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Episode 47: The Backfire Effect

Did you guys hear the latest Nontheology episode? No, and furthermore you’d really rather not? Well, too bad, you’re about to.

Listen

Listeners can now contact us and leave a voicemail! Feel free to call in at (260) 245-3846. That’s 260-24-KEVIN!

Erik’s fun pamphlet (7:10)

  • Q1: Will suffering end?
  • A1: Listen guys, God is super busy and won’t be able to get back to you in a timely manner.
  • Q2: Can we trust the bible?
  • A2: Duh, the Bible says so.

The backfire effect (15:00)

  • A great summary from a great blog, youarenotsomart.com: “When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.”
  • The backfire effect hasn’t been studied for a terribly long time, but there are definitely some good papers floating around the internet, a few of which we discuss.
  • When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions (2010) by Brendan Nyhan and Dr. Jason Reifler

“In each of the four experiments, which were conducted in fall 2005 and spring 2006, ideological subgroups failed to update their beliefs when presented with corrective information that runs counter to their predispositions. Indeed, in several cases, we find that corrections actually strengthened misperceptions among the most strongly committed subjects.”

“The American public remains largely divided about how to approach climate change despite widespread scientific consensus that global climate change is largely caused by anthropogenic sources and has the potential to create substantial ecological, social, and economic harm worldwide.”

  • The Millerites and the Great Disappointment
  • What can trigger the backfire effect
  • The implications of the backfire effect
  • Science ftw!
  • The difference between confirmation bias and the backfire effect
  • Chasing Ice is Erik’s favorite documentary. Check out the trailer!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Cognitive Bias, New Episode, Wait What?

 

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Episode 46: Non-Atheist Manifesto

Welcome back to another episode of the only podcast in the universe!

Listen up!

Da show:

By the way, I was reading through some of the academics sections of the BJU website. Their biology students take a course in their third year called “Evolution & Origins”. The course description is as follows:

Discussion and critical evaluation of the biology and philosophy behind neo- Darwinism (materialism), the intelligent design movement and special creation. [...] The course will engage students in critical thinking and problem solving, and prepare them to answer challenges to a biblical worldview regarding evolution and origins.

Ugh…

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Episode 45: Appeal to Tradition

Welcome back to the show! Prepare to be disappointed. Again.

Listen up!

Erik on LGBT visibility in popular sports (3:00)
  • Michael Sam: the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL
  • Hot muscly football celebration kiss
Appeal to Tradition/Antiquity (14:30)
Listener feedback (47:55)
 

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Episode 44: Daniel Dewey – Thinking Carefully About Artificial Intelligence

In this episode, Gabe and Dan have the opportunity to chat with Daniel Dewey about artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence explosion. Daniel is a researcher at the Future of Humanity Institute, researching artificial intelligence, reinforcement learning, and how machines could have values.

Check out Daniel’s TEDx talk: The long-term future of AI (and what we can do about it)

Listen to this episode

Some links to what we talked about:

The book we mentioned in the episode:

Links to other people whose cool research came up in the discussion:

Thanks for listening!

 
 

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Episode 43: Dr. Eric Meikle – Anti-evolutionism and Human Uniqueness

Continuing in their quest to talk about evolution, Erik and Gabe chat with Dr. Eric Meikle about the Nye-Ham debate, anti-evolutionism in the education system, and what makes humans unique in the animal kingdom. T’was a total blast, so listen up!

Dr. Eric Meikle is a physical anthropologist and the Education Project Director for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). He has done a lot of awesome work in the origins of humans, and countering groups who want to bring anti-evolution material into science classrooms in the public schools.

Listen to this episode

The show:

  • The recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham
  • Countering anti-evolutionism in the public education system
  • What (if anything) makes humans unique compared to other animals?

Links:

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Guest, New Episode, Science

 

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Episode 42: Bad Objections to Evolution

We once again attempt to digitally celebrate Darwin Day with a few episodes about evolution. Here, we take on some bad and common objections to evolution.

Listen to this episode

What does the show say? This:

  • Hello, listeners!
  • Wait, What…? Alan Keyes on the coming (sp?) gay dystopia
  • Evolution can’t happen, because something can’t come from nothing
  • Evolution takes too much time to have been observed, so we can’t know it’s true
  • Ring species (see a cool look at some of these here)
  • Micro evolution is true, but macro evolution is not
  • You never see a Crocoduck
  • Why don’t you see dogs giving birth to cats?
  • If humans came from apes, why are there still so many apes?
  • Darwin was wrong about some aspect of evolution
  • Hitler believed in evolution and used the principles to drive Nazi ideology
  • The human eye is to perfect to have evolved (find your blind spot!)
  • The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex and couldn’t have evolved
  • We don’t observe any transitional forms in the fossil record
  • Mutations are always negative, so they can’t be making us better and better
  • Mutations don’t create new information
  • Life is balanced on a razors edge (ex: because of the proportion of oxygen in our atmosphere), it is only rationally attributable to an intelligent creator – Cliffe Knechtle in a debate with Matt Dillahunty at 1:12:30
 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Mailbag, New Episode, Science, Wait What?

 

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Episode 41: Matthew Ferguson – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism (Part 2)

We chat with Matthew Ferguson about metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism. It was a lot of fun and maddeningly interesting. This is part 2 of 2 of our discussion.

Matthew is currently a PhD student in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. He has written several scholarly papers about ancient history, and blogs about naturalism, secular humanism, and counter apologetics at his blogs Κέλσος and Civitas Humana.

Listen to this episode

Our discussion covers…

What are arguments in favor of naturalism?

  • Teleological argument for naturalism
  • Argument from inefficient design
  • Argument from irrational suffering
  • Naturalism makes sense of the dependence of the mind on a physical brain
  • Theism is fundamentally backwards in it’s model of the universe

What are arguments against naturalism?

  • Naturalism isn’t falsifiable
  • Pragmatic argument against naturalism: naturalism doesn’t properly motivate us to be good, whereas Christianity does
  • Naturalism seems to assume that everything that exists in the universe is somehow empirically observable, which probably isn’t true
  • Naturalism offers no basis for making or justifying normative claims
  • If secular humanism is human-centric, then it is guilty of speciesism
  • Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism

What kind of world do secular humanists want to create?

  • A culture of regular self-reflection
  • Criminal justice systems using rehabilitation instead of punishment
  • Religion, it’s role in society, and how this may change over time
  • The government’s role in a transition to secular humanism

Books references in this episode:

Matthew was kind enough to provide a solar mass of really great resources for anyone interested in learning more about what we were talking about. Check them out below:

Matthew’s Blogs:

Κέλσος

Civitas Humana

Resources for Naturalism:

The Naturalistic Worldview

Defining Theism, Atheism, Supernaturalism, and Naturalism (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Secular Outpost: Arguments for Naturalism (by Jeff Lowder)

The Best Argument Against God (by Graham Oppy)

Sense and Goodness without God (by Richard Carrier)

Naturalism’s Support among Professional Philosophers:

Even If Most Scientists Are Atheist, Don’t Philosophers Come to the Rescue for God and Religion? Turns Out, No. (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Teleological Argument for Naturalism:

Finely Tuning a Killer Cosmos (by Richard Carrier)

The Fallacy of Fine Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (by Victor Stenger)

Naturalism as the Best Explanation for Irrational Suffering:

The Evil-God Challenge (by Stephen Law)

Naturalism and Mind-Body Physicalism: 

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology: Biointerface Research Group

The Phineas Gage Case

Naturalism, Secular Humanism, and Ethics: 

Confused Metaphysics: Apologetic Efforts to Corner the Market on Ethics (by Matthew Ferguson)

Naturalism and Epistemology: 

C.S. Lewis’ Milk Jug: Apologetics and the Retreat into Epistemology (by Matthew Ferguson)

Evolutionary Naturalism, Theism, and Skepticism about the External World (by J. Wesley Robbins)

Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Refuted (by Stephen Law)

Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason (by Richard Carrier)

Dishonest Apologetic Debate Tactics:

Southern Evangelical Seminary Tricks Bart Ehrman after a Public Debate with Mike Licona

A Response to Cliffe Knechtle’s Campus Apologetics (by Matthew Ferguson)

Counter-Apologetics:

Counter-Apologetics FAQ (by Matthew Ferguson)

 
 

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