Treating Demon Possession with Antipsychotics

As I've written in the past, modern Christianity has never outgrown the demoniac fixation of its founders, who believed that evil spirits were constantly on the prowl and assaulting them. People like Gary Collins - an evangelical, a clinical psychologist, and the head of a 15,000-member association of Christian counselors - still believes, based not on evidence but on his "theological beliefs", that demons exist and are the cause of at least some cases of mental illness. Although this post from … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Hell

After my earlier post on this subject, Slacktivist has written several follow-up posts about the evangelical freak-out over the news that one of their own may not believe in Hell: For Mohler, as for most of Team Hell, we can see that there are two distinct categories. On the one hand there is what is "clearly revealed in the Bible... teachings... doctrine." And on the other hand there's this evasive, fuzzy-wuzzy, extra-biblical, anti-biblical notion of "the character of God." ...this is not … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Intelligent Design

The Language of God, Chapter 9 By B.J. Marshall The subtitle to this chapter is "When Science Needs Divine Help," which immediately sets up a couple of problems. First, is Collins asserting that Intelligent Design (ID) is science? Second, where does divine help fit in with the application of the scientific method? In response to the first, Collins concludes that ID is not science. He doesn't really address the second problem. That second problem brings to mind a quote by J.B.S. Haldane: My … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Ursula K. LeGuin

Although I've highlighted the lives of some amazing feminists on Daylight Atheism, I don't want to give the impression that the only thing women can be famous for is fighting for the rights of women. Today's post is a reminder that freethinking women have made their mark in other areas of human culture as well. Science fiction and fantasy have always been heavily male-dominated fields of literature. A 1966 reader poll of sci-fi's greatest novels didn't list a single entry written by a woman, … [Read more...]

Activists, Beware the Veal Pen

Ophelia and Hemant have pointed out that the White House is creating an "Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge" to encourage college students and religious groups to work on community-service projects. What's more, Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard, was invited to the kickoff meeting, and he's overjoyed: I can vouch for the fact that we have been included every step of the way; not only in big public moments like the inaugural speech shout-out to "nonbelievers", but … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Greta Christina posts her completed list of atheists of color. • In early 1981, Carl Sagan sent this letter to the Explorers' Club - an international society dedicated to scientific exploration - regarding their men-only admission policy. Several months later, the first female members were admitted. (HT: Geek Feminism Blog) • Johann Hari writes about "the myth of the panicking disaster victim" and what it implies for humanity's inherent moral sense. • Catholic … [Read more...]

Movie Review: Agora

When I wrote my review of Creation last year, a commenter suggested I see Agora, the 2009 film by Alejandro Amenábar about Hypatia of Alexandria. It took me a long time to get around to doing that, but I've finally seen it, and it was worth the wait. It only had a very limited theatrical release in the U.S., but if you have Netflix or similar, I strongly encourage you to see it. Agora is set in Alexandria, Egypt, in the late fourth century CE. Egypt is a Roman province in this age, and … [Read more...]

The Language of God: YEC is Dumb

The Language of God, Chapter 8 By B.J. Marshall I can summarize this chapter by quoting Collins himself: "Thus, by any reasonable standard, Young Earth Creationism [YEC] has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy" (p.177). He spends the bulk of this chapter providing reasons why YEC is horribly flawed, and then he concludes with a "plea to reason" that is anything but. Sadly, I don't think Collins does enough (anything, really) to debunk YEC other than saying it's wrong. All he says is … [Read more...]

A Guide to God-Spotting

Some of my favorite atheist writers have been jousting over the issue of whether any imaginable evidence could convince them of the existence of God. Among those who answer in the negative, the consensus seems to be that God is such a nebulous and unfalsifiable hypothesis, it's impossible to test in any meaningful way. This is a topic I've spent some time contemplating myself, and though I think differently than they do, I'm sympathetic to that objection. Despite millennia of cogitation, … [Read more...]

Swimming in a Sea of Pseudoscience

This past weekend, I was out at brunch when I saw a rack of free magazines in the restaurant's foyer. I picked out one of them, which as it turned out was a promotional brochure and schedule for something called the New Life Expo to be held in New York City this coming weekend. I read on, and the further into it I got, the more appalled I was. If you thought that humanity was entering a new and enlightened age, this magazine will force you to reconsider. If you took your impressions of the … [Read more...]


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