The One-Reason Worldview

"Most well-meaning creationists would agree in principle that things that are not carefully documented and researched should not be used. But in practice, many of them are very quick to accept the sorts of evidences mentioned here, without asking too many questions. Why this seeming urge to find a startling, exciting 'magic bullet'?"—Ken Ham for Answers in Genesis, "Searching for the magic bullet"There's a tendency that I've noticed is very common in fundamentalist religious groups, … [Read more...]

Some Thoughts on Fermi's Paradox

The Drake equation, developed in the 1960s by the astronomer Frank Drake, laid the foundation for the scientific search for extraterrestrial life. This equation provides a way to estimate the number of intelligent, communicating civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy by combining all the prerequisites for the existence of such civilizations.The remarkable thing about the Drake equation is that even seemingly conservative values for its various factors tend to predict a galaxy overflowing with … [Read more...]

A Crack in the Wall

The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank that promotes intelligent design creationism, is infamous for its authorship of a secret document called the "Wedge Strategy", which lays out their plan to overthrow the theory of evolution and "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God". The leak of this document proved to be a considerable embarrassment for the Discovery Institute, especially when Judge John E. Jones … [Read more...]

Poetry Sunday: Creation

The third installment of Daylight Atheism's Poetry Sunday is some time overdue. Once again, I'd like to welcome back Philip Appleman, whose contribution this week is the poem "Creation". (I will feature other poets - but Professor Appleman has written so many beautiful works, I can't resist sharing them with my readers.)The Lascaux cave complex of southwestern France is famous for its cave paintings: hundreds of strikingly lifelike depictions of horses, cattle, bison, stags, and other animals. … [Read more...]

How to Think Critically III: Randomness

I've written before that the human mind is a pattern-seeking engine. We are wired by evolution to seek cause-and-effect relationships in the world around us, and when there are relationships to be found, we often do very well. The problem is when there are no causal relationships to be found. People in such situations often develop what we call superstitions, erroneous conclusions about what sorts of causes are correlated with desired outcomes. In other words, we do not have an instinctive grasp … [Read more...]

Why I Am Not a Libertarian III

Opportunity and ObligationOne of the driving notions behind libertarian political theory is that society should be a meritocracy. By removing all restraints on competition, we will create a system where the hardest-working, most talented, most creative people succeed. And this is a good idea which I agree with. We need to encourage effort and innovation to create a healthy society; we should not punish motivation, nor reward laziness. We should give people an incentive to work and to strive. … [Read more...]

Why Do They Care?

In the summer of 2006, Republican Senator David Vitter (about whom you might have heard some news lately) said the following about a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage:"I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one," said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. "I think this debate is very healthy, and it's winning a lot of hearts and minds. I think we're going to show real progress."No issue is more important than the drive to ban gay … [Read more...]

Not Being an Angry Atheist

In the marketplace of ideas, atheists and atheism are still fighting to carve out a place. We have made some dramatic gains, but our long-term success is not yet assured. The sheer novelty of our message has, no doubt, attracted much interest and attention, but we must still work to win an established place in society's halls of power. When media organizations routinely invite atheists along with religious leaders to give the secular humanist perspective on issues, or when politicians seeking … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Assault on Reason

Summary: A blistering, brilliant counterattack on the forces that have conspired to undermine American democracy.Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's The Assault on Reason is a passionate, scathing book that paints a clear picture of where America has gone wrong. Our democracy is far from dead, but as events of recent years have shown, it is ill - perhaps gravely so. The appalling levels of ignorance of basic scientific and political facts among the voting public; our heedless and disastrous … [Read more...]

Do You Really Believe That? (II)

The Tower of BabelThe second installment of "Do You Really Believe That?" will examine another classic Old Testament story, the Tower of Babel. According to this story, in the days after Noah's flood, all humanity spoke one language. Filled with pride and ambition, they came together and began to build a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven" (Genesis 11:4). God witnesses this and is upset, not because the building of the tower displays hubris, but because he actually fears that humanity will … [Read more...]


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