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Magical Thinking at Portland State University on Wed. April 9th

Fiction, from author Phil Smith.
Fiction, from author Phil Smith.
P.Smith

The Portland State University (PSU) Freethinker's student group is sponsoring a debate/discussion called "Does Anything Supernatural Exist?" For details, see this link: http://tinyurl.com/l9s8lar . A Facebook event notice can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/l2df3pd (to share and invite your Facebook friends).

The atheist in the debate is Bernie Dehler, a former evangelical born-again Christian. Bernie will be presenting the idea that much, if not all, supernatural beliefs are the result of "magical thinking." Everyone might ponder a deep question, such as "Why is there something rather than nothing?" The scientist will develop a hypothesis and look for evidence to either confirm or deny their ideas. But a religious person can take a shortcut and just proclaim "God did it" as the answer for any complex question. Over time, science has been very successful at finding answers. For example, humanity used to ascribe events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and lightning to the gods; now we know the science behind them (tectonic plates for earthquakes, and electrical differences for thunder/lightning).

Wikipedia offers this funny/interesting quote on "magical thinking:"
Magical thinking is most dominantly present in children between age 2 to 7 years old. During this age, children strongly believe that their personal thought has a direct effect on the rest of the world. Therefore if they experience something tragic that they do not understand, e.g., a death, their mind would create a reason to feel responsible.

The Christian in the debate is Phil Smith, a philosophy professor at George Fox University. Phil is the author of a new book called "Why Faith Is a Virtue." It can be found at Amazon.com here: http://tinyurl.com/n2nubr8 . In addition to philosophy articles, Phil has also written two fiction books: The Heart of the Sea (2008), and Buying the Bangkok Girl (2003).

(This debate/discussion is co-sponsored by the Center for Philosophical Naturalism, a group dedicated to educating the public about the naturalistic worldview and providing fellowship for such thinkers.)

For those of a nonreligious mindset, here's some other groups on meetup.com that you might find interesting:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl