Web Exclusive: Religion and skepticism debate a highlight of FTBcon Interstellar at Clow UFO Base
The first day of the Freethought Blogs Conscience Interstellar convention ended with charged debate over whether a scientific skeptic could also believe in a God or higher being. Both sides made their case before a standing room only audience at Bolingbrook’s Clow UFO Base.
Controversial blogger and biologist PZ Myers argued that religion and skepticism are incompatible.
“The skeptical movement argues that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Said Myers. “Yet, if you claim that all of reality was created by a single being. That this being can instantly assert its will anywhere in the universe, and it has specific rules that it wants humans to follow, suddenly that claim is immune to skepticism. Why the double standard?”
New World Order representative Jeff Wagg argued that skepticism and religion could coexist.
“By all means question the specific claims.” Said Wagg. “But you can’t specifically test for God, depending on how you define God. If you can’t test it, then it becomes a matter of personal belief, not skepticism.”
Jol Kados of the Interstellar Alliance for the Advancement of Science said that spreading scientific knowledge is all Skepticism should be focused on.
“Some humans turn away from science because they are afraid of losing their beliefs. If we can’t get all of humanity to embrace science, (the IAAS) will have to abandon humanity and seal off your solar system. I am wiling to tolerate a little prayer in order save humanity from this fate.”
Naz Ga from Sirius decried the IAAS covert approach to educating humanity, and said Earth must face the truth.
“My ethical system teaches us to be skeptical of our own existence. If cannot be sure of our own existence, then we are even less sure of the existence of a universal being. This is the position humans need to grow into. We need to end humanity’s childhood and have them embrace interstellar adulthood. The sooner the human skeptic movement does this, the better!
Many alien audience member enjoyed the 3 hour debate. Though emotions ran high during the question and answer session, there were no arrests or acts of harassment reported.
Said one alien, who asked to remain anonymous, “Every civilization has its own answer to the question of skepticism and religion. So I don’t think there really is a right answer. I just like to listen to other species coming up with their own answers.”
The first day of the convention, sponsored by Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, and The New World Order, also featured many speeches and panel discussions about interstellar social justice movements, and what humanity could learn from them.
Another highlight from the first day came during a speech by Biodork blogger Brianne Bilyeu. During her defense of human reproductive rights, Bilyeu created her own lifeforms on stage using simulated abiogenesis.
“Some people say that I should let these creature live, even if they could escape and destroy all native life on Earth.”
She then shocked the audience by tossing the sealed containers with the microbs into a fusion reactor.
“I say they’re my creation. My choice.”
FtBCon Interstellar will conclude tomorrow with a speech by the president of Interstellar Atheists. It will then be followed by FtBCon, an online conference that will be open to the human public. It will run from July 19 to July 21. Both conferences focus “on social justice, technology, and the future of the freethought movement.” More information about the public convention is available at ftbcon.org
Clow officials stress that FtBCon is one of many religious themed interstellar conventions hosted at the base, and not an endorsement of administrators' beliefs.
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