I bought the audio book a few years ago

 I had forgotten about this.  Of all the stories about people losing their religion this is my favorite.  It doesn't hurt that Julia Sweeney is so funny and likeable.  Get through the first 30 seconds and Julia will have you hooked.

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42 thoughts on “I bought the audio book a few years ago

  1. She's funny and entertaining, but it's sad to see someone end up choosing something as irrational as Atheism. If I were an atheist, I'd love her because her humor would fill some strong emotional needs.

  2. According to the testimony of some atheists, they deny God's existence because they simply don't want God to exist. They want to live their own lives their own way without the restrictions imposed by an ultimate authority.

  3. I don't think that people can simply choose to believe anything they wish. But they can choose to ignore evidence that points to conclusions they don't like. And people can choose Atheism because they want it to be true whether they believe its underlying philosophy or not.You're right that some people believe that Christianity lets murders and thieves off too easy. Somehow they think that real evil requires a real punishment. But if there is no evil, why complain when non-evil doers are not punished?

  4. Why is it that some people are able to accept the truth no matter how horrible or pleasant it is and others cannot?Even if there is no invisible force called "evil" that doesn't change the fact that humans have a sense of justice.  You and I dont't disagree that certain behavior is wrong.  We just disagree about where that sense of justice comes from.

  5. I think everyone is capable of accepting the truth no matter how horrible or pleasant.And I'm not so sure that we do agree that certain behavior is wrong. But that depends of the definition of wrong.  Hmmm, that reminds me of another conversation that I need to get back to 🙂

  6. "Free will" are the words we use to describe choices that are made freely.  But it doesn't get us any closer to understanding why people choose what they choose.  If there is no reasoning or emotion behind a choice then it would seem that the choice is arbitrary.Obviously when we reason we don't all come to the same conclusions.  Is there a cause for these differences or are the conclusions just arbitrary?

  7. Free will is the cause. Having free does not mean that all one's choices are based on reason or emotion or nothing at all. You're free to make arbitrary choices if you'd like!Would you recommend that people base at least some of their choices on reason?

  8. It depends. What caused you to eat the banana?Recommending that people base at least some of their choices on reason is consistent with free will, since if there were no free will, then no one could choose to follow your recommendation!

  9. You said free will is the cause.  So let's say free will caused me to eat the bananas.  Did I choose freely?If I recall correctly you believe that free will is necessary in order for a person to reason.  I don't see how that is necessarily true.  If someone felt compelled to follow my recommendation and did so then is there an inconsistency? This too is beginning to remind me of another conversation we had.  It seems that our conversations tend to head towards stasis.  This is a self-regulating complex system.  Haha.

  10. Free will is the "cause" in that it is an explanation for the behavior. You seem to be using the term in the sense of a passive response to external stimuli.Reasoning requires the ability to choose among options. I don't see how reasoning can occur if your thoughts are chosen for you. Say I had the ability to choose your thoughts for you. Would you then be reasoning? I don't think so.When you suggest to a person that they change their behavior, you are implicitly acknowledging that they can choose whether or not to follow that suggestion. Why suggest a change in behavior to someone who has no ability to change it? Without free will, you can't decide to change your behavior. The decision is made for you! So, yes, there is an inconsistency.

  11. There is not a direct correlation between our "reasoning" and our behavior.  Here is an interesting Bible verse that seems relevant: "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." -Romans 7:15I believe I remember you saying that chimpanzees do not have free will, yet their behavior changes.  Why could it not also be true of humans?Obviously human behavior does change.  And it does seem to change sometimes as the result of a suggestion.  So we make suggestions because sometimes they work.The problem with resolving the free will or determinism debate is that we can't put a group of people into a universe where there is free will and another group in a universe where there is determinism.  We are stuck with the universe we have.  All we can do is mental experiments:1.  If the universe is deterministic people would behave like A.2.  If people have free will then they will behave like B.The problem is when we try to imagine what people would be like in such a universe we have nothing to go on.  We are grasping at straws.

  12. I also disagree with you statement that reasoning requires the ability to choose among options.  If you follow a line of reasoning correctly there is only one correct options.  Also you can write a computer program that "chooses" the best word to complete a sentence.  Does the computer program have free will?  The minds of babies are not completely blank.  They are born with some innate mental faculties.  In this post http://dedwarmo.com/infant-power/ you said that you did not believe that babies have free will.  At what point to babies gain free will?

  13. I'm not correlating reasoning and behavior. As I said before, some behavior is based on reasoning, but some is based on emotions or is completely arbitrary.Do you believe that if I were to choose your thoughts for you that you would be reasoning?I don't think we need a control group to have a meaningful discussion about free will. Think of it this way. If determinism is true, all your questions are meaningless because you didn't choose them nor can you choose how to respond to anything I say!

  14. If the universe is not deterministic there is no way to observe determinism.   So how can you say what is true about determinism?If there is no correlation between reasoning and behavior, then what's the point of reasoning?

  15. You don't have to answer these right away but I want to keep these questions near the bottom so I don't forget about them:About 11 minutes ago I asked about babies and computers and free will.

  16. If the universe is not deterministic there is no way to observe determinism.We observe determinism, in the sense of passive response to stimuli, in the natural world all the time. When snow falls down a mountain side during an earthquake, that is a passive response to stimuli.If you follow a line of reasoning correctly there is only one correct option.So, if I choose your thoughts for you, are you reasoning?The ability to choose does not entail free will (so, no, the computer program does not have free will). But free will does entail the ability to choose.You said that there is no direct correlation between reasoning and behavior. We agree on this.

  17. Sorry. I forgot to answer that question So, if I choose your thoughts for you, are you reasoning?It depends on what sorts of thoughts are being imposed.  In any case the thoughts are not occurring freely.If there is no correlation between reasoning and behavior, then what's the point of reasoning??Programmers can write a computer program that "chooses" the best word to complete a sentence.  Does the computer program have free will? In this post http://dedwarmo.com/infant-power/ you said that you did not believe that babies have free will.  What are some of the first signs of free will that appear in the development of a human baby?

  18. It depends on what sorts of thoughts are being imposed.  In any case the thoughts are not occurring freely.Say I inject the following thoughts into your brain:1) Bob is taller than Sally2) Sally is taller than Susie3) Bob is taller than SusieCan you say that you have reasoned to the conclusion that Bob is taller than Susie?If there is no correlation between reasoning and behavior, then what's the point of reasoning?The point of reasoning is to think correctly. But we both agree that many of your behavioral decisions should be based on good reasoning. So there's the indirect correlation.No, the computer program does not have free will. "Choices" that a computer makes are not free choices.What are some of the first signs of free will that appear in the development of a human baby?I have no idea!

  19. I know you are already aware of how complex the brain is but forgive me for quoting Wikipedia: [T]he human cerebral cortex alone contains at least 10^10 neurons linked by 10^14 synaptic connections."  I don't know how many of those neurons and synapses are required to reason thatIf Bob is taller than Sallyand Sally is taller than Susiethen Bob is taller than SusieBut you seem to be trying to make the point that even given the massive complexity of the brain, given the first two of the three statements, a brain would not conclude (except possibly by accident) that Bob is taller than Susie even if that brain had all of the requisite knowledge and logic processing ability.I don't believe that injecting statements into a mind constitutes reasoning.  If you injected the first two statements into a mind and out came the third statement on its own, then I think it's fair to say that the brain reached the conclusion through reasoning.Suppose you had a machine that you could hook up to two brains so that every chemical change and every nerve impulse that occurred in the first brain also took place in the second brain.  When the first brain had a though the second brain did too.  If reasoning is just chemical reactions, then when the first brain reasons so does the second.Suppose this machine can be implanted inside each head and operate without wires.  When one man spoke the other man would speak.  When one man walked the other man walked, etc.  Suppose the person initiating all the brain activity had free will and the recipient had no free will.  Would an observer be able to tell which man had free will?The point of reasoning is to think correctly. But we both agree that many of your behavioral decisions should be based on good reasoning. So there's the indirect correlation.When you say there is an indirect correlation you seem to be implying that there is some intermediary between our reasoning and our actions.  Does this intermediary determine what choices people make?  Let's call the intermediary the will. Is my will different from your will such that we make different choices? Why is my will different from yours?One possible explanation for the differences in our choices is that we grew up in slightly different circumstances and encountered different experiences throughout our lives.  There are also differences in our genes and we have different physical and and mental aptitudes.  These differences are relatively simple to observe.  If you believe that the only explanation why people make different choices is "free will" then by comparison the concept of free will doesn't even seem to be an explanation.

  20. All I know is – If you are in love with someone, wouldn’t you rather have that person choose to love you voluntarily on their own because they “wanted to”, not because they were forced to like a robot? That’s the way God is. He loves us so much that he takes the risk of giving us the chance to choose Him on our own.

    But in the end, whether people like it or not, God’s way is the best way. If only everyone would come to realize that, the world would be a better place.

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