Do You Really Believe That? (III)

The Ten PlaguesThe third installment of "Do You Really Believe That?" will examine another famous story of the Old Testament, the ten plagues of Egypt. As the Book of Exodus tells it, the Israelite prophet Moses was chosen by God to set his people free from their long slavery in Egypt. But when the hard-hearted Pharaoh refused to release them, God sent ten plagues upon the land, each more terrible than the last, until the Egyptians' resistance finally crumbled.These are the famous … [Read more...]

The Religious Right Hates America

Via Talking Points Memo, I've come across a story I still find almost unbelievable. It happened at the "Values Voter" debate for Republican presidential candidates that took place last week in Fort Lauderdale.This event was skipped by the major candidates, Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mitt Romney, which left seven minor candidates who spent the evening attempting to one-up each other in competing for the Republican base. If you, readers, have ever wondered about the roughly … [Read more...]

Golden Atheists

The popular aphorism "there are no atheists in foxholes" implies that people can only be atheists in times of comfort and security, and that if the end of life is in view, they will inevitably cry out to God to save them. I wish everyone who uses this thoughtless and insulting slur could meet Claire Hull:Claire Hull rarely misses a Sunday at church. That's remarkable for two reasons: She's a 91-year-old with a replacement hip, and she's an atheist.Yes, you heard right: Ms. Hull is a … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Selections from "Sunday Morning"

For the fourth installment of Daylight Atheism's Poetry Sunday, I'm presenting selections from the poem "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens. In this work, Stevens' nameless narrator finds happiness and comfort in a humanist philosophy, expressing the view that the only good we can expect to receive is from our fellow human beings, and that this world provides all the beauty we could ever wish or ask for.Wallace Stevens was born in Pennsylvania in 1879 and attended Harvard University, and after … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch XII: The Army of God

The topic of today's installment of Theocracy Watch is a lengthy one, and I don't know if I can do full justice to it, but I will try. I've written in the past about how Christian fundamentalists disturbingly portray themselves and their mission in the language of war and violence, but this is a far worse and more ominous story: Christian fundamentalists who have infiltrated the U.S. military itself and are openly using its power and command structure to advance their noxious goals.This … [Read more...]

Opting Out

Humans are communal creatures, and we have been ever since we roamed the African savannas. Our greatest evolutionary advantage is our intelligence, but even the world's greatest genius would probably find that to be little help if forced to survive in total isolation. Intelligence is inherently a social adaptation; it works best among groups that can share ideas, pass down knowledge, and brainstorm solutions to problems.Since we have always lived in clans and tribes, it's not surprising that … [Read more...]

The Pretense of Superiority

Religion has always been used to sanctify inequality here on Earth, in the present no less than in the past. By teaching their followers that they are God's chosen rulers, religious authorities can accustom the flock to obedience and ascend to positions of power without the consent of the majority. The fundamentally oligarchic and anti-democratic nature of most established religions, in which the church leaders choose their own successors, testifies to this.These anti-democratic beliefs are … [Read more...]

Clearing the Ground

A recent comment by Sastra on EvolutionBlog made me laugh:When atheists make their arguments against fundamentalist forms of God, the moderate believers both approve and disapprove. They agree with what they say, they can't stand the extremists either, but of course there's no reason for atheism as a reaction! Those people may be in the majority, but they don't represent real Christianity at all. So atheists are seen as being just as extreme as the fundamentalists. No God on one side, Too Much … [Read more...]

Francis Collins on Atheism

The Point of Inquiry podcast recently aired a very interesting interview between D.J. Grothe and Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and a devout evangelical Christian. In the interview, Collins discusses the intersection of science and religious faith, whether belief in God is a scientific hypothesis, and the attacks on religion by Richard Dawkins and other prominent atheist scientists.Dr. Collins is a superlative scientist, and his published work is beyond reproach. … [Read more...]

Unravelled Threads

One of the hallmarks of a well-tested scientific theory is that it is supported by numerous, independent lines of evidence. We have the greatest confidence that a theory is true when results from completely different fields of science, which have no obvious reason to agree, all converge in support of the same conclusion, like threads weaving together to form a unified tapestry. This coming together of evidence was called consilience by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson in his book of the same … [Read more...]


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