Watching a discussion between Dawkins and Krauss (please watch the video on my Fun Media page) and in the Q and A section they talked about how to 'spread the message' so to speak (message of science and rationality as opposed to irrationality). However, there is a problem. A true believer cannot be convinced that their belief is wrong OR that science is right. They talked about a lack of scientific knowledge in schools across America, which is a great tragedy. The United States has the most citizens that DENY Evolution and Natural Selection in favor of Religion and put that in science class! If anyone else is as shocked and appalled about this as me you'll understand my feeling on the topic.
Let me be clear about one thing, personal belief is not my issue. In the US it is a constitutional right to believe in whatever you want. I would not try to take away someone's personal beliefs BUT when that belief is asserted as true instead of scientific evidence and that is taught to children we as a society are less better off. What do we do about this?

Tags: Atheism, Catholic, Conversion, Skepticism, belief, christian, religion

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I think personal belief IS an issue - knowing how EASY it is to implant an emotion-built belief system into even an intelligent atheist. (See here. In 15MINUTES he takes a lifetime atheist scientist and gives her a "TRUE" religious conversion.) The US has laws against subliminal advertising, do you not. This kind of thing should be controlled as well. In the wrong hands it can be, and most likely is, highly dangerous to an individuals mental health.

If there are laws here in the US against such a thing, I can guarantee you that our government, media, and big corporations violate them all the time in order to keep the masses docile, dumb, and derelict to what they do.

I'm not from the US, but i understand that there are very loose laws that discourage subliminal messaging rather than completely outlaw it. Barry is right, it is violated left and right.

It is almost inevitable that she was asked to sign a disclaimer, for the show.  In the UK, there are also laws against subliminal messaging, but when you apply to be on a TV show such as this guys, then you would have to sign to agree that you were permitting 'tricks' to be played on you. 

I loved the peppermint/sound wave experiment

Wasn't clear enough. I, like you obviously but less so, sympathized with the girl for being taken advantage of. But my real concern is of the hundreds of televangelists, etc., who know these psychological tricks, and for the thousands or millions of unsuspecting needy people who can be fleeced by them.

Yes, I loved the rest of the program, too, but 15 MINUTES to convert a lifetime atheist - that was truly SCARY! And no one should think this couldn't happen to them. 

Further, I maintain that the Derren Brown video is more pertinent to the subject of this discussion than the Dawkins video. The Brown program goes some way (in my mind) not to just remark on the phenomenon, but to answer why/how people can simply TURN OFF all their rational resources. This poor atheist girl in the Brown video, with a bit of followup and reinforcement, could have become a Bible thumper herself. 

When we encounter people that fervent, they may WELL have been subjected to this kind of trickery at some point in their lives. Arguing with them rationally is futile because theirs is a purely emotional response/condition.

Watch the video.

Perhaps atheists who are interested in deconversion need to learn these tricks and when talking to an irrational Christian (is that phrase unnecessarily redundant?) try to get the subject to recall this "magical" moment, and try to demonstrate, rationally, how they were taken in by psychological tricks. Of course it's entirely possible that such ingrained emotions need application of these same tricks to assist with the deconversion. But that doesn't seem right.

Ok, I've gathered up the strength to watch the other two Derren Brown videos in Sam's collection, Messiah and  Miracles for Sale

It was over a month ago, but I believe I was suggesting that the subject recall the "magical moment" in the Derren Brown video that I was talking about. I take it you haven't watched it.

My point was that even lifetime avowed atheists - scientists - could fall prey to the psychological trick employed in the video.

That children are easily indoctrinated is too obvious to mention.

"There is no magical moment associated with a typical brainwashed person. "

Just pointing out, again, in reference to the VIDEO, how, in a matter of 15 minutes, an atheist scientist can be "converted" using psychological tricks. There was certainly a definable "moment" for Carolyn.

Yes, generally brainwashing is a process. (I've been through it.) But the process includes moments similar to Carolyn's. Most established religions incorporate these moments / turning points / re-births - baptism (the adult style), the evangelists smack on the forehead, first communion, entering majority, etc. All carefully-engineered moments dating from long before psychology came along and pointed out what mostly clerics already knew.

"What psychological tricks?"

There are all kinds. Towering, dark churches pulling your gaze toward heaven, incense, candles, musical styles custom-made for the "moment" - first contemplation then guilt to discovery and finally rejoicing. Even, as Derren Brown pointed out, spreading of the arms and other body language has known responses. These psychological tricks are in common usage.

Oh definitely. Have you ever seen a faith healing demonstration? I know Derren did a show on it. He will explain (I am a magician and a hypnotist, so I have seen/done this) that all it is is mass hypnosis. That is basically what all of this televangelism is, you get a room full of believers and they all affirm each other in their beliefs, which creates a euphoria in the mind which can cause people to cry and get all emotional, there is spiritual music and an impressive crowd and there is an energetic speaker who is riling up the audience (this would be a really radical hypnosis demonstration, but unfortunately it is quite common in evangelical sermons, and extremely effective). 

Please let me know what you think of Derren's other videos.

I agree with your statement, "A true believer cannot be convinced that their belief is wrong OR that science is right." I still have several friends from 40 years ago life who are "true believers". There seems to be two different responses when I present logical arguments to them.

Some of them will reply with the irrational, illogical responses that they've been taught at church. They keep parroting the same responses over and over again. Nothing can convince them that they might be mistaken. They view challenges to their faith as being attacks from Satan. They withdraw from the discussion and go away and pray for "strength".

Other believers will engage in the discussion for a while. But as foundation for their beliefs starts to crumble, the cognitive dissonance for them becomes more then they can stand. They drop out of the discussion and they "disappear".

I feel sorry for them that they have such a twisted view of reality. I seriously doubt if they can ever drop their beliefs and come back to reality.

It's sad.

We had a "Professor Robert" here for a while answering lots of questions from the Catholic perspective. Very intelligent and articulate. Unfortunately even he disappointed us. He simply ended up just not answering any of the difficult questions that are at the Core of all religious belief. And Catholics seem to have more than their fair share of insane dogmas in which they must believe or, presumably, go to hell. (I forgot what the punishment was for losing one's faith. It's been a LONG time). They have Virgin Birth, Body of Christ (the Communion host which is LITERALLY the Body of Christ), The Assumption of Mary BODILY up into heaven, (which "up" IS heaven, exactly)... several others. I get exhausted. How CAN a University science Professor DEAL with the cognitive dissonance?

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