Psychotic Reasoning, The Will To Believe, And Religious Interpretations Of The Mentally Ill

Yesterday morning, The Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta analyzed stories of mothers who murdered their babies under religiously interpreted delusions with a critical eye towards the religions which put certain fantasies in their heads.  In reply to criticisms of his making this connection that came from skeptigirl (in this terrific post on psychosis you should read), [Read More...]

The Epistemological and Metaphysical Case Against Obama’s Birth Certificate

Heretical Ideas just rocked my world: It might seem, to the average person, that the “Birthers” must have a tough time proving their case. After all, Barack Obama has released his Certification of Live Birth (pictured above), which meets all the requirements for proving one’s citizenship to the State Department. The authenticity of the certificate [Read More...]

When (And How) Should We Bother To Push The Issues?

Njustus offers a probing challenge to my recent post in which I defend Daniel Dennett’s argument that atheists should stand up for atheism rather than take the attitude that the religious beliefs that they do not share are good for their neighbors and should be encouraged.  I argued that Dennett’s position is not “ideologically narrow” [Read More...]

Does Faith Make You An Idiot?

In reply to my recent posts on atheism and fundamentalism, a friend writes to me privately: Alright, first of all, I won’t pretend to have read everything with the thread or understand it all, but I do think I grasp the basic argument: Is it moral for atheists to try to get others to conform [Read More...]

An Argument For Gay Marriage And Against Traditionalism

I am puzzled by appeals to history to oppose gay marriage because history is only the story of what people have done and never of itself directly tells us anything about right or wrong.  Results of history can serve as warnings about effective and uneffective approaches to goal x or goal y but what people [Read More...]

How Atheists Can Avoid Other Fundamentalisms: By Focusing On Rationalism First And Foremost

I agree with this a whole lot (I most recommend the last link to PZ Myers’s assessment of Hitchens on war): The real-world implications of the “New Atheists” ideas are not insulated from the same dogmatism and intolerance that they decry. To get back to my original point about rationalism, the religious aspect is only [Read More...]

Anti-Theism or Pro-Atheism?

A reader of The Daily Dish writes the following in reply to remarks by Andrew Sullivan’s under-blogger and temporary fill-in lead blogger, Patrick Appel: Almost every conversation about atheism on the Daily Dish seems to be confusing two very different sets of views — largely because both groups self-identify as atheists. I’m an atheist, and [Read More...]

“Just Leave Us Our Fictions”

Patrick Appel objected to Dan Dennett’s recent piece in The Guardian countering those faitheists who do not actually have religious beliefs themselves but believe in the necessity of religious beliefs for others to achieve various social goods.  In reply, a reader wrote the following to him: Ironically, I don’t see any support in the quote [Read More...]

On The Alleged Intolerance Of The New Atheists Towards “Faitheists”

In reply to Daniel Dennett’s attack on “belief in belief”, Patrick Appel wrote the following: I consider myself an agnostic or pantheist depending upon how you define such labels but still have an acute nostalgia for my Catholic upbringing. I find the certainty of some atheists and most fundamentalists deeply grating. In reply, one of [Read More...]


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