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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is It True?

Is it True? Uncovering the Heart of Each of the World's Religions

The University of Toronto Secular alliance (UTSA), in conjunction with Power 2 Change, Muslim Students Association and the Multifaith Centre is hosting a lecture and discussion series entitled "…is it true?"

This series will feature the following speakers:

Oct. 24: Islam (Amjad Tarsin, Muslim Chaplain, U of T)
Oct. 31: Christianity (Kyle Hackmann, Grace Toronto Church)
Nov. 7: Judaism (Yishaya Rose, Chaplain, Chabad House, U of T)
Nov. 14: Atheism (Professor Larry Moran, U of T, Secular Alliance)

Each speaker will speak on behalf of the philosophical framework to which they subscribe to. Following the lecture, there will be a period of Q and A following by an open discussion amongst attendees.

I encourage you to attend these talks as I suspect a lot of fruitful conversations can emerge. To this end, specifically, we are delighted to have biochemist Dr. Larry Moran, represent our side of the conversation.

University College 5:30pm-7:00pm, rm 52. Light dinner will be served.

Please find event page below:


Hope to see some of you there!


  1. Larry,

    I would love to attend to attend your talk on November 14, but I can't get from my classes in Markham to the U of T campus by 5:30.

    I will post the above information on Canadian Atheist.

  2. Well either all are wrong or all but one is wrong or some are wrong but it can't be everybody is right.
    Is the "Christian" Evangelical or protestant or what?
    Surely christianity has earned its spurs in western civilization and the others are off-broadway faiths.
    Just noting the fact.

    1. Robert, exactly one of them is right.

      And where is your spirit of ecumenicalism ?

      Surely all religions are just different paths to the same truth ?

    2. Are you the same Byers who wrote this bollocks:

      - about Marsupials?
      Chock full of supporting evidence (not)? What non-marsupial would you claim a kangaroo resembles?

      (Or were you attempting humour?).

    3. Steve

      To know there are many paths means you would have had to walk all those paths.... Did you?

    4. @Anonymous: So to learn that there are many diseases you have to contract them all first?

    5. Funny Piotr, but a stupid response...

    6. Piotr Gasiorowski: @Anonymous: So to learn that there are many diseases you have to contract them all first?

      Anonymous: Funny Piotr, but a stupid response...

      I’m not sure I understand why Piotr’s comment is funny, nor am I sure why it is stupid! And, I’m not sure why the person who made these statements wanted to keep her/his identity concealed.

      We live in an era in which, increasingly, transparency and the responsibility associated with it are becoming the norm. One way of encouraging transparency would be not to address anonymous comments.

    7. To know there are many paths means you would have had to walk all those paths.... Did you?

      Isn't this an NP-complete problem?

    8. The circular dependencies result in a graph in which no valid evaluation order exists.

    9. Additional reasons for discouraging anonymous commenting:

      Apparently, even people who reveal their identity in some comments, sign as ‘Anonymous’ in others, either because they do not want to take responsibility for all their comments or because they want to promote a particular course for discussion. There are also rumors that some blog-hosts have numerous ‘false-identities’ which they use to increase the apparent popularity of their blogs.

  3. Reposted on Canadian Atheist:

  4. No. The End.
    Short book.

  5. I wonder is this just another... Pick a non-scietific religious person and blast them with a fairy tale brand of science, that has never been proven, and can not be tested either, I might add and the parts that have been tested has been found wanting! And when they cannot respond to it, it makes this fairy tale brand look so very real and reasonable.

    Richard Dawkins loves this tactic and so has many other supposed free thinkers. Shame on them!

  6. anonymous,

    And the tested proof of your alternative and its parts is......?

    Exactly what is your alternative?

    1. Who knows what that alternative is but Darwinian evolution is certainly not the answer.

    2. What's the question?

    3. The answer is 42. The question ... we are still figuring what the question is.

  7. I guess the title has to be easily assimilable, but including atheism as one of 'the world's religions' is like making idleness an Olympic sport, or staying home a kind of fishing.

    1. ... or having no illness a medical condition.

    2. I'm not sure that atheism was included as a religion, but rather as the one "NO' answer among all the "YES" answers.

      Anyway, what happened to (at least) Buddhism and Hinduism?

    3. Anyway, what happened to (at least) Buddhism and Hinduism?

      Yeah, leaving the Dharmic group out is pretty pernicious actually.

      Equating religion with Abrahamism is a common tactic among adherents of Abrahamic faiths, though quite weird considering a goodly fraction of their religions' scriptures consist of denunciations of non-Abrahamic religions.

  8. It doesn't matter, they'll all be baptised Mormon after they die.

  9. Larry good luck in this - I never understand why the religious are so certain in their beliefs whatever they are.

    1. > Malky: I never understand why the religious are so certain in their beliefs whatever they are.

      Here's how it works in my case, I'm not perfectly certain, I'm making my best estimate. Let's hope we all are.

      Then as you become convinced of something, you can express yourself more decidedly.

      Which brings us to a pertinent point, how can an atheist demonstrate a universal negative? I shall no doubt be told we do not believe in elves and other antiquaries, and for good reason. The question then becomes, whether there is positive evidence for God.

      Then the atheist will be put in the position of debunking evidence, instead of presenting anything of a positive case himself.

      This brings to mind a complaint raised by those who object to intelligent design arguments...

    2. lee_merrill,

      Which alleged god are you convinced of or making your best estimate of, and would you be convinced of or making your best estimate of the same god (and associated beliefs) if you had been born into a hindu, or candomblé, or jain, or pagan, or atheist family and society?

      Can you show any positive evidence of your alleged god? And if you claim to have positive evidence can you also show that it's only evidence of your alleged god and that all the other alleged gods people have ever thought up cannot and never did exist?

  10. Steve Oberski
    Heavens NO.
    Religions have conclusions about truth and contradict each other.
    Somebody's wrong!
    Christianity has dire warnings for getting wrong.

    1. robert,

      What if you've chosen the wrong religion? Are you a christian because of the "dire warnings" and your fear of the consequences of those warnings?

      Other religions have dire warnings too. If one of those religions with dire warnings is 'right' and christianity is wrong and you're a christian instead of a follower of the 'right' religion, aren't you afraid that you will suffer the consequences of the dire warnings of the 'right' religion?

  11. Rkt
    Yes that's yours truly.
    I am convinced I'm right and hoipe you read carefully my hypothesis.
    I think it's hoppimng good.

    1. robert, I'm curious, if the marsupials in Australia are marsupials because of minor adaptations to the area they live in then why haven't the placental mammals that have been introduced into the same areas in Australia adapted in the same way and become marsupials?

      And can you explain the Virginia Opossum? It's a marsupial that is native to North America.

    2. This is not the place to talk about this.
      marsupials were common in South America also.
      The adaptation was probably just to increase reproduction numbers. It's always about reproduction. these were the farthest areas from the ark and there was a timeline I believe.
      Just minor adaption. This minor thing forced weird conclusions about convergent evolution making carbon copies of everything exceopt adding a pouch.

  12. I see. Hoppimng. A kangaroo being suffocated (with a plastic binliner) atteempting to escape?
    Douglas Adams wrote about his suapicion that the mice were really controlling the Earth, and carrying out a covert experiment with the planet using humans to solve the Greatest mystery of all.
    Have you read Hitchhikers Guide?
    There is as much evidence for that theory as there is for your Marsupial one (in fact I think Adams' idea is more plausible than yours). Do you know anything, even the tiniest scrap, about anatomy or about cells? Anything about Mitochondria, for example? Structure of the skull (or of jaws; or about the bones of the inner ear; actually do you know anything at all about Biology? How about dentition?).
    I can already guess how your answer will hurtle back to me, but I just thought I would ask anyway.
    No harm in giving the link again:

    1. Good god that was vile, I had to flush my browser cache out with bleach after looking at that.

    2. The mice thing was a pretty clever skewering of Skinnerism and its sometimes near-Messianic pretensions, though the joke is basically lost on anyone who entered college later than 1980.

  13. Michael Behe is speaking at UofT the next day (Nov 15). Maybe you can be there to challenge him, Prof Moran?

  14. I really like michael behe speak his a good speaker