Open Thread: On Anarchism

This is an open thread to hold the discussion split off from the "On Amateur Atheism" thread. Comments and replies welcome. … [Read more...]

Expanding the Secular Community

In a world of hostile religious believers, a lone atheist is a target. Vjack of the always superb Atheist Revolution provides a chilling example, an atheist family in rural Pennsylvania who incurred severe harassment and reprisal from their believing neighbors after they complained about blatant religious indoctrination in the local public school, culminating with them being driven out of town.But there's an important lesson to be learned from this sad story: if an isolated atheist is a target … [Read more...]

Images of Mohammed

This is an image of the Muslim prophet Mohammed:So's this:And also this:I bring this up because, as you might have guessed, free speech and Islam are again in the news. Last month, over a dozen Danish newspapers reprinted one of the twelve drawings of Mohammed that caused such a furor after they were first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. The artist of this particular cartoon, Kurt Westergaard, has been under police … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on John Haught

Since the comment thread for my post "On Amateur Atheism" has sparked a lively debate, I looked around on the internet earlier today for some further explanation of John Haught's views. I found them in this Salon interview, and I'd like to offer some further comments on the theology outlined therein.One of Haught's major points regarding modern atheists that they rely too much on scientific inquiry to learn about the world:Therefore, since there's no scientific evidence for the divine, we … [Read more...]

On "Amateur" Atheism

This week, the Christian Century published an article by the Catholic theologian John Haught, titled "Amateur atheists: Why the new atheism isn't serious".Before I say anything more, I want to acknowledge that John Haught is not the real enemy. He testified for the side of the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v. Dover intelligent design trial, for instance, arguing that religious faith is compatible with scientific inquiry and that ID is pseudoscience. I'm appreciative of his service on this … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Recreational Drug Use

Today's post on atheist morality concerns the use of natural and artificial pharmaceuticals for pleasure. This practice may be nearly as old as humanity - three-thousand-year-old Andean mummies have been found to contain traces of coca, and the brewing of beer may date back to the Stone Age. Today, the legality of such substances varies widely across the world: some religious sects consider psychoactive drugs to be a sacrament, while other religions, such as Islam, ban them altogether.Rather … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Mind of the Market

(Author's Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: A libertarian political tract disguised as a work of science.Michael Shermer's The Mind of the Market concerns "evolutionary economics" - the way that evolutionary forces have shaped human instincts about trading, value and exchange, and how those tendencies have played out in creating the variety of economic systems in the world today. There's enough material on … [Read more...]

New Post on Dangerous Intersection

I've put up a new post on Dangerous Intersection, "Barack Obama gets it right". … [Read more...]

We Need Nothing More

I recently received an e-mail from an atheist asking for advice:I've always been afraid of death, and usually I tell myself that it's pointless. But lately, I've started thinking about my existence and ultimately, my death. I was, and still am to some extent, horribly afraid of losing myself forever, which is quite irrational I suppose. I've cheered myself up, worked through this fear several times. I've made myself realize that life is short and that I should look at death as a reminder to … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to Ellen Johnson

I was away last weekend and came back to an astonishing story: Ellen Johnson, Madalyn Murray O'Hair's successor as president of American Atheists, has proudly announced that she didn't vote in the recent presidential primaries. Even more jaw-dropping, she's urged atheists not to vote in the general election either. Here's the video, which is still linked from American Atheists' homepage at the time of this writing.Friendly Atheist, Atheist Revolution, and others have discussed this story, and … [Read more...]


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