Moving Beyond Awe

The nineteenth-century German theologian Rudolf Otto, in his book The Idea of the Holy, popularized the term "numinous", an adjective describing the sense of mystery and wonder that purportedly stems from the presence of a deity. According to Otto, the sense of the numinous had two main characteristics: the mysterium tremendum, the sense of fear and trembling that comes from the presence of that which is wholly other, and the mysterium fascinas, the sense of fascination and curiosity that such … [Read more...]

Stalin the Divine Savior

Via Making My Way (a great atheist blog, although its author doesn't update often enough!), this amazing historical fact.I wrote in "Red Crimes" about how communism, demonized by religious apologists as an atheistic ideology, was more in the nature of a political system: willing to work with anyone who supported its goals and to persecute anyone who opposed its goals, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. As evidence of this, I cited the story of Andrei Sakharov, an atheist … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Evening Without Angels

In a comment on April's Poetry Sunday, Eric suggested another post featuring Wallace Stevens. I wanted to reprint Wilfred Owen's poem last month in honor of Memorial Day, but I'm always open to requests.Today's post, like my previous selection from Stevens, highlights the poet's naturalistic, humanist views. According to Alan D. Perlis' book Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, this poem "eliminates angels from this world only to elevate the human soul to an angelic … [Read more...]

Winner of the 2009 3QD Science Prize

I'm thrilled to announce that 3 Quarks Daily has officially chosen the winners of their 2009 Science Prize, and their first-place award, the Top Quark, has gone to Daylight Atheism!Here's what 3QD's celebrity judge, Professor Steven Pinker, had to say:Daylight Atheism’s Bands of Iron is my top pick. He starts with an something that attracts your attention purely on aesthetic grounds – stripes in a rock. He invokes it with deep, non-obvious, yet understandable principles, at the same tim … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Small Twigs

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3Jonathan Wells' second "icon" is Darwin's tree of life, which he says is a "dismal failure" [p.43] as an illustration of the fossil record.With a lead-in like that, you'd expect a typical creationist jeremiad against transitional fossils. In fact, that's not what we get. The focus of Wells' complaint is about the Cambrian explosion, 550 million years ago. No transitional series more recent is treated here: not the origin of tetrapods, not the therapsids … [Read more...]

A Brief Saturday Morning Thought

Shorter John Ensign: Gay marriage is going to take away my sacred, God-given right to cheat on my wife. … [Read more...]

This Is Why There Is War in the Mideast

The Jewish magazine Moment ran an article in its latest issue asking rabbis from a variety of Jewish sects how Israel can promote peace with its Arab neighbors (HT: Pharyngula). Most of the rabbis express fairly bland, liberal views about the importance of peace and tolerance, which are fine in themselves, although few of them offer any concrete suggestions as to what Israel might do differently.However, one rabbi, Manis Friedman of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, was eager to make some … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part VI

To my friend Ebonmuse,Offered with genuine respect to the readership and commentators of DA,The presumption of atheism, the hiddenness of God, the Problem of Evil, the Euthyphro dilemma, epistemic warrant, Pascal's wager, NOMA, Hume's critique of the miraculous, the Kalam cosmological argument...I'm near concluding that I've interacted with far more atheists — or perhaps far more atheists and agnostics of a different type than those who frequent internet blogs — than many here at DA. The ma … [Read more...]

Eric Hovind, Racist

Daylight Atheism readers undoubtedly remember Kent Hovind, a bottom-feeder creationist with a degree from a diploma mill and a phony $250,000 offer for anyone who could offer "proof of evolution". You probably also remember that Hovind is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for federal tax evasion. But what you might not know is that Hovind's son, Eric, has a blog of his own - and judging by a recent post, the wingnut apple doesn't fall far from the crazy tree.The post, titled … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3Having established Jonathan Wells' bona fides, let's get down to business. The first of his "icons" is the Miller-Urey experiment, a landmark study proving that the chemical building blocks of life could emerge relatively easily under conditions similar to those of the early Earth.This is not, strictly speaking, an "icon of evolution" at all. Miller-Urey was an experiment about abiogenesis, the question of how life first arose from nonliving precursors. This … [Read more...]