Catholic vs. Atheist – 2016-09-11 – Renaud

I met Renaud at a “Skeptics in the Pub” meetup, which is run by an Atheist group. I wanted to interview him because when I first met him he was very aggressive. He turned out to be very gentle and calm. He was patient with me. Nice guy.


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

0:00 hi I’m Alan oh and you’re listening to
0:01 Catholic versus areas the way I like to
0:08 start is just have you introduce
0:09 yourself talk a little bit about who you
0:11 are what you believe and why you believe
0:12 it sure I my name is van oh I don’t
0:15 really believe anything supernatural I
0:17 think the way that we know things is by
0:19 studying a real world in general it has
0:22 to go through our senses or two machines
0:25 that we use to measure the real world
0:27 and then we see the measurements with
0:29 our senses you know that’s what science
0:30 is about science is about studying the
0:33 real world in a methodical way it’s not
0:35 always possible to do it in general like
0:37 in your everyday life you’re going to
0:39 want to just observe the real world and
0:41 try to deduce what the real world is
0:44 like do you know the difference between
0:45 deduction and induction shoots deduction
0:49 is a top-down logical cartoon where we
0:51 use pure reason right in induction we
0:53 observe patterns and we impose a rule or
0:57 a conclusion on the pattern and the
0:59 philosopher David Hume said that there’s
1:00 a problem with induction which is they
1:02 can never know with absolute certainty
1:04 yeah and I don’t pretend to know
1:06 anything with absolute certainty when we
1:09 make decisions we don’t wait until we
1:12 have absolute certainty about the state
1:14 of things we make decisions based on the
1:17 best information that we have so you may
1:19 try to get more information if it’s
1:21 possible sometimes we just don’t have
1:23 enough information to make an informed
1:25 decision but the earth is bigger than my
1:28 head do you have absolute confidence in
1:31 those sorts of statements about relation
1:33 the earth is bigger than your head
1:35 according to everything I couldn’t
1:38 observe I can look at your head directly
1:40 I can look at the urge and you know I
1:42 can observe directly that the earth is
1:44 bigger than your head but I don’t know
1:46 maybe I’m in the matrix and yeah you
1:48 know and like it’s all Venusian or
1:50 something like that there’s no
1:51 scientific basis for positing the
1:54 existence of reality or of the alarm
1:55 what are we all in the matrix or
1:57 whatever it’s real I don’t see the
1:59 difference because it’s their world that
2:01 I experience right the difference is
2:03 that if the world is your creation and
2:06 only you exist then you don’t need to
2:08 worry about heaven and hell because you
2:10 are God Almighty and you have nothing
2:11 that can ever hurt you well
2:13 I mean I can try it for my will alone to
2:16 change the world but that doesn’t seem
2:17 to work so you would conclude that the
2:20 real world is real and that you are not
2:22 according to everything again I can
2:25 observe yeah it seems to me the case
2:27 yeah how do you feel about deism there’s
2:31 a first cause there’s a prime mover he
2:33 got the whole shebang going he created
2:35 the universe I’m not convinced you not
2:38 gonna know I wouldn’t claim that it’s
2:41 false okay but I like what we need
2:43 evidence like why I posit that there was
2:46 a being there do you believe that the
2:50 universe is undergoing dissipation and
2:54 approaching a heat death that’s the
2:56 current scientific world yeah explore
2:58 the expansion of bird and university
3:00 sure slowly slowly dying if time in the
3:05 past is infinite the heat death would
3:07 have already arrived it hasn’t arrived
3:09 there photos from mad necessary you know
3:13 if there’s infinite time behind us would
3:17 enough time of elapsed for this heat
3:18 death that’s impending to arrive no yes
3:23 no that’s not how it works we need a
3:25 beginning mathematically know
3:28 mathematically yes because if you
3:30 acknowledge now that this universe will
3:33 dissipate such that life is not tenable
3:36 human life and malaria sure is untenable
3:39 as is in translational sure put it from
3:41 the laws of physics that crab served
3:43 that’s what we can predict but we don’t
3:45 know if like maybe the Big Bang was the
3:48 result of a prior state of the universe
3:51 which is what you believe right because
3:52 you believe in God so we call I noting
3:54 like that I know I could I don’t believe
3:56 that so according to you the prior state
3:57 of the universe was God no there was no
3:59 universe before God created but God
4:02 existed right but it was not the
4:04 universe okay it’s not a creation so how
4:07 do you define universe creation so you
4:11 inject a being to your definition of the
4:15 you know the greater injects a creation
4:18 I’m a creature I don’t inject God God
4:20 indexing when we talk about creation we
4:23 imply that someone
4:25 yeah so you’re kind of begging the
4:27 question when you call the universe
4:29 creation you’re like you’re not saying
4:31 by definition it was treated because
4:33 it’s a creation so I could define it
4:36 like the universe as the result of the
4:39 pre universe or something alike which is
4:41 what you believe you believe there was
4:42 something before the universe because
4:44 you but if it was good before the
4:45 universe right we don’t believe there’s
4:47 time for matter before you but if only
4:51 cuz there’s only got the being whose
4:53 essences existence so so so it’s not a
4:56 block of wood he’s not a stone he’s not
4:58 a human is since his existence in
5:00 essence is existence he just exists okay
5:03 without a cause he is uncaused because
5:06 you know I could posit for example a
5:08 unicorn that is pink a phaser horn and
5:12 that exists and by definition it exists
5:15 therefore it exists no but we are
5:17 contingent beings we depend on our
5:19 existence depends on something else
5:21 other things the fact that you exist and
5:24 the fact that you acknowledge that
5:25 eventually human life will be untenable
5:28 in the universe because he bets entropy
5:30 okay sure and there is a certain number
5:32 of years or a certain amount of time
5:35 that is finite which will accomplish
5:38 that completion of life and the fact
5:42 that that amount of time has not yet
5:43 passed and your your your means there
5:46 isn’t against your kind of suggesting
5:48 there’s a certain amount of time from
5:51 the beginning but let’s talk about
5:52 Matt’s now there’s a finite number of
5:56 whole numbers between 0 & 3 right that
6:00 doesn’t mean that there isn’t any pinche
6:03 are whole numbers below 0 there’s still
6:06 an affinity a whole numbers below 0 what
6:10 tells you that the universe is not
6:11 doesn’t have a cause other than God that
6:13 is not an infinity of causes other than
6:17 God let’s explore this idea of
6:19 multiverses okay when I talk about the
6:21 universe yeah as a Catholic if there are
6:25 multiverses those multiverses are part
6:28 of my universe the whole reason that we
6:31 talk about a universe is because we’re
6:33 uniting everything into soup when when
6:35 we talk about their heat death of the
6:37 universe
6:37 it concentrates on the laws that we
6:40 observe here but if there is a kind of
6:42 super universe in which has different
6:44 laws it it might not have those laws it
6:48 might be again that the Big Bang was the
6:51 beginning it might be that there was a
6:52 beginning prior to that which is also 49
6:55 or there might be no begin it might be
6:58 caused by a multiverse switches itself
7:00 infinite we can rule out the possibility
7:02 that the super-universe as you would
7:04 call it has no beginning in time we can
7:06 rule that out why because we’re still
7:08 here given the fact that things are
7:13 unraveling if you want to put it again
7:15 if you talk about it again if you talk
7:16 about numbers you know before zero
7:20 there’s an infinity of numbers you know
7:22 an affinity and yet we still haven’t
7:24 gotten to tree right I want to ask you
7:28 about cause and effect how important is
7:30 that to science my understanding my
7:33 Leman understanding of quantum physics
7:36 is that there’s phenomenon that are
7:39 purely random if you’re willing to
7:41 accept randomness true randomness that
7:44 to me is more absurd than my acceptance
7:46 of God the first okay you don’t see a
7:49 problem with embracing an uncaused
7:52 effect no although I couldn’t prove that
7:55 that isn’t some kind of hidden cost to
7:58 them okay the statistical approach is
8:01 only a tool that we use because of our
8:02 ignorance let’s imagine that your work
8:04 as a scientist as we tell yo sure would
8:06 you find it useful to adopt what we call
8:09 God’s point of view the gods idea it
8:12 eliminates things like the Copenhagen
8:16 interpretation in Schrodinger’s cat
8:18 there’s a philosophical interpretation
8:20 of that whereby they say the cat is
8:21 neither alive nor dead until we observe
8:24 it when we observe it then that
8:26 probability function collapses into one
8:28 state or the other but if we adopt God’s
8:31 point of view he sees if the cat is
8:33 alive or dead he sees if that poisonous
8:36 bomb has exploded or not and he sees
8:39 through that black box that we humans
8:42 can’t see through so he doesn’t need
8:45 probability waves which collapse upon
8:47 observation because he’s
8:48 we observing everything Einstein had
8:50 this worldview Einstein said God does
8:52 not play dice seeing God doesn’t play
8:54 dice you know that’s just making a
8:56 statement you’re actually prove there’s
8:58 no proof it’s a philosophical question
9:00 it’s a worldview I don’t have a prob you
9:04 your way well if you’re if you’re
9:06 willing to say in principle that
9:08 probability is only a tool because of
9:10 our ignorance and you do have a
9:11 worldview you have a rational sane world
9:13 view I tear about what works if you have
9:16 a model that allows you to make
9:17 predictions and you make prediction and
9:19 they come true that’s the model that
9:21 works scientist science it works but
9:24 what this podcast is about is about
9:26 philosophy and slowed ideas and it’s
9:28 about ultimate reality and does God
9:31 exist or not and your interpretation of
9:34 the philosophy of science will
9:36 predispose you to moving towards or away
9:40 from God because you know from my point
9:43 of view it’s not a problem at all
9:44 question is there good or not their aim
9:47 it is for you well I’m sure there’s for
9:49 you it is for you to be just don’t know
9:51 it you don’t wreck a you don’t recognize
9:53 it because either God is God or you or
9:56 god it’s a major difference two major
9:58 difference how about the hypothesis of
10:00 this such a thing as karma advisor I
10:04 believe in karma karma just means cause
10:08 effect so I believe in cause and effect
10:11 but let’s talk a little bit about this
10:14 unicorn okay or the spaghetti monster or
10:17 the things that the hardcore atheist
10:19 like to put in place of God okay like
10:21 Santa Claus Easter Bunny whatever it is
10:23 or the Greek gods are Apollo or whatever
10:25 you want to talk about just pick some
10:27 stupid thing and replace God’s good
10:29 thing oh yeah that’s me relative to god
10:32 it’s stupid okay it’s just so everything
10:35 is stupid relative to go so let’s go
10:38 with unicorns what would it take for you
10:40 to believe in unicorns I it’s not that
10:43 freaky actually it’s not that weird it’s
10:44 true it’s actually not that weird I mean
10:47 different claims cannot have you know we
10:49 did we don’t necessarily meet me that I
10:51 as much evidence to prove them like if
10:54 you tell again if you if you tell me
10:56 yesterday you you you you were wearing a
10:58 red
10:59 t-shirt and you show me a picture you
11:03 yesterday with a red t-shirt and I’m
11:05 definitely gonna believe in Photoshop I
11:07 actually actually if you if you just
11:09 tell me where wearing a t-shirt
11:11 yesterday that’s pretty gonna be good
11:13 enough for me but if you if you tell me
11:15 that you can you say ports I’m not gonna
11:18 believe you so like they’re you know the
11:20 ordinary claims extraordinary exactly
11:23 exactly the claim that you exist give me
11:27 evidence proportional to that there are
11:31 two possibilities you are self existent
11:33 I know um I don’t see how you can go
11:37 from exists to therefore god exists with
11:41 a leap of faith I don’t do that yes you
11:44 do or at least I try not you do that you
11:46 take the leap of faith that I exist I
11:49 don’t take your leader paper I see you
11:52 but you know that you exist right yeah
11:56 sure that trumps any sensory data that’s
12:00 coming into you you have to be alive to
12:03 see me the central fact for you is that
12:08 you are that you’re alive that is the
12:10 there again again that’s that I mean
12:12 it’s it’s hard to argue with the cards
12:15 on that but I don’t see where to go from
12:17 there they’re usually it’s kind of a
12:19 dead then from there you’re stuck there
12:22 yeah you have to take you have to take a
12:24 leap of faith and say reality is real
12:26 well I can’t walk I just deal with what
12:29 I have like I experience the world I
12:34 expand my own thoughts and I make sense
12:38 all of them because that’s all but how
12:40 you can throw away century data you
12:42 can’t throw away your own existence I
12:44 catch really true web sensory data
12:46 actually you can deny them I can’t
12:49 ignite some of them but I can’t really
12:51 deny them as a block and go somewhere
12:54 from there have you met a Buddhist do
12:56 you know that the Buddhist denies his
12:58 only distance I know I didn’t know that
13:01 and the reason they do that is because
13:04 they are confronted with the sensory
13:06 data that you and I are confronted with
13:08 and instead of taking a leap of faith
13:10 into reality and saying that reality is
13:12 real let’s get on with science they say
13:16 it’s just the dream of the one mind
13:19 that’s what Buddhism is so if you look
13:23 at the Buddhists on the one end of the
13:24 spectrum and you look at me a Catholic
13:27 on the other end of the spectrum the
13:29 Buddhist denies his senses and says only
13:32 God is real mm-hmm I say that God is
13:35 real the real world is real science is
13:37 good and we can’t just pretend like the
13:41 world doesn’t exist right so there are
13:43 two extremes they’re both weird but on
13:46 that spectrum where would you place
13:47 yourself you as an individual where
13:49 would you place yourself closer to the
13:50 Catholic or closer to the Buddhist
13:52 you’re closer to the Catholic your
13:54 nozzles right up against us
13:55 indistinguishable basically ah on that
13:59 point I’m not sure on the point of
14:02 acknowledging that reality is real you
14:04 are indistinguishable from whatever
14:06 they’re better you don’t deny reality
14:10 what does science say about the Mayan
14:12 not the brain the mind the mind that is
14:15 really much very much linked to the
14:17 brain in the sense that if you if you if
14:20 you damage the brain it might change the
14:25 mind change your mind that’s pretty
14:28 clear that whenever we talk about
14:29 anything related to the mind it’s all
14:32 about neurology yeah now do you think
14:35 that brain activity follows cause and
14:38 effects yeah yeah from the most part I
14:42 mean there might be some random and I
14:44 may not give you a hint okay if you say
14:46 that it’s not determined one hundred
14:49 percent by causing effect then you are
14:51 irrationally embracing the supernatural
14:53 I don’t see that randomness you admitted
14:56 to me earlier has to be an admission of
14:58 ignorance we need statistical methods
14:59 because we’re ignorant even though we
15:01 can’t see the cause for every effect in
15:03 principle every effect does have a cause
15:05 that’s what I would say and for you to
15:07 say something different would mean that
15:08 you’re embracing an irrational
15:11 supernatural I don’t see why every
15:13 should
15:14 this principle because your reject God
15:16 you reject the supernatural I don’t see
15:19 how in principle we could we should
15:21 reject the possibility that are things
15:23 that are absolutely random that are that
15:26 they just don’t have any i know i don’t
15:28 know kasi yeah i don’t see why we should
15:30 check that is i mean it might be a name
15:33 for that it’s called a miracle right
15:36 where there’s no natural cause there’s a
15:38 supernatural cause it’s called a miracle
15:40 so if you say so are you open to the
15:43 possibility of the supernatural if
15:46 nobody can study it it’s kind of a just
15:49 an idea but if the scientists are
15:52 speculating that there may be an
15:54 uncaused affect us miss randomness that
15:56 you talked about it’s not subject to
15:58 sinus why not because oh you’re Noble as
16:01 an effect i Jes okay so they are
16:05 acknowledging something that is beyond
16:08 nature his nature works with cause and
16:10 effect do you understand this is this is
16:13 the whole point yeah but but but I don’t
16:16 see why we should bust late one world
16:18 order I think what really counts in
16:21 science is really like what you can
16:24 observe what predictions you can make
16:26 one principle that’s often used in
16:28 science is when you have two models that
16:31 are exactly as prediction and one is
16:34 more complex than the other you’re going
16:35 to use the simpler one is Newtonian
16:38 physics obsolete now that we have the
16:41 new physics not completely because it
16:42 can fill be used in many situations the
16:44 reason that we have quantum physics even
16:46 though Newtonian physics works is
16:49 because we need that complex system to
16:52 explain the data right but it’s not more
16:54 complex than necessary it’s complex
16:58 because the observation is coming what I
17:00 would say to you is that the Catholic
17:03 world view with all its theology all of
17:05 its dogmas all of its rules and
17:06 regulations everything that the Catholic
17:08 Church gives the faithful is falling
17:12 Occam’s razor it is the simplest
17:14 explanation for the data given the data
17:16 or 10
17:18 me that’s why you’re not a Catholic
17:19 obviously now talk to me a little bit
17:23 about my faith any questions you have
17:26 when you talk about Georgian you talk
17:28 about all kind of things that are
17:30 outside of what we can work with do you
17:33 think I use reason in my faith do you
17:38 yeah well the do you you you postulate
17:41 the premise that there is no uncaused
17:43 cause and my it’s a premise but I don’t
17:46 really see you know I don’t say there’s
17:48 no one to ask cause I say that there is
17:50 an uncaused cause that’s my god the
17:53 uncaused cause is my god that’s why I
17:56 mean you still postulate something and I
17:58 don’t see why you would was sleep I
18:00 didn’t work postulate that then I will
18:02 exact relates to what what you know what
18:04 what I have what can we use or what what
18:07 it can deliver let’s make it very
18:08 concrete and real for you I want you to
18:10 picture for me if you will some relative
18:13 that you love and cherish but who has
18:15 passed away from my perspective reality
18:18 is that your beloved is destined for a
18:21 really horrible outcome are really
18:23 wonderful out so it is ultimately the
18:28 most real thing the most real thing you
18:33 mean it would be the biggest concern
18:35 yeah if you believe it no not if you
18:39 believe it if it’s reality if it’s
18:41 really better if you believe it mm-hmm
18:44 funny people in hell didn’t believe in
18:46 turn if it’s real if he’ll is real okay
18:49 let’s post it an alternative hypothesis
18:51 maybe it is really that after to die if
18:54 you’re a Christian you go to inhale and
18:56 if you’re not good question you go to
18:58 paralyze does that make sense well well
19:02 we apply reason to that we can apply it
19:05 just as much as your hypothesis that a
19:08 good Christian girl I see the difference
19:10 between worshipping a unicorn and
19:12 worshiping God Almighty because God
19:13 Almighty is the only necessary being he
19:17 is the first cause but the unicorn isn’t
19:19 and this is the same thing with positing
19:20 that Christians go to hell and
19:22 non-christians go to heaven it’s like
19:24 saying that the Unicorn is God but he’s
19:27 not the first cause and he’s not on
19:29 again you’re describing a lot of things
19:32 that are outside of everything and I can
19:34 observe anything again test anything I
19:36 can you know it’s interesting that tell
19:38 in heaven are placed after a tie in a
19:41 time are they I cannot observe are their
19:44 way which is that give testimony are
19:47 there witnesses that give testimony that
19:48 hell is real heaven is real yeah and
19:50 also witnesses that give incompatible
19:53 testimonies there’s no end to the lies
19:57 right and the delusions there’s no into
20:00 Marcus sure principle we could create a
20:02 legend right now well yeah sure get rich
20:05 I’m your God give me your money we could
20:11 do that but what we’re examining is the
20:14 evidence is there evidence do people
20:16 talk about God they talk about heaven do
20:18 they talk about how do they talk about
20:19 what it’s like do they talk about how to
20:21 get there do they talk about how to
20:23 avoid hell do they talk about sin and
20:24 they talk about virtue and vice and the
20:27 people of different religions that talk
20:29 about everything that are part of their
20:32 region but if we look at the mainstream
20:34 of monotheism Christianity Judaism and
20:37 Islam hmm why would I focus on that I
20:39 focus on that because that is the
20:42 dominant and predominant trend of
20:45 religion if we look at that do you not
20:48 see major trend lines reinforcing each
20:51 other talking about basic truths of
20:54 monotheistic religious people were not
20:57 for the most part haven’t been
20:59 completely isolated so like people have
21:02 traveled from region to region since the
21:06 beginning of history mean people shared
21:08 ideas and stories so the fact that some
21:11 ideas could be in one religion and also
21:14 in another is not necessary that
21:16 surprising if it’s true I mean yeah it
21:20 makes a lot of sense but if it’s
21:22 positive also makes sense sense ideas
21:25 travel is it worth risking you’re gonna
21:28 you’re gonna ask us later yeah
21:30 yeah is it worth the risk to you too
21:33 amateur it’s really that much of a risk
21:36 I mean maybe maybe if I believe in god
21:38 I’m gonna get punished forever and how
21:40 and you know do you see why I reject
21:44 that you know what it’s if someone comes
21:46 to me and I can say you have a rich
21:49 family member in Kenya and it just
21:51 passed away and you can be kind of
21:53 millionaire if you just give me a
21:55 thousand-dollar of them I don’t buy it
21:57 more if it’s more money like if they see
22:00 oh but it’s not a million it’s a
22:02 billion-dollar I’m not gonna give them
22:04 money more the fact that they promise a
22:06 bigger reward doesn’t make it more
22:08 convincing do you not see through that
22:11 ruse and see that they just want to get
22:12 your thousand dollars uh yeah and i see
22:14 that you want to convince me that that
22:16 that God exists what would I get out of
22:18 that it’s kind of part of your religion
22:20 to convince people but even if it’s not
22:22 it I see that people in general tend to
22:25 like convincing others that they are
22:26 right so obviously most people feel that
22:29 they did get something out of convincing
22:32 others that they are right about what do
22:34 you think that I think my motivation is
22:37 I think that you think your motivation
22:40 is to save me from hell do you believe
22:42 that if you convince me to join your
22:45 religion you might say veep on how we
22:47 have to be humble as humans like we can
22:50 plant a seed but only God can make it
22:53 grow I know so I could be at the very
22:56 best I could be instrumental in your
22:58 conversion but it’s between you and God
22:59 put me a big part of what it is to be
23:02 humble is to admit when we don’t know
23:05 something and like what are the things
23:07 that you think that I should admit I
23:09 don’t know that I claim that I do know
23:11 some of the big things okay whatever the
23:15 universe is eternal or whether it has a
23:17 beginning that’s a big one uh I’m
23:21 willing to admit in principle that I may
23:23 be wrong about that Richard I maybe God
23:26 you may be good all right
23:29 do you think in principle I could beat
23:31 god no no why not it’s gonna be me it’s
23:36 not my point of view I can deny your
23:40 existence I cannot deny my existence
23:42 that’s what solid season is you from
23:45 your if you exist if you really exist
23:47 you can deny my existence right okay
23:51 yeah if I deny my senses and yeah so
23:56 from your perspective you might be gone
23:57 but is it possible in principle for you
23:59 to deny that you exist I’m not sure I
0:03 don’t think it is it it kind of doesn’t
0:07 really make sense it’s kind of what
0:10 Descartes said is that in denying it
0:12 you’re asserting it there for you just
0:14 if someone why’d you say I can formulate
0:17 a way in which I could think we’re all
0:20 existing and I would be open-minded and
0:22 listen to what you have to say and if
0:25 you’re right it’s kind of weird what are
0:30 some of the things that you find weird
0:31 and unusual about Catholicism do you
0:33 think that the cracker literally becomes
0:35 a buddy of prize yes you do yes why
0:37 because the church tells me so that’s
0:41 the only also i mean if you were to
0:42 convince me to believe in Catholicism
0:46 then you would have to convince me to
0:48 believe everything the church so yes
0:49 yeah good luck with that baby steps
0:55 finish the first cause cause and effect
0:58 3 well this is so so if you can get me
1:02 into drugs maybe it would be easier yeah
1:08 a brain damage that would work too I
1:11 don’t have a lot of hope that I’m gonna
1:13 convert anybody I don’t have a lot of
1:17 hope that I’m gonna decon virtue either
1:20 so what the conversation was fun if you
1:28 like it will do if you think it’s got
1:31 some questions as piano tell all you
1:33 gotta do it
1:35 all you got to do is

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