friendship that doesn’t seem
36:01:00 inconsistent to you as my fist no these
36:04:00 are these there are plenty of intangible
36:06:00 things that are that we use to describe
36:08:00 behavior I mean loyalty is a form of
36:10:00 behavior it’s not it it’s not tangible
36:12:00 but we can recognize it can they be
36:13:00 reduced to a Darwinian mechanic survival
36:17:00 of the species sometimes yes that’s so
36:20:00 that Darwinian worldview is it a big
36:22:00 part of your world yes certainly of
36:25:00 course evolution is essential everything
36:28:00 evolves I mean and not just animals and
36:32:00 plants but you know the universe evolves
36:35:00 societies evolve Darwin’s worldview the
36:42:00 Darwinian world world view will be
36:44:00 interpreted with increasing subtlety and
36:46:00 got more nuanced he laid the foundation
36:49:00 what it was was crude from our point of
36:52:00 view but it was the essential beginning
36:54:00 he got they got their guts right and
36:56:00 we’re adding all the new ones as
36:59:00 research continues if there happened to
37:02:00 be any religious listeners what would
37:04:00 you say to them on a personal level we
37:07:00 all want to be good people is your
37:10:00 religion really necessary for you to do
37:13:00 that do you really need your religious
37:15:00 beliefs in order to be the good person
37:17:00 you want to be
37:21:00 if you like a world view if you think
37:24:00 it’s got some questions at the end I’ll
37:27:00 tell all you got to do is all you got to
37:31:00 do is

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