Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Show notes for Episode 53

Posted by Ethan Clow on March 11, 2010

Radio Freethinker Episode 53 – Coverage of the first national CFI Canada Conference

Download episode here.

CFI’s first National Conference Discussion points: (see here for complete list)

Art, Prehistory, and Evolution
Dr. James Harrod ‘Deep Strata of the Psyche: The Two Million Year Evolution of Art, Religion and Language”
Dr. Christopher diCarlo – panel chair

God in the National Anthem – see Canadian Secular Alliance

Is God Necessary for Morality?
Dr. Byron Williston – can seculars have an objective morality?
– A non-religious moral theory
– Morality concerns how our actions change the ability of others to flourish
– Capabilities approach – people should be able to flourish
Key features of an objective morality
– it is not simply the product of convention, but applies across time and space
– It provides us with categorical (or moral) reasons ie. reasons that rationally binding
Theistic Objectives
– You can’t have a moral requirement without a requirer (eg. God)
– Rebuttal: there can be requirements of theoretical reason that do not need reference to a requiring agent
– Objectivity requires immutability, therefore it needs God
– Rebuttal: Are good things good, or does it only become good when god says so
– If good things are good, God is irrelevant
– If God decides what is good, then it can’t be immutable as god could change morality

Dr. Christopher diCarlo “From the Roots of Skepticism to the Tree of Scientific Knowledge”
– What does skepticism means? Look at routes
– Greek route roughly means “to inquire”
– Pyrrhonism- so named after founder Pyrrho of Elis
– Born around 360 BCE
– We need to answer these questions
1) what is the stuff of things?
2) In what relation do we stand to things around us
3) What is the result, as far as our happiness is concerned
– Leads to detachment of belief “I know that I don’t know”
– By sustaining from fanaticism concerning matters which apparently cannot be proved, we can become content with living in our no fully known world
– Cool heads necessary for true skepticism
– We need to realize the constraints under which we actually can know stuff
– Reflective ignorance ( we can’t truly know stuff) vs. true ignorance (head up your ass)
– Science is pragmatic (if it generally works, it is provisionally correct)
– We are humbled by realizing that we are limited in our knowledge
– Epistemic humility
– Can cut through any and all barriers in the way of gaining knowledge
– Hypothetical realism ( the basic world seems to exist, therefore for all intents and purposes we consider it small t true)


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