Reengineering Human Nature: Violence

The Problem: Many religions, including Christianity, teach that unjustified anger and violence are sins that risk the offender's eternal soul. The Ten Commandments order people not to murder - usually a crime committed in the throes of anger - while Jesus says that even a momentary outburst of anger can lead to damnation: "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [an Aramaic … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Forums

On the sidebar of this site, I have listings of atheist blogs and podcasts that I like and recommend. The one thing I don't have a good list of, however, is atheist web forums. I used to post on IIDB, but no longer, and I haven't been a regular on any bulletin boards in a long time, so I don't know what's out there these days. So, I'm posting this thread to ask for recommendations. Do you know of an atheist forum that you'd encourage everyone else to go visit? Post a URL and tell us why you … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Atheist’s Creed

(Editor's Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.) Summary: A scholarly survey of the atheism of dead white guys. Much like Christopher Hitchens' The Portable Atheist, Dr. Michael Palmer's The Atheist's Creed is intended as an anthology of atheist thought from historical to modern times. Beginning with the ancient Greeks, Palmer traces the development of atheist thought to the European Enlightenment, then branches out into … [Read more...]

New Deconversion Stories on Ebon Musings

I know that I haven't updated Ebon Musings very often these past few months, but now that all my wedding-related activities are over and done with, I hope to change that. I have several topics in mind that I intend to write new essays about, probably later this year. In the meantime, as a promissory note, I'm proud to announce that we have three new deconversion stories - all of them excellent. Two came to me courtesy of commenters on Daylight Atheism, while the third was completely unsolicited … [Read more...]

Reengineering Human Nature: Lust

The Problem: According to the commandments of the major religions, God expects humans to have only a single lifelong romantic partner and to remain sexually faithful to them: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Yet, as any given week of tabloid headlines will tell you, humans aren't naturally wired for monogamy. Even after we're married or in a monogamous relationship, the sex drive continues functioning, often producing strong feelings of attraction and lust for people other than … [Read more...]

Reengineering Human Nature

"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." —Galatians 5:17 "In order to cure most of the ills of human life, I require not that man should have the wings of the eagle, the swiftness of the stag, the force of the ox, the arms of the lion, the scales of the crocodile or rhinoceros; much less do I demand the sagacity of an angel or cherubim. I am contented … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: TV Sets and Tennis Shoes

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 10 I was going to wrap up my review of chapter 10 with my previous post, but looking back over my notes, I see that Moreland and Strobel made a few more claims I wanted to address. Mostly, these consist of assertions that there's evidence for the ability of the soul to leave the body and have thoughts and experiences in a disembodied state. Moreland doesn't dwell on these at length, possibly because these sorts of claims are usually more identified with New Age … [Read more...]

The Bible’s Failed Covenant

In the entire Old Testament, there are no verses more significant than the ones in which Yahweh establishes his covenant with the Jewish people. He pledges to make the Israelites his chosen, to show special favor to them above all other nations and races, and to grant them a peaceful and prosperous home in the promised land. Even today, after several millennia, these passages still play a pivotal role in shaping Jewish identity, consciousness, and culture, as well as exerting a major influence … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Asks Me for Money

One of the downsides of giving money to charity is that some of the groups I give to resell their donors' names and addresses. As a result, I get an amazing quantity of mail, most from groups I've never heard of, begging for money. It comes from an incredible range of organizations - symphonies, museums, political campaigns, environmental groups, humanitarian groups, animal rights groups, and more. Since I plan my giving in advance and don't respond to random solicitations, I throw these all … [Read more...]

Vote for Daylight Atheism for the 3QD 2010 Science Prize

You may remember that last year, I won the 2009 science writing prize awarded by 3 Quarks Daily. Well, the 2010 contest is now open, and once again I'm in the running. Best of all, this year the celebrity judge is Richard Dawkins, which would make it especially sweet to win a repeat victory. Readers, are you willing to help me out? To vote, go to this page and scroll all the way to the bottom, where there's a link to the official poll. The post of mine that's up for consideration is "A Sense of … [Read more...]


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