Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

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Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby Underlings » Sun May 05, 2013 6:58 pm

Hey folks,

I've found that YouTube is one of the best places to learn about atheism and evolution...but tracking down the best videos isn't always easy. So a few years ago I started the time-consuming task of compiling a list of the best videos I could find. To date I have over 1200 videos from about 140 YouTube channels, and I continue to update it periodically. The introductory video to the list is here, along with the link to the list itself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX45gTu5UpQ

The list includes a brief description for each video for easy browsing or searching. You should be able to find useful, insightful and entertaining information to gain a good understanding of evolution, critical thinking, atheism, etc., as well as good arguments to counter theistic arguments.

I hope you find the list helpful. The more people have access to the right information, the fewer creationists and other theists there will be, so feel free to let others know about it. (And it would be great if it could could get a shout-out on The Atheist Experience show.)
"Eve, stop! That's not a salad...it's my laundry!"
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby sepia » Mon May 06, 2013 8:54 pm

Thanks. I spend a lot of time looking for good videos on YT and I know some new, good channels. Maybe I will have time during this week to look, if I can add something to your list.
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby Underlings » Mon May 06, 2013 9:32 pm

Any additions you can suggest would be appreciated.
"Eve, stop! That's not a salad...it's my laundry!"
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby sepia » Mon May 20, 2013 12:30 pm

zarkoff45 made a 3 parts video serie on the claim, that if naturalism + evolution is true we shouldn't believe our own thoghts (aka "Evolutionary argument against naturalism"). It is as far as I see the most complete criticism on youtube.

Here is part 1
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon May 20, 2013 11:22 pm

sepia wrote:zarkoff45 made a 3 parts video serie on the claim, that if naturalism + evolution is true we shouldn't believe our own thoghts (aka "Evolutionary argument against naturalism"). It is as far as I see the most complete criticism on youtube.

Here is part 1

Oh god. When I was on reasonablefaith forums, they made this argument, and thought it was good. It's so bad. I think Plantinga is a proponent of the concept. I haven't read him, so I apologize if I get it wrong, but this is the gist of it from what I heard there, with liberal amounts of principle of charity.

Plantinga: There is no reason to think that our perceptions of reality match reality. Specifically, evolution by natural selection favors behaviors, and consequently beliefs, that lead to successful reproduction. Behaviors and beliefs that lead to successful reproduction may be wildly, flagrantly wrong. <Insert contrived examples where normally suicidal behavior by pure accident happens to be successful.> Then over-extrapolate that to conclude that most of our beliefs could be wrong if evolution were true.

The argument is so so bad.

I admit that in isolated cases, flagrantly wrong beliefs can lead to beneficial outcomes, but that's an exception, not the rule. If you think a lion is cuddly and you want to go up and hug it, maybe you can contrive scenarios where this works out well, but most of the time it won't, and thus it will be selected against.

I admit that certain false beliefs can be evolutionarily beneficial, but these beliefs tend to be beliefs that are largely divorced from day to day reality. Perhaps it's a good morale boost to believe that you're invincible, or maybe stronger than you are, and it's a good motivation that results in beneficial behavior. I'm sure you could get some examples of believing false things that your neighbors think in order to better fit in even though it's actually worse off for you (ex: abstinence only education, prayer works, etc.).

Still, it's just so stupid to extrapolate from those minor cases to the larger case, and it's obviously stupid, and I don't know what to say. Again, I embrace a model-dependent view of reality, and that inductive reasoning works. Consequently, the truth of a factual belief is exactly the sum total of how accurate are its predictions of future sensory experience. Almost definitionally, I can't hold false beliefs if I test them. I don't think Plantinga means to challenge such a basic notion, based on which examples he uses. I think he means to challenge only the idea that ... Actually hell if I know what he means to challenge. I can't apply the principle of charity because all interpretations of his argument are absurd.

So, sepia, those videos are the best formulation of the argument on youtube? I suppose I"ll give it a try. "Best on youtube" isn't much of a standard especially when it's the idiot's side. Text is so much faster. I can skim through to see if there's anything of worth, and I don't have to suffer the youtube fools' sense of ego. (Oh, I sense some potential hypocrisy here, lol.)
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon May 20, 2013 11:26 pm

Here, I have to post this, just because of how obscenely ridiculous it is. It's an example of what Plantinga is talking about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga
Plantinga, Alvin Warrant and Proper Function, (New York: Oxford University Press), 1993. pp. 225-226 (ISBN 978-0-19-507864-0).
Perhaps Paul very much likes the idea of being eaten, but when he sees a tiger, always runs off looking for a better prospect, because he thinks it unlikely the tiger he sees will eat him. This will get his body parts in the right place so far as survival is concerned, without involving much by way of true belief... Or perhaps he thinks the tiger is a large, friendly, cuddly pussycat and wants to pet it; but he also believes that the best way to pet it is to run away from it... Clearly there are any number of belief-desire systems that equally fit a given bit of behaviour.


Truth and reality are model-dependent. Did he test the idea that the tiger doesn't want to eat him? No. That's not a true belief, and he has no justification for that belief. The best way to pet it is to run away from it? Do we have some definitional problems? Last I checked, petting requires physical contact, and closing the distance is required for physical contact, and this is eminently obvious. Does this person not realize that closing the distance is a requirement for physical contact? Perhaps he needs to take 2 seconds with a simple "trial and error" approach. Again, he didn't practice even a modicum of science, and that's why the beliefs are bullshit, and that's why his entire example is bullshit.

Furthermore, the beliefs fit the simple scenario, but if you try to apply this to a whole life, you'll immediately run into obvious contradictions.

As a more technical rebuttal, the problem is one of computational complexity. You can contrive alternative algorithms that produce the desired behavior for isolated cases, but if you want an effective general purpose survival machine, its behaviors must be beneficial at least "most" of the time. Given the complexity of the world around us, to make a machine that survives well but with a lot of flagrantly false beliefs, you would need a much larger state machine to pull that off compared to a simpler state machine that "more accurately" models the world, and larger state machines will be selected against compared to simpler state machines, because larger brains have a cost compared to smaller brains. It's simple theory of computation. It's also almost definitional if you accept a model-dependent view of reality. What is truth except the ability to test your factual beliefs? I don't know of any other coherent measure.

Edit: PS: And exactly why is he running from the tiger? To look for a better prospect? Is he always running looking for something that will eat him, even when there's no tigers around? I would think that he would get tired and die pretty quickly, or find something that will eat him and die. Or does he only think about being eaten when he sees something that might eat him, and also possess an attention span measured in seconds?
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby Lausten » Wed May 22, 2013 5:43 pm

That was a great rant against the "evolution against naturalism" argument. I first came upon in C.S. Lewis' Miracles. He presents it in a less stupid way than Plantinga, avoiding dumb examples, instead he dazzles you with philosophical speech:

For his [the naturalist's] history is an account in Cause and Effect terms, of how people came to think the way they do. And this of course leaves in the air the quite different question of how they could possibly be justified in so thinking. This imposes on him the very embarrassing task of trying to show how the evolutionary product which he has described could also be a power of 'seeing' truths


It was quite popular in his time, but since refutations of it are all over the Net, his name is no longer mentioned. If you have neither a scientific or philosophical background, which most people don't, he can be somewhat convincing. We know that what we are told and what we taught is found wrong all the time, so at what point do you start to wonder if absolutely everything we know is wrong?

But with just the slightest education in either of those topics, you can break him down into:

(1) If determinism were true, then every human's thoughts would be completely determined by antecedent events.
(2) If every human's thoughts were completely determined by antecedent events then no human would be able to make rational inferences.
(3) Therefore, if determinism were true, no human would be able to make rational inferences [from (1) & (2)]
(4) Humans are able to make rational inferences.
(5) Therefore, determinism is false [from (3) & (4)].

Which is deductively valid, but based on false premises. It's the sort of thing that stoned college students sit around and talk about, until someone takes philosophy 101 and ruins the fun. Really, his arguments come down to "You can't prove any other mechanism for gaining knowledge and discovering truth, therefore you need God to do it for you."
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby sepia » Wed May 22, 2013 8:59 pm

EnlightenmentLiberal wrote:So, sepia, those videos are the best formulation of the argument on youtube? I suppose I"ll give it a try. "Best on youtube" isn't much of a standard especially when it's the idiot's side. Text is so much faster. I can skim through to see if there's anything of worth, and I don't have to suffer the youtube fools' sense of ego. (Oh, I sense some potential hypocrisy here, lol.)

I think you have got me wrong: The videos are against the argument, not supporting it.
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Wed May 22, 2013 10:56 pm

sepia wrote:
EnlightenmentLiberal wrote:So, sepia, those videos are the best formulation of the argument on youtube? I suppose I"ll give it a try. "Best on youtube" isn't much of a standard especially when it's the idiot's side. Text is so much faster. I can skim through to see if there's anything of worth, and I don't have to suffer the youtube fools' sense of ego. (Oh, I sense some potential hypocrisy here, lol.)

I think you have got me wrong: The videos are against the argument, not supporting it.

Orly? Excellent. That could definitely be worth my time. This argument is so novel, I'm still working through it. I mean, I wouldn't mind a good argument in favor of it, but I'm dubious of why it exists. On the other hand, I'm very curious if someone has a better phrasing of my own thoughts, something I could learn from, pick apart, and use for my own, and I merely expect that more from the non-retarded side. Meh.. you know what I mean. I'm trying here to not sound like a stupidly obvious confirmation bias.
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Re: Ultimate List of YouTube Videos

Postby sepia » Sat May 25, 2013 12:53 pm

As I understand the argument it is easy to refute:

1) Plantinga argues from a low ad hoc probability. That is already known to be redundant in evolutionary history. Reliable cognitive faculties are just unlikely, like hair is unlikely.

2) Plantinga aviods references to actual human history by talking about alien planets and a fictive tiger-situation. But human evolution doesn't by definition account for anything else, than actual humans. So these are red herrings.

3) Plantinga's conclusion is already known as epistemic pessimism. Involving human evolution just gives us an explanation for our bad cognitive faculties, but doesn't tell us anything new. We have already figured out, that our cognitive faculties are often wrong. And as far as I see, Plantinga doesn't explain, how totally unreliable cognitive faculties could do mathematics and science.

4) Plantinga ignores cultural evolution, which sorts out bad reasoning, and pragmatic theories of knowledge, that state, that we can assume something because it is useful to assume it.
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