Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Failures of the human mind

As an executive of my local Centre for Inquiry branch, I recently helped host an event where we brought in a Professor of Psychology, Dr. Chris Oriet, from the University of Regina to do a talk on human reasoning titled: Are humans reasonable?

Dr. Oriet holds his Ph.D in Experimental Psychology from the University of Waterloo. He is currently employed as an Associate Professor and as the Experimental and Applied Psychology graduate program coordinator.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Can atheism replace faith?

Let’s just get it out of the way that atheism means the lack of belief in God, or even as I would argue, an active rejection of God. However, that’s about as meaningful as saying Christianity is about following Christ, Judaism about following the laws of the Torah, or Scientology about being off-the-wall crazy.

Once you strip away your need to ascribe existence and purpose in life to a higher power, you inevitably begin looking for these answers elsewhere. Atheism does not necessarily proscribe this for you, but it’s not uncommon to find a sense of meaning in your own life through an appreciation for humanity, the universe and even science itself.

There’s a reason why if you visit an online community of atheists, you will frequently see references to Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and so on. On this very blog, if you look to your right you will see an entire playlist made by Symphony of Science, which is a fantastic remix that pays homage to these famous scientists and many, many more.

Monday, 1 April 2013

If theists want to put the ball in our court, it’s game on

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World
This phrase was popularized by Sagan as a simple explanation of what is wrong with arguing that, if we cannot disprove something, it must therefore be true.

Now his statement, especially in the manner he intended it, is certainly true. However, I would like to challenge its application somewhat, which I understand is an unpopular position, but hear me out on this. I believe that if God exists, then there should be evidence for him. If we cannot find evidence, this at least suggests he does not exist. It does not rule out the possibility of someday finding evidence, which would have been Sagan's contention, but it is in itself a form of evidence that shifts the balance of probability towards his non-existence.