Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

A Debate About The Wisdom of Trying To Deconvert People

Jaime: So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to debate the existence of God with religious believers… Kelly: Why would you do that? Jaime: Do what? Kelly: Debate the existence of God with religious believers. What’s the point in that? Jaime: What do you mean, “what’s the point?” We live in the [Read More...]

Nietzsche's Immoralism As Rebellion Against The Authoritarian Tendencies Of Moralities

Nietzsche casts himself, quite provocatively, as an “immoralist”.  In this post, I want to make clear what Nietzsche means by this term as a first step towards understanding the exact nature and scope of his hostility to morality.  As should already be apparent to longtime Camels With Hammers readers, I am optimistic about philosophy’s possibilities [Read More...]

Dawkins Against Religion’s Claim To Superiority Because It Offers Absolute Morality

This is one of the most concise, eloquent, and accurate statements on the problem with religious absolutism in morality and the superiority of secular, non-absolutist approaches to morality I have ever heard. And it is certainly Dawkins’s best 2 and a half minutes on the topic of morality I have ever heard: Thanks to Lucy. [Read More...]

The Religious Conservative’s False Choice: “Big Brother” Or “Heavenly Father”

In an e-mail to me, Caroline proposes thought provoking reasons for non-believers to encourage (or at least to not actively discourage) religious beliefs: It would also be nice if people would carry out actions in good conscience of just being decent human beings rather than in fear of reprisal in the afterlife, but as there [Read More...]

Just How Much Control Over Their Children’s Thought Are Parents Entitled To?

In reply to yesterday’s open philosophical question whether a Swedish law banning any school, even private ones, from indoctrinating students by teaching their religious tenets as truths (with the ulterior motive of undermining Islamic schools’ abilities to radicalize their students), Mary Young makes a rigorous and eloquent case against such bans well worth highlighting (and [Read More...]

I Am A Moral Naturalist, Not A Subjectivist

In a long comment on my post from this morning, George raised the question of usage of “subjectivism” beyond my own interpretation of the word.  Let’s look to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which should be as neutral an adjudicating source as the English-speaking philosophy world has.  I selected this source for its independent, encyclopedia character [Read More...]

How Morality Can Change Through Objective Processes And In Objectively Defensible Ways

Jason of Lousy Canuck thinks I am quibbling over semantics in complaining about his characterization of morality as essentially “subjective” and he wants me to clarify how my position diverges in substance from his own.  Answering his questions and his formulations may prove a fruitful way to clarify my own positions.  So, here goes.  He [Read More...]

Towards Atheistic Religions (Or Away From Them, Depending On How You Define “Religions”)

In a rare occurrence, I am being taken to task for giving religion too much credit and atheists too little!  Here are the offending paragraphs I wrote on Friday: I would say that various practices called religious, if stripped of all their dogmatism, traditionalism, literalism, and authoritarianism, can and do certainly coexist with and complement science [Read More...]


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