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The Thinking Atheist Backs Down From Science Debate

Industry: Science

Interview examines the scientific evidence underlying an atheist worldview and why atheists are reluctant to defend it.

United States (PRUnderground) August 30th, 2012

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews. During the interview Andrews explains why atheists don’t support scientists who believe ESP has been scientifically proven:

Alex Tsakiris:   There is this silly sideshow conversation that always dominates center stage– “science versus religion, Christianity versus Atheists.” But the science question behind this really boils down to one question — is your mind purely a function of your brain?  Because if it isn’t then we get into all these other topics that start sounding very spiritual.

Seth Andrews:  To say that the reputable science community is advocating that there must be a conduit of spirit out there that is irresponsible, I don’t think that’s accurate. I don’t think it’s reflected by mainstream, especially secular scientists, who are the majority. I think if you spend that much time playing “What if,” you’ll drive yourself nuts.

Alex Tsakiris:   That is exactly why I wanted to do this interview in two parts, because I have to tell you, in the dialogues I’ve had, we always get to this point, which is we have to dig through all the opinions that we might have, beliefs we might have, get down to the science. Getting down to the scientific evidence and understanding it the best we can.

So that’s my point. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Richard Wiseman – great — go get see  what he has to say about ESP. I’m telling you about the near-death experience science and I’m telling you that overwhelmingly hypoxia has been dismissed as a possible explanation. So, go check it out the science and then come back on so we can have a real debate.

Seth Andrews:   So you’re a believer, then, in extra-sensory perception. You believe in ESP personally?

Alex Tsakiris:   Personally?

Seth Andrews:   I’m not sure why a yes/no question is so complicated for you. I’m just curious.

Alex Tsakiris:   Because I don’t what you mean by “personally.”  I don’t have any personal experience with ESP. I think the evidence is overwhelmingly suggestive that it does happen, that there is some form of extended human consciousness that does occur in this way. That’s what the evidence shows. I don’t know what that means.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on ESP. I’m still stuck on it.

Alex Tsakiris:   Great, go check out the science.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on it. I honestly think—I mean, I lump ESP in with astral projection, with visions, with crystals, with—I myself think that this is a profound waste of time and energy. But to me, superstition and religion, they go hand-in-hand. Superstition and science do not. I don’t place them side-by-side. They are not bedfellows. They are not partners.

Alex Tsakiris:   Science is a method. It is not a position. It’s a set of tools, Seth. It’s just a way of inquiry.

Seth Andrews: I think you and I are simply approaching the term “science” from different perspectives.

The Skeptiko interview with Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist (audio and transcript) is available at:


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