Barack Obama and Church-State Separation

Although the first hundred days of President Barack Obama's term haven't ended yet, this seems like a good time to examine his record in office so far and see how it's lived up to his own campaign pledges and to freethinkers' expectations. These past few months have been a roller-coaster ride - from the exhilaration of Election Day to the disgraceful selection of homophobic bigot Rick Warren to preside at the inauguration. Now that the euphoria has faded and the Obama administration is getting … [Read more...]

Catholicism Kills

In January, I wrote about how the Vatican had decided to lift the excommunication of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson. After a worldwide avalanche of criticism, the church backtracked somewhat on this decision: Williamson is still welcomed back, although he's been ordered to recant his views, which to my knowledge he has not done.But last week brought some news that eclipses even that outrage: on his first papal trip to Africa, Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, said that … [Read more...]

The 113th Carnival of the Godless

Welcome, new visitors and regular readers, to the 113th edition of the Carnival of the Godless here at Daylight Atheism! I last hosted this gathering of the godless all the way back in July 2006, for its 44th edition, and nearly three years later, we're still going strong. In fact, the carnival has grown considerably - so much so that I decided to feature only one submission from each entrant, for the sake of brevity - but even so, the sheer scope of this post is a welcome testament to the … [Read more...]

Holier-Than-Thouism

My recent post encouraging readers to join the atheists' group on Kiva stirred some controversy in a comment thread on Reddit. One commenter, whose sentiments were echoed by several others, writes:You should give because you believe in something - not just to prove a point and rig this like it's some kind of game.With respect, I say that these are not mutually exclusive options. I believe that Kiva is an excellent idea; I wouldn't have recommended it if I didn't. But at the same time, our … [Read more...]

A World in Shadow VI

In 2006 and 2007, I wrote several entries in a series called A World in Shadow, bolstering the atheist's argument from evil by describing particularly shocking or egregious instances of natural and moral evils. However, I haven't written any new entries for this series in some time.To be honest, I stopped writing these posts because I found them too upsetting. There are more than enough - far too many - examples of tragedy and catastrophe in this world to make the case against a benevolent … [Read more...]

Evolutionary Algorithms

One of the bedrock claims of creationism is that mutation can never create new information, that random changes can only make complex systems worse and never improve them. Although there are many examples of information-increasing mutations in the natural world that prove this claim false, there's an even more potent and understandable counterexample, one that I think defenders of evolution too often overlook. That counterexample comes in the form of evolutionary algorithms.Altshuler … [Read more...]

New Post on Dangerous Intersection

I've put up a new post on Dangerous Intersection, "A 24-hour news network lineup I’d like to see".This is an open thread. … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Atheist's Way

(Editor's Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: A worthy effort, but at best a shallow draught from a spring that can sustain much deeper drinking.I've often said that atheism, to succeed as a movement, needs to do more than just criticize belief in gods: it needs to offer a positive, appealing alternative to religion, a depiction of the happiness and fulfillment that can be obtained by living a superstition-free life. … [Read more...]

Atheists, Do Some Good: Join Kiva

An accusation that's often leveled against atheists is that we lack charitable impulses, that faith-based organizations do the hard work of caring for the needy and atheism only promotes selfishness. This is a hateful slur, and to counter it, I've discussed outstanding acts of charity by individual atheists in the past. Evidence like this shows that, as a group, we do not lack compassion. On the contrary, we know that this life is the only one we'll ever have, which gives us the strongest … [Read more...]

The 2008 ARIS: Atheist State of the Nation

As you've surely heard by now, the landmark 2008 American Religious Identification Survey has just been released. The ARIS is an enormous study that questioned over 50,000 respondents to assemble a broad picture of religious belief and disbelief in the United States, building on previous surveys from 1990 and 2001.The 2001 results showed that nonbelievers had made incredible gains, rising from 8% to just over 14% of the U.S. population in just ten years - a genuine demographic boom. The new … [Read more...]


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