Poetry Sunday: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Today's Poetry Sunday features a few selections from the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Wilcox was born in 1850 in Wisconsin and soon acquired renown as a poet, becoming well-known for her writing by the time she graduated high school. Her poems were resolutely plain and optimistic, and though her simple, sometimes singsong verse was often scorned by critics, during her lifetime she was immensely popular among the public. Among the best-known quotes from her poetry are "Love lights more … [Read more...]

The View From the Ground

Over the past two months, I've written about the differing epistemologies of religion - where the individual's personal conviction is taken as a reliable guide to truth ("The Aura of Infallibility") - and science - where the assumption is that individuals are fallible and should work as a group to correct each other in a spirit of free inquiry ("Self-Correction").The question I now want to turn to is this: How does a lay person tell the difference? Why should people who are not particularly … [Read more...]

On Presuppositionalism

In "Unmoved Mover", I wrote about the presuppositional argument used by some modern Christian apologists. In this post, I want to say some more about presuppositionalism.The presuppositionalists have a point in this sense and in this sense only: a worldview is worth being held only if it is possible to reason consistently from that worldview given its own starting principles. If those principles lead inevitably to their own negation, then that worldview is self-contradictory and must be … [Read more...]

Regulate Psychics? Hell, Yes!

Via Reuters, a story out of the U.K. that made me very happy indeed: British "psychics" are protesting a new consumer-protection law which they fear will require them to offer actual proof of their alleged powers.The law currently in force in this area is the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951, which does in fact make it illegal to fraudulently claim to possess psychic or clairvoyant powers. But the key word is "fraudulently" - meaning that any enterprising prosecutor would have to prove that not … [Read more...]

The Arrogance of the Miraculous

This past Tuesday, a DC-9 jetliner crashed on takeoff in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After failing to lift off, the plane crashed and burst into flame on the ground. Among the passengers were the Mosiers, a family of Seventh-Day Adventist missionaries. With the help of other passengers, they forced open a door and escaped as smoke filled the stricken plane's cabin. The Mosiers' 3-year-old son Andrew suffered a broken leg, but other than that, they got out with only bruises. … [Read more...]

An Atheist in Church

This past Sunday, I went to church and had a wonderful time.No, I haven't converted, nor am I thinking of doing so. I was there to accompany my girlfriend, who's a lapsed Catholic and is seeking a new church to attend. We went to a Unitarian Universalist church on Long Island. That Sunday there was a relatively small congregation, I'd guess between thirty and fifty people. The church itself was a pleasant modern building with a high, sloping ceiling and tall picture windows in the back. There … [Read more...]

The Gospel of Elvis

In the book God?: A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, William Lane Craig (debating Walter Sinnott-Armstrong) makes the following argument for why God chooses to remain hidden:"Could God reveal himself more clearly?" Of course, He could: He could have inscribed the label "Made by God" on every atom or planted a neon cross in the heavens with the message "Jesus Saves." But why would He want to do such a thing?...[T]here is no reason at all to think that if God were to make His … [Read more...]

"Were You There?"

"We need to ask ourselves this question: 'Where do we put our faith and trust? In the words of scientists who don't know everything, who were not there? Or in the Word of God — the God who does know everything — and who was there?'"—Ken Ham, "Were You There?"I've been reading this stomach-turning story about young-earth creationists taking groups of children on tours of real museums, using the exhibits and displays of real science in the service of lies. This isn't the first time this … [Read more...]

On One-World Government

One of the recurring fantasies of Christian end-times believers is that, after the Rapture, the world will be united into a single government which will be presided over by the Antichrist. As such, these believers view any sign of increased global peace or cooperation as an ominous sign of growing Satanic influence. (Oddly, increased war is also taken to be a sign of the approaching Rapture - go figure.) Hence, Rapture Ready's Rapture Index tracks "Globalism" as one component of its prophetic … [Read more...]

Michael Medved: Clueless Dominionist

I don't make it my mission to slap down every loudmouth religious-right crackpot on the internet. Really, I don't. If I wanted to make it my mission, I could do nothing else, but it wouldn't accomplish anything and it wouldn't make for a very interesting site.However, the other day, this giant, flaming meteor of stupidity landed in my inbox, and it was just too tempting not to have a go. The author of this benighted epistle is Michael Medved, nationally syndicated right-wing radio host. In it, … [Read more...]


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