Monday, January 03, 2011

Mechanisms of Religious Evil (Lecture)

We haven't had a show since before the holidays, so maybe everyone's ready for a little dose of video atheism. I gave this lecture Sunday as part of the Atheist Community of Austin Lecture Series.

In the lecture, I explore what religious evil is, where it comes from, and how it can be mitigated. Please feel free to critique the lecture with your comments. I promise to read everything and use it to improve the lecture in future versions.

If lectures are not your cup of tea, The Atheist Experience will be back on the air Sunday, January 9th at the usual time.

Don Baker on "Mechanisms of Religious Evil"

Mp3 audio is available here and the PowerPoint slides are available here.


  1. *grabs coffee and pizza and starts watching*

  2. Thanks for including the slides! Now if only I knew how to make an enhanced AAC file out of this, I'd put it on my ipod!

  3. Pauk, why would you need to make an AAC file out of it? Every iPod I know about plays MP3s just fine.

  4. You did a great job, and the lecture was enjoyable to watch.

  5. @Curt: With an AAC file I could include the slide images in the file... so they would appear on screen at the point when they become relevant.

    I'm unaware of any software that allows you to embed sequentially timed images into a regular MP3, but if this is possible then that would be cool too.

  6. @ Don Baker
    Needs references. Being that this is an academic effort, I think Wikipedia is not the way to go; at least I have no professors who allow it. Some of the slides are too busy and need to be simplified as it may be too distracting from you talking. Here are my suggestions.

    The main bullet points you highlight throughout are just a broken up sentence and a little awkward. Maybe they could be:

    - Large number of people
    - Uncritically pursuing a good
    - Causes harm to others
    - Followers feel no sense of responsibility

    slide: 'Is there a such thing as religious evil'
    - I wouldn't call these slides too busy as that is what emphasizes the point.

    slide: 'Religious motivation to procreate'
    Somewhat redundant to put "Go forth and multiply"
    in the heading and then add Gen 1:28 verbatim as a sub heading. It may flow better if you just credit the "Go forth and multiply" with Gen 1:28 to simplify the page.

    slide: 'Some #s'
    The questioned asked was about the world # being less than 2, but you said that the stats were of mothers only, not couples, so 1.67 >1 makes sense. a Reference would be good.

    slide: 'Cultivating Servility' & 'Inoculation from Reason'
    Writing each verse verbatim is too much. Perhaps list 1 or 2 of them verbatim and just list the others.

    some more in next comment

  7. @ Don Baker continued

    slide: 'Counteracting the Cultivation of Servility'
    "Unfortunately" would flow better if it began the last bullet point and not the 2nd.

    slide: 'Do the Math'
    Maybe someone else can help me with this one, if I'm on the right track, but it seems that it would be easy for someone to argue against your claim that All=100% works for an intangible concept. I don't know how to explain myself, so hopefully someone else understands.

    You should explain your meaning of 'snuff porn'. Ambiguity is not something that should be a part of this.

    I think that is all I have and I hope that someone will correct any of my mistakes.


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