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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST      Home login  
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 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 1
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEISTPage 1 of 10    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Have any of you watched Derren Brown's (part 2) FEAR AND FAITH?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51B8MzcxOX0 (It's apprx 50 min -- so be prepared)

He purports to give a staunch atheist ( through simple psychological manipulation) a god-like experience to the point where the atheist questions her belief system.

If you have the time to watch that link I'm interested in discussion.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 2
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 3:55:57 PM
Causing someone to suffer delusions isn't a special accomplishment, and it certainly doesn't qualify as "turning an atheist into a theist."

No, I don't have time to watch the link. I don't need to. I've seen torture, I've seen manipulation, and I've seen magic tricks a-plenty.

I am quite certain already, that someone who really hasn't thought things through on a given subject, including religious ideas (or the lack of them ), can be relatively easily driven to say any manner of things, under the right duress. Someone who thought they were one thing might well decide they are another after all. But that's not the same as "converting" them.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 3
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 4:09:57 PM
I remember that years ago British scientists had found a place to stimulate on the brain to give the recipient a mystical experience. The kind of mystical experience reported by all religions. Generally it requires fasting and meditation, but cut open the skull, attack an electrode to the right place and Boom! Saves a lot of time.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 4
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 4:58:51 PM
I haven't seen that study but have heard about experiments with Dimethyltryptamine, the God drug that sounds like it gives a similar experience.

I find that what you're talking about, halftimedad, the drug I mentioned, and potential psychological manipulation of power seekers/tribal leaders facinatinating.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 5
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 5:01:33 PM
Igor, I think you have a lot to offer this conversation and wish you would contribute.
Please reconsider.
Thanks
D.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 6
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 5:40:40 PM
Fair enough,
My supposition is thus:
We are evolutionally predisposed to question things we can't/don't find answers for.

Due to our big brains, and the related capacity for imagination (seeing faces in clouds/mountain drops -- pareidolia etc.) we make up god/comfort figures to ease fears of the unknown.
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 7
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 6:25:49 PM
^ If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 6:31:53 PM
Oh thank god. Something new to talk about, and possibly interesting too. No really. Thank god. Hehe.

First problem:

He purports to give a staunch atheist ( through simple psychological manipulation) a god-like experience to the point where the atheist questions her belief system.

Atheism is not a belief system. Unfortunately, some people who (mistakenly, dishonestly, or carelessly) identify themselves as atheist are not actually atheist and do have a belief-system mindset and approach about their atheism. Some think of them as speaking for what atheism is, but both parties are wrong. So nonetheless, atheism is not a belief system. I suspect that you'll (op) want to argue that point, and will possibly use the same dumb logic to show that atheism is a belief system...and if so, that just sucks. If not...if I'm wrong...then my bad, yo. But the reason that I'm making certain tentative assumptions is the fact that you called atheism a belief system.

Second problem: The narrator of this video begins by talking about the placebo effect and how powerful belief can be. Well, it is true that "having faith" and believing in something can have some power, and even positive power...but
"having faith" isn't usually what skepticism of religion or god's existence is addressing, and the power of belief does not prove or validate theism nor an alleged conversion from atheism. Any positive placebo effect of religion does not and cannot justify religion. The kind of positive attitude that a person needs religion to provide can be had without religion, but getting it from religion brings in other things which are bad. So when you can have it without religion, then there's no need or excuse for bringing in those other bad things. The fact that people don't believe that they can have this positive or "have faith" attitude on their own without needing religion to provide it...is part of the damage that religion does.

Third problem: We (or just I) might be jumping the gun concerning op's intentions. This video is just demonstrating that people can be deceived and manipulated; That psychology, not anything divine, can explain religious experiences. Op may not be trying to tout theism. But we already know that magic tricks are magic tricks. That's what's going on here. If anything, it just shows that the alleged atheist has a weakness and may not really be an atheist.

Fourth problem: At a certain point in the vid, the idea of a supernatural presence was suggested to a group of people, and those people behaved more honestly than another group. This was used to make the claim that people who think that there may be some kind of supernatural presence tend to act with more morality. The problem with this idea is it's blanketing nature, and that it ignores the particulars as well as other factors which may be at play in a very particular controlled experiment. It is said that if there is a picture of eyes or a face present, that people won't thieve as much as they might otherwise. This may be a valid psychological phenomena, but it does almost nothing to lend any meaning to an alleged atheist's conversion to theism...and, it doesn't lend any weight to the idea that the existence of religion or belief in the supernatural is justified because it's what makes people moral; Instead it is to point out that thing which is wrong with many people - that they need such things in order to be moral. The fact that it's needed in the first place is what's wrong, and is what a person should come away from such things understanding. Many people do not behave morally simply because they subconsciously believe that they "can't get away with it" if they did otherwise.

Fifth problem: It is claimed that the majority of an audience refusing to perform a mock satanic rite demonstrates that we are all born with an "inbuilt hardwired tendency to believe". This is very, very stupid indeed. The rite required for a person to stab a dagger into a picture of a loved one, or some such nonsense. However, a person would have many reasons for not wanting to do such a thing which have nothing at all to do with having some subconscious "belief" tendency. You're already thinking of something now which has nothing to do with belief or non-belief, aren't you?

(What's really going on in the vid is a seemingly-sensible presentation being used by a seemingly-authorative-person to trick people into believing certain things about their psychologies and why they do what they do. It is not showing how a particular person was tricked...but it is tricking you by watching it. It is not revealing certain psychological traits of a person in the vid...but is subliminally making you be a certain way which you may not have been before watching such things.)

Sixth problem: That 15 minute conversation when he "conditions" her is actually kind of sadistic and "quackish". (And that constant finger-tapping would get on my f-cking nerves, personally.) His interpretation of the "conversation" reflecting the event of her having a religious experience...is "reaching" just about as much as one can reach. I can't see any hint of such a thing in her. I even suspect the possibility that during some of this conversation she was just being polite and was humoring him. That's what we skeptical people end up doing often when someone starts jibber jabbering the way that he was. To be considerate, we patronize.

Seventh problem: The woman in the outdoor café was only trying to cooperate, and trusted what he told her he was going to do. Exactly what point does he think that he is making?

Eighth problem: Ironically, this would be the kind of presentation to convert a theist to atheism, upon elucidating how to manipulate a certain emotional response from someone. He practically proves the fakeness of a religious or supernatural experience. And were the cameras on her really hidden yet got the views that we got? Seems hokum to me. But despite all...how again does this instill a religious belief in someone or convert an atheist?

Ninth problem: I just wasted an hour of my time. There isn't anything new or fantastic here for me. And again, the title of this should be "how to turn a theist into an atheist", instead of the other way around.

G - Who was asking what question?
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 9
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 6:40:04 PM

G - Who was asking what question?

Either the OP was asking a question, or inviting us to waste an hour of our time.

Ninth problem: I just wasted an hour of my time. There isn't anything new or fantastic here for me.

Oops. Maybe there wasn't a question...
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 10
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 6:57:06 PM

If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?


I have no idea what the answer is. I am taking the Derren Brown program/experiment with a grain of salt and as conjecture, thus my reason for posting in the first place. I'd like to discuss his reasoning and ambiguous conclusion with others.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 11
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 7:12:40 PM
ginger - obviously if I'm using the word "supposition" I'm not propositioning anything.
I'm trying to garner discussion. That's all.
I give up. But must thank the fellow whom contributed the lengthy and thought provoking e-tome which I will ACTUALLY take myTIME to read.
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 12
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 7:26:33 PM

I'm trying to garner discussion. That's all.

"But we already know that magic tricks are magic tricks", as it says in Drink's e-tome.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 13
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 7:43:22 PM
Thank you drinkthesunwithmyface for actually watching the Derren Brown vid.
It's poignant, as you pointed out, how people can easily (under certain circumstance) be manipulated to have theological related emotions.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 14
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 7:52:03 PM
Ginger says
But we already know that magic tricks are magic tricks


Couldn't agree with you more Ginger.
I dated a MAGICIAN. Amazing the tricks/slight-of-hand.
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 15
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 8:22:16 PM
Do you have a permanent marker? If so, you know what to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET1-_PeExMs
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 16
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 8:31:08 PM
Wow! a lot to respond to (but thanks so much for your feedback.)

Regarding the opening sequence where the production crew placed people in the dark/no-light but safe cavern, and most of the persons (apparently all non believers) creeped out -- one person asked to be removed. But the girl who was very comfortable in that creepy space ended up being the ATHEIST/SCIENTIST test subject.
 apple-of-your-eye
Joined: 6/30/2007
Msg: 17
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 8:40:08 PM
Tim Minchin,
Thanks for the link Ginger
Haven't heard that in a while
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/25/2015 8:54:27 PM
Check out Pat Condell. Or Edward Current. (scroll down)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAE9AAABDED62AE26

Belly up to the bar. Choose your poison.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 19
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/26/2015 12:35:31 PM
apple:
Igor, I think you have a lot to offer this conversation and wish you would contribute.
Please reconsider.
Thanks
D.


I did contribute. I also read all of what Drinks had to report, which lost me much less time, and confirmed what I was already sure of.

Even a completely unbiased presentation about these phenomena of how humans can be manipulated wouldn't interest me enough to watch, for the reasons I already gave.

I long ago worked out a basic logical recognition concerning arguing religiosity versus atheism:

It is not possible to use LOGIC to cross the line in either direction, between belief in an existence where ONLY logic applies, and an existence where it does not.

A corollary or related observation, might be that no one who is convinced at their core that magic is real, is going to be persuaded that it does not, just because this or that magic trick is revealed. That's what actual FAITH is all about.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 20
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/26/2015 6:22:15 PM
And the OP was deleted.

I have no idea what's going on here, but it's not what most seem to think. She clearly didn't offend anyone, take any contradictory positions, or give anyone cause to want her gone.
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 21
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/26/2015 7:25:38 PM
The 'I give up' comment may have been referring to more than the topic at hand.
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/26/2015 9:59:43 PM
Well, I'm pretty sure that most threads started on these subjects are only for the fun of poking the non-religious into jumping up to argue a point.
 laughatyoutoo
Joined: 9/24/2015
Msg: 23
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/27/2015 1:33:59 PM
I am an atheist but there are issues out there that I wonder if in fact there is more to some Supreme Being than meets the eye. I have trouble understanding why I am here and conscious and I look back at all of the random move in that had to occur for my being here to happen, including the physical laws of our universe and including my ancestors meeting just the right people so I was born. I also have trouble with the issue of consciusness. No matter complicated a brain we could build, I simply can't accept a machine would become self aware. So lots of issues nobody can really answer.
 funchesf
Joined: 6/27/2014
Msg: 24
HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/27/2015 1:41:08 PM

HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST

place "In God We Trust" on all their money
 norwegianguy456
Joined: 6/11/2015
Msg: 25
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HOW TO TURN AN ATHEIST TO A THEIST
Posted: 9/27/2015 10:37:06 PM

My supposition is thus:
We are evolutionally predisposed to question things we can't/don't find answers for.

By default, sure. I don't think anyone questions that statement. A better statement is that we are evolutionally predisposed to NOT question things we have a communal or emotional attachment to being true, or have pride riding on it being true.
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