Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Daily Quiz Jan21

Baggini ch1-2
Bring your written answers to class, we'll swap and grade them. 
You get a run just for taking the quiz, and if you ace it with six correct answers you'll get another. There's no penalty for missed questions, you've got nothing to lose. The three exams (at the end of February, March, & April) will be drawn from the quizzes, so these questions are part of your growing study guide.
Supplement my quiz questions with your own, in the "comments" section below, and earn a run.
Your correct answers to others' supplemental quiz questions count.
You can also earn additional runs, up to five per class, by posting relevant comments, questions for discussion, links to articles and videos etc.
Note in your dated personal log if you took the quiz, who graded it, if you aced it, if you posted any comments, questions, or links, or did anything else you think entitles you to a run.

1. How do critics who conflate physicalism with eliminative materialism mis-portray atheists?

2. Why isn't atheism parasitic on religion?

3. Does Baggini agree that absence of evidence is never evidence of absence?

4. What did David Hume point out about our tendencies of belief?

5. Give an example of an abductive argument supporting atheism.

6. Why isn't atheism a faith position?

Discussion Questions

  • Were you raised by "Bible thumpers," indoctrinated mildly or rigorously, given compelling reasons to believe the claims of a particular faith tradition, etc.? How do you compare your religious experience with Baggini's?
  • Do you have any "dark preconceptions" about atheists or theists that you're willing to put aside, in our class? Are you willing to try the Rawlsian "Veil of Ignorance" thought experiment, and pretend you don't yet know if you're a theist or an atheist? Are you willing to follow Spinoza's example in trying to understand other points of view rather than dismiss or ridicule them?
  • What's your view of eliminative materialism? Can something be real but not strictly physical or "stuff"-like - love, for ex.?
  • Are you annoyed by "Honk if you love Jesus" stickers?
  • Can you give an example of evidence for naturalism that is NOT at the same time evidence for atheism?
  • Are people at funerals who say "he/she is in a better place" being gullible? What better word(s) would you suggest?
  • Do you agree that Plato (for ex.) is guilty of perpetuating a "collective myth" about knowledge and certainty? (24)
  • Do you agree that to explain something is inherently to naturalize it?
  • Comment: "Belief in life after death is contrary to the wealth of evidence we have that people are mortal animals." (32)
  • Comment: "Our fear of hell should be pretty small." (34)
  • If you're not 100% certain that atheism is true, should you be an agnostic?

20 comments:

  1. "Are you annoyed by "Honk if you love Jesus" stickers?"

    Yes. Yes I am. Also those fish.

    There's a joke: How do you know someone's an atheist? Don't worry, they'll tell you.

    It's funny and has some merit, I suppose, but atheism isn't advertised nearly as much as religiosity is.

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  3. Alexandria RobertsJanuary 20, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    Quiz Question:
    How is the wager rigged?

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  4. Alexandria RobertsJanuary 20, 2016 at 8:05 PM

    2. Do you have any "dark preconceptions" about atheists or theists that you're willing to put aside, in our class? Are you willing to try the Rawlsian "Veil of Ignorance" thought experiment, and pretend you don't yet know if you're a theist or an atheist? Are you willing to follow Spinoza's example in trying to understand other points of view rather than dismiss or ridicule them?

    I definitely have had bad run-ins with both parties and thus negative biases toward both parties. But I am interested in attempting the Rawlsian veil, especially in an intellectual environment such as this. I consider myself to be an open-minded person, and this gives me the opportunity to prove it. I look forward to challenging myself in this manner, hopefully bringing about a more Spinoza-like attitude than what I have attempted so far.

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    1. I am definitely willing to try the "Veil of Ignorance". I think this is something that is pretty difficult for everyone because we all come from our own beliefs and backgrounds that have made us who we are in this moment. But I think it is good and healthy to keep and open-mind, to see what else is out there and see if something else makes more sense. It is going to be challenging and I am not sure how to go about it. Trying to rid all of ones own beliefs, conceptions and opinions doesn't seem rational. But, I am going to try...this first two chapters already got me thinking.

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  5. Alexandria RobertsJanuary 20, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    Discussion Question

    What do you think of the "etymological fallacy?" Should atheism be renamed to avoid this?

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  6. Do you think through religion humanity is able to give into the comforting idiocy that Baggini speaks about?

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  7. "If you're not 100% certain that atheism is true, should you be an agnostic?"

    All beliefs, aside from those that are true by definition, require a certain leap of faith to bridge the gap between evidence and assertion. Because of this, the most likely explanation is the most rational to believe. This is a sufficient argument, in my opinion, for holding an atheist view over an agnostic view.

    However, in the case that one only believes that which is completely certain, then agnosticism may be the most intellectually honest view. However, most humans, outside of certain extremists such as Descartes, operate on an evidential basis, and don't require absolute gnosticism to make decisions.
    More knowledge in any case certainly can't hurt, but the search for absolute gnosticism may prove to be futile in many cases.

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  8. Are people at funerals who say "he/she is in a better place" being gullible? What better word(s) would you suggest?

    I do not believe that these people are always gullible. However, I do believe that it brings a sense of comfort to ease the pain brought on during mourning the loss of a loved one.

    Instead of stating that our loved ones are in a better place, we could maybe state that we are glad to know they are no longer in physical pain, or something of the sort.

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  10. Are people at funerals who say "he/she is in a better place" being gullible? What better word(s) would you suggest?

    I don't think these people are being gullible. And if they are so what? Because obviously it brings some type of comfort and peace to the situation of losing a significant other. I do not think it is our place to decide wether this is a gullible act or not, but yet it is purely an individual acceptance. If you believe that after one dies they're in a so called 'better place' then have at it. And if you believe the opposite that after we die there is nothing, again i'm sure this brings some type of peace and comfort to those individuals as well.

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  11. I went to a Christian preschool and was part of a Southern Baptist church for most of my childhood and teenage years. My parents believe in the Bible as the word of God, but I recognized issues and questioned things at a young age. My parents are aware of my atheism and when religion has come up, I cannot say that I’ve ever been given compelling reasons to believe the claims of a particular faith by them or anyone else with whom I’ve discussed the topic. I would not say that they are “Bible thumpers” completely, but my disbelief probably weighs on their consciences.

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  12. Dilvin Tayip, Sean Martin

    We discussed our different upbringings and the effect it has had on our religious views. Sean was not brought up in a religious household and has remained that way, whereas I was born into a very religious household that definitely is part of why I am an atheist.

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  13. Discussion with Jesse Brandon, Caroline Duncan, and Nick Strukov
    We talked about how our upbringings and how that influenced our religious beliefs. We disagreed on ideas but were able to find common ground.

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  14. Group Discussion

    Our group consisted of myself, Jay as our scorekeeper, and Ben as our moderator. We tackled a question from the quiz about how atheism can not be a faith position since it cannot lay be categorically proven. Since theist and atheist were both part of our group there was spirited debate about the nature of "proof" and "evidence".

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  15. Lance Egly, Tyler Wren, Phillip GrandJanuary 21, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    We decided to discuss the question regarding if "honk if you love Jesus" bumper stickers annoyed us.

    We decided that for the most part that they didn't really annoy us. If Jesus was real, you couldn't really say he was a horrible person or anything, I mean if he did all the stuff that was claimed, he must've been a hell of a guy. Right?

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  16. Group discussion between Austin G, Jenna G, Quentin H, and Andrew H.

    We discussed the topic of car stickers. The issue we focused on was people that have these stickers but act poorly during driving despite the stickers. We also discussed a theist perspective on evolution.

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  17. Elizabeth, Lee, and I first discussed the issue of the car stickers. Elizabeth compared them to "Honk if you love puppies," stickers or something similar and said they didn't bother her, Lee found them annoying, and I said it depended on my mood that day, because they can promote tribalism, but also be benign.

    We also discussed the fear of hell. We came to the conclusion that the fear of a punishment in the afterlife is not very persuasive. The fear that loved ones may not be present in an eternal life, however, can be a strong motivation for believers to fear for others and for their own happiness in the afterlife.

    Then, we discussed whether or not there are any examples of evidence for naturalism that are not also evidence for atheism. The only example I could think of, is that evidence for the origin of life and process of evolution does not necessarily rule out a supernatural beginning/cause for that process. I said this, because I know of religious people who accept that evolution is true, but believe that a supernatural force caused it to happen.

    Finally, we talked about the issue of saying "he/she is in a better place" at funerals. We decided that a funeral would not be a proper time and place to discuss that. Lee said that if it were said by someone that he knows well, he would call them out on it. Elizabeth suggested saying something like "They aren't in pain (or suffering) anymore," to console, if the person had been ill.

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  18. John, Steven, and I mainly discussed the idea of bible thumpers. Both of them were raised in religious households, while I wasn't. They weren't bitter or resentful towards their upbringing. They also had more accepting families, so they were able to express their lack of faith, without fear of resentment. I personally didn't interact much with religion until I moved to Tennessee, but even then, I haven't had too many negative interactions.

    We also briefly discussed the "Honk for Jesus" bumper stickers. We didn't see much wrong with them, but we all disliked the bumper stickers that condemned other groups. I disliked them more for the sale of faith, than the message they convey.

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  19. Zac, Abigail and I discussed our upbringings in terms of religion and church and at what point our views began to differ from those upon which we were raised. Whereas one group member had not attended a church service since infancy, another claimed that his or her parents were much more lax about religious choice despite their self proclamation of Christianity. As shared in class, I was raised attending church every Sunday, and in response to my renouncement of the Christian faith, my mother stated that she and my father had failed me.

    Zac made the comment that he attended church one Sunday and was essentially told that God opposed the lottery, to which he replied, "Why would God ever even care about the lottery?" Such is an example of issues with the church or presentation of such issues. All members of the group expressed some concern with operations of the church, and moreover, some members of the group found their disinterest with church to be rooted partially in improbability of God's existence.

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