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Minichan

Topic: I'm re-reading The God Delusion after reading it ten years ago.

Meta started this discussion 2 months ago #62,272

The book is fucking BORING. I don't know why I thought atheism was edgy as a teenager. I do remember 10 years ago it seemed like Evangelical Christians were growing stronger by the day and were going to take over America. Now, not so much.

Why would someone who doesn't believe in God read a book on why you shouldn't believe in God? For reassurance? To feel like they're not alone?

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 2 minutes later[^] [v] #784,104

sometimes people stumble into a new facet of their identity - in this case atheism - and go wayyyyyy overboard for a while before realising oh it's not a big deal
the effect is trebled if they feel stifled by their environment, ex if you were surrounded by evangelical christians

Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 6 minutes later, 8 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,105

You scare me, Meta. I sometimes wonder if you're psychic because whatever I've recently been thinking or posting about elsewhere, you make a topic on minichan about it.

キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 3 minutes later, 12 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,106

Most books that deal with logic and facts tend to be boring.

Anonymous E joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 10 seconds later, 12 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,107

@OP

> I don't know why I thought atheism was edgy as a teenager.

The answer's in the last word of this sentence.

Anonymous E double-posted this 2 months ago, 39 seconds later, 13 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,108

@784,106 (キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM)

> Most books that deal with logic and facts tend to be boring.

Uh-oh....looks like we got an edgy one on our hands here people...

Anonymous F joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 2 minutes later, 15 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,109

@784,106 (キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM)

> Most books that deal with logic and facts tend to be boring.

lol

Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo replied with this 2 months ago, 2 minutes later, 17 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,110

@previous (F)
I'm not laughing.

Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 3 minutes later, 20 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,111

@784,105 (Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo)
The Big Daddies Derek do not fear Meta. Reported.

キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM replied with this 2 months ago, 8 minutes later, 29 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,112

@previous (Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo)
Reported to the Council of Dereks, you will be commended for your efforts at preventing the intrusion of TGcomix.

Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo replied with this 2 months ago, 9 minutes later, 39 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,113

@previous (キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM)
You're not a Big Daddy Derek so you don't speak for us. Thanks.

Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo replied with this 2 months ago, 20 minutes later, 59 minutes after the original post[^] [v] #784,119

@784,112 (キャサリン🗾 !TGirlYJKXM)
Cram it, faggot.

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 41 minutes later, 1 hour after the original post[^] [v] #784,122

@784,104 (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
That's an interesting way to put it. Probably true for a lot of people and a lot of interests, actually.

@OP
> Why would someone who doesn't believe in God read a book on why you shouldn't believe in God? For reassurance? To feel like they're not alone?
Ah, okay, a reason an atheist might read it is to hear the rationale of an "expert atheist" like Dawkins. It's one thing to just think that god isn't feasible, it's quite another to go through all of the philosophical and scientific arguments against it. Even if they're already well informed, Dawkins will probably have some interesting points to make.

(Edited 14 seconds later.)

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 30 minutes later, 2 hours after the original post[^] [v] #784,128

@previous (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
i think it is
people don't tend to stay in, say, a fandom for the rest of their lives
sometimes people who come out as gay go really all-in and later just... chill out about it.

i guess maybe as you keep discovering new facets of yourself, the last "big" one doesn't seem so big and important any more because there's more to you now

Sheila LaBoof joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 3 hours later, 5 hours after the original post[^] [v] #784,195

I never read it. I read Carl Sagan's Demon-Haunted World and it's really good. The chapter on how belief in witchcraft among Christians led to thousands of people and cats getting killed in Europe over many decades was chilling.

kook !!OPZbEQMT1 joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 1 hour later, 7 hours after the original post[^] [v] #784,223

@previous (Sheila LaBoof)
Have you read anything by James Randi? If not, you should.

Sheila LaBoof replied with this 2 months ago, 1 hour later, 9 hours after the original post[^] [v] #784,244

Oh, he's been on my radar but I never got around to getting books

Meta (OP) replied with this 2 months ago, 2 days later, 2 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,822

@784,104 (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
Yeah I used to be a real dick about it. I've come around now to thinking religion's not really a bad thing overall. I wasn't raised in a religious family so I wasn't, like, rebelling against that. I just from a young age could see that God was just a higher-level version of Santa Claus. I guess I wanted to save people from wasting finite time on fairy tales.

What bugs me now, in the twilight of my twenties, about the atheist "movement" is the idea that being rational about the supernatural makes you more rational about everything. I don't think so. Every person I've known has been rational about some things and irrational about others. Myself very much included.

@784,105 (Big Daddy Derek !Uvm54ORbmo)
You shouldn't make topics anywhere else. I never do.

@784,122 (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
> Ah, okay, a reason an atheist might read it is to hear the rationale of an "expert atheist" like Dawkins. It's one thing to just think that god isn't feasible, it's quite another to go through all of the philosophical and scientific arguments against it. Even if they're already well informed, Dawkins will probably have some interesting points to make.
Dawkins is certainly better educated and a better writer than I am. He undoubtedly makes a more thorough case for atheism than I would if a friend asked me to write down why they shouldn't believe in god. But would my hypothetical friend be willing to slog through 464 pages? I guess part of the problem is 1) I previously read the book in 2007 and 2) I already agree with Dawkins on everything.

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 5 hours later, 2 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,883

@previous (Meta)
yeah i was definitely an edgy teenage atheist for a while. i think it was more related to generally being unhappy in life and wanting something to feel good/superior about.

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 2 months ago, 1 hour later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,933

@784,822 (Meta)
> But would my hypothetical friend be willing to slog through 464 pages?
Yeah, maybe. It depends on the friend.

The way I see it, the purpose of the book isn't to be an optimally accessible pamphlet for atheism, but an in-depth and academic exploration of atheism. You can probably find books like it in any field, really. The merit is in how deeply the author has explored the issue, not if the work is accessible to anyone and everyone.

@previous (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
Are you still an atheist now?

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 42 minutes later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,957

@previous (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
i guess so
i'm a lot more open to religion these days though. open mind and all that. i've been meaning to go to a latin high mass for a while!

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL double-posted this 2 months ago, 1 minute later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,958

@784,933 (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
are you on summer break now? how was your semester?

Sheila LaBoof replied with this 2 months ago, 27 minutes later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #784,970

I think the fun thing about Catholic services in Latin is that if yoiu don't understand it, you can pretend that you are in a Satan church

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 2 months ago, 10 hours later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,086

@784,958 (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
Just have two exams this month, then I'll have my degree and be done with education (at least for the moment).

It's been pretty good. My dissertation project on nature VR was great fun.

(Edited 33 seconds later.)

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 6 hours later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,117

@previous (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
whaaaat congrats! any plans of what you'll do after graduating?

nature VR?

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 2 months ago, 1 hour later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,130

@previous (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
Yep, I have a job interview lined up for next month. I'd rather not say what it is for now, but suffice to say it'll pay decently.

Natural environments within VR, like forests and such. It's a well-supported fact in psychological research that viewing nature (even pictures of it) has beneficial effects such as pain reduction and lowering stress. The term for this is biophilia. Similar effects have been found using VR, seemingly because VR acts as an effective cognitive distraction. Therefore, combining the two could enhance their beneficial effects.

Surprisingly, my experiment's results didn't support that seemingly ironclad assumption, but it was still interesting to carry out and write up nonetheless.

But enough about me. You still at uni, Trip? Got a plan for afterwards?

(Edited 6 minutes later.)

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 18 minutes later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,137

@previous (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
!! well done! i'm sure you'll kill the interview

oh cool. how did you perform the experiment, like in terms of measuring stress levels? and did you just find that it has little to no effect?

still at uni! probably forever :p i've got at least a year and a half to go
not sure what to do after, yet, but i'm working through possibilities. this summer i'm doing some archaeology digs/field schools! and hopefully chemistry/physics research in the fall semester.
suuuper stoked about archaeology, it sounds like a dream job. i'm really hoping it's everything i dream of, because so far i can't think of any other fields i want to go into

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 2 months ago, 31 minutes later, 3 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,144

@previous (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
> did you perform the experiment, like in terms of measuring stress levels? and did you just find that it has little to no effect?
We had a Microsoft Band to measure heart rate and galvanic skin response for stress. We also measured pain perception by having participants use a pressure pain device and then rate the pain on a 10 point scale afterwards. The expectation was that all of these would be lower in the nature VR, owing to biophilia.

There were largely no significant differences between conditions in stress. However, the control condition (a VR environment of a grey room with floating 3D shapes) weirdly produced significantly lower pain ratings. My theory for that was that the control condition distracted participants more because it was less mundane than the nature and urban VR conditions.

I did read a paper afterwards suggesting that pressure pain is really varied and needs big sample sizes if you use it for research. So the results might've been influenced by the groups having different reactions to pressure pain.

> i'm doing some archaeology digs/field schools!
Oh, cool. Will you get to go anywhere interesting to do some digs?

> chemistry/physics research in the fall semester.
What kinda research? I'm curious as to what those subjects do for student research.

(Edited 1 minute later.)

chili dog !!81dzJNNYL replied with this 2 months ago, 21 hours later, 4 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,360

@previous (Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx)
that is really interesting! the control condition actually sounds very soothing. blank but with just enough stimulus to interest/distract you. what was your sample size? i'd imagine fairly small.

unfortunately not going very far! one's just an hour away by metro and the other's about an hour drive outside the city, on a military college/base. if it's really cool I'll hopefully get to do one that's a bit farther from here - I haven't taken any anthropology courses so I need these for qualifications anyway. :) we expect to find lots of native artifacts going back a few thousand years as well as more recent (16th/17th c) artifacts from settlement times I think. There's bodies at the first one!

Usually for undergrad research you find a professor and work on whatever they're working on. So I've been talking to two, one is physical chemistry and is developing ways to look at the way matter changes over time (on femto-second scales, not over long periods), on the atom-to-atom changes and nano-to-micro structure. On such short time intervals, atomic motion is basically "frozen" and you can make a "movie" that allows you to see how matter actually changes - until very recently it's all been simulations/theoretical on this scale. We know how matter looks and acts at equilibrium, but this lets you look at systems very far from equilibrium, when stuff's still working itself out and hasn't settled down yet. Lots of lasers!
The other one is computational chemistry - using computers to create models of molecules, often cellulose-related. Much more benign/low-stress but also a bit less interesting imo.

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 2 months ago, 6 hours later, 5 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,463

@previous (chili dog !!81dzJNNYL)
> the control condition actually sounds very soothing. blank but with just enough stimulus to interest/distract you.
I could understand that. This is what it looked like, by the way. Although the nature condition, with all its greenery and running stream, should've been really relaxing.

> what was your sample size? i'd imagine fairly small.
Pretty good by compared to most others projects, I believe. I worked with someone else, so we combined our participation points. We had 62 participants (after excluding participants that didn't meet the minimum pain tolerance), across 3 conditions. IIRC it was a 22/21/19 spread.

Wow. Even if you're not going anywhere far, a trip with native artefacts and bodies sounds interesting to me. If you can find stuff like that near you, it makes me wonder what (or who) might be underground in my corner of Cornwall.

> On such short time intervals, atomic motion is basically "frozen" and you can make a "movie" that allows you to see how matter actually changes - until very recently it's all been simulations/theoretical on this scale.
Hm, so it's a theory that had to wait for the technology to catch up before they could actually test it? Has he found anything so far?

> The other one is computational chemistry - using computers to create models of molecules, often cellulose-related. Much more benign/low-stress but also a bit less interesting imo.
Ha, I think I can empathise. I nearly chose a project that would've basically been asking participants to judge various shades of grey. It would've been straightforward to run as a researcher, but probably quite repetitive.

Anonymous K joined in and replied with this 2 months ago, 9 minutes later, 5 days after the original post[^] [v] #785,465

More like the God conclusion

Meta (OP) replied with this 1 month ago, 1 week later, 2 weeks after the original post[^] [v] #787,456

Oh shit I forgot to keep up with this. That's how compelling the book is.

Anyway the first hundred pages should have been cut. Now I'm at chapter three and hopefully Dawkins will finally get to the point.

Killer Lettuce🌹 !!iNo3FkiZx replied with this 1 month ago, 21 minutes later, 2 weeks after the original post[^] [v] #787,459

@previous (Meta)
> Now I'm at chapter three and hopefully Dawkins will finally get to the point.
Spoiler: god doesn't exist.

(Edited 36 seconds later.)

Sheila LaBoof joined in and replied with this 1 month ago, 42 minutes later, 2 weeks after the original post[^] [v] #787,463

Another book that I almost finished reading is Why People Believe Weird Things. In summary, it's because we have brains that look for patterns because that ability is evolutionarily advantageous (good for survival) but our brains are so "good" at it that we get convinced of patterns that really aren't, so we get superstitions and the like.
:
[upload]

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