The Project Reason Video Contest March 16, 2010

The Project Reason Video Contest

Sam Harris‘ Project Reason is running a video contest and it’s finally time to vote:

The primary goal of Project Reason is to spread scientific thinking and secular values. We invite you to help us further our work by submitting a short video that conveys the message of the foundation.

I don’t think that any is really worthy of a $10,000 prize… There are some terrific videos in the bunch, but do they really further the cause?

In any case, my favorites (with short commentary) are below.

Funny video. But it just mocks religion. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but does it really “spread scientific thinking and secular values”?

I love the music and animation. But the ending threw me off. I know science is doing something “miraculous”… but, in a way, wasn’t the soothsayer right? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?

I *love* this video. Except for the ending. That was an anti-climax. It would’ve been nicer to see a chorus of people reading science books drowning out the Bible Thumper.

Did you prefer any of the other videos?


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kait

    I absolutely loved the last video. Although I disagree that it would have been nicer to see people reading only science books. I don’t think the intent was that science is better, and that we should just stand up and preach over the preachers. Our science books will stand for themselves. The directors of this play, I think, we’re trying to show that the Bible WAS just like the other books, not different than the other books (which it would have been different from the science books). The Bible is merely another fiction novel just like the ones everyone else was reading.

    I hope this video wins, although it doesn’t seem to be promoting secular values, but merely pointing out that the Bible is simply a secular fiction novel, that unfortunately people take literally.

  • I love the last one as well. I think it works well because everyone else is also reading a work of fiction. That’s the point. In my opinion, it wouldn’t have been as effective if they were reading science books. Having it drowned out by others reading fiction aloud brings it down to where it belongs.

    I kind of got a kick out of the fact that the bible is equated to Twilight.

  • The fairy scientist was kind-of cute. Sniffles and all.

  • Really? While I agree with you that most of the videos were disappointing, I thought one video was excellent and you didn’t even put it on your list:
    The Values We All Stand For

  • Jonas

    I think Science vs. Religion — had they all been reading science books would have been off.

    In the ZomGitCris video later posted, it’s interesting she correctly notes Lemaitre, who proposed the Big Bang theory was also a Roman Catholic Priest. That he was able to live with both ideas, is significant. (even Sam Harris admits he doesn’t stress the Bible verses he likes in his books)

    The train video is obviously staged, the camera and sound tell me that immediately. Using other fictional works brings it down. — Other Religious works, I think would be too controversial. And I think the message of the video is — Please don’t proselytize, that book isn’t as important to us.

  • Hugh Kramer

    I’m with DangerousTalk. My favorite was The Values We All Stand For.

  • Narvi

    My problem with “the Values we all stand for” is that it’s not really open to non-Americans. I prefer “Just a book.”

  • Greg

    Whilst I know what you mean about the second video, Hemant, in a way that makes the point stronger.

    After all, the sayer would thus be taking credit for something that not only did he do nothing to cause (Being right by accident) , but also actively tried to prevent. (By trying to convince the scientist he could fly before the scientist did all the work)

    I like it.

  • Hal in Howell MI

    I voted for Just a Book for the reasons cited above. Plus, I think it is a great promotion for books and reading.

    My second favorite was Fairy Scientist. Apart from the really cute child (a rarity in my book), it showed you don’t have to wear a lab coat to critically examine the world around you. I was particularly impressed by the end of the video when the child said she would really be disappointed if there were no fairies. It showed that she was open to changing her mind based on the evidence, no matter how cherished her belief.

    God Speaks and Think Rationally were my other favorites, but I had to make a choice.

    I can’t say if any the vids are worth a $10k prize, but Sam set the rules and it is what it is.

  • TychaBrahe

    I just want a video that captures the outrage of Stan Marsh in South Park’s The Biggest Douche in the Universe.

    “…The big questions in life are tough. Why are we here? Where are we from? Where are we going? But if people believe in asshole, douchey liars like you, we’re never going to find the real answers to those questions. You aren’t just lying, you’re slowing down the progress of all mankind, you douche!!!”

  • Tom

    Whatever happened to Sam’s idea about getting together all the best atheist comedians for an all out laugh fest?

    I liked that, but it’s been years since he proposed it…

  • BEX

    I really liked “Just a Book”, but “Fairy Scientist” actually promoted the scientific method and made it accessible to everyone, whereas the message in “just a book” is ‘shut up quit proselytizing because it’s all fiction anyways’.