Britain, Fix Your Libel Laws!

Legal observers have noted for some time that the laws governing defamation in the United Kingdom are far more plaintiff-friendly than similar laws in the U.S. In the U.S., anyone claiming they were libeled has to prove that the allegedly libelous statements were false. But in the U.K., the burden of proof is reversed: the defendant in a libel suit has to prove that the statements they made were true. This creates a serious hazard to free speech: rich, litigious individuals can file lawsuits and … [Read more...]

What Did the Pope Know and When Did He Know It?

When I reported on the emerging Catholic sex-abuse scandal in Germany, it crossed my mind that the Pope is German. But I hadn't ever imagined that he'd have any personal connection to the allegations and confessions now being made there.Well, it looks like I was wrong:A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese made “serious mistakes” in handling an abuse case while … [Read more...]

Meet a Foundation Beyond Belief Member

Editor's Note: Earlier this month, I wrote an essay encouraging atheists to join the Foundation Beyond Belief, a new charitable group doing good for human beings and the world in the name of freethought. I also offered to write a front-page post interviewing anyone who agreed to join the Foundation as a result of hearing about it on my site. This is the next in that series of interviews, which will be posted each weekend. Please welcome TPO!Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, … [Read more...]

God’s Failed Land Promise

In the early chapters of Genesis, Yahweh makes a sweeping promise to Abraham, forefather of the Jewish people:"In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates."—Genesis 15:18As I've mentioned in the past, this was no small matter: the land that God promised to Abraham would encompass most or all of the modern nations of Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. … [Read more...]

The Loving Compassion of the Catholic Church

A few weeks ago, I mentioned briefly that the Catholic church had threatened to pull out of Washington, D.C., ending the social services they provide for thousands of people, if the city council passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage. Well, the council did pass the bill, same-sex marriage is now legal in D.C. (congratulations!), and the church looks set to keep its promise, starting with the termination of their foster-care program. They've also decided to end spousal benefits for all … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Soup’s On!

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 9Chapter 9 is ostensibly about the origin of biological information, but what it's really about is the origin of life. We've discussed this in part in an earlier chapter, but Meyer has some other objections to raise.First up, Strobel raises the question of the "prebiotic soup" - the dilute broth of organic molecules that's believed to have existed in the Earth's oceans before the origin of life, a fitting stage for many kinds of complex chemical reactions. … [Read more...]

Meet a Foundation Beyond Belief Member

Editor's Note: This past week, I wrote an essay encouraging atheists to join the Foundation Beyond Belief, a new charitable group doing good for human beings and the world in the name of freethought. I also offered to write a front-page post interviewing anyone who agreed to join the Foundation as a result of hearing about it on my site. This is the first of those interviews, which will be posted each weekend. Please welcome Daylight Atheism commenter Peter N!Tell us a little about … [Read more...]

Fossilized Opinions

Sam Harris is famous for the argument that religion, even moderate religion, does harm by teaching that faith is a virtue that should not be questioned, which encourages militant and violent strains of fundamentalism. Today, I want to talk about another way, subtle but unmistakable, that religion causes harm to human beings.Because of its tendency to treat all the statements of its founders and sacred texts as holy truth, religion has the effect of "freezing" the prejudices in vogue at the … [Read more...]

An Atheist at Liberty University, Part IV

Our next stop was the Liberty campus bookstore. It was run by Barnes & Noble, and it looked pretty much like any other campus bookstore. I was surprised by the range of books available there, some of which I would have expected to be verboten on campus - from Neil Gaiman's American Gods to Jeff Sharlet's The Family, as well as books on global warming and dream interpretation. That said, there were also four or five whole racks of shelves, a good half of the store, devoted to Christian … [Read more...]

Atheists, Do Some Good: Join the Foundation Beyond Belief

Over the past year or so, I've become increasingly aware that, for the atheist movement to make a difference, speaking out isn't enough. Speech is a valuable tool, but it isn't the only tool. Almost as important is our money and our effort - the way we spend it, and the causes we support. To build the world we want to see, we must be willing to act in concrete ways that advance the goal of creating a secular community.This concern of mine is bolstered by surveys which show that evangelical … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X