The Basis for an Atheist's Morality

Yesterday, the Washington Post published an editorial titled What Atheists Can't Answer. The author, Michael Gerson, is an influential evangelical Christian and was formerly George W. Bush's chief speechwriter.Compared to most attacks on atheism, including a few I've rebutted recently, Gerson's essay is fair and honest. He rightfully steers clear of the slanderous and unfounded insults so common in apologetic literature, conceding that human beings can be good without God. However, while he … [Read more...]

An Incident in the Senate

The U.S. Senate traditionally opens each day's session with a prayer, and today's was a first: the invocation was given by Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest who was invited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This was the first time a representative of Hinduism has ever been invited to do this.However, there was an ugly incident that disrupted the occasion. As Zed began to speak, he was interrupted by three Christians in the visitors' gallery shouting at the top of their lungs, calling Zed's prayer … [Read more...]

Breaking Down Barriers

Have you ever spent a long time debating someone and trying to persuade them, before ultimately realizing that it was all wasted breath and that they weren't really listening to you at all?This has happened to me more than once. I've had e-mail conversations with theists, some of which went on for weeks and involved numerous rounds of replies, before the realization dawned on me: they weren't actually talking to me at all. They were talking to The Atheist, a rather vague and shadowy figure … [Read more...]

Know-Nothings

"We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your moldy wonders and your … [Read more...]

A Reply from D.J. Grothe

A few days ago, I criticized Matt Nisbet and D.J. Grothe for asserting that "there is no such thing" as discrimination against atheists, in the post "Atheism Is a Civil Rights Issue". I also wrote to Grothe to raise some of the points made in that post, asking him if he stood by his claim that there are no known examples of atheist bashing. I've had two replies from him now, which he's given me permission to quote in full. I'll do so and then voice my remaining objections.As we say in the … [Read more...]

The Eisenhower Test

The campaign of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for the Republican presidential nomination has caused rifts within the party's base, as evangelical Christians agonize over whether they could support a candidate who believes slightly different things about God than they do. The latest spat in this conflict comes in a post by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who argues that Mormons are not Christians. Sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, himself a Mormon, fires back. … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished the fourth chapter of my book, which deals with the argument from reasonable nonbelief and draws on the Ebon Musings essay "One More Burning Bush", plus its subsidiaries.As before, any regular commenter who's interested in reading the chapter and offering feedback is welcome to do so. E-mail me or leave a comment if interested. … [Read more...]

America the Paradox

On this Fourth of July, I've been giving careful thought to what this day signifies. For Americans, this is a date that means more than barbecue grills in the backyard or colorful stars blossoming in the night sky, more even than patriotic music and red-white-and-blue flags rippling in the breeze. These are time-tested symbols, but if we do not look closely and remember, we risk seeing the symbols only and not the underlying reality at which they point.America's history is far more than … [Read more...]

Atheism Is a Civil Rights Issue

Back in April, I noted with dismay when science writer Chris Mooney urged atheists to be silent and not voice their views, lest they provoke negative reactions from religious people. Now his partner in that effort, Matthew Nisbet, has written a far worse post along the same lines which has stirred up a hornet's nest among some prominent atheist bloggers.Nisbet seems to bear some irrational personal animus against Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens which has colored all his views on … [Read more...]

Popular Delusions VI: Homeopathy

Before the advent of evidence-based medicine, a huge variety of quack nostrums and dubious cures flourished. Many of these have faded away with time - and in cases like radioactive water, this was almost certainly for the best. However, some superstitious treatments that predate scientific medicine are still being used today. One of the most prominent is homeopathy.Invented by Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800s, homeopathy claims that "like cures like": a substance that produces symptoms of … [Read more...]


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