A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 6

This is part 6 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hi Andrew,So, in this post, I'd like to delve into some of the details you brought up last time that bear on the existence of a historical Jesus. This is going to be a bit longer than usual, so I hope you'll forgive the length!You admit you are in the vast minority of historical scholarship in holding to the fact that Jesus did exist. I'm … [Read more...]

You, Sir, Are No Robert Ingersoll

RobertIngersoll

Before I went on vacation last month, you may recall how I tangled with a mob of nasty sexists who misleadingly call themselves "men's rights activists". Most of their comments were pure ad hominem filth, not worth the trouble of responding to, but there was one I wanted to address: from an atheist MRA who fears that feminism is ruining both science and atheism, and who thinks that some famous historical freethinkers would have taken his side.Surprisingly, my largely religious family was … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: The Golden Circle

While I was in Iceland last month, I took a tour of the Golden Circle, a famous tourist route that encompasses some of the country's most spectacular scenery. Here are a few of the highlights.Once you get outside Reykjavik, Iceland is a young and fierce land, still being shaped by the natural forces that birthed it: an endless topography of dark highlands, impossibly steep mountains and fantastic volcanic formations. In the midst of the magnificent isolation, there are occasional … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: The National

It's Friday night and I haven't done one of these in a while, so here's a video from a group I've been listening to a lot lately: The National, a moody and melancholy American band. This is from their quite good newest album, Trouble Will Find Me:What's been running through your head lately? … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: No OSHA Compliance

DaysSinceAccident

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIAt the end of his workday, Rearden is looking down on the factory floor, musing on Dagny's story of Ken Danagger's disappearance and the strange force that's causing business owners to abandon their jobs. Rearden wonders, with a touch of envy, why they didn't come for him as well; but in the next instant he angrily thinks that he'd murder anyone who tried to persuade him to give up his steel mills.Finally, he turns to go, but he finds Francisco … [Read more...]

This One Weird Trick Nullifies All Abortion Restrictions

OK, this is brilliant. The Satanic Temple is asserting that they have a religious-liberty right to ignore abortion restrictions, citing the Hobby Lobby decision:"While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby to claim certain contraceptives were abortifacients, when in fact they are … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins’ Commendable Step on Sexism

SteppingStones

Well, this is most welcome news:[W]e have to be able to manage disagreement ethically, like reasonable adults, as opposed to brawling like enraged children who need a nap. It should go without saying, but this means no death threats, rape threats, attacks on people's appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; no photoshopping people into demeaning images, no vulgar epithets.Richard adds: I'm told that some people think I tacitly endorse such things even if I don't indulge in them. … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Reykjavik

My wife and I spent the last week on vacation in Iceland, which is like a liberal's dream: an peaceful, egalitarian society with no standing army, very low inequality and scarcely any crime, consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world for women and LGBT people, with a Scandinavian-style social welfare system and energy derived almost entirely from renewable sources. And its people were the friendliest, politest and most hospitable I've ever met - possibly surprising, … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: July 26

Coffee

I got back from Iceland yesterday and I'm still catching up on news that happened while I was away. Here are a few of the stories from my backlog:• More to come on this, but for now I'll just mention it briefly: a very welcome joint statement by Richard Dawkins and Ophelia Benson denouncing all forms of harassment, sexist and otherwise. I'm not prepared just yet to say this wipes the slate clean, but I'm cautiously optimistic!• Anti-abortion fanatics disrupt a Unitarian … [Read more...]

Repost: The Box Office Shrugs at Atlas Shrugged

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from March 2013.]Way back in 2011, I wrote about the hilarious box-office trainwreck (see what I did there?) that was Atlas Shrugged: Part I. Inexplicably, Ayn Rand's dense, multi-hour soliloquies in defense of capitalism failed to translate well into the medium of film. The last news I heard after the movie's belly-flop was that its producer, heroic rich guy John Aglialoro, … [Read more...]


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