Penn Jillette on why you should read your Bible and more

For the record, I have read the entire Bible, twice, and was halfway through a third when I decided I just didn't want to anymore. 
There's a new study that suggests anxiety may be at the root of religious extremism.
I've been listening through all the Reasonable Doubts podcast, and just heard the one Determinism v Free Will.
The idea that we are not uncaused causers makes sense to me. I still have not come down on one side though, and it seems like a very complicated discussion. If anyone else has time to listen to the podcast, I would love to hear others thoughts.


  1. Thanks Scott, that clip was great. Took me back to my childhood - so mind-numbingly bored in Church Mum & Dad let me read the Bible. I've lost count how many times I read it - eventually I started writing down the 'interesting' passages and that was the Beginning of the End. It was the children torn apart by bears that still sticks in my mind.

    The idea that we are not uncaused causers doesn't make sense to me, but neither does the idea that we are uncaused causers. Complicated philosophical discussions in the absence of data always seems a bit too much like self-gratification. It's fun, it passes the time, but in the end nothing really important is accomplished. (Give me an Engineer any day : http://instantlyviral.blogspot.com/2010/05/saturday-morning-breakfast-cereal_12.html ).

    It's a bit like the discussion on whether or not the mere existence of a universe that allows life is itself evidence - with absolutely no data to compare it to. It might mean something. It might not. But at the end of the day, it definitely doesn't mean that a prophet rode a flying horse, or a God was sacrificed for sins, or killing beetles is wrong. Deism isn't theism, and Deists seem a lot like atheists, but with a soft spot for religious awe. I find it odd when theists use Deist arguments for the existence of God - don't they know that completely destroys their Theistic faith-based God? Deism was, above all, based on rationality (even if I think their conclusions were wrong, they certainly weren't intended to be faith-based).

    I read your posts, even if I don't always comment - sorry for missing the last few. End of year is always very busy!



  2. No worries, you don't always have to post. I like Penn, he seems genuine.
    I am guessing you already acknowledge that people are not uncaused causers, at least in a minor way, otherwise you would deny the idea that a brain tumour could change behaviour. If you have time, listen to the podcast. There is data to support some claims, they do talk a bit about neuroscience. As well, you can make a logical arguments without physical evidence. Do you think nothing is A priori? They seem to think the evidence is in on determinism, but I don't know enough yet to know whether I should agree or disagree. I kind of get your second point, but don't really know why deism got raised.
    Thanks for the comment.