A World in Shadow II

In the first post of this series, I wrote about some of the diseases that afflict human beings from without. In this post, I will shift focus and discuss two articles about disorders that afflict us from within. The first, from March, is titled A Hunt for Genes That Betrayed a Desert People, about inherited genetic disorders among Bedouin people in the Negev Desert:In a sky blue bedroom they share but rarely leave, a young sister and brother lie in twin beds that swallow up their small … [Read more...]

Drink Deeply

For most of human history, the range of experience open to most people was narrow and limited. Untold millions of people lived and died never traveling more than a few miles from their birthplaces and never meeting more than a few hundred other individuals from their own communities, their horizon largely limited to the handful of miles that could be easily traveled by foot. Crossing oceans, though it was possible, was a risky and dangerous endeavor that could take weeks, months, or years. Local … [Read more...]

Watch This Space

Offered for my readers' amusement, I recently came across the following humbly named site: The True Bible Code. As with all devotees of the Bible code, this site works by randomly stringing together letters from randomly chosen chapters of the Bible until they manage to come up with one pattern that spells something and that seems applicable to future events.Their latest startling prediction runs as follows:The UN in Midtown Manhattan will be hit by a sea borne nuclear bomb sometime in the … [Read more...]

New on Ebon Musings: Parting the Parthenon

A new essay, "Parting the Parthenon", has been posted on Ebon Musings. The essay is a semi-serious look at the reasons to disbelieve in the Greek gods, written as a response to Christians who claim atheists focus exclusively on debunking Christianity.This is an open thread. Comments and feedback are welcome. … [Read more...]

Winning Hearts and Minds

In the post Should Atheists Evangelize?, back in March, I argued for the conclusion that nonbelievers should, in fact, seek to spread the good news of atheism under certain circumstances. Since then, I have built on this foundation by proposing a plan for how best to achieve that. In previous posts of this series, I have addressed how to respond to religious distortions (Shattering Stereotypes) and how to present atheism to an audience unacquainted with it (Atheism as a Positive Worldview). In … [Read more...]

Receding Waters

Earlier this month, I wrote a post titled "The Roar of Many Waters", a frank recognition of the despair I sometimes feel in the face of an overwhelming tide of anti-rational and confrontational religion. But although I closed that post on a brighter note, I did not within it provide any concrete reasons for nonbelievers to have hope. I would like to do so now.But before I do that, lest I be accused of trivializing what atheists must still overcome, I would like to make it as clear as I can … [Read more...]

We're Looking For a Few Good Skeptics

Attention please:It is, once again, my honor and privilege to announce that the 40th Skeptics' Circle will appear at Daylight Atheism on August 3, two weeks from today. Send in your best skeptical blogging now, and you too can lay waste to superstition and credulity with the sharp edge of reason! Entries can be e-mailed to me at this address. … [Read more...]

Designing the Afterlife

In his book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis puts a challenge to those who condemn the doctrine of Hell as immoral: "What are you asking God to do?"The apparent reasoning behind this question is that even those who think the idea of Hell is monstrous would be unable to come up with a superior afterlife scenario in which justice would be done. I am happy to take up this challenge. In this post, I will sketch an alternative scenario, one which I believe any reasonable person would agree is … [Read more...]

Putting Humanity on a Pedestal

The history of the human species is, as Carl Sagan put it, a series of great demotions. Prior to the scientific age, humanity believed that we were the crowning glory of creation, and that all the universe existed merely to pay tribute to us. But the advances in understanding brought about by the dawning of the Age of Reason steadily undermined this belief, and though the partisans of superstition fought viciously against every new piece of knowledge, they have been steadily losing ground.The … [Read more...]

Little-Known Bible Verses III: Every Plant of the Garden

Discerning God's will is always a tricky business, but Billy Graham seems confident that he has it down pat. Witness one of his "My Answer" columns in which he declares that it is not God's will for anyone to smoke marijuana, even if they are a Christian and believe otherwise:Q: A friend of mine gave his life to Jesus a few months ago, and I really believe he meant it. But he's always been kind of a free spirit and says he doesn't see anything wrong with continuing to smoke pot, just like … [Read more...]


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