Photo Sunday: Autumn Raindrops

Autumn raindrops on leaves, Hudson Valley, autumn 2009. Photo by the author. Click for larger version.

The Case for a Creator: The God Generator

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 6 For those who accept the premises of the cosmological fine-tuning argument – that the physical laws of the universe could have been different, and that there’s only a small prior probability they would have taken on the values to produce intelligent beings – there are two possible explanations. One is that these values were chosen by a god or other creative power. Another one, which has found favor with some cosmologists in recent... Read more

Maybe Jesus Will Save Us After All

By Sarah Braasch I think I destroyed someone’s faith yesterday. Or, in truth, I think I may have struck the definitive blow. This doesn’t bother me. Unlike what many atheists espouse, for fear of being labeled evangelical proselytizers of disbelief, I actively seek the de-conversion of humanity. I actively seek to destroy religion. Not spirituality, but organized religion. I believe that if we do not destroy it, it will destroy us. And, when I say de-conversion I mean just that.... Read more

Weekly Link Roundup

Here are a few edifying, inspiring, or (alas) infuriating stories that are making the rounds this week: • First up, this truly outstanding piece from Wired on the anti-vaccination movement, An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All. This is what journalism is supposed to do: listen to the experts, survey the facts and adjudicate the truth, without the false-equivalency tactics that are the breath of life to kooks and advocates of pseudoscience. Here are a... Read more

Feminism's Freedom Fighter? On Feminism, Atheism and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

By Sikivu Hutchinson In mainstream media, public conversation about the intersection between atheism and what I will loosely term third world feminism is as rare as Halley’s Comet. In the corporate media universe, the groundbreaking work of feminists of African descent like bell hooks, Angela Davis and Patricia Hill Collins remains largely unknown, relegated to academe. Feminism, when invoked at all in mainstream media, is framed as the province of white women, a vestige of a less “enlightened” phase of... Read more

Poetry Sunday: Paul Laurence Dunbar

I’m especially pleased to be able to showcase this new poet in this week’s edition of Poetry Sunday. In the past, I’ve highlighted the lives and the accomplishments of famous African-American freethinkers like W.E.B. DuBois and Zora Neale Hurston, showing that religious skepticism and freethought have always played a lively role in the American black community. Today’s post offers another example of that. Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Ohio in June 1872 to two ex-slaves from Kentucky. His parents... Read more

The Case for a Creator: Strange New Worlds

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 6 The cosmological fine-tuning argument is one of the more interesting claims in the intelligent-design movement’s toolkit. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best argument they have. I’ll let Robin Collins make the point as strongly as he can: “Over the past thirty years or so, scientists have discovered that just about everything about the basic structure of the universe is balanced on a razor’s edge for life... Read more

Secular Sabotage!

In their never-ending quest to elevate every ranting wingnut to the same status as genuine experts, the Washington Post has given a guest column to Bill Donohue – the extreme right-wing Catholic bully whose sole purpose in life is seeking out things to be offended by. Whether it’s The Simpsons, the “secular Jews” who run Hollywood and hate Christianity, store greeters who say “Happy Holidays”, or monogamous gay couples who want to adopt children, no insult or indignity against the... Read more

Cargo Cult Science

During World War II, American forces fighting in the Pacific set up bases on remote islands whose people had had very little prior contact with other civilizations. These people, with technology at a Stone Age level, were amazed by the strange visitors and the almost miraculous cargo they brought with them – chocolate, cigarettes, radio, steel tools. When the war ended and the soldiers left, some tribes went to desperate measures to summon them back, forming religions – cargo cults... Read more

In Honor of Terry Pratchett

I should have mentioned this story much earlier, but better late than never. If you’re an atheist and a regular reader of sci-fi and fantasy, you probably know the name Terry Pratchett – and if you don’t, you should. He’s the award-winning and much-loved author of Discworld, a series of fantasy novels set in a flat, circular world that’s carried through space on the back of a giant tortoise. Discworld began as a straight-up parody of other fantasy novels, but... Read more
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