Atheist Interviews with Chris Robison | The Preaching Humanist 01.34

Atheist Interviews with Chris Robison | The Preaching Humanist 01.34

Welcome back viewers to the Preaching Humanist with David Oliverio that is I. Where no God is required for a life of joy peace
fulfillment meaning and purpose in life and the good life as one guided by
reason and motivated by love you notice I have a gentleman here with me this is
Chris Robinson broad-brush about this in no time at all right he told me that
before an hour to even have a cup of coffee today so I’m flying high illegal drug by the way we are going to
discuss the scientific method how would you why we need to you that the
determined truth or falsity so I as a former fundamentalist charismatic
evangelist and preacher years ago have someone here who is going to explain it
to you hopefully my dear Christian friend why we need to use it what it’s all about and we will discuss
these things before I begin to ask you some questions are gonna turn it over to
Chris and I’m gonna explain what he does and he’s gonna go into much greater
detail for many years now since I’ve been very old virgin my humanism and
eight years into my religious friends out there trying to help persuade you
that you don’t need this in your life to have a wonderful life good life many Christians have given me
a comment over and over again how they have great disdain they’ve been little
the scientific method even signed veteran these area can’t proud atheistic
painful well I have one with me right here a real-life scientists he’s a
down-to-earth guy touching that is a real person and he’s actually a really down-to-earth guy so we’re going to
discuss these things today so creases occupation is a behavioral and neural
science that’s right from UT Austin right here in the great city of Austin
Texas so I’m gonna ask Chris and turn it over to him and he’s going to explain to
you my viewers the importance of science and how we really need it and if we want
to progress as a species right so Chris I would like you to tell my viewers your
background your upbringing what type of doctor because my viewers know my
background hardcore fundamentalist Christianity no signs just great Bible
so we come from different backgrounds in some ways of Crisco heaven and hell yes
sir my background is a non-religious family but not as strictly a family
either so I wasn’t brought up saying learning that I was not to believe in
God nor was I saying I should should believe in that but rather talk about
different different religious traditions about Christianity and Judaism and and
to some extent non-western religions Buddhism and Hinduism but not quite as
much but I i recall most strongly about my my religious upbringing was when I
went to a Bible school vacation Bible school in the summer and learning about
Noah’s Ark in about the stories of Jesus from the New Testament and thinking that
those sounded an awful lot like the Greek and Roman dress that I was also
learning about at home and thinking this is this is this is fun but this isn’t
something that I i considered even at that young ages taking as a struggle
historical truth and I i feel that way I felt that way then I feel that way now
actually where these things are basically mythological traditions just
like the ancient Egyptian religions or their versions of of any other any other group that you would consider
as being false if you don’t think those those gods exist if you just take them
as as stories which had some sort of cultural value that had some sort of
value for a group cohesion or passing traditions along but but you have to
realize that in ancient times in ancient history they didn’t have historical
tradition they didn’t think it was important to literally transfer the
truth but rather like the spirit about truth and that’s that’s what I i I view
them as now and that stems directly was brought up seeing these things those
stories rather than truth did your parents raised you to use what I call
them all important and it do for religion or supernatural beliefs which
is called critical thinking and I discussed that before I pass some of my
previous episodes but were you raised to use their clear rationale type thinking
if or by evidence we talk about your parents to use critical thinking are
just something that you developed on your own I think it’s a little bit of
both I was sort of influenced by my my grandfather was a microbiologist and so
when I went to their house when I was a little kid then pick up the microscope
and we take like little drops of like pond scum and things like that and see
these little creatures around underneath the microscope and I thought that was
really cool and learn about how how to go about doing basic field work and
things like that but there wasn’t a whole lot of emphasis on critical
thinking goes to sort of an implicit sort of thing and I didn’t really get into that until
I guess I got the college and i really got serious about science and then I
really started thinking about critical thinking and those taking classes like
mathematics but I’m melded together in a very nice way wow
yeah every anytime out there any time that I have dialogue
with a fellow atheists and humanists like Chris I’m just how the background
is so different dichotomy right so different and how I
feel like I have missed so much as a younger man years ago when I was
involved in Christianity and how one side let go of Christianity twenty to
twenty-five years ago and tried to begin this life reading and education learning
the natural world from people like Chris people that do peer review of the
scientific method reading their information hang it out with him going to lynching
and affiliating with them associated with them have a dialogue
with him I tend to learn more and more I think that all of us can learn from
those which I always talk about the division of labor those of us that our
specialties we learn from each other we don’t has a huge turn to God for the
knowledge and wisdom which that I will tell you we need her to each other have like human mind which are discussed
before Chris I want to discuss with my viewers the let’s discuss the scientific
method how important the scientific method is and the basics of how it works I’m
asking a lot of questions just kind of going to how it began why it’s so
important just a basic cos basics of the tool of sides of how we believe in the
scientific method you use it to determine what is true and false and
maybe even how scientific method has never once found anything other than a
natural world right now so just experiment so together the scientific
method has been with us for a while they’re there was something akin to the
scientific method in the ancient world especially in its a Greece and Rome
where they had this kind of skeptical tradition but it wasn’t really
formalized until the Renaissance where guys like francis bacon the bacon onion
scientific method which is what most of us learned in school was developed
that’s the thing where you have a hypothesis that you have methods and you
make one experiment and you write up the discussion and you reach conclusions and
that that sort of thing but really what we’re trying to do when when we have a
scientific method is to address this question of what is true and what is not
in an empirical way so by which I mean there’s some sort of phenomenon that we
can observe that may be repeatable hopefully and so we we have to come up
with some sort of idea why we think it’s happening whatever we’re observing so
let’s say I’m doing behavioral neuroscience I am observing these
animals and they’re they’re engaging in some sort of behavior that same routes
in there themselves in a funny way and maybe this
brain area it’s doing that may be so the brain areas are doing it when they are
stressed out there when they’re anxious and I have I can come up with different
ways to test that so that’s a i think that these racks racks themselves
whenever they’re anxious that’s my hypothesis and then I have to come up
with some way up testing that may be a good test it by activating a brain area
associated with things only when checking them with some kind of hormone
associated with stress or by looking at rats engaging that behavior and seeing
if the areas cobalt and anxiety are are more active
things like that and so I have a very variety of different experimental ideas
that I can come up with and I want to do multiple ones of those because science
isn’t about coming up with a pet theory improving that pet theory but rather
coming up with you what is the most probable explanation for what you’re
observing and so I want to come up with maybe two or three different experiments
in all the evidence pointed in the same direction for all of those then that
means I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s happening in if not then maybe
I’ll go back to the drawing board and come up with new hypothesis but this is
what I read in 2012 with you my dear friends and even other religious people
that really look down it when they say a lot of questions or tell me well science
is wrong or they they thereby my way that is more objective think they
go into supposedly going to hood football open-minded looking for reality
truth right sure everybody’s biased in some way but the the whole idea of the
scientific method is that you designed in such a way that you overcome your
bias are you you avoided insofar as possible for instance peer review its
way where if if I’m so biased that my experiment is badly designed then I can
have other scientists come in and go through with a fine-tooth comb comment
say that’s not fit for publication because you have designed a bad
experiment that doesn’t show what you think it shows and if if I can chose
somebody is substantially wrong and show that I am right then that that’s that’s
a sure fire way to success and fame in the scientific community we ate to prove
each other on like a big deal yeah yeah yeah quite all so there’s
something else I really want to discuss is there’s a quote I’ll learn many many
years ago that about the looking for overwhelming evidence that works absolute proof inside his nearly
unattainable instead a theory is proposed and debate it until the weight
of the evidence is so overwhelming that everyone commonly accepted that there
are policies is true is that ruling is upheld work she look for peer-review
overwhelming evidence now there’s an absolute because i dont christians ago
haha it’s not absolutely cuz I know scientists who are Christians that say
that religion and science are compared to my my view is that it’s not absolute
almost never absolute because what we’re doing is we’re we’re not somehow
understanding some great celestial metaphysical truth we’re understanding
observations that were making somewhere in the laboratory or maybe pointing at
my telescope up at the sky and observing galaxies or something and so what we
what we do is we we try to come up with some sort of statistical model for
what’s happening and you can use your modeling to come up with basically
different probably different probabilities and so let’s say I i i do
it I give iraq a drug and I observed that it’s got one set of behavior and I
give another set of rats had no drugs and they have a different set of
behaviors I can count those behaviors I can quantify those behaviors in
different ways it how many do they have how often do they do them for how long
and then I can do just a statistical analysis to see if those groups are
actually different from each other and so I might apply a statistical model and
say there is a one in 10,000 chance that this difference is just pure coincidence
and there is a 9999 in 112 9999 chance to its actually there’s actually
difference between them yeah and so get could be that one in
10,000 it could be and in order to show that it’s not I have to do with say
another experiment if they want to be even more precise and
accurate but for the most part that’s not really necessary if it’s bolstered
by other findings are consistent with other findings the only time that you’d
want to have more precision than that all you would need to have more
precision than that is if you’re doing something that’s so absolutely important
that you get it right that you can put like more money and resources into it
otherwise it’s just not efficient very good stuff you know since I have a real
neuroscientist right here to pick his brain little bit and you guys can learn
to listen so Chris this is something I’ve always wanted to ask a plane judges
I have you here with me why is it that some of us let’s talk genetics here were
born progeny say you have parents have to be three children yeah they have the
same genetic gene from 23 chromosomes right for me so far why is it that so
very strong Christian families have an individual called the black sheep of the
family they’re able to figure this out they’re able to see that you know
religion and I was raised to believe all that true that we call the bible or
God’s ways didn’t make it came to a point in your life or my life and it
makes sense I no longer fellow free thinkers I came to my background that
their siblings really are still in the unenlightened phase and the Jesus bubble
they just don’t get it why do some people come out of it why do some people
see it light of reason and rationality is something that he doesn’t test just
something that’s genetic some people have more geared toward the scientific
method or not well i I would be lying if I said that I
had a good definitive answer to that I’m not sure anybody does what what I can
say is that each each person’s brain is unique because our our our brains in we think that we think is everything
that we feel which is born born out of the biology of the springs is highly
contingent its contingent on genetics and lets your identical twin you’re
nobody on the planet has the same exact genetic says you is contingent upon your
development even if you aren’t identical twin you you haven’t been exposed to all
the same experiences all the same phenomenon in its result out they even
the experiences of your parents are going to have a pedantic effects which
can have lasting behavioral consequences on you and really I think that it’s just
some sort of watching a confluence of genetics and environment and personal
experiences that it’s going to cause these massive psychological differences
between people who are otherwise very biologically similar because none of us
the same because of those things where do you think scientists in the United
States of America right now by of those that be little signs and your profession
and those that do value side so where do you think that we’re going as a country
as far as science education as far as youngsters and younger the next
generation are we moving more that way we catching Western Europe and Canada as
far as rationality less religion and more signs or not we might be catching
up with them in terms of more rationality just from a purely societal
standpoint what worries me more is where we’re heading in terms of scientific
funding because there have been some recent increases and see the nasa budget
but those are actually fairly minor and they they really don’t account for
changes and say inflation rate so we we are well below right now the level of
funding through the National Institutes of Health which is where most neuroscientist get there finding much
sorry we were in say your 2000 that the findings just objectively lower if you
after accounting for inflation and that’s problematic because there are
other countries that are aren’t falling behind in funding so
places like you said in Western Europe since and the more affluent East Asian
countries they all have excellent research programs as well so what
america america’s remain at the forefront sciences then we’ve got to
make sure that our sciences are our scientists are funded and if they’re not
well then you know as a science goes the economy will also go that’s just one
more thing this is what I really want spending more time on before we close I
get put your two statements from Christians often especially the further
to the right about scientists about the whole scientific method a lot of it
comes from social conservatives maybe right-wingers I’m more progressive
liberal type guy and it seems like they just always have this hatred of me when
I bring up for social scientist or I like to use meteorology and weather
sides even gotta think I showed you before I like to keep up my high though
the actual temperature of different cities making the city where my children
grandchildren layer of my family members my parents and I can keep up with that
because a rational person foremost concern over a factor when what is truly
like data gets pretty much science and one of my close friends years ago tell
the old David you’re so skeptical would have to be so skeptical why don’t you
just did leave so you know my iPhone I keep data so you know I’m sure drive
people crazy but somebody else a and many other religious people are very
concerned well wonder what the weather is gonna be
like tomorrow I feel like it’s gonna be cold and I use existing well let me see
what the sign says I mean it’s not all two hundred percent right but their
music right now reid updated forecast from the scientists whether scientists
on the weather this particular city now what individual
older man who doesn’t believe in a strong Christian literally told me know
I know the forecast for my city I saw 24 hours ago and I tried explaining the
person that weather changes it’s not the same changes so much the scientists are
not change their mind they’re they’re telling you what the way to do it is
what it is that’s as they get more information about the weather they feed
it into their their model and they can get more accurate up-to-date information
such as belittling and disdain for so what would you say if someone told you I
don’t believe in signs you guys are wrong all the time I think you guys are
area I think you’re wrong I mean how how did you talk to someone else scientists are certainly wrong sometimes
and that’s that’s the whole point of the scientific method is to to correct
yourself when you’re wrong and to to try to get better and better and better
model to predict whatever it is you’re trying to look at whether it’s the
weather or an animal’s behavior or say the weather maybe could be the weather
on a different planet or could be some kind of chemical reaction that you’re
interested in looking at the speed of the dynamics over or something like that
and the entire point of Sciences to come up with models that explain the world
that we live in and then use that model to predict future outcomes that’s that’s
really the whole point of it it’s just to look at those things and and I think
that people who really doubt that scientific method or about the specific
area of science say somebody who says I don’t I don’t trust us vaccines I don’t think vaccines were
actually come in iron among the people on the left bank that’s not just
conservatives they’re conservatives and liberals and
the people who don’t trust scientific findings I think are usually guilty of
what’s caught post-hoc rationalization where you’ve already made up your mind
that you track your way backwards figure out why you should have jacked to do
things that you don’t agree with and really if you want to to have the best available model of how
things work you have to have your mind open yet be open to changing that that’s
what I want to discuss this one more thing I try to keep it short it will
stop is changing my head even some of my clients in my business and personal
training will try to change my mind so for example I think I’m going over this
one and a half or so before I was a big time for a long time and I got what I
can say is we all are subject to the intellectual black hole hate to say it
but I should also sometimes we all get all track of what we need each other to
look at the craft daddy when some of that sir that our objective thinkers
change our mind I didn’t get it on my water consumption of talk about that I
was using all the pseudo signs about how much water as you take it was freakin p
and everything that made it so I new us push my body but I was not wanted to
look at contrary evidence I didn’t wanna look I
think it was more of a guess a confirmation bias right I want to hold
on my belief I didn’t want to look at real data so I think that those of us or
open for what is real and true not just what makes us feel good I’m also talking
to you magical religious people out there too gotta be open-minded look at sometimes
you have to stand to be corrected right I mean I tell me when you change your
mind a few years ago you told me I should be eating all players about me
and then they say well no not so much it was first of all it could have changed
with new information and I didn’t look for correct that I was looking for
information confirm my own preconceived notions yeah
talk about how that kind of changes it yeah I mean you can even think about it
I’m not the dietary expert by any means but it’s been it’s been decades since
we’ve known that saturated fats for instance or bad saturated taxi they they’re good
climbing up they can get give you this arteriosclerosis closest they can blood
vessels and so for a while proposed healthy alternative to that
where the so-called trans-fats these trans-fatty acids and those are
absolutely bad they’re terrible for you that to the extent that we are looking
to eradicate them from diet any restaurant you would go to the trans
fatty acid free and so maybe the city sis acids unsaturated fats are ok but
the transponder not so one point these ones that might be better they want and
how do we know because data came in saying that now that people are eating
more of these well actually the incidence of heart disease is gone gone
up as a result that it seems to be correlated with how much of these fatty
acid you have in your diet and you can you can do that for for anything where
you come up with an idea that is in mind with the information that you have been
as you get more information you might change the notion that you have it
doesn’t mean your previous information was bad bets are absolutely bad but you
have this new information that now let’s make a morning let’s face it that’s all
that is good for him to a lot of fun trying to keep his episodes sure I could
go for hours and when I used to drink but literally sit there for up to an
hour an hour to have listened to people’s attention but fascinating so I
think it was maybe the drug part of the open what is a bird opening be released
in the brain that good feeling yeah dopamine and serotonin oxytocin there is
all feel good molecules what I have chosen reason and
rationality reality so I want to thank you for watching the preaching hingis
with a very thank you Chris coming on the show picking your brain I love to pick these
intelligence sign his brain to every chance I can and I think that if we ask
each other questions and we remain open and objective in our thinking we can
progress so my encouragement to those of you that are on the French those you
that are still in religious bubble you’re beginning to see that doesn’t
sound right there is an alternative it’s called critical thinking it’s called
rational reason it’s called open up your mind look for data and evidence and
demanded ask questions be skeptical as I and many others did what we finally
figured this out that there’s nothing that they’re know everything
supernatural and then we learn how to build our allies and humanism and making
this world better every day without God belief and Chris came from a different
background then I have told the opposite but we’re both human beings will try to
make this world better and we don’t really see any of it for anything
supernatural any God such yes we’re both very happy and we have a film and media
of life so thank you for watching and come back and join me soon went out and
have a good day


  1. Post

    How do you know what is supernatural and what isn't? Science is extremely important, it and religion go hand in hand in explaining the universe to us. The two complement each other. Without religion, you have half the information you need to understand the universe. We don't progress as a species without religion, you just head us down a dead-end trail.

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