No, Christians, You Don’t Rationally Proportion Your Beliefs to Evidence

I define faith as the explicit or implicit volitional commitment to either believe, trust, hope, or be loyal to people, beliefs, or other things in ways that are not proportionate to the rational bases one has to believe, trust, hope, or be loyal to those people, beliefs, or other things. In other words it is [Read More...]

Why Relativism Is So Appealing and Why Strong Beliefs Come Off Closed Minded

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In this post I want to get into a specific set of implicit beliefs, values, and feelings that are typically operative, but poorly articulated, in many strands of “common sense” thinking and feeling within Western culture. In some ways I see myself as translating into philosophical categories what many unphilosophical, and sometimes even anti-philosophical, people [Read More...]

Intent Is Not Magic, But It Still Matters

Sometimes we hurt others without intending to do so. Often in these cases, we typically feel it a matter of paramount importance to clarify our intentions and demonstrate that they were not malicious, and that the harm our actions did was accidental. This makes sense and is legitimate in that whether we are perceived as [Read More...]

On the Moral Value (and Dangers) of Dutifulness

What kinds of motives are morally relevant? Which are important? Why are they important? When are they important? How do they relate to one another? What are their respective places in the best overall moral framework? In a few posts I hope to answer such questions as these. I am going to distinguish various kinds [Read More...]

The Virtue of Steelmanning

One of my new best friends on Facebook, Chana Messinger has written a very good post about the reasons to “steelman” others’ arguments. I had never heard this word before but I love it. It means to figure out even better arguments for your opponents’ positions while arguing with them and to beat those arguments [Read More...]

On Dealing With Trolling, Banning, and Uncomfortable Disagreements

There have been many objections to both the wisdom of my comments policy and my general stand against the use of epithets and incivility and what I see as hasty personal attacks that derail philosophical discussions. I am writing 8 posts to address 8 major objections. I have already written my own summaries of all the objections I [Read More...]

On Unintentionally Intimidating People

While most of us rightly want to be exceptional in some way or another, we often feel a lot of social and moral pressure not to think of ourselves as generally better than others. And, even more urgently, we feel pressure not to convey to others that we think ourselves superior and not to be [Read More...]

No, Not Everyone Has A Moral Right To Feel Offended By Just Any Satire or Criticism

4 Misconceptions About the Nature of Offense Here are four common sense assumptions about giving and taking offense that I think are fundamentally mistaken and which atheists need to argue against: “You have every right to be offended, but you don’t have the right to censor others just because you’re offended.” “You cannot blame people [Read More...]

Christopher Hitchens and Freethinking Parenting At Its Best

One of our last, and by far the most touching, videos we have of Christopher Hitchens comes from the Texas Freethought Convention this past October. Watching him with the charmingly and precociously smart little girl in the video, he is downright grandfatherly: Mason was interviewed afterward: Why did you decide it was important to ask [Read More...]


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