Chris Hedges Doesn’t Believe In Moral Progress (Except When He Does)

A Review of When Atheism Becomes Religion, Part IIIAs I've written before, Chris Hedges is a nihilist. He flatly denies the possibility of moral progress, and vehemently asserts that any efforts to improve humanity will inevitably end in mass slaughter and destruction. He says so bluntly at the beginning of his book:Those who insist we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves. There is little in science or history to support this idea. Human individuals can make moral … [Read more...]

Evolution Isn’t a Moral Theory (Except When It Is)

A Review of When Atheism Becomes Religion, Part IAt the beginning of chapter 2, Chris Hedges says that science is a "morally neutral discipline" (p.45) which offers potential for both good and evil. He goes on to assert:Evolution is a biological theory that helps us grasp descent, with modification, within living species. It is not a theory about economic systems, government, morality, ethics or the behavior of nations. [p.46]So far, so good - there's nothing in that paragraph that I … [Read more...]

Chris Hedges Doesn’t Like Us Very Much

The things I do for you people.A few weeks ago, I was browsing in a used bookstore when I saw a copy of Chris Hedges' When Atheism Becomes Religion (retitled from the original, I Don't Believe in Atheists). Since it was only a few dollars, I decided to get it - it might be good for a laugh, I thought, or as posting fodder.Well, I've slogged my way through it, and I do mean slogged. It seems as if this book was written as a rush job, hoping to cash in on the popularity of the New Atheists. … [Read more...]

The Language of God: On Darwin

The Language of God, Chapter 4By B.J. MarshallCollins spends only three pages discussing the history of Darwin's publishing his theory of evolution through natural selection, but there are a few points that I want to discuss concerning how Collins (and apologists in general) lift quotes, provide misinformation, and arrange material to help guide the reader to draw certain conclusions. Now, I'm not saying that atheological counter-apologists - if I may use such a phrase - are immune from … [Read more...]

The Language of God: A Biologist in His Element (Sort Of)

The Language of God, Chapter 4By B.J. MarshallThis chapter is entitled "Life on Earth: Of Microbes and Man." Right from the beginning, you should probably know that there's a lot in this chapter that Collins gets right. It's like how William Lane Craig is totally in his element when he talks about cosmology, because he's an astrophysi ... wait, that's right, he's not. (I couldn't help but slam "The Case for a Creator" my parents got me for my first birthday post-deconversion. Nothing says … [Read more...]

Answering More Questions for Atheists

Michael Egnor, a creationist working for the Discovery Institute, has posted a list of questions for atheists (HT: Sandwalk). Ironically, the post which contains the questions has comments disabled, so it's impossible to answer Egnor directly. This is probably another piece of evidence for whether whether creationists actually want answers to the questions they ask.Be that as it may, I've decided to write answers to Egnor's questions. He does say "I want to learn more about what New Atheists … [Read more...]

Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape and Universal Utilitarianism

I've heard that Sam Harris has a new book, The Moral Landscape, coming out soon. In it, he argues that there is an objectively best way for us to live together in a way that produces the greatest well-being for all - i.e., an objective morality - and that we can discover what it is through science:Imagine that there are only two people living on earth: We can call them "Adam" and "Eve." Clearly, we can ask how these two people might maximize their well-being. Are there wrong answers to this … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Cosmology and the God Hypothesis

The Language of God, Chapter 3By B.J. MarshallCollins concludes this chapter by tying his overview of cosmology to the god hypothesis. He states that "[c]learly, the scientific view is not entirely sufficient to answer all of the interesting questions about the origin of the universe, and there is nothing inherently in conflict between the idea of a creator God and what science has revealed" (pp.80-1). We've already addressed this god-of-the-gaps mentality before; just because one hypothesis … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Heathen’s Guide to World Religions

(Editor's Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: Entertaining but plagued with inaccuracy.William Hopper's The Heathen's Guide to World Religions is intended as a satirical survey of the world's major faiths, written from an atheist perspective with sarcasm, humor and irreverence aplenty. I hadn't heard of the author, but his biography at the back of the book says he's a former Catholic and one-time candidate for the … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Quantum Quote-Mining

The Language of God, Chapter 3By B.J. MarshallCollins spends only a few pages discussing quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle. He starts with a sentence that has nothing to do with anything, really. He mentions that "Newton was a believer who wrote more about biblical interpretation than he did about mathematics and physics" (p.78). I have no idea why Collins would include this other than to say, "Hey, look everyone! This guy's a theist, and he's really smart. You should pay … [Read more...]