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Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0.
December 11, 2007 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Beyond Belief: Enlightment 2.0. Video of the five sessions of the 2007 Beyond Belief conference on science and religion has been posted at The Science Network's website. Each Google Video runs about four hours. (This year's speakers; this year's agenda; previously.)
posted by Prospero (16 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yay, mostly white men, a couple of women and one non-white speaker. Apparently white middle aged men have the most time to contemplate their navels and organize seminars about it. Same ole, same ole, 2.0.
posted by 45moore45 at 4:56 PM on December 11, 2007


There are definitely some interesting speakers listed but the entire thing reeks of bullshit. And:

I say Amen to that. If Enlightenment 1.0 took a thin and mechanical view of human nature and psychology, I think Enlightenment 2.0 can offer a much 'thicker' and cognitively richer account - less naïve and also, perhaps, less hubristic. If there's one thing we've learned - particularly from cognitive neuroscience - it is that we need to have some strategic humility about the hobby horses we are inclined to ride.

is probably the dumbest thing I've heard all week. (Then again it's only Monday.) I can't help but think that such nonsense is the only possible result of taking the stupid '2.0' marketing-speak seriously. Did you watch it, Prospero? Are there any talks in particular you might recommend?
posted by nixerman at 5:09 PM on December 11, 2007


Yeah, those white men contemplating 'science' and 'faith' and stuff and getting together to talk about their research and ideas...what a bunch of losers! If there were more Inuits and Africans there, then that'd really be something interesting. Ho-hum.

In all seriousness I'd recommend Sam Harris' speech from this and his speech at the AAI conference. Really anything by Harris is interesting.
posted by inoculatedcities at 5:12 PM on December 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Did you watch it, Prospero? Are there any talks in particular you might recommend?

I've only started it just now, but I did watch last year's conference in its entirety. Based on that, I'd expect the morning of the second day (with Scott Atran and Greg Epstein, who appears to be the only theologian they've invited) to be the most interesting.
posted by Prospero at 5:14 PM on December 11, 2007


So, I'm watching the Sam Harris video, and I haven't actually got to Sam Harris yet, because there's this woman going on and on bearing solemn witness of what a powerful preacher Sam Harris is. He must be quite a charismatic leader of this cult of his. I'm going to keep watching and see if he wins me over to his beliefs.
posted by The World Famous at 5:18 PM on December 11, 2007


Ooh! He referred to Americans as "300 Million Souls" at 5:04!
posted by The World Famous at 5:22 PM on December 11, 2007


...is probably the dumbest thing I've heard all week. (Then again it's only Monday.)

*cough*
posted by DU at 5:32 PM on December 11, 2007


Strategic humility? Is that planned humility? Humility you don't actually experience, but display anyway so that the beknighted masses will think you do?
posted by kalessin at 5:53 PM on December 11, 2007


Well, I'm more than halfway through the Sam Harris video and I am surprised to say that I'm impressed with him for the most part. And I'm even one of the people who he calls stupid.
posted by The World Famous at 6:13 PM on December 11, 2007


I can't help but think that such nonsense is the only possible result of taking the stupid '2.0' marketing-speak seriously.

"To get to the other side?! *splutter* But that's... that's practically a tautology! It explains nothing about the subject's goals above and beyond the immediately obvious!"
posted by fleetmouse at 6:38 PM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ooh! He referred to Americans as "300 Million Souls" at 5:04!

There might just be a soul shortage, you know, what with the explosive rise in world population in the last century or so. In which case, there may be 300 million bodies in America (for example), but only, say 100 million souls.

Which would explain a lot.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:54 PM on December 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sam Harris is soooo smart *swoon*

It's a real pleasure to watch some of these big thinkers think out loud.
posted by device55 at 7:50 PM on December 11, 2007


Zizek on Harris on torture[5:10] (best watched from the beginning, here). Just in case you were all getting too doe-eyed.
posted by topynate at 8:10 PM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I listened to a good chunk of the conference via Dawkins's site.

The adage about "herding cats" is very apt. These are very talented skeptics who are willing to challenge any idea regardless of whether the idea is from an ally or not. I admire such talent. It does, however, place the so-called "new atheists" at a tactical disadvantage to conservative religionists who are happier to act on marching orders.

If anyone believes that the outspoken rationalist, atheists, secular humanists and brights are some kind of well-oiled public relations machine, just direct that person to this conference.

Maybe Enlightenment 2.1 could show them trying to order a pizza.
posted by McLir at 9:30 PM on December 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


The copy of Harris's AAI speech on Google Video is down for me, so a quick search turns up a copy on YouTube. Thanks for the tip. I read The End of Faith when it came out and always thought Harris was the most eloquent and inspiring of the New Atheists.
posted by abcde at 2:48 PM on December 12, 2007


Good grief, I'm clearly the only person who was surprised because they thought Enlightenment was still way off version 1.0.

(Heads back to slashdot...)
posted by Luddite at 3:07 PM on December 12, 2007


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