Uploaded by JamesRandiFoundation on Jan 20, 2012
Deirdre Barrett talks about supernormal stimuli, which are exaggerated versions of natural stimuli to which there are existing instinctual responses. She discusses how our evolved instincts are overwhelmed by technological advances and other facets of modern society. She explores how pornography, unhealthy diets, and even the quest for nuclear energy as opposed to wind or solar energy are supernormal stimuli. And she explains how undue credulity in the supernatural and the paranormal may be a function of our natural instincts to believe becoming overrun by supernormal stimuli.
Also, in this week’s edition of the Honest Liar, we consider the similarities between a streetside scam artist and a billion dollar Ponzi schemer.
Image by TaranRampersad via Flickr
I think that this, from the late science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke in an interview he gave, says much about the current problems with fundamentalist theocratic religions and those who champion their advancement at the expense of the rights, freedoms and the lives of others, and more often than should be, their own lives wastefully lost as martyrs to the cause…
There is the possibility that humankind can outgrow its infantile tendencies, as I suggested in Childhood’s End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are. There are, for example, so many different religions — each of them claiming to have the truth, each saying that their truths are clearly superior to the truths of others — how can someone possibly take any of them seriously? I mean, that’s insane. …Though I sometimes call myself a crypto-Buddhist, Buddhism is not a religion. Of those around at the moment, Islam is the only one that has any appeal to me. But, of course, Islam has been tainted by other influences. The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I’m afraid.
“God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke” Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 19, Number 2 (Spring 1999)