Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Blogging Skeptic's Atheist Christmas

Only 6 days till…well you know what. It’s Christmas! The awkward time of the year for atheists- the decision whether to celebrate it is a sensitive issue for many atheists. It is the balance between family, sentiment and personal objection to this religious holiday that many find difficult.  

Whilst some object altogether about celebrating this holiday there are others who celebrate what is becoming an increasingly secularised celebration. With atheist participation in Christmas it highlights and increases the awareness that this event is a somewhat secular holiday. Even if you don’t want to celebrate Christmas per se, why not celebrate the fact it is a public holiday. Or make up your own celebration- the birth of Richard Dawkins perhaps? Who cares if Dawkin’s was born in March it makes perfect sense to celebrate it in December, after all Jesus wasn't born in December!

Now onto Tim Minchin and his brilliantly crafted and intelligent exploration into a Christmas for non-believers. Although this song was released in 2009, it never ceases to fade in its magnificence and is still my number 1 Christmas song each year. The song portrays Tim’s feelings about how Christmas is still important to non-religious people and the sentient, along with sharing time with your family is important.

Whatever your views and whatever holiday you will be celebrating, Happy Holiday and Merry Chri...HOLIDAY!- From The Blogging Skeptic

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Derren Brown Part 2- Religious Experience

As promised, here is my response to Derren Brown’s ‘Faith’ show. The shows are still on 4oD if you wish to watch them.

In this programme Derren Brown demonstrates how a ‘religious experience’ can be induced on someone, in this case a stem-cell scientist and a strong atheist. It was a fascinating show because Derren was not presenting full conclusive evidence for the non-existence of God(s) but exploring that the belief in God could stem from our humanistic needs and is hard-wired into us.

The concept of a God was always going to be applied by humans to explain the world no matter whether it was true or not, centuries ago humans knew very little about the world around them and the need to be able to explain the world was essential to the basics of living. As Derren showed in this programme we are all susceptible to suggestions of a supernatural presence, in essence it is hard wired into every one of us. He used several experiments on members of his audience to demonstrate this. He performed a satanic ritual where the person read out a satanic rite declaring their allegiance to Satan, out of an audience consisting of mainly atheists, agnostics and skeptics only a few were willing to perform it- 11 out of 160. As Derren after this said “we are all born with an inbuilt hardwired tendency to believe,” and it was that niggling doubt in the back of their minds that made them not decide to partake.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Derren Brown Part 1- Placebo Effect

In this post and the next I am exploring Derren Brown’s ‘Fear and Faith’ shows. I am looking at part 1, ‘fear’ which examines the placebo effect. The first show was broadcasted on Friday 9th November, apologies for time delay. The shows are still on 4oD if you wish to watch them. 

In the programme, at first Derren Brown reveals a drug ‘Rumyodin’ that inhibits fear; it had been used within the U.S army and now they had the permission to use the drug on a clinical level for a select few members of the public. After several minutes he reveals that it is in fact a fake, the drug does not exist and it is simply an elaborate fa├žade for a placebo pill. Derren cleverly created the name ‘Rumyodin’ which is actually an anagram of ‘your mind.' After this it shows Derren leading several people into Cicero’s (the fake company) medical centre and the placebo effect has already begun with the professionalism of the trials and the medical centre.