Bill Moyers interviewed Dan Dennett about a year ago. You can find the other parts to the interview on youtube (ahhh, youtube, lovely, giving youtube), but I’m only going to stick part 5 in here. Below the video is a couple of quotes that really stood out for me.
Because of Dan Dennett I am changing my ‘about’ description for this blog.
[video no longer available on youtube]
On the church:
“There’s no human institution on the planet that can match a church for creating a cadre of people who are powerfully motivated and devoted. They are willing to take risks, they are willing to make huge sacrifices. They are willing to devote their lives to a cause. And that’s all wonderful. But there’s one thing about it I really worry about. Unlike their secular counterparts, they are too willing to say about complicated matters, ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got the answer and it’s really very simple.’ They encourage people to stop thinking.”
On the shifting definitions of terms:
“Since the term God has been pretty much decoupled from any comprehensible, clear meaning that everybody can share, it means that who knows what atheism even is?”
On the debate that never ends:
Bill Moyer: So the theists have not proven that God exists, and the atheists have not proven that God does not exist. Where does this leave us?
Dan Dennett: It leaves us at a complete standoff and let’s leave it there. That’s not the important issue.
I think for the rest of July I will focus on three ideas that have been playing around in my head (and all come from the New Atheists in some form or another):
The moral landscape
An infrastructure for moral teamwork
A secular chaplaincy
But in the meantime, what do you think of Dan’s ideas?
Is there a cause you are willing to commit your life to?
[10 12 11] Note — the youtube video has been taken down. The entire interview is below, through google.