Can You Respect A Creationist?

The ever-wise Richard Wade responds to a letter from an atheist who is struggling with how to continue to respect someone who he likes a lot and shares a lot of interests with but who has recently been revealed as a creationist. Richard replies: [Read more...]

Parrot (A Short Atheist Film)

A 20 minute Australian short film about a closeted atheist wants to be the atheist’s Philadelphia or In the Heat of the Night. Here is the trailer: Parrot Short Film Trailer from Myrtle Street Pictures on Vimeo. It looks interesting, but I admit that I am squeamish about the whole idea of self-consciously atheistic filmmaking. So [Read More...]

Nietzsche: "'Good' Is No Longer Good When One's Neighbor Mouths It"

I argued yesterday that Nietzsche believes that there are objective standards of value for assessing divergent moralities. In reply, Juno (of the blog Letters from Le Vrai) asks what I would make of Section 43 of Beyond Good and Evil which reads, in full, as follows: Are these coming philosophers new friends of “truth”? That is probable enough, for [Read More...]

Nietzsche: Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism Are "Equally Childish"

Recently Joel Marks, a career moral philosopher, concluded that the moral certitude he has felt and argued for his entire career was built as much on faith as many theists’ belief in God is. And in response he swung radically in the opposite direction and came to believe that there can be no rational objectivity [Read More...]

Atheism and Tradition Building

This year on 9/11 I saw a number of my atheist friends dismissing the whole notion of memorializing that nationally traumatic day or even of taking its ten year anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on its impacts on our nation’s values and history in the last decade. For some it was a spirit of [Read More...]

Moral Perfectionism, Moral Pragmatism, Free Love Ethics, and Adultery

Kelly: You are a moral absolutist, Jaime. Jaime: Nonsense. You are the one who wants to impose monogamy on everyone, whether they like it or not. Kelly: No, when we talked the other day, I conceded it was your right to have whatever kinds of open relationships you wanted. I only said that, given human [Read More...]

Why Getting Away With Wrongdoing Does Not Make It Worth It

This past week across numerous different classes I am teaching in both ancient philosophy and ethics, I have been talking with my students about Plato’s Republic, Book II. We have discussed whether there would be any intrinsic goodness to justice such that it would be in our interests to choose just courses of action even [Read More...]

On Rejecting Faith in Morality

Update: Joel Marks has replied to this post and to my first follow up post.  I have reedited this post to incorporate his remarks at the end. Joel Marks is at the Center for Bioethics at Yale University and is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of New Haven. Though writing on ethics throughout [Read More...]

Why Clergy Rightfully Have No Place At A 9/11 Memorial (Or Any Civic Ceremonies)

Some clergy have been upset that they were explicitly excluded from today’s ceremonies about 9/11. I alluded to this, with a link where you can read more, in the following critical remark yesterday: some [are taking] the opportunity [of 9/11's tenth anniversary] to selfishly feel aggrieved because their religion and its pseudo-authority and pseudo-comforts are neglected. [Read More...]


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