From the Mailbag: Atheists in the Closet

As much effort as we freethinkers put into making atheism a viable and socially accepted option, it's important to remember that it's still a difficult feat to extricate oneself from religion when one's family and social life are bound up with church attendance. Consider this e-mail I received a few days ago, whose author's personal information I've omitted:I just wanted to say thanks for your sites, which I've been reading for about a year now. I'm a 49 year old former Salvation Army … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

I'm happy to report that there's quite a lot of good news this week:• The U.K. government recommends that primary school religious education classes should teach about "secular beliefs such as humanism and atheism", in addition to learning about major world religions like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. This is just one more symptom of how far ahead of us our European friends are in some respects - can you imagine the religious right frenzy that would ensue if a U.S. politician … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Complexity Is Scary!

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 8In the previous installment, I discussed how creationists steer well clear of doing any real science. We can see another example of this in, ironically, the way Strobel falls all over himself lauding Michael Behe as a Real Scientist:He has authored forty articles for such scientific journals as DNA Sequence, The Journal of Molecular Biology, Nucleic Acids Research, Biopolymers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Biophysics, and … [Read more...]

Bloody-Handed Evangelicals

In the U.S., the cause of gay and lesbian rights has made major advances in the last few decades. Anti-discrimination laws are in wide effect, including a recently passed federal hate-crime law; marriage equality is already an established reality in several states; and despite setbacks, the now overwhelming tolerance and acceptance of gays and lesbians among younger generations heralds further progress in the future.But in spite of these hopeful signs, the hatemongers and bigots of the … [Read more...]

The Poisoned Cup of Theodicy

The world has seen and heard enough about the misery and destruction in Haiti this past week that I don't think I need to dwell on it. But I do want to take some time to address the perennial question of theodicy, which comes up in the aftermath of every disaster like this.To an atheist, for whom the Haiti quake was nothing more than the result of tectonic plates slipping - a disaster caused by impersonal natural forces and random chance - there is nothing to explain. The laws of the cosmos … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Parabola

This photo is from my trip to St. Louis last weekend, taken from the base of the famous Gateway Arch. Besides the sheer scale of the structure, I was attracted to its stark, geometrical shape - almost like a mathematical equation in the form of a building. In the enlarged version, you can see the windows of the observation deck at the apex.Gateway Arch, St. Louis, January 2010. Photo by the author. Camera details: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS. Click for larger version. … [Read more...]

Geert Wilders on Trial

This week, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders appeared in court in his home country to face charges of "inciting discrimination and hatred", which could carry a two-year prison sentence on each count. Wilders is, of course, the bomb-throwing right-wing populist whom I wrote about in 2008, made infamous by his short film Fitna (caution: some disturbing images).When Wilders' blunt criticisms of Islam caused fury among Muslims, the nation of Jordan - of which Wilders is not a citizen, and where … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: The Smell of Science

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 8Chapter 8 is devoted to an interview with Michael Behe, the biologist and creationist who coined the concept of "irreducible complexity". As I've already reviewed Behe's book, I won't spend a great deal of time rehashing the arguments given in my review. Suffice to say that there is abundant evidence that "irreducibly complex" systems can evolve into existence - we've witnessed them doing so, both in the lab and in the wild. In fact, the Nobel Prize-winning … [Read more...]

Ni Putes Ni Soumises Organizes a Protest for Rayhana

By Sarah BraaschRayhana, a French-Algerian playwright and actress, was attacked last week in front of the theater in Paris where she is performing her provocative play, "At My Age, I Still Hide My Smoking". Rayhana speaks out against Islamism and obscurantism and the Muslim culture of female oppression in Algeria. Her play takes place in a hammam in Algeria and portrays nine women sitting together and discussing their daily lives. The two men who attacked Rayhana grabbed her from behind, … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Means of Reproduction

Summary: An outstanding book, broad in its sweep and compelling in its use of fascinating detail, that paints a clear picture of the international forces opposing women's rights - and what's at stake in the fight against them.I've said in the past that I believe all feminists should be atheists, the better to deny power and legitimacy to the religious belief systems that have treated women unjustly throughout history. But after reading Michelle Goldberg's outstanding new book The Means of … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X