How to Think Critically I

Extraordinary Claims In the Popular Delusions series, I have explored just a few varieties of the vast number of nonsensical beliefs which afflict humanity. From the belief that astronomical bodies millions of light-years distant control our destiny here on Earth, to the belief that water remembers what substances were once dissolved in it, to the belief that reality is just a construct of the mind and can be altered by wishing hard enough, it seems there is no kind of absurdity a skeptic could … [Read more...]

The Congressional Prayer Caucus

I wrote recently about an attack on nontheist Congressman Pete Stark by a right-wing group calling themselves the Christian Seniors Association. The CSA's spokesman James Lafferty, incensed by the idea that atheists think they have a right to be represented in Congress as if they were human beings like everyone else, complained at length about the campaign of persecution waged against the hundreds of believing members of Congress by the single nonbelieving member: That would be the day that … [Read more...]

The Virtues: Be Just

The seventh and last of the Virtues is the imperative toward justice. In general terms, the virtue of being just entails treating others as their actions merit - neither withholding from people what they deserve, nor giving them what they do not deserve. Acting justly is also a core part of the ethical system of universal utilitarianism, since the guarantee that justice will be done is a major component in ensuring the happiness of all people. Like most of the Virtues, the ideal of justice is … [Read more...]

Feedback on the Theist's Guide

Earlier today I was notified of a post on a blog titled Naked Pastor, "An Anti-Response to An Atheist", which is a response to my essay on Ebon Musings, "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists". Below is the text of a comment I left on that site in response to the post and some other commenters in residence. * * * Hello all, I'm the author of the essay this post is responding to. If I may, I'd like to offer some thoughts. First, on Heidi's comment: "The atheist writer surely deserves … [Read more...]

A Reply from Pete Stark

A few days ago, I received the following letter from U.S. Representative Pete Stark's office in acknowledgement of the contribution I made to him: These are wonderful sentiments that I can strongly support. I don't think there is any necessity for Rep. Stark to be modest - in the current political climate, it does take courage for an elected official to announce their nontheism, whether we like it or not - but it's absolutely correct to say that the mere announcement does not by … [Read more...]

Other Shores

When we were young, we looked up at the twinkling lights in the night sky and wondered. Most of them were immovable, fixed stars rising and setting in the same place every night as if pinned to the dome of the firmament. However, a very few of those lights were not so steady. Instead, they seemed to meander, moving perceptibly across the sky from night to night - sometimes even changing course and moving backwards for a time, as if in a spirit of play. We named these vagabond stars planets, … [Read more...]

Parenting Beyond Belief

I have the privilege tonight of telling my readers about a wonderful project that's gotten me feeling very excited. The author Dale McGowan has edited a book of essays for parents on the topic of raising a child without religion, titled Parenting Beyond Belief, to be released next month. This is a particularly important gap in atheist literature, which is why I'm so glad to see a serious effort being made to bridge it. Although some books, like the FFRF's Just Pretend, have addressed this … [Read more...]

Book Review: Survival of the Sickest

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.) Summary: A fast-paced, entertaining, informative account of how past evolution has shaped our current living conditions. Recommended - but with one major caveat. One of the most common misconceptions about evolution is that it is a steady climb towards perfection, working over time to remove every defect. In fact, natural selection is not a skilled artisan but, to use … [Read more...]

For Your Consideration

Every so often I shake up my blogroll, removing inactive sites or ones I no longer read regularly, and adding sites I've recently discovered that interest me. In the past few weeks, I'm pleased to say I've come across a bumper crop of new atheist blogs, all of which look very promising and well-written. If you're in search of articulate writing on nonbelief and freethought, check these out: • A Load of Bright— My special recommendation for this one, which is the work of regular … [Read more...]

Pete Stark: The Reaction

It has now been over a week since U.S. Representative Pete Stark announced his nontheism, and so far the reaction from the religious right has been surprisingly tepid. As far as I know, none of their heavyweights have responded - not frothing bigots like William Donohue, not advocates of intolerance like James Dobson, not the cult-controlled Washington Times, not even the many fundamentalist fanatics that still remain in Congress. I confess myself surprised. But although the major propaganda … [Read more...]


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