On Solitude: Nietzsche, The Muppets, and Me

Being alone is not a virtue.  It is just a fact and, for most of us, a source of insecurity, occasionally a source of relief, sometimes a real liability.  Loneliness, by contrast, is essentially a kind of felt deprivation (and we should note that one can feel lonely even in the presence of other people).  But solitude is something of an achievement. I sometimes give an assignment to my students (with all of the requisite mental health warnings).  I ask… Read more

Barb Jungr’s “Like A Rolling Stone”

The best covers are ones that bring things out of a great song (or even a mediocre one) that you never could have gotten out of the original and other versions.  I love covers because they reveal things about songs you thought you knew already and show their other possibilities.  Most of all they highlight the contribution of the artist him or herself in making a song what it is.  When the lyrics and basic melody, etc. serve as a… Read more

Glenn Beck’s Guest Suggests bin Laden Is America’s Only Hope

“”The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States” Why?  Because only then will we defend America “violently” enough. See, we won’t defend ourselves adequately enough unless we are attacked.  Paradoxically, if we’re not attacked, we’re not safe. Read more

Commitment To Value Without God

After I made this post replying to Jon Stewart’s and Daniel Florien’s remarks about the value of faith, I copied my remarks and posted them to the website Unreasonable Faith where Florien’s remarks had been found.  In reply to my comment another poster asked us non-believers there what motivates our morality since, having grown up a Christian, he does not see how the various secular options of which he knows could be terribly satisfactory.  What follows is my reply to… Read more

Palin As Paradigmatic Fundamentalist and Why I Turned Against Faith

A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog brilliantly connects the dots: Part of Sarah Palin’s irresistible appeal to her fundamentalist base is her ability to look at the camera with utter conviction and declare black to be white. The ability to lie well is a valuable part of the fundamentalist psychology. My son isn’t gay, he just hasn’t found the right woman! Those rocks aren’t 50 million years old, they just look like it as a test of our faith! My… Read more

Don’t Forget Me

Neko Case’s stirring cover of Harry Nilsson never ceases to move me. It was recorded in her barn in Vermont on 6 pianos she got free off of Craigslist. This video about the album features footage of the song’s recording. Read more

Joe The Plumber Won’t Run For Office

Thank God: Asked if he has plans to run for public office, he replied, “I hope not. You know, I talked to God about that and he was like, ‘No.’” “I believe he’s gotten me on this grassroots movement. If I can encourage leaders to step up, that’s what I would like to do. That’s a heavy role. That’s something I don’t know if I am prepared to do yet.” But Wurzelbacher said he will keep that door open if… Read more

Jon Stewart Against Dogma and Extremism But Not “Religion”

Jon Stewart: Religion makes sense to me. I have trouble with dogma more than I have trouble with religion. I think the best thing religion does is give people a sense of place, purpose, and compassion. My quibble with it is when it’s described as the only way to have those things instilled. You can be moral and not be religious, you can be compassionate, you can be empathetic—you can have all those wonderful qualities. When it begins to be… Read more

Not Everything Is Scientifically Explicable, But

in the interview I rather specifically said there were phenomena for which science is not the best tool for examination (although I would also say that there are no phenomena which require something beyond natural mechanisms). Well put, Professor Myers. Click here for the atheist biologist and blogger extraordinaire’s visit to debate religious scientist Dennis Alexander on a British Christian radio show Unbelievable. Read more

If Faith Isn’t Publicly Justifiable, How Can It Provide Justification At All?

Chris’s reply to part 2 of my series of objections to religious moderates and intellectuals: For the purposes of this post, I will identify two claims which many Christians accept (and which I understand you do not): (1) that the central claims of Christianity are true, and (2) that faith, properly understood, is a justified form of knowledge. Even granting these two premises, I agree that religious activity has certain bad effects which are morally significant. That is, religious activity,… Read more

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