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External Event - LAAG Discussion: on Peter Boghossian's "How to create Atheists"

LAAG have informed us this popular talk is now fully booked. If you can no longer attend please update your rsvp to release your place to someone else. 

Our friends at LAAG have invited us to another of their interesting discussions.

Dr Boghossian will be joining the discussion for a Q&A via a live Skype linkup.

The details below have been sent by LAAG. 

 "The Faith Virus" - a series of events in how to talk to believers about their faith in a non-confrontational, sincere and effective way


Dr. Peter Boghossian says: 

"There are entire bodies of literature, training camps, pamphlets, organisations that teach people how to talk others into faith. There's nothing that does the opposite, until now ... 

The faithful are not well cognitively, they need our help. They've caught a virus of an unreliable way to know the world. An Epistomelogical sickness. Believing things from faith causes people to misconstrue what is good for them, and what is good for others. If someone is ill, you are not upset with them. Therefore it is obviously not about being annoyed, or humiliating the religious ...any more than if they had a cold! But as with a physical illness, you try and help them recover, with compassion and understanding. 

This is not about changing beliefs but about leading them gently to think about HOW they form those beliefs"


More about the event further below....


(FOR NEW MEMBERS,  MEET & GREET 18:30-19:00 - if any regulars would like to join us, very welcome but this extra time will be dedicated for our newer members to meet, socialise, to discuss their thoughts etc. Everyone else please arrive from 19:00 to save disturbances during our new members' time)

19:00- 19:20 General arrival, upstairs (please get drinks and order any food DOWNSTAIRS first)

19:30 Discussion /Talk starts PROMPTLY, till latest 21:30 (but flexible) 

Social time, drinks & nibbles, till 22:30



Dr. Peter Boghossian's method "Manual For Creating Atheists"

We'll be showing a video and Powerpoint presentation of the key points of the method, followed by Q&A Skype link up with Dr. Boghossian. Time permitting we will have a short discussion afterwards (but it is more likely that the discussion will be carried forward to the next meeting in the series (date TBA) where we can also practise the method out on each other)

From Dr. Boghossian:

"What would it take for you to believe?"

"Why is it important to answer the question? There are two reasons. First, it’s important so that we don’t become what we’re fighting — doggedly certain, closed-minded, epistemologically arrogant, dogmatic and religious. Being genuinely open to revise or to change your beliefs is an attitudinal disposition.

The second reason being able to answer this question is important is because it helps us to model the behavior that we want the faithful to emulate. If we want the faithful to be less doggedly certain, less closed-minded, less dogmatic, then this is the behavior that we need to model. If we want the faithful to be trustful of reason and willing to revise their beliefs, then we need to show them by example.

What is atheism? 

It is important to be a person who trusts reason, who formulates reason on the basis of reliable evidence and who’s genuinely willing to reconsider. What’s not important is to "be an atheist".

Atheism is a natural consequence of possessing these skills and attitudes. Yet one could be an atheist and not possess these skills and dispositions. That is, one could be a doxastically closed atheist. 

Atheism is not an immutable, timeless truth. It’s a conclusion - one that comes based on an honest and thoughtful examination of reasons and evidence.

But what would it take?

We need to model the change that we want to see in the faithful.  There’s a lot of work to be done to help people to lose their faith and to embrace reason. This is one step in that direction. It’s possible for virtually everyone to lead a life free of delusion.

To facilitate this, think back to one of the definitions of belief from the Greek. We need to move from appearance and opinion to knowledge. We also need to model the attitudes that are necessary to provide people with hope.

But the hope we offer is a tough hope. It’s not born of platitudes. It won’t make you feel better right away. But it takes away a false view of reality and offers a genuine hope, a hope that’s based on reason and rationality and the tools of science.

It’s a hope your own efforts of thoughtfulness and an examined life will help contribute to that — a hope offered through walking the talk"


Feel free to add your own questions in the comments boxes below (these comments boxes are for pre and post event discussion TO DO WITH THIS PARTICULAR MEETUP - please use the forum to start discussions about anything else)

Though these midweek events are usually structured talks/debates/discussions, they are nevertheless fairly informal; so the bar is usually open upstairs in the break and feel free to order food and have it during the event (simple but pretty good we've been told).

We start the discussion promptly at 19:30. As a courtesy to others, please try to turn up by 19:20 ... if at all possible :-)   If a late arrival can't be helped, no worries, just come in quietly :-)

The usual end time for discussion is 21:30pm, but this is flexible if people want to continue with the discussion, and usually we have some social time afterwards until 10:30pm (or until the pub closes!)

The meetup fee either goes towards costs of running the group, including  equipment, room, prizes, nibbles etc, or towards specific campaigns and causes when we can cover other costs. The latter are specified on the appropriate events page.

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  • Ben C.

    Apologies; I've been dragged to Ireland for work.

    August 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      That's a shame - well except the Irelznd bit. Slainte!

      August 14, 2013

  • James

    I can step aside for the full waiting list, probably won't make it. But I hope to see people at the Speaker's Corner event.

    August 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks James :-)

      August 14, 2013

  • Georgi L.

    Hi Everyone, we are full and have closed out bookings on our site over at LAAG, so please update your RSVP's asap if you can't make it so we are not turning people away. Thank you :-)

    August 12, 2013

  • James

    I will try my best to attend. I think this looks really interesting, especially in build up to the Speakers Corner event.

    August 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi James - look forward to seeing you there then - if you can't make it though please do update your RSVP as I think this one is going to be quite popular!

      August 7, 2013

15 went

  • Mary G.
    Committee Member, Events organiser & enjoys taking event photos, Assistant Organizer
  • Ian S.
    SECRETARY & Editor, International Bulletin, Assistant Organizer
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

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