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1 EiMitch  Sat, Jan 4, 2014 11:30:19pm

I’ve seen the original Extra Credits video. I used to argue religion vs atheism, and I’m familiar with some of the tropes. This EC vid contained two of them.

1 - The brain-in-the-jar argument. How do you know the world you perceive is real?

I dunno. How do you know there isn’t an invisible little creature hiding right behind your head, moving every time you try to touch it? Both questions are paint-by-number intellectual gotchas. They don’t prove any point. They only serve to provide the speaker with the illusion of validation for their own views.

If you spend enough time thinking about it, you can eventually imagine a scenario that is impossible to prove nor falsify. Only most people don’t actually go through that much trouble. We’re so eager to prove that having/dismissing faith is childish that we end-up proving our own childishness by parroting the sound of one hand clapping.

So just stop it. Unless you intend to spin a top while we watch as it never falls over, knock-off this insultingly pretentious The-Matrix-Has-You crap. It never convinces anyone. It only preaches to the choir and pisses-off whoever you were supposedly reaching-out to.

My apologies for the bitterness. It’s just that I’ve heard this argument used to equate creationism with science, and even faith-healing/snake-oil with real medicine. And this pseudo-philosophical warbling hits that sore spot every single time.

2 - The argument from ignorance. The-god-of-the-gaps variant used by creationists is the one most folks are familiar with. But this one in EC’s vid is a little different. Just a little.

The conclusions of the scientific community change as we gather new evidence and information. That past assumptions get proven wrong proves, according to EC, that we’re only having faith that the SC has it right this time. Everything we do know, the argument goes, is faith.

Unless we’re omniscient and infallible, all evidence-based, peer-reviewed knowledge are articles of faith, just like religion. If we don’t know everything, then we might know nothing for all we know. (no pun intended)

Again, this is just pretentious. Its sets up a false dichotomy based on an impossible standard. It boils down to (re)defining our concepts of “knowledge” and “faith” to suit our respective biases.

I dunno about the guy who mirrored this video (I haven’t watched this version. I have bandwidth caps which are currently lagging my connection severely) but the stated intent of EC’s original video was to show that faith is an integral part of human existence. I think that purpose might’ve been better served with something like this.

FYI - That link is not the one I wanted to post. But its the closest to it I’ll find tonight on my lagging connection. The one I had in mind was posted on lgf pages before, but I forgot to bookmark it and now I can’t find it to save my own life.


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