Let’s Not Be Uncivil Here

Gay-Dictator

Can't we have a calm, reasoned, civil discussion about whether I should stop punching you or not?I mean, sure, I may currently be sitting on your chest aiming one punishing blow after another into your head, neck and shoulders. I'm willing to grant that reasonable people may differ about the ethics of this behavior. But the important thing is that we work it out politely. Why are you being so hostile? I'm inviting you to join me in a serious, sustained dialogue about the continuance of said … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Real Religious Persecution

Big news today! I'm very pleased to announce that I've published my first original column for the Guardian, the venerable progressive newspaper, in their Comment is Free opinion section.The column is titled "'Help, help, I'm being repressed!': How conservatives make a mockery of the oppression of religious minorities. It concerns those American Christian conservatives who shriek that their religious liberty is being cruelly denied, while steadfastly ignoring those who experience genuine … [Read more...]

The Fallout in Ferguson

FergusonProtest

I've been gripped by the stories and images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri since last week. This suburb of St. Louis has been wracked with unrest since Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American teenager, was shot to death on a city street by a police officer - while he was standing with his hands raised in surrender, according to three eyewitnesses. The killing has stirred up the community to righteous fury, and the police have harshly cracked down on the ensuing protests.In many … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: #NMOS14

Last Thursday, my wife and I attended one of the National Moment of Silence rallies that were held across the country to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and all other deaths from police brutality and overreach. This one was at Union Square in Manhattan. There was an immense, diverse crowd; the tone was angry and grieving, but peaceful.Though I had been half-expecting the NYPD to show up in force, there was no show of strength by the police at the scene. (There was a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Indian Givers

FirstThanksgiving

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IVAfter unleashing a tirade at his family during Thanksgiving dinner, Hank Rearden decides he's had enough of them. He stands up and announces that he's going to New York, knowing that Lillian understands exactly what this means:"Why do you wish to go to New York tonight?""I think, Lillian, for the same reason that makes you wish to stop me.""Tomorrow is your trial.""That is what I mean."He made a movement to turn, and she raised her … [Read more...]

Answering an 11-Year-Old Christian

Last week, this comment was left on an older post. I wouldn't normally approve proselytizing like this, but since the author identifies himself as an 11-year-old homeschooler, I decided to give it a pass and write him a reply. We may be familiar with these arguments, but it's likely that he's never encountered a real live atheist before, and this may be the first chance he has to hear them. I'll post the full text of the comment first.If there is no God, there cannot be any sort of … [Read more...]

Is Richard Dawkins Evolving?

This is big news: Richard Dawkins has apologized for "Dear Muslima", the infamous remarks he made in 2011 belittling the concerns of Western feminism on the grounds that women in Muslim countries have it worse. Here's the relevant part:There should be no rivalry in victimhood, and I'm sorry I once said something similar to American women complaining of harassment, inviting them to contemplate the suffering of Muslim women by comparison.This follows on the heels of a joint statement … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Vestmanneyjar

The last tour we took in Iceland was of the Westman Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the southern coast. One of the islands, Surtsey, is brand-new: it was created by an eruption in 1963, and scientists are studying how new species arrive to colonize the previously vacant land.The largest island, Heimaey, is the only one that's permanently inhabited. It's famous for the eruption of Eldfell, a volcano which appeared overnight in 1973 virtually in the middle of the town, forcing the entire … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Supervillain Morality

Supervillains

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IVIt was Thanksgiving dinner, and the three who faced Rearden about the table were his wife, his mother and his brother."This is the night to thank the Lord for our blessings," said Rearden's mother. "God has been kind to us. There are people all over the country who haven't got any food in the house tonight, and some that haven't even got a house, and more of them going jobless every day."Recognizing your privileged existence as such, in Rand's … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 6

This is part 6 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,So, in this post, I'd like to delve into some of the details you brought up last time that bear on the existence of a historical Jesus. This is going to be a bit longer than usual, so I hope you'll forgive the length!You admit you are in the vast minority of historical scholarship in holding to the fact that Jesus did exist. I'm … [Read more...]


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