Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Stephen Fry on Philosophy and Unbelief


Stephen Fry is a kinder, gentler, new atheist - or, maybe, he is George Carlin without the bitterness and anger.

From Open Culture:

Stephen Fry on Philosophy and Unbelief

Comedian Stephen Fry has the classic British intellectual voice, much like philosopher Bryan McGee. It turns out that he knows something about philosophy, and this clip is a shortened version of a longer video called “The Importance of Unbelief.”

A more gentle version of George Carlin, Fry’s views appear heartfelt while partaking of serious irony. He claims that in order to properly appreciate our present lives, “even if it isn’t true, you must absolutely assume that there is no afterlife.” Choosing his positions to argue as much for their rhetorical audacity as anything else, he argues for polytheism in favor of monotheism, and he treats the issue of the divine presence in nature by referencing the life cycle of a parasitic worm. He seems an apt voice to add to the new atheist debates, at least as amusing as Dawkins and much moreso than Sam Harris. This clip is added to our collection of 250 Cultural Icons.

Related Content:

Stephen Fry: What I Wish I Had Known When I Was 18

Stephen Fry Gets Animated about Language

Mark Linsenmayer runs the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast and blog. He also performs with the Madison, WI band New People.


spbb said...

One of the things I find with these very bright atheists like Stephen Fry is that in spite of their obvious intelligence, they seem to be incapable of recognizing that there is such a thing as genuine, authentic religious experience. I find this very odd. I think it must stem from a profound cynicism about the nature of existence itself, something that is so prolific in the postmodern world. When ironically we have never been in a better position to appreciate but transcend and include a traditional religious worldview. It seems without an integral or evolutionary perspective at this point it is so hard to feel a deep sense of purpose, of why we are here..

Anonymous said...

First of all, Stephen Fry is not a new atheist. Secondly, the "new atheism" is not new. Any atheist who has been an atheist prior to this faddish movement would know that "New Atheism" first used by christian apologists in the 80s. Atheists tend not to give much weight to pejoratives or epithets religionists give them. But of course if you are good at belittling others it becomes consistent with the method of apology.