A Brief History of Disbelief

2004, Religion  -   184 Comments
Ratings: 9.02/10 from 55 users.

A Brief History of DisbeliefJonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first 'unbelievers' in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.

So few representatives of atheism provide a compelling and earnest account for unbelief, let alone with the lucidity and intellectual vigor of Jonathan Miller. He is sincere and moving in this attempt to explain and understand the origins of the truth of disbelief of religious superstition and faith.

With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D'Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.

The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a 'thought disorder'. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st century. Episodes included: 1. Shadows of Doubt, 2. Noughts and Crosses, and 3. The Final Hour.

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184 Comments / User Reviews

  1. The "law" of gravity deduced by Isaac Newton so explain the orbits of the planets deduced by Johann Kepler from the observations of Tycho Brahe was a tour de force(intellectual) far beyond the capacity of any idiot willing to believe the the Almighty fashioned a woman from the rib of a man, when it seems he did not need to take any part of a bull to make a cow.

  2. The "law" of gravity deduced by Isaac Newton so explain the orbits of the plaets deduced by Johann Kepler from the observations of Tycho Brahe was a tour de force(intellectual) far beyond the capacity of any idiot willing to believe the the Almighty fashioned a woman from the rib of a man, when it seems he did not need to take any part of a bull to make a cow.

  3. As much as I loved Hitchens who was the most intelligent man I have ever head speak, Miller is a calm, intelligent & totally correct. I also find it interesting that so many very intelligent people who agree & who are true "Thinking" people were at one time Jewish. More Jewish people become atheist by percentage then any other religion. This could be because so many Jewish people have become so very educated agian by percentages.

  4. I found, with a horrifying feeling of disbelief, that the final hour of this documentary cuts off (at 58:09) in the middle of Miller's final comment!

    It can be found on the British version uploaded by Timothy Havener
    on October 18, 2011. Look for the BRITISH title, "A Rough History of Disbelief" on You Tube.

  5. Now I'd be really impressed if you could show me a Reptile and Fish mating and producing an amphibian.Just wanted to say this one again , know you'll have fun with that by saying ''DUH , evolution doesn't say that!! , taking it out of context , while secretly believing that Humans descend from fish somehow over billions and billions of unseeable years that is.Of course evolutionist don't claim that , it's obviously not true , and never will be.

  6. Evolution isn't an atheist argument?Funny how anytime I meet someone who says ''I'm an atheist'' I automatically know what they believe about how life came to be on this planet.Also believing you can ''date'' a rock is belief , 99% of all atheist never once take part an any of these so called ''experiments'' therefor they only have faith in the people who produce them.All dating methods rely on no less than 3 assumptions to be correct.

    A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, WITHOUT PROOF:

    This system has peoples minds warped and they cannot think for themselves.Point out something obviously true that cannot be denied by means of reality , and they just regurgitate propaganda shoved down their throats.All facts of reality imply other things logically.

    Gravity = What goes up must come down , therefor what goes up cannot keep going up , why? Because it MUST come down.

    Biogeneius = Fish produce only fish , therefor logically it cannot produce a donkey , why? Because it produces ONLY fish.

    Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates their own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underates the abilities of their opponents (the "outgroup").


    A teacher with 100 students demonstrates, Remove 1student off to the side call him Jim.Once removed , Draw 2 lines on the board , One is OBVIOUSLY longer then the other.The teacher tells the 99 students that when he brings Jim back in , he wants them all ( the 99 ) to point to the OBVIOUSLY shorter line when he asks '' I want you all to point at the longer line'' So he brings Jim , tells him to have a seat and then says ''Now class I all want you to point at the longer line'' The 99 students who know the deal all instantly point to the OBVIOUSLY shorter line , the teacher looks at Jim , see's he's hesitant , Jim looks at the 99 others pointing , looks at the board , points at the short one the OBVIOUSLY WRONG ANSWER.Laughter occurs....

    It has been shown , the BIGGER the GROUP , the more likely others will follow along without speaking their mind.

    Also the longer you preform similar situations on a individual , the less hesitation you'll see and much more conformity.Even across different subjects.That is if a persons beliefs are constantly challenged by a ''group'' or what they deem a higher ''authority'' then themselves , they will likely drop their beliefs and simply ''conform'' , obviously young children or more susceptible.Only a very small % will repeatedly defy the group and point at the right answer.

    So I ask you?As an atheist what answer have you been taught to point at on this subject?I don't mean from just school either as school really didn't go into evolution at all as I remember , but I remember that ape to man banner hanging up in science class , and the books and movies they had us digest.You can't watch a program about sharks or any nature period with out hearing the word evolution and a reference to billions or millions of years several times.It will be pointless remarks that teach you nothing about ACTUAL evolution too like ''Millions of years of evolution helped perfect the great white into a vicious predator'' , this TEACHES you NOTHING and only Implies that Evolution is ''TRUE''.It's not only nature shows it's pretty much any and everywhere INCLUDING TONS OF cartoons.Despite what someone said previously about the big-bang , I do understand it quite well , my point got across to those who were looking for it.A bland explanation worked quite well.Will you try to deny that current theories are not simply stellar ''Evolution''.Go listen to any ''scientist'' explain the formation of stars.It starts with gas , condenses because of natural law ( gravity ) , this reacts with that and such on and so forth all by itself , until boom IT'S A STAR.Or as I like to say ''EVOLUTION DID IT! (EDI!)''Hey atheist where did this blade of grass come from? EDI! and this horse here? EDI! how about this fish? EDI!This tree? EDI! What about this fine herb I be smokin? EDI! How bouts this planet I be sittin on? EDI! And the sun that brightens my day and warms my soul EDI! How bout this big ol galaxy we sittin in EDI!And the universe and all of existence? EDI! EDI! EDI! EDI! EDI!

    ''Don't horses and donkey mate and their offspring are call mules'' Um yes they do , will you try and argue that these 3 animals aren't relatively the same ''KIND'' of animal.Personally I call that ''Horsekind'' Now I'd be really impressed if you could show me a Reptile and Fish mating and producing an amphibian.

    Don't tigers and lions mate and call their off spring Ligers?Is a Liger not a cat?

    ''To understand evolution you have to wrap your brain around the concept of geological time'' And to understand me you have to realize that when it comes to the past we can only look at things in the present and speculate what these things imply about the past , in other words , BELIEF.My main point has went completely unchallenged nobody here has produced a single shred of evidence that a fish can produce a non fish over a long period of time , and it can be logically concluded that if a fish always produces a fish , you will never get non-fish.

    Kat your purposively take my arguments out of context to avoid adressing them.8/10 of all atheist I've talked to believe that at one point in earths history all of ( animal ) life was contained in water.Somehow single celled life forms were created (different BELIEFS on this) and from there that life eventually evolved into a fish ( among other things ).So at one point there were no land animals , but there was indeed fish....and reality has showed that fish can ONLY produce fish.You can call me a troll does not matter nor effect me , my argument has nothing to do with GOD , while I did indeed state that I believe , the argument itself has nothing to do with God.If you agreed that my argument is correct , it wouldn't mean GOD is real , you could reconstruct the framework of evolution.I've never heard one atheist give an alternative answer that was not introduced to them by mainstream thought.GO SEARCH CREATIONIST sites I DARE YOU, FIND MY ARGUMENT , YOU WON'T , BECAUSE IT'S MINE , MY BELIEF , MY THEORY , NOT SOMEBODY ELSES.

    1. Evolution: A scientific theory in the field of biology.

      Atheist: "a" (non) plus "theist" (believer in god) A nonbeliever in god.

      Not sure how you can mix that up.

      Edit: I don't know how old you may think I am, but I assure you, I know much more about creationism than you know about science *or* atheism.

    2. Kateye70
      you are free to do as you wish but i advise you "do not feed the trolls" . that being said i do it as well but the poster clearly has no understanding of evolution or its claims and is appealing to emotion and making baseless claims to elicit a response.

      when i was younger my mentor/coach gave me one of the best pieces of advice i ever received. in sports there is a lot of trash talking his advise was " words are used to illicit a response, if you give them the response they are looking for they have already won"

    3. Dadadeet daddadum dadadeet dadadum

      Yeah you automatically know stuff huh?
      Excuse me for giving Science the benefit of the doubt here; you know that small matter of evidence etc.

      “Now I'd be really impressed if you could show me a Reptile and Fish mating and producing an amphibian”

      How can you ask such an inane question? Unless you’re a troll of course, they do it all the time. Surely not you?

      And even Worse!

      “My main point has went completely unchallenged”

      Oh please.

      Then to top it all off you start all that crazy shouting about how it’s all about you! Yeah, we know a song about that.

      Yeah groupthunk all by your tiny mind.


      (A small contemptible grin forms)

      We are bacteria with shoes, get over it!

      The Crucified One

      P.S. Thanks for all the fish and I hope your sales of aluminium sidings get better.

    4. Brevity will get your point across a lot easier.

    5. And a point which is massively off the mark and a manifestation of breathless ignorance.

    6. My (misc) comment was for Dadadeet. But it's worthless. Can't fight the Jesus Crispies sometimes.

    7. Yes, it was an amazing rant of profound ignorance. I didn't think it was possible to get so many things wrong, commit so many fallacious moves and straight up fallacies. I suppose one can fight them politically but reason with them? Not a chance.

    8. If you go to google scholar you can search all the scientific papers and learn about evolution by natural selection. You could read Peter and Rosemary Grant's paper on evolution in finches on the Galapagos islands. They spent 30 years on the islands studying the finches. The same finches as Charles Darwin studied. In his famous book On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, he uses several other species as examples too. First he talks about pigeons, then dogs and how people breed them, selecting which ones are mated together and that way select the desired traits. Like long hair, intelligence or what ever. So you see how people can effect the next generation by selective breeding.. There is a certain amount of variance in creatures of the same species, brought about by meiosis (the cell division that produces reproductive cells like sperm) plus mutations. Youtube it. Now in the finches one example of variation is, as Darwin and more recently the Grants observed, their beaks. You see, if there is a very dry year then the type of food available changes and they have only hard nuts to eat. Now in this circumstance more of the finches with stronger, thicker, beaks survive long enough to reproduce. The next generation therefore has more children from these thick beaked parents. It's what Darwin called Natural Selection. As climate changes over geological time scales and environments change, some "traits" turn out to be useful and give an advantage in surviving to sexual maturity. Over time, that useful trait will become how those animals look. Since you mention amphibians I'll take that as an example. There's a gene that codes for making a fin. (go learn about genes) there's another gene that controls that gene and switches it on and off. If this gene doesn't say stop then the poor fish ends up with a long bony fin, almost like a proto-leg! (go check this out too.) So if there's a bunch of fish that have to get from one puddle to another because their homes are drying up, then the ones with a slightly stronger, longer fin, will be more successful at dragging themselves from one puddle to the next and more will survive and reproduce. A million years later and you've got a bunch of mud-skipper things. You get the idea? It does take a bit of study but science is really common sense and experimental evidence, you don't have to believe anything. Hope I've piqued your interest. The Origin of Species is a good and easy read. I recommend it. Just a personal note on morality in humans. Would you chose to reproduce with a nice person or a nasty person? If you said a nice person, you've just left a nasty person, not to pass on their genes and instead you're actively making evolution happen, by sexual selection. That's if you've observed that children often take after their parents.

    9. You could have saved yourself a lot of time by reading about arguments from authority in any logic book, learning about peer reviewed research, or even W.K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief."

    10. The law of gravity is a damn ' sight more elaborate than "What goes up must come down" -- which is not even true on this planet's surface.

  7. Just want to say also that nothing but love KAT , I am very passionate about my beliefs and don't want to come across as a a--hole.I have truly done nothing but seeked the truth , unbiasedly as I can , and have considered all possibilities to be true.I've jumped all around and tested many beliefs Atheism , Islam , Christianity , Judaism , dabbled in Hinduism and Buddhism , and have applied each of these to my life as truth ( except Hindu Budd ).One can only ask himself ''What truly is the truth'' so many times on the inside , and keep coming to the same conclusion before 1 trust thy self.Of course saying this is convenient to my argument as whole as it makes me seem more genuine, but the above IS the truth.

    1. @dadadeet:

      Your posts are starting to get redundant, it is apparent that you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about, so will put it down as trolling.

      If you do not stop with your trying to engage a response with your circular idiocy, will delete any further posts.

    2. As Achem's said, you smelled like a troll to start with, and your responses have only been *regurgitated* nonsense from creationist websites.

      Your attempts to equate scientific research with religious faith is blatantly a creationist troll--used by many before you, along with most of your arguments--so I think I'll trust my first response to your posts.

      There's a big difference between faith in your spirituality (which I have no problem with although I don't share it), and empirical evidence in the natural world.

      If you think fossils are the only evidence scientists have to prove evolution, you're ignoring evidence from a multitude of scientific disciplines. God wasn't involved in the research.

      And btw, I never promised you a donkey. I specifically said that any life developing on another planet, *no matter what the original seed life was* would take forms neither you nor I could even imagine, because it would be in response to environmental and reproductive pressures to be found only in *that* environment.

      Quite frankly, I don't even think the fish experiment would work, simply because life on *this* planet is evolved to work in *this* environment; our whole planet *and* our solar system being our actual environment. Solar radiation is one of the natural phenomena that drive the evolutionary process.

      Evolution *is* an observed natural process (yes, actually observed, and I won't do your web searches for you; the information is easy to find), and there *is* empirical evidence for it.

      Go investigate all the different resources from all the different fields, find out how they fit together to support the proven theory of evolution (using "theory" in the scientific, not the popular, definition), and come back later. Maybe then you'll have gotten a clue.

      If you lack the imagination or the courage to investigate further, that's on you.

    3. Don't feed the troll.


    4. You're right...My only defense is that I was seduced by the sci-fi game of 'what if'!

  8. I just want to point out how indoctrinated atheist are.The reason they toss aside my ''fish to fish only'' point is because they're minds have been completely warped to believe that it doesn't matter that they have no proof because it takes billions and billions of years , billions of years they CAN'T SEE , THEY CAN'T TOUCH , THEY CAN'T SMELL , THEY CAN'T FEEL.It's just as UNSEEN as god.An article of faith.How these bunch of atheist can walk around talking about stuff that happened BILLIONS of years ago like they actually know for sure IS completely BEYOND me.Especially when you consider that their beliefs Contradict observable reality.Next time any believer hears some atheist regurgitating information fed to them by the system about what happened 4 billion years ago , speaking of it as like it is absolute truth , as if GOD had spoken and told them , ask him what he had for lunch 2 wednesdays ago?Oh he don't know!,, HOW funny this atheist doesn't know about an event he was present for just 2 weeks ago , BUT! by golly he sure does know all kinds of stuff about what happened 4 BILLION years ago , 3.999999 Billions years before humans even existed , it shows that they have nothing BUT faith in the ideas of another person , who in all reality has no more insight on what happened 4 Billion years ago then any other person on earth.

    1. I just want to point out how indoctrinated Christians are. The reason they toss reason and logic aside is because their minds have been completely warped to think that it doesn't matter that they have no proof...
      How these bunch of God botherers can walk around talking about things that happened thousands of years ago like they know for sure is completely beyond me...
      Next time any athiest hears someone of faith regurgitating information fed to them by the system about what happened 2000 years ago...
      Blah blah blah ;)

    2. Proof, we can see and touch in the rock and soil of this fair mud ball that orbits around the sun. We find bones, fossils and impressions and date them back by various means that follow strict process'.
      And then, we get someone else to confirm what we think.

      Furthermore, evolution is not an atheist argument, it is a scientific theory. We just happen to put more stock in peer reviewed science than the pages of a 1000 year old book we can poke holes in with its own content.

      To understand evolution you have to wrap your brain around the concept of geological time. While we don't directly observe geological time, simply because we don't live long enough, we cut rocks apart, dig holes and perform experiments that have consistent dates to things we know, and then apply them to things we don't know, and whadaya' know, It all adds up !

  9. Outside of you saying '' guarantee that in a billion years you will have many more species than you could shake a stick at'' , do you actually have any proof , or should I just take your word on faith?Can you prove anything you said?The point is , which atheist seem to be missing is simple , gonna say this slow and spell it out.FISH !ONLY! give Birth/Produce/Give Rise TO !ONLY! FISH!This is a !FACT! of !REALITY!.So if you have some fish on a planet and everything is in place that would need to be there in YOUR opinion for them to be able to turn into a donkey or something that isn't a fish , apply the following fact ( of fish only giving birth to fish) into your evolutionary idea.So 3 Billion years roll by , 3 BILLION generations of fish , EVERY SINGLE generation follow established fact and give birth to a fish , it begs to question... how the hell do you end up with the donkey?Speculating that this established fact of reality might not of applied or been different some long time ago in the unseeable past , is just that , speculation.In fact it's completely baseless speculation until someone can demonstrate a fish evolving into a non fish... considering observable reality has shown fish give birth to fish 100% of the time.It's like speculating against gravity.You can believe ( and with great faith I might add ) that somehow a fish can produce a non fish over billions of years ( that you can't see, taste, smell, touch, nor feel), but it's nothing but faith until your provide some observable evidence.So to sum up , gonna re-ask the question ''If fish only produce fish , how do you end up with a donkey" with Occam's razor in mind.You can come up with some very long , very complicated explanation on how a species of fish can eventually become non-fish , a process so complicated that only billions and billions years can accomplish it.However there's a much simpler answer/explanation to the question ''If fish only produce fish , how do you end up with a donkey" and the simple answer is?You don't get a donkey , you only get more fish.PLEASE REMEMBER! Fish only giving birth to fish is a scientific fact , backed by empirical evidence.I could SHOW YOU , OVER YOUR ENTIRE LIFE , FISH DOING NOTHING , BUT PRODUCING FISH , YOU COULD DIE BELIEVING THIS FACT IS NOT TRUE IF YOU WANT !DESPITE ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY! , But for men with reason a LIFE TIME of OBSERVABLE , VERIFIABLE , FACT....is proof enough.

  10. @dadadeet: Ok, let's talk about your proposed experiment.

    Take any species, fish if you like, and put them in a comparable environment to earth's. I guarantee that in a billion years you will have many more species than you could shake a stick at, and most will no longer bear any resemblance to fish.

    You'll have to clarify whether this "habitable" planet is sterile--for the purposes of your experiment, I think it would have to be.As you said, your transplanted fish would need all the symbiotic life that sustains them here, from microbes to plants to insects to shellfish (or are you including those as "fish"?), etc.

    Let's say we stopped there. Sterile planet inoculated with fish and the plants and microbes, and we didn't screw them over entirely by missing some important key ingredient from this planet...since we all evolved together over a few billion years, we're pretty tightly interwoven (check out the "gaia hypothesis").

    But moving forward...in a billion years, assuming dry land exists on this previously sterile planet (and assuming that everything doesn't immediately die off from transplant shock) I guarantee you would have many iterations of previously-unknown creatures, no longer resembling anything like fish, to fill all the vacant ecological niches that opened up when we imported the microbes and plants, etc.

    Maybe not mammals, or any other "kind" (to use your term) we'd recognize, but certainly no longer fish--and very certainly unable to breed with the remaining descendents of the original population. (Of course, some fish would still be there, because they'd be filling their particular ecological niche.)

    Although TBH, I don't know why you wouldn't just put a few microbes there and let them have at it. You'd end up with similar results, after a billion years or so.

    Why? Because that's how evolution works.

    BTW, "seeding" another planet with life is called "directed panspermia". Only we'd be the aliens doing it. =)

  11. Its too bad he gets cut off at the end. Over all, this is great content !
    I love the quotes as they are presented throughout.

  12. Never heard of trollol school , I stated my opinion, which you happen to disagree with , there for I am a troll...in your opinion.My point still stands as is , take a bunch of fish put them on a habitable planet.Pretend this planet is just like earth except there is nothing but the fish ( and what ever else kind of life fish need to survive ) If you believe that in a billion years there will be anything but fish ( and what ever life needed to begin with)then you are delusional and in complete denial of reality.God used the word Kind , how can I define it?It's up to you the reader to make your own interpretation of it and test it VS reality and see how truthful it is , not you specifically kateye as my guess is from your semi passive agressive statements , your atheist..so I'm sure what ''GOD'' said or supposedly said is rather insignificant to you , but as I've already stated my post was for believers of ''god''

  13. Like I said you turn to name calling because you have nothing else , good day to you sir.

  14. That fish gave birth to that fish that started having legs and so on and so forth until you get a donkey?

  15. Over do you believe a fish slowly overtime came out of the water and became the first land creatures?

  16. Your asking me to define something you or I neither one could define?

    1. Why can't *you* define it? You're the one using the term.

      And if you can't, why are you expecting anyone else to do the work for you?

      Maybe you should go "str8" back to the creationist site you got your info from and ask them.

      You failed trollolol school, sorry.

  17. I don't mean fish str8 to land animal , see gotta make sure you add in the millions of years that you can't see taste smell or touch.Or evolutionist will keep claiming your dumb because you think a fish needs to give birth to a donkey , even though that's not what i'm implying at all.

  18. over time slowly of course

  19. Never asked anyone to trust me.History repeats people genearlly trust ''established'' truth of man of the time.Over the edge your playing around?I don't know what you mean exactly?The commonly believed theory is that a fish turned into a land creature that turned into this and this into that....so I don't see what your getting at?

  20. Your basically asking me to define what I believe the limits of evolution are by demanding I define ''Kind'' , do you know what the limits of evolution are?If it be true what else could it create?Me and you can only speculate.

    1. To sum up God said ''And let each animal produce after it's own kind'' , GO TEST , see the results , the evidence ,

    2. dadadeet
      you keep asking me to test a claim that you cannot even define. how someone could believe something that they don't even have a definition for is beyond me. you are either ignorant of your own beliefs or you are being willfully dishonest because you know that your definition has no scientific standing. either way i am done with your nonsense until you back (and define) your claims and possibly address my questions concerning your so far baseless and uninformed misrepresentations of both atheists and science.

    3. edge...

      @dadadeet is trolling, or if not trolling then is plainly a twit! Probably another 13 year old.

    4. Achems_Razor
      it was late i was half asleep and i sometimes find it hard to separate the twits from the other religious types lol

  21. You can believe that it somehow transformed over a billion years if you want and became human , but what proof of that do you have?

    1. dadadeet
      " prove a fish only produce fish beyond all doubt " again where does evolution claim that an animal produces anything other than that?

    2. You're asking why people would trust science rather than you, a man that has looked at a fish and had a thought? If I'm only allowed one man and his knowledge I'll have David Attenborough please. He's been looking at living things in great detail for many years. I'm guessing he knows more than you do and he's nicer than Dawkins :)

  22. It's this simple man , I can prove a fish only produce fish beyond all doubt , logic only follows.That if a fish can only produce fish it will never produce non fish.You can get caught up in the tech mumbo jumbo if you want.

  23. If I walked up and you were looking at a clown fish and I said ''Hey what ''KIND'' of fish is that'' Would you even consider the possibly that ''fish'' isn't a ''kind'' of animal?No you just answer me ''clown fish'' , how would you define this ''kind''

  24. Could I ask you something? Would you consider a fish a certain ''kind'' of animal?

    1. dadadeet
      "Could I ask you something? Would you consider a fish a certain ''kind'' of animal?" for the last time. i cannot address "kind" until you define it. and if you are going to use it to attack scientific theories then please show how "kind" is in any way a claim of evolution

  25. You haven't said anything about the totally undeniable proof I have the proves to anyone with reason that a fish can only produce a fish?

  26. I'd like to get into specifics of the fish to land tale

    1. dadadeet
      "I'd like to get into specifics of the fish to land tale" and i would like definitions and answers to the questions regarding your claims. until you can back up what you already claimed i refuse to take part in a discussion into more of your misconceptions, tactics of deception and straw-men

  27. Like some people imagine some fish turning into some land creature?Shall we discuss the mudskipper and lung fish now?

  28. Macro-Evo would be all evolution that we can not see take place with our eyes.

    1. dadadeet
      i ask you to "give me the scientific claims to the contrary " and your answer is "Macro-Evo would be all evolution that we can not see take place with our eyes." ridiculous. you continue to ask me to provide you with things you refuse to define.

  29. Do you have anything to say about the overwhelming evidence I have , that proves beyond all shadow of a doubt that a fish can only produce a fish?

    1. dadadeet
      "Do you have anything to say about the overwhelming evidence I have , that proves beyond all shadow of a doubt that a fish can only produce a fish?" again where did i claim anything to the contrary happens?

    2. There is much evidence that support that claim as a matter of fact. The proof is the fact that humans (one of the most evolved species) and other modern organisms have many genes in common. It is the environment and the repetitive nature of various behavior patterns that regulate genome evolution as well as chance mutations. Those mutations, as well as gene additions or subtractions serve to promote survival and are the very mechanisms that contribute to evolution. Do you even know basic chemistry or biological principles? Seriously, we no longer live in caves, we do have the technology to support this theory. The reason why it is called a theory is mostly because we have to infer things from the past that were not willfully documented at the time for a lack of technological knowledge. All we are doing really is connecting the dots.

  30. Please one shred of evidence that any animal can produce a different kind of animal other then what they are.Like zebra and horse , same kind of animal even a child could tell.This is micro-evo aka speciation

  31. See here is the problem your referring me to ''established'' fact , it would be like me telling you to go to a mosque for wisdom.You have faith in what the establishment has taught you as truth.Psychology 101 , why do muslims believe so intently that islam is the truth?Because that's what they are taught , it's what there friends believe , their family , birds of the same feather flock together.Same thing with someone with some type of evolutionary degree , they were taught by ppl they considered wiser , everyone there believes it , also the fact that someone would go to school for evolution probably means they already believe it.Psychology has showed when in a situation like this someone will believe , doesn't matter if it's true.Same thing with the ''establishment'' , ppl have faith in them and their ideas.

    1. dadadeet
      "You have faith in what the establishment has taught you as truth." no not at all. the only truths i hold are those that can be demonstrated to me.

      "Please one shred of evidence that any animal can produce a different kind of animal " where did i or evolution claim that anything other than that happens?

      if " micro-evo aka speciation" is what you claim what is macro evolution? please give me the scientific claims to the contrary not your personal misconceptions

  32. I know all about speciation aka micro-evo

    1. dadadeet
      you state "I know all about speciation aka micro-evo" good. is that what you mean by kind? and would an example that fits the scientific definition satisfy you?

  33. Exactly what did God mean by kind?What is the exact extent of evolution.I think most evolutionist agree that evolution has some limits , after all flying spaghetti monsters wont evolve will they?Again what do you have to say about the fact that if you spent your entire life watching animals you'd see AGAJILLION animals only produce after there own kind.Like Dog is a kind , I actually think all fish came from 1 fish , cats , whales , shark kind , idk like I said I'm not versed in animal biology and I don't know the true extent of where evolution stops, it's blurred , but just give me 1 example of any ''kind'' of animal that has been demonstrated to turn into a different ''kind''

    1. Because a fish evolving into a different type of fish certainly is not proof that it can evolve into a moneky over a billion years ( yes I know slowly from one thing to the next ) I don't mean fish straight to monkey

    2. dadadeet
      you ask " just give me 1 example of any ''kind'' of animal that has been demonstrated to turn into a different ''kind''" but you are asking me to give an example of something you repeatably refuse to define. do you not think that is unfair?

  34. What do you have to say about the fact that if you spent your ENTIRE life watching animals you'd see tons of evidence for Gods ''Animals produce after there own kind'' and 0 for your macro-evo , and yet you'd die believing something else , despite all evidence to the contrary.

    1. dadadeet
      again i cannot give you an example of "kind" or explain why it is not what evolution claims without a definition. please look up "speciation" as i can give you examples of that

  35. Sure , you call me a fool ? That's all you can do.A GAJILLION fish out in the ocean right now giving birth to fish proving me right.I wasn't trying to prove god , I was showing evolution requires FAITH , it's what you choose to want to believe in.I was in atheist know it all once to , talking about stuff that happened billions of years ago like I knew for sure , even though I couldn't remember what I had for lunch last week I sure know about stuff billions of years ago.

    1. dadadeet
      again atheism is the lack of belief in the god claims of others. nothing more. you can raise questions or even disprove every scientific theory. it in no way means that god exists. science and atheism are different things and one in no way supports the other.

  36. No you misunderstand me friend , and this post isn't for you.It's for believers.I don't have proof of god.Proof is in the pudding and everyone likes different flavors.No I can't define ''KIND'' because there is blurr , anything I say you'll just refer to the ''established'' truth and say I'm wrong and I'm not versed in animal biology. Bio-Genesis = Life comes from only life and animals only produce after there own kind , you misunderstand my fish to donkey analogy re-read.

    Also do you have any demonstrable proof a fish over time can become human?

    1. Because I have demonstrable proof a fish can only produce a fish , and logic will tell you , if a fish ONLY gives birth to fish , over any amount of time , you will only get a fish.

    2. Actually do you have any demonstrable that a fish can become anything , BUT a FISH?

    3. dadadeet
      you asked "do you have any demonstrable proof a fish over time can become human?" as i did not make that claim why do i have to demonstrate that to you?

      "No I can't define ''KIND'' because there is blurr , anything I say you'll just refer to the ''established'' truth and say I'm wrong " no i will not. i might point out depending on your definition that it has nothing to do with evolution. or i might (again depending on your definition) give you an example. but without a definition i cannot address it either way.

      "Bio-Genesis = Life comes from only life " yes but what does that have to do with evolution. (hint) evolution only concerns itself with how life developed/diversified AFTER life began. evolution does not deal with the origins of life. as for "animals only produce after there own kind " without a definition of kind i can only give you an answer based on what i think you are stating. here goes. nowhere in evolution does it state an animal produces a totally different animal. only that offspring are not exact copies of the parents and if these differences are beneficial they will be passed on and they (combined with other beneficial mutations) given enough time among other conditions might lead to a speciation event.

    4. Demonstrable proof that fish can become humans = Mermaids ;)

  37. Being a former atheist , believing in evolution seemed to require as much faith as any religion.Evolution is real , which is why it's so hard to turn an atheist...as soon as you say that , in their heads they just say ''hah , I've won'' and the rest of what you say goes in 1 ear and out the other.Atheist claim to only believe in reality , but their theory in whole requires a lot of faith.For instance ask a atheist if he believes he is going to die , if he has any sense at all he'll reply ''Yes''.So here we have common ground , both believers and atheist alike know that they're gonna die.What evidence is this belief based off of?If you ask the same atheist why he believes this , he'll more then likely come to the answer of ''EVER BODY DIES''.That's right observable reality is the evidence.Guess what else is observably true?Ever heard of the law of biogenesis?Want to know why it is indeed a proven fact and there for scientific law?Because all fish produce fish and fish only..and dogs they only produce dogs...same thing for any kind of animal.The statement ''fish only produce fish'' or ''fish only give birth to fish'' or ''fish only give rise to fish'' , all of these statements are true and provable by empirical evidence.''PROVE IT!'' You say?What is proof?I mean in all reality if you an atheist sad prove it , what could I do.I could show you over your ENTIRE LIFE , WE COULD DO NOTHING , but watch fish , GIVE BIRTH TO FISH , A LIFE TIME....of OBSERVABLE FACT...and yet...you would die believing that sometime in the distant future this fact would change.It's like gravity , pick up a pen , let go , it falls.Every time with out fail , it falls.Just like fish , every time with out fail they produce fish , and only fish.Look at it this way , we have 2 theories , 1 says fish can produce all sorts of stuff ( over a long period of time , time that I can't see , taste , touch , smell , nor feel) 1 says fish only produce fish , GO TEST , SEE THE ''EVIDENCE''....''GOD'' says in Genesis , ''Let each animal produce after it's own kind'' , So your entire Life you watch all kinds of animals , what happens?Depending on how many generations you believe could be watched you see something like this ,,, 100000/100000 fish produce fish , 0/100000 fish produce something else.That is 100000/100000 GOD BEING RIGHT , 0/100000 GODLESS EVOLUTION.Bet yet God is wrong , right?This is DENIAL of REALITY..And you know god is wrong how?Because of some bones?That is some SPECULATION on some bones?You'll toss observable, repeatable, verifiable, fact out the window and cling to the speculation of what you think a couple crusty old bones imply?I'm 100% convinced I know more about evolution than most evolutionist and I'm also 100% convinced of a ''GOD'' ( No I'm not christian , Closer to a Muslim or messianic jew , but I am my own person with my own beliefs and don't like to be labeled anything but a believer ).Ever heard of the ''Genetic rift'' and atheist try to claim that micro and macro evolution is basically the same thing?This is a lie IMO and is playing psychological word games.Also the names are psychological themselves.By calling one Micro and the other Macro ( only 1 letter apart ) , it gives the impression it's basically the same thing.Evolutionist atheist will claim that's because they are the same.However they are not.Micro-evo or what I like to call observable evolution always falls within the realm of the LAW OF BIOGENESIS , Macro-Evo is unobservable and is only speculated on.Saying they are the same is like saying ''A fish evolving into another kind of fish , Is the same thing as a Fish evolving into a donkey'' , it's not the same no matter how hard atheist try to sell it.Another 2 big problems is that Micro , Happens FAST not Millions or billions of years , and mutations HAVE 0 to do with it.The environment causes evolutionary changes within a species , not mutations.That is , a species adapts and changes the best it can to survive a ever changing environment.Take a certain kind of fish in a certain kind of environment , and put it into a different kind of environment and it'll EVOLVE into A DIFFERENT KIND OF FISH , RAPIDLY I might add.This is provable , and has been proven.As soon as you take this fish to a environment that it can't survive it'll DIE , take somewhere different where it can survive , it'll evolve into a different type of FISH!.Yes evolution is real atheist , and satan is the best of lairs , any psychiatrist will tell you , the most effective lies ARE MIXED , WITH THE TRUTH!Observable-Evo (Micro-Evo) fit EXTREMELY well iinto creation accounts and I'd argue it supports the idea of god.I'm sure atheist will disagree , but the VERIFIABLE ''EVIDENCE'' REMAINS. Peace and love to all , forgive my terrible spelling/bad grammar.

    Just wanted to add I know there are internal things other then the environment that cause evolution.The environment is the trigger the animal adapts using pre existing mechanism aka no mutation.Also would like to point out that observable-evo (Micro-evo) explains noahs ark and would also like to point out a hypocritical atheist argument.Atheist Mock the ark story and say ha! How could he fit all the Millions of species in the ark?While at the same time believing evolution and many atheist believing that all of life once fit in a mud puddle ( I know there are new BELIEFS , but lots stick to the mud puddle theory ).Also 1 more thing what about the denominations of evolution?Ever heard of punctuated equilibrium?In fact most when you get down and talk to individual people they all have DIFFERENT BELIEFS on how exactly evolution works.Evolution in a nutshell is just saying everything created itself.The big bang really is just stellar evolution , think about it , tiny-ball of matter , blows up , bunch of gas , stars and planets evolve....basically instead of saying ''GOD DID IT'' atheist just say ''EVOLUTION DID IT!''

    1. dadadeet
      you seem confused. atheism is the lack of belief in the god claims of others. nothing more. it has nothing to do with evolution or any other science for that matter.

      as for evolution i do have a few questions for you
      1. what is your definition of biogenesis and what does it have to do with evolution?
      2. could you define "kind" for me and what it has to do with evolution
      3. where does evolution claim "a Fish evolving into a donkey" happens? if it did that would do more to prove evolution wrong than right.

      as for your "god" i have only one question
      4. do you have any demonstrable proof for him/her/it? and please do not try the old tactic of attacking science or any other discipline for that matter and please do not use some ancient book that has unknown authors and is full of edits and contradictions. those tactics are dishonest and frankly they are getting tiresome to those of us who have the logic and critical thinking skills to see through the deceptions.

    2. dadadeet
      to address your edit to your post. can you prove your claims?
      -"The environment is the trigger the animal adapts using pre existing mechanism aka no mutation"
      -what does evolution have to do with the origins of life?
      -where does the big bang state " tiny-ball of matter , blows up"
      i would suggest you stay away from science discussions until you get a basic understanding of the concepts. you are making a fool out of yourself.

    3. Don't horses and donkey mate and their offspring are call mules

  38. Personally I detest being labelled an atheist, i don't play golf either. does that make me an agolfist?

  39. If he is an atheist why does he have a wedding ring. Does that not symbolize the bond that he shares with himself, his partner and God?

    1. Nonsense. The wedding band signifies his relationship of marriage to his wife. It isn't a threesome.

    2. How absurd! Marriage is a civil institution and was present in cultures which had nothing to do with monotheism.

    3. The U.S. separated herself from god in 1776, if you were talking about my country. The dollar bill was just another inside joke from the masons. And now you have gay marriage so ha, ha!

  40. the lovely elderly lady who wished for a moment of ecstasy as she passed on (final hour) IS LIKELY ON TO SOMETHING. That is, imo, the role of the last massive dose of DMT when you are in the moment of death. She seemed like she would be one to enjoy the moment of immense grandeur.

  41. A splendid documentary on a subject not much explored, the history of unbelief. With a thousand things to praise I can't resist expressing a nagging thought. I can't recall any mention by Miller of theoretical biological explanations for the ubiquity of belief in the unseen, the spiritual -- the so-called 'God Gene'.
    It has always seemed to me possible that over the ages there has been an advantage to groups of people who all believe the same thing, a successful survival technique that ends up aiding believing societies while unbelieving groups die out through their reduced ability to function in a coordinated manner. In this evolutionary argument it almost doesn't matter what you believe, it matters very much that you all believe the same thing. Surely an instinctive awareness of this belief is behind much of the aggression against blasphemy and disbelief.

    This argument can build, but this is not the place.

    I'm happy to call myself an atheist as a convenient way to communicate, but I understand Miller's reluctance.

  42. love how this is the number one documentary in the religion category. epic win.

  43. First, what an incredible series, I have so sincerely missed this kind of discussion ever since leaving grad school. But the reason I comment on this is the post from Hate Machine and Epicurus about why we "argue" or debate anything really. THANK YOU BOTH, I have struggled to put that very point into words for so long, and you both have done so eloquently. Obviously, I wasn't an English major... ;)


    I'm glad to hear someone else say that. I often get accused of being stubborn. My response is that I'm not trying to prove a point but rather trying to get you to prove me wrong. I have a fort(opinion) and many soldiers(ideas) to protect it. If you can beat my soldiers then you can take the fort. If you can break my defenses then I will change my opinion.

    Its true, theirs nothing better then being proved wrong, because from that point on you will be right. "

  44. At about 53:14 of 'The Final Hour', Jonathan Miller worries about consciousness and the current scientifically perceived difficulty of explaining it in purely material terms.

    Personally, I explain it as follows:-

    I suggest that it is an emergent epi-phenomenon. Much like the wetness of water when two molecules of, dry, hydrogen gas bind to one molecule of, dry, oxygen gas.
    It is the evolutionarily adaptive 'model of reality' that all living organisms 'construct' from integrating all their sensual inputs with their cognition. Rather like the way, for example, that the sight and sound of a motion picture is integrated by our brain to produce a passable and entertaining model of a 'real' car-chase. The scare-quotes I have used for the word 'real' arises from the fact that even our perception of a 'real' car-chase is, itself, just a model of reality. The fact that our consciousness is only a model of reality was recognized by Plato. He spoke of our perception of the world around us as 'like shadows on the wall of a cave'.

  45. A very interesting documentary... interesting quotes super imposed by the narrative... brilliant idea... they didnt mess it up with needless reenactments... There is only one way that this documentary could have been improved.. perhaps a sequel.. investigating the secular views of the east (asia minor and major)... they lead by a few thousand of years especially the Dravidians... Christopher hitchens could have also been a good addition to the list of atheists interviewed...

  46. The Final Hour cuts off in the middle of the conclusion Jonathan makes! He thinks it crucial "for those of us who don't believe, to establish an eloquent..." WHAT? How can I report it to Top Doc-Films, and hear the end of the sentence?

    1. Thank you for letting me know how it ended...
      .........."and in all probability completely ineffectual resistance."

    2. In the absence of a response to your question and, without access to what Jonathan actually said, it is interesting to suggest what he might well have said. My offering is:-

      ---- crucial ---- to establish an eloquent and moral counter-philosophy to the religions based solely on reason.


      Obviously I wrote this before scrolling down to your later post that revealed what was actually said. My own offering is rather more positive than Jonathan's and, as you may anticipate, I have the audacity to prefer it.

    3. Thanks, JJL -
      I will let that be the way it ends, this time.
      I was hoping for even more discussion, or ideas to consider.

      I am already, a Humanist, and attend UU Services.
      Yet, since I continue to "Build my own -ology," I am always looking for stimulating conversations, or points of view.

      Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

    4. Thanks PatC.

      You might be interested to read my comments on a blog called 'This View of Life'. Take a look at the short piece about Science/Religion knowledge in particular and then click 'comments'. Please let me know your own view. John

  47. A really good doc, well worth viewing.

  48. Great documentary. Johnathan Miller is a fantastic speaker, and I truly enjoyed the way he illustrated the evolution of skepticism.

  49. @Bevin

    No, Theres not

    You must first let go of your indoctrinated views on something greater than anything before you can attempt to understand the universe as it truly is.

    Fortunatly your are on the right path but your viewpoint on "mind,soul & spirt" as you put it is one of the indirectly typical last bastions of religious stranglehold on society today.

  50. Great documentary!

    Enthusiastically agree with its critique of the major organized religions.

    I would add however that one can be rigorously scientific and rational, yet still believe in a universe that includes more than Newtonian billiard balls.

    I do not believe in an anthropomorphic "god" in a white robe, or an anthropomorphic "devil" in a red cape.

    But I do believe in such "mind," "soul," and "spirit." These are more than the mere mechanical interactions of particles of matter.

  51. There are no atheists in foxholes? Sigh. Let me enlighten you, christian: there are no atheists in foxholes cos they ended conscription and now clever people don't get forced to die for stupid reasons. Hopefully your newfound ability to notice the obvious continues and you soon realise that water is wet, the sky is blue and there is no god. Christian, Scientologist, Muslim - they're all the same: worshipping a deity who is CONSIDERABLY less intelligent than I am. That's how i know they're wrong. A stupid god was made up by a stupid man in order to trick men stupider then he is. That's where you come in.

    1. Hahaha "worshipping a deity who is CONSIDERABLY less intelligent than I am".

      Never heard it put like that but I love it.

      I shall be stealing that line for use in my personal life. :)

  52. The most ancient school of disbelief is found in Rig Veda(1500 BC)and was known as chervaaka

  53. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools...

    1. Wise is the man who thinks and thinks for himself.

  54. @ReligionIsntAllBad

    I hadn’t watched that one, thanks for the suggestion. The art is interesting as are the insights. It’s probably not for everyone. The acceptance paradigm must be raised a bit for insightful viewing. Once past that there is food for thought and reflection, trips aside they are not necessary. Interesting how he moves from the transcendental thought to the ethic and into the material world. There is however the hint of a move toward extreme environmentalism but that seems to be where that method delivers the user, although he hints at a balance.

  55. @Achems Razor
    Interesting thoughts. I love the tree in the woods "koan" as it is a question that I cannot directly answer, but it forces me to consider the difference between my concepts of the tree and the sound ... and that which they represent. Truly, Victor Sogen Hori is a master of bringing the koan to the mind of westerners like myself.

    Did you check out the Alex Gray docu they have here? I am a huge fan of the writings of author Ken Wilbur. When I read Wilbur explaining how this guy Alex makes "transcendental visual art" well you can imagine I was skeptical. Alex is utterly mind blowing :) I will be visiting the Microcosm gallery in NY as soon as time permits ... to view some of that man's spectacular work in person.

  56. LOL Useless eater, you must be trolling because no one is that dense :)

    This was great to rewatch. Kit, he is very very british haha but damn is he a bright cookie ... incredibly thorough. It is hard not to enjoy the intellect of Jonathan Miller, british though it may be. There is a certain incredibly dry sense of humor, which is so dry that it is possibly only in my mind. I find that quality distinctly british ;D

    I think one of the more important points for me personally is that disbelief is not necessarily simply a counter-belief; however, in the case of Jonathan Miller I feel he does extend belief to his disbelief at times. But he is incredibly professional and almost immediately admits his own personal bias as an atheist.

    The most important thing that strikes me from part 1, is how atheism aided in the decoupling of sociopolitical power from religion ... and at great costs. All people should realize the importance of the separation of church and state, honoring it regardless of personal beliefs. There will always be pressure from fundamentalists to re-integrate their particular religion (or components thereof) into the state, and it should be constantly and vehemently opposed as long as differences of belief on the matter remain ... which would presumably be forever.

  57. This is just another show propagating the myth of 9/11 on behalf of the NWO. Everyone is aware religion is idiotic - they used your beliefs to commit these acts, joke is on you....

    1. right. the world economic leaders who rule the world want to abolish the government to rule the world. one must have an open mind, but not so open your brain pours out.
      Here is a conspiracy for you, 9 men brainwashed by their religion were told to hijack and crash planes into the WTC. multiple people working to commit an action - that is a conspiracy.
      The reason 9/11 wasn't an inside job by Bush - because it worked.

  58. This... is very... interesting... but I... can't... stand... the way... he talks... must... move on.

  59. Thoroughly enjoyed this doc. Only had time to watch the first two parts but, I'll be downloading the entire series on P2P.

  60. Wow ... I am glad I came back to this docu to read your comment, tribalypredisposed. Well done, I don't think it could be better put. Snuffing out religion most certainly would not snuff out war.

    I find it disappointing that God, to so many people, seems only to mean a personal god. From that position, I don't blame many of you for feeling you can disprove God or that God doesn't exist. I implore you to expand horizons and look beyond a personal God ... or rename God just for yourself so you don't feel weird. Call it 'the energy that is simultaneously everything in the universe' and then worship it by cultivating your understanding of truth haha :D

  61. RE: religion and war

    This is a rather large pet-peeve of mine because it is such a stupid, wrong, and counter-productive position for an atheist and because several prominent atheists are out there pushing it.

    Religion is a very handy tool to get groups to go to war with other groups, but it is very far from the only available tool. Groups have killed each other over the color of their bandanas, the color of the chariot team they supported, the immature fantasies of one Karl Marx, wild accusations of witchcraft, delusions of a government-free utopia, all manner of racist and ethnocentric crap, pure greed, accusations of cow/horse/pig theft, even over soccer games. This list of course excludes all rational causes like control of land and resources. If there was no religion in the world, this alone very clearly would not wipe out all the other excuses humans use to motivate groups to go kill other groups. Asserting that it would is just ignorant and stupid.

    War is a very serious topic. By my count there are three academics in the world who have taken it seriously. Everyone else who wants to just spout off a bunch of absurd nonsense that cannot possibly be right about a topic that is literally life and death for hundreds of thousands of people ought to be completely ashamed of themselves.

  62. This documentary gave me a substantial intensification for my doubts about religion and god . I suggest you read "So said Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche if you liked it as well , It presents the questions regarding god by a Philosophical approach through a story of a live character .

  63. faith and without faith will go on as long as human can think for himself . all the question in the world will fuel people towards faith or without faith. thats is being human . i dont see this as a right or wrong question.

  64. I don't think Rich missed the point at all. Religion is more than just a reason to disagree with people and go to war ;D

    You have to be careful not to throw out your baby in the bathwater :)

  65. hey rich

    ur missing the point
    of course there will still b wars - but for sure religion causes more grief and pain
    if their was no religion, the world would b a safer place


  66. It's illogical to say, "If there was no religion then there would be no wars." If there was no money, no countries, no oceans to separate us, if people didn't look different and even if everyone were exact clones of you, there would still be war. We humans fight each other for many stupid reasons so what makes it so incomprehensible that someone would fight for something that means everything to them whether it be religion, a good friend, money or whatever.

  67. excellent series

    what other docs has jonathan miller done?

    i wish i could talk aswell as him

  68. So, so good and very, very thoroughly made with flawless reasoning and logic.

  69. @Epicurean_Logic & @daboys (used because gender is not necessarily specific in the on-line names and not a slight to anyone)

    Thought experiments are fun, enjoyable and mind expanding without the cumbersome and time consuming math. This mode of thought is termed philosophy and loosely in this case. The subject of this doc necessarily involves discussions of perceived (consider science as a necessary part of the perceived) and rationalized reality. It also ultimately ends in opinion which is a choice.

    When discussions are unemotional and detached they allow free and informed thought. The chips then fall as they will. There are a few on this site that fit that description and you are all enjoyed. You all make me miss past in person direct forums.

    This particular doc may not be considered by our dear webmaster as the place to discuss the unperceived, the quantum world, various modes of consciousness and self awareness. Maybe there is a better one somewhere within. Are there any suggestions?

  70. Thank you so much for posting this documentary. This has brought so many ideas and beliefs that I hold dear and sacred into the forefront of my mind; the sign of a good educational experience. It's strange as I always thought of my tastes in reading as pretty eclectic and yet Jonathan Miller effortlessly marries them together in this wonderful series. It runs through the great minds: Epicurus - Democritus - Cicero - Lucretius - Hobbs - Hume… and adds consistent, empowering ideas such as rational materialism and non-belief in dogmatic religion.

    Watch this series of documentary's; write down the names of all the people and ideas referenced within; and study them meticulously. You will become a better human being in doing so.

    Jonathan Miller - A brief history of disbelief 10/10.

    @ daboyz
    Re: the universal consciousness debate.

    When you use a word like consciousness you have to very careful about which interpretation of the word is being used! It has many different meanings! Many words have multiple meanings Without trying to be too confusing the word 'meaning' is one of them, 'sense' is another, as is the word 'consciousness' and 'conscious'. It can mean awareness OR ability to perceive and interact with the environment OR even the feel part of an experience. So before you ask questions involving any type using this word it is advisable to think about which definition is being used.

    In order to make the multiple meanings of a word clear, a useful technique is to write down 10 statement using given word and then to substitute the given word for a different word or phrase that retains the meaning of the overall sentence.

    To be honest I cannot make sense of universal consciousness. It just doesn’t fit with any of the definitions that I have. Maybe there is another definition that makes the idea of the universe being conscious make sense?

  71. @Arstotle:

    Heavy stuff, but someone has to say it I guess, (LOL)
    So if nobody was around to hear the tree, would there be noise?
    No, vibrations/waves? Yes, What if there were zero sentient consciousness would there even be a tree? I suppose there would be, because even plants have their own inherent type of consciousness. So probably a tree, but nothing we would recognize as such, unless we were trees.

    Or maybe it would be all unrealized energy in the quantum foam waiting to be coalesced into matter, because matter is energy, an atom is 99.9999% empty space, so where does the matter come from? from collapsing the waveform? making particles? Maybe. But then that comes from visual observation, does it not?

    So do our thoughts form matter? form our reality? that is actually what many prominent quantum physicists are saying to the affirmative, I do have a whole list of them. To numerous to add here.

    You mentioned how can a person describe a nothing, to me there are no nothings, no oblivion, A nothing, oblivion, can only be described in the third person. never the first. Same with death, can only be described in the third person, never the first.

    Try to imagine a state where nothing exists. Such a state is impossible, even contradictory, since the concept existence is necessary to apprehend it in the first place. Therefore existence exists necessarily, even if nothing else exists.
    So there is always a something instead of a nothing.

  72. Theist or Atheist any definition of the god you don’t believe in or the God you do believe in is nonsense as are most of the debates. This particular fellow is at least palatable in his approach although the intercourse within his group of friends depicted within this doc betrays this palatability. The doc itself is thought provoking and his arguments are easily listened to accepted or not. There is another fellow out there his nom de plume is TheraminTrees who is also palatable with personally sound logic accepted or not.

    The most interesting observation is how both groups elevate themselves above the other by their stand on something unknowable.

    Religions are a totally other subject and I won’t go there. Everyone seems to have faith in a beginning, Big Bang, Colliding Strings or In the Beginning God. Each explanation occurs in a void (or near void the Big Bounce) that has zero Space/Time. That condition actually escapes our imaginations and is indescribable. How do you describe a nothing, singularity but within what; itself?? If in the beginning God is the end of your search you are self impoverished.

    @MyAccusedHippieFriend, What ever the Cause with or without a conscious entity the “Information” is still there. It is just not received and translated. The wave is not collapsed. It’s the tree falling in the forest question. There is a pressure wave produced but they have to be translated or recognized as a sound.

    Consider an English speaking physicist addressing a group of five people producing intelligible words with the proper grammar to express his latest research paper. One in the audience is deaf. Three don’t understand English and one who does is a Liberal Arts Major.

    The deaf individual may feel the pressure waves (highly improbable but maybe), the three non English speakers will hear noise but no intelligence (collapsed waves but no information, just noise). The one who understands English will hear words linked into sentences but in all likelihood will not understand. This happens alot.

  73. @James

    I couldn't agree with you more! The simple, undeniable fact that there are so many mutually contradictory systems of religious belief, most (if not all) of which have devout advocates who sincerely claim to have arrived at what they firmly believe to be absolute truth via subjective faith in divine revelation, scripture study and/or prayer, is the strongest evidence I can possibly imagine of the inherent unreliability of that approach to discerning any kind of truth, whether religious or secular. Even if one of these mutually incompatible belief systems really were the absolute, divinely inspired truth its principal advocates claim it to be (which no more than one of them could be), the unreliability of that approach is still very solidly established!

  74. It might be wrong to think of the consciousness of the Universe strictly in human terms, but alas we only have our human frame of mind and reference to interpret what we call reality. It might be better to think of this universal consciousness in terms of what defines all life as a whole throughout the cosmos, and considering all of the different interpretations of reality sensed and inputed by each contributing lifeform it might be very difficult for any one creature to understand the level of consciousness innate within the superstructure of the Universe.

    Does the consciousness of the e-coli within our large intestine contribute to consciousness of the human within which they exist?

  75. @Arstotle:

    Wrestle with it I have. have been called a "Hippie" because of all the quantum stuff.

    Have always said the whole universe is conscious, watch! they will call me a hippie again, (LOL)

    What you no doubt are referring to is, if we are not looking, is it there?

    Don't know, but a lot of scientists say it is not, google..."youtube-a conscious universe-the observer effect"

  76. @Achems Razor, Epicurus &HaTe_MaChInE

    I can’t help myself. I’ve wrestled with this one.

    Part one… Every living thing has some degree of consciousness. Each dwells in what might be termed a “subset” unaware of anything beyond the subset. The subset is their entire universe. The least organized life forms know food and non-food. They will move toward comfort zones. Consciousness exists in increasing degrees as the subsets merge or add and form a larger subset. At present the largest subset is our physical reality to include our level of consciousness.

    Part two… If one believes the Copenhagen Interpretation to be a valid observation than without measurement (some level of conscious interaction) matter would only exist as probability patterns of un-collapsed waveforms.

    Has anyone else wrestled with this one?

  77. There is one distinct flaw in religion that people tend to overlook:

    There is more than one. To be more precise, there are over 4000.

    Isn't that evidence enough to perhaps hint at the possibility that religion is nothing more than an artificial human construct?

    Look at Scientology. Its creator was a science fiction writer, and yet people flock to it for some reason.

    People are free to believe in whatever they like, provided they're not out to hurt people. But there is nothing more cretinous, more idiotic, and more insance than involving oneself in that most ridiculous of arguments:

    my god is better than your god.

    If you consider yourself to be a truly religous person, you'd be a practicing jew, christian, budhist, muslim and hindu all at once, or not at all.

  78. agree with tina also, 9/11 attacks, although islam was blamed for these attacks no where in islamic scriptures does it allow for such an attack (killing of innocent civilians) so therefore the people doing the attacks cannot be classed as followers of islam yet islam is blamed. This is pure evidence in our life time that religion is used as an excuse for war and not the actual cause. So before making assumptions about a religion we should find out what it teaches first, wether its christianity, islam, or jewdaism,or anything else, and not just believe the first thing we hear or want to hear.

  79. Religion is not the immediate cause of war. It has offered positive things to social human growth in the past also.
    Religion is to be blamed just as much as Nations, difference in Language, difference in Traditions etc.
    In the end it is not about the excuse, it is about the intolerance within us that uses religions, nations, race etc as reasons to kill each other and loathe our differences.
    It is easy to say Religion is behind everything and then smirk because one is an atheist. But these discussions above show a high degree of intolerance from both sides in my humble opinion.
    We'll never achieve complete consensus, nor should we. Let us just find a way to respect other people's wellfare and beliefs.
    With respect,

  80. Indeed!

    One of my very favorite docs! Athiest am I, as well!

    Just like,Jamo! Or, Jono, or whatever his delicious name is... delicious children.... ready for the boil....

    Listen! Atheist! Full of no worshipping gods of any kind!

    Not even those gods that might bring little children to me for eating! I HATE those type of gods!

    Yes, I do!

  81. This doc makes me proud to be an Atheist.

  82. I have always loved the quote: "There are no atheists in foxholes". I think it pretty much sums up the actual human experience with western religion.

  83. As usual, the first part is irritatingly Eurocentric. When they say "ancient world" they really mean Europe/the west. It would have been nice to hear about atheism's development and implications in the rest of the world...

  84. johnathon miller i can watch and watch.

  85. "Famous sentences." -Dead peoples with a limited understanding of science.

  86. "A little philosophy leads a man to atheism. Depth in philosophy leads to Religion" - Francis Bacon

    "We do not get rid of religion by getting rid of superstition" -Cicero

    "Atheism is a disease of pride"

  87. It is often said of those which do not follow the teachings of any organized religion are atheistic. ( do not believe in creation ) For many so called atheists, this label is not entirely accurate. Many people simply prefer to follow their individual spiritual senses rather than conform to the strict mind control imposed by manipulative religious dogma.

    Religion along with it's modern day partner, the main stream media, uses fear to gain the attention, control, acceptance and obedience of it's flock. You must obey specific rules, make certain sacrafices, less you be cast into the eternal pit of peril, and live the life of the infidel.

    Spirituality on the other hand is limited only by the mind of the individual. Most of us are born with 5 senses, and we may choose to use them to gain a better understanding of the universe around us, as well as an understanding of our true self. The goal of religion is to deny individuals the identity of self, to stimulate the false ego, and make it's followers condemn and fight those which do not follow the Devine path. This division leads to hatred, and hatred leads to fear and fear leads to war. The genocides that have occurred throughout the ages are a testament to the rigid, misguided morals that are the foundation of organized religion.

    Remember the only real war, is the war for your mind.

    We should never confuse religion with spirituality.

    My prayer is always the same : "God save me from religion".

  88. @Joe_nyc - Wasn't really much effort at all.

  89. It seems you guys are putting a lot of effort without saying anything.

  90. @Epicurus

    I'm glad to hear someone else say that. I often get accused of being stubborn. My response is that I'm not trying to prove a point but rather trying to get you to prove me wrong. I have a fort(opinion) and many soldiers(ideas) to protect it. If you can beat my soldiers then you can take the fort. If you can break my defenses then I will change my opinion.

    Its true, theirs nothing better then being proved wrong, because from that point on you will be right.

  91. @Epicurus - Your non stop ridiculing is a detriment to this site. Your name is very fitting for you are ataraxias with the feelings of others. I cant believe you and young ganged up on Achem and tried to make him use logic... You Sir should be ashamed.

  92. Good night Achem.... See you in the morning.

  93. I wasn't ridiculing....I was just pointing out the flaw in the logic. Hoping to allow you to assess your logic and possibly correct it or your view...isn't that the nicest thing someone can do for you? I love being corrected. It means i learned something and can stop being wrong.

  94. It seems that I am always up for ridicule!

    I am done! have a good evening gentlemen!

  95. I think Achem will spout some nonsense about a conscious in the 11th dimension of a (capitalized) Quantum Theory. Then back it up by quoting John Wheeler by saying "If you are not completely confused by quantum mechanics, you do not understand it." If that doesn't work right away he will post something that is only by the longest stretches related to the subject of the original post. Thus leaving enough of a gap to back peddle out of committing to a real statement that might require logic. Finally ending the discussion with the inferring that either everyone else is flawed and just hasn't accepted it or is being targeted because his concepts are out of everyones understanding.

    That is why we love Achem.

  96. Think about the paradox you have created Achems...and just a warning this is an argument that has been used FOR a god.

    you say that there could be nothing without an observer. but you do accept evolution. you do accept that at one point humans and all animals evolved from non-conscious beings, even inorganic. Now what came first? The matter to allow evolution and the universe to take place? or some observer to allow matter to form?

  97. But you are right, it is a paradox given that it is an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

  98. @Achems Razor - What evidence do you have that "If every conscious being ceased to exist. Their would be nothing."

    There is no mention in any science that you have to have a counscious to have matter.

    You are 100% wrong in saying "If every conscious being ceased to exist. Their would be nothing"

    That statement is disinformation and cannot be backed up.

  99. No, that is not what I said!

  100. No I am not saying that matter cab recognize itself. By that logic you are saying that every part of the universe which we cannot see does not exist.

  101. @ young:

    Their would still be matter? Than what you are saying is that matter would be able to recognize itself?
    If every conscious being ceased to exist. Their would be nothing, but nothing itself, is a paradox, you would have to have something to observe that their is nothing!

  102. Actually researchers have done work checking out which animals are self aware and have discovered a few.

    Elephants, humans, apes, and dolphins are all able to recognize themselves in a mirror. Researchers would put the animals to sleep and while they were asleep they would mark the animal (usually paint a large white X on their forehead). When the animal awoke they would show it a mirror. Those particular animals I mentioned above, instantly reach for their own face to try and examine what that mark is. This shows they are self aware.

    Also you can watch the documentary on here called "Clever Monkeys" where certain species of monkeys have the intellect to lie to the rest of the group in order to allow themselves to eat a meal without it being stolen from them. This shows them to be aware of future events. basically: "if I do this, they will do that, then I can do this."

  103. @Achemz

    Your talking about some very interesting philosophical thought but do you really believe that garbage?

    If every conscience being ceased to exist their would still be matter.

  104. @Achems Razor - I would say it is hard to find an animal or plant for that matter that doesn't have cognizance of themselves. A dog knows to scratch its ear when it has an itch. A snake will not try to eat its tail. Oak trees dont choke out their own roots. There are even complex social orders to animals. The alpha wolf knows it is the alpha wolf. The alpha wolf might think that a new wolf is a threat. The wolf not only is aware of this though but can plan out the action to maintain the status of wolf.

    To say only humans except maybe dolphins are cognizant of themselves and there surroundings shows nothing but gross ignorance of the natural world.

  105. Well than, go ask them. Humans are the only ones, except maybe Dolphins, that are cognizant of themselves and there surroundings.
    In other words self conscious of there own thoughts.

  106. notice THEIR environment... hate not being able to edit my screwups

  107. @Achems Razor - Lions and tigers and bears... Oh my. Are you saying humans are the only ones that notice there environment. I'm pretty sure that 99.9 percent of all species got on very well without humans. Including Neanderthals.

  108. How would you or anybody know, if nobody was here!

  109. @Achems Razor - If there were no people... very little of the universe would be different. Just a little less concrete on 1 planet of 8 circling 1 star of 100 billion in on galaxy of 100 billion taking up less than 5% of the universes.

    Think about it. You cannot effect the universe in ANY way that could matter. If you tried to observe, measure, count every atom in a drop of water you would spend your entire life time and never get close. A estimate of the number of atoms in a drop of water (50 microleters) is 5x10^21. If you could observe one atom every 1/60th ( 60 hertz ) of a second (usually the agreed fastest speed the human eye can see) it would take you 2,642,482,665,313 years to observe every atom in that drop of water. Someone please check my math. To think that humans can have any real impact on the universe is ridiculous.

    Unless you can demonstrate something different that is.

  110. I love Bernard Hill's dramatic turns to the camera while delivering quotes. It's entertaining in a very cheesy kind of way.

    That said, the rest of the doc is entertaining in a very intellectual kind of way. Fantastic watch.

  111. GOD is the true king. The Holy One. The Only One. The King of Kings. Lord of Lords.

  112. @Chris

    i completely agree. Religion is too stubborn and shortsighted when it comes to "belief'. I also agree and "believe" religion tries to quantify morality and spirituality. If Anything Jesus showed that spirituality is an evolution ( he after all dismissed a lot of Jewish religious practices as ritual and missing the spiritual point).

    Thats why I shake my head when people memorize and uote the Bible. They are so focused on particular words that they miss the point of the essence in a message. For instance the gay thing..... a few versus were written by regular people, discussing how there was no point of gay sex ( back then mariage was not about love primarily but about producing offspring), so it was a perversion. But Jesus taught that love is the primary drive of his teaching.s So in modern time why hate two people who love each other?

  113. To those who blame war and destruction on religion......

    If the leaders of a war really believed in their religious doctrine ( of major modern day religions) they wouldn't attempt to kill anyone, let alone send innocent young men to do the killing for them. In the end all war does is make rich and powerful men richer and more powerful.

    Leaders who go into war use religion as a guise for unity. They manipulate scriptures, beliefs, statistics, or give false information ......A "False Flag Operation" in a sense. They appeal to the people with some kind of common denominator, demonize the enemy, and use that fear to fuel their agenda.

    The eradication of people isn't a feasible end for war. The true roots of strife and conflict stem from limited resources, disease ( mental and physical), and emotions ( jealousy and anger primarily). Unless we come up with a Star Trek replicator, a universal cure-all, and are perpetually in control of our negative emotions....there will always be conflict.

  114. Well, I finished these videos. I'm going to have to think about a more in depth response.

    Both this doc, as well as most of the comments here, clearly show that the difference between 'religion' and 'belief' is not well-understood. Religion is an attempt to codify and formalize a spiritual experience. But that formalization distorts and destroys what it was attempting to preserve or control.

    Take butterfly collecting for example. When I see the brightly colored wings fluttering by, full of life and beauty, I say that it is a butterfly. Then someone with a net catches the butterfly, kills it, and mounts it to a piece of cardboard with a pin through it's middle where it decays. Looking at the dead insect will give you none of the experience of witnessing the living flying butterfly. Truthfully, it would be difficult to say that you had even seen a butterfly as you look at the dead one on a card.

    Religion takes something that may have once been alive, kills it, and tries to pass it off as something living. That is the true evil of religion. It is a mistake to confuse religion with God.

  115. Very informative, thank you.

  116. i agree with allan just because all of human history is filled with war doesnt mean that humanity is bound by nature to continue this horrible habit its just a horrible habit not instinct.

  117. "While there are people there will be no peace"

    I'm assuming this conclusion was came to by acknowledging the fact that, as long as their has been people, their has not been peace among them.

  118. "PEOPLE are the cause of both religion and war one is used to validate the next."

    And what is the cause of people? If one wishes to break everything down to cause and effect one will never get anywhere.

    "While there are People there will be no peace"

    Well if that isn't a bold and absolute statement then I don't know what is. I find myself wondering how you know this. If indeed you do 'know' this and not simply 'believe' it.

  119. For those like me who were hanging on every word of Jonathon Miller and frustrated the video cut off so abruptly he went on to say............

    ..........."and in all probability completely ineffectual resistance."

    Remarkable series!

  120. Could it be that the "unseen agency at work" characteristic for every religion may have given people an evolutionary advantage?

    First, it's better for survival to assume that a shadow is a tiger than the other way around. Sounds plausible.

    Second, and this is something that I haven't heard anyone say yet (not even Dawkins): the "unseen agency" approach to explaining things may serve as a great aid for memory. A known trick in mnemotechnics relies on adding superfluous, sense-engaging details to a matter at hand that needs to be remembered. So, my theory is, that inventing vivid stories and imaginable actors within them may have given believers an advantage of the "accessible grain of truth" or "rough map of the territory", even if those stories were mostly false. This take on religion becomes even more convincing if you consider that people have invented it before other memory aids such as writing.

    Third, religion may serve as a heuristic shortcut. Instead of spending (wasting) time contemplating things deeply, you rely on a simple quick-and-dirty decision making aid. This is the right approach if time is scarce, your neighbors are your enemies and you carry a big stick.

  121. I have watched this doc 3 times and I think it is time for my comment.

    I can not find ANY faults in the logic in this doc. It is presented so thoroughly that it is actually hard to add onto it as well. One of the best philosophical docs i have ever seen.


    Is it possible to continue the series on here?

  122. Fantastic documentary! He is indeed a succinct spokesman for the reasoned minority (especially in the States)...will share this with others. I don't much abide the hostile position against faith, but, as I have explained time and time again to those closest to me who would prefer I give Christ a chance...I say: This is tantamount to intellectual suicide. There is no empirical data to support His existence.

    Thanks Vlotko!

  123. Jeremy Bentham is not the father of utilitarianism. He's the father of consequentialism, a form of which is certainly utilitarianism, however in Bentham's time, if I'm not mistaken, it was a rather unformed idea. It was John Stuart Mill who framed the principle of utility and declared the standards of morality whereby utilitarianism would be the metre.

  124. Any value given to religion good/bad can be attributed to humanity in general.

    As to the validity of Freud. - I blame the mother.

  125. @ Paddy:

    If there where no people, there would not be anything! who's to know?

    All you did was state a paradox.

  126. "Religion, (Religion’s) is one of the main impetus of all wars and strife on our planet.
    Until all Religion is vanquished, there will never be any peace!"
    PEOPLE are the cause of both religion and war one is used to validate the next. While there are People there will be no peace

  127. Enjoyed this thoroughly, although the last bit did stop a little prematurely. Nevertheless, a wonderful documentary.

  128. Jonathan Miller is incredibly well spoken and succinct. Phenomenal.

  129. Great Doc:

    This Doc., enforces my "theory" of no God, or Gods.

    Religion, (Religion's) is one of the main impetus of all wars and strife on our planet.

    Until all Religion is vanquished, there will never be any peace!

  130. Really enjoyed this one. cheers

  131. What a very wonderful doco! It is a fitting and belated tribute to those early thinkers who spoke truth to power. Our freedom of disbelief was not free at all.

  132. If any one wants physical proof of the state of mind called belief just research the placebo effect.