Theocracy Watch II: Judicial Tyranny Edition

The forces of theocracy are on the march, and Daylight Atheism is keeping a close eye on them. First, an article from the March 3 Legal Times, Alabama Judge Declares War on U.S. Supreme Court:Sitting calmly in his impeccably neat office at Alabama's Justice Building, state Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker does not look like a man at war with the U.S. Supreme Court....Last month, Parker wrote an op-ed in The Birmingham News, attacking the high court's "blatant judicial tyranny." The case … [Read more...]

New on Ebon Musings: Into the Clear Air

A new essay, "Into the Clear Air", has been posted on Ebon Musings. The article details the four common stages of deconversion and offers help and guidance to people in the process of losing their religion.This is an open thread. Comments and feedback are welcome. … [Read more...]

On Free Will II: Overthrowing Dualism

For most of human history, philosophers have believed that only the possession of an immaterial soul could confer free will on human beings. (There have been exceptions: the ancient Greek Stoics, for example.) This idea has fallen somewhat out of favor, but there are many theists who still hold to it. They are willing to concede that the universe we live in is an interwoven tapestry of cause and effect, but insist that we are special somehow, that we are an exemption.If free will truly … [Read more...]

Who Are the Moral Ones?

(Note: The next post in the free will series will appear tomorrow.)Much mention has been made lately of a recent Pew Research Center study showing that two-thirds of American Christians condone the use of torture. When asked whether the use of torture against terrorism suspects was justified to gain important information, about 15% of white Christians in general, and about 20% of white Catholics, said that it was "often" justified. (Other ethnic groups were not polled.) About an additional 50% … [Read more...]

On Free Will I: Executive Summary

Over the ages, the question of whether we have free will has engaged, confronted, and puzzled philosophers probably more than any other issue, and untold numbers of papers, conferences, books and debates have been expended on tackling it. It is no surprise that so much philosophical ink has been spilled on this question, because it is in a sense the question upon which all other questions depend. If there is no free will, and thus no moral responsibility, it seems we might as well shut down the … [Read more...]

Kicking the Crutches Away

In a previous post, I defended the conclusion that atheists should, under certain circumstances, evangelize on behalf of atheism. I recently read a story that bears on this conclusion, thanks to a recent edition of the Grand Rounds medical blog carnival - a beautiful and moving post titled "The rites of passage", about a badly injured old man admitted to the emergency room who kept himself alive, seemingly by an act of pure will, until a priest could be found to administer him his last rites. … [Read more...]

An Oft-Asked Question

Turn on the TV, turn to the back pages of a newspaper, or peruse the best-seller lists, and you're almost certain to come across one of those angels in human form, the psychics. Every day they display their powers to the wonder of believers and the astonishment of skeptics, presciently predicting startling information such as, "The body will be found near water", or "I see the letter 'R' in connection with you."Though these incredible insights revolutionize the lives of many, it is undeniable … [Read more...]

March Announcements Redux

• Daylight Atheism will be hosting the Philosophers' Carnival on April 24, in one month. Send in your best philosophy blogging now!• This blog has been attacked by those most vile of creatures, comment spammers. Thankfully, the built-in spam filters seem to have kept them out so far, but if any spam comments do make it through, don't hesitate to inform me so that they can be swiftly deleted. (I suppose I should consider it a good sign that my blog is sufficiently prominent to attract their att … [Read more...]

We’ve Got Work to Do

My post yesterday, "The Quiet Revolution", discussed some of the positive ways in which atheists are organizing and making inroads into society. But as much as I hate to follow up good news with bad, I feel I would be doing my readers a disservice if I played down the magnitude of what we atheists must confront and overcome if we are ever to become a fully accepted part of society.With that in mind, I call to your attention a recent study by the University of Minnesota, which identifies … [Read more...]

The Quiet Revolution

In a previous post in the Garden, "An Inspiring Story", I discussed two ways in which atheism might make inroads into society:It is not inconceivable that atheists are nearing a critical mass, one which when reached will inspire us to organize en masse. If such a thing were to happen, I have no doubt that we could become a tremendous force for societal change for the better. But even if not, there is another possibility: we may gain acceptance and influence one piece at a time, without there … [Read more...]


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