Daylight Atheism St. Louis Meetup

Since last September’s Los Angeles readers’ meetup went so well, I think it’s time to repeat the experiment! Next month, I’ll be in St. Louis, Missouri over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, January 16th and 17th. Are there any readers in the area who would be interested in meeting up? If so, leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Let me know when you’ll be available and if there are any local restaurants or other points of interest… Read more

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Pearl Jam

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to DA reader Alan Waldron for suggesting this post!) I’ve written about famous atheist composers before, but not all the great nonbelieving musicians belong to the past. Some are still living, working, and performing – like the subjects of today’s post on the contributions of freethinkers. The band Pearl Jam was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1990, a part of the emerging grunge-rock movement that would also produce bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Its… Read more

Photo Sunday: Solstice Walk

Johnson County, Iowa, December 21, 2006. Photo credit: Peter Nothnagle. Click for larger version. Read more

When Prayer Fails

Dave Schmeltzer’s book Not the Religious Type has many examples of what he calls “napkin stories” (i.e., short enough to write on a napkin), brief anecdotes from people who claim to have experienced miraculous events in their lives when they trusted in God. Here’s a typical one: I found out that my aunt and uncle’s marriage was unraveling due to an affair. I fasted and prayed for them. After thirty-eight days, I was contacted by my uncle. He was about… Read more

The Case for a Creator: Hot Jupiters

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 7 In chapter 3, I chastised Jonathan Wells, a trained biologist, for making deceptive arguments whose answers he unquestionably already knows. I have to send a similar criticism Guillermo Gonzalez’s way, because in this chapter, he makes an argument that any beginner student in astronomy would be able to answer easily. The argument has to do with the nature of extrasolar planets, of which we currently know over 400. Gonzalez concedes that this means… Read more

Whence Comes God's Nature?

According to the vast majority of religious believers (though perhaps not to the tiny minority of elite theologians), God is basically in nature like a larger and more powerful human being. He has plans and desires which he takes actions to fulfill; he likes some people and things and dislikes others; he experiences emotions like anger, jealousy, love, and forgiveness; he can be persuaded to act on another’s behalf; and so on. The most peculiar aspect of this anthropomorphic theology… Read more

Open Thread: Feedback on The Aura of Infallibility

About two weeks ago, the following comment was posted on the thread “The Aura of Infallibility” by one of the Christians whom I originally quoted in that post. There were some other discussions going on at the time and it fell off the recent comments list before it could attract any replies, and I thought it deserved some. So, I’m promoting it to its own thread. I’ll write my own response to it (and I’ll contact Matt to let him… Read more

A Very Merry Atheist Christmas

Now that’s how you do it: This banner will soon be going up at the Loudoun County, Virginia courthouse, courtesy of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Rather than remove a nativity scene from the courthouse lawn, the county board of supervisors voted to keep it, requiring the creation of a limited public forum where other groups also had the opportunity to put up seasonal displays. And as the FFRF cheerily points out: In addition to the Foundation’s banner, there will… Read more

Photo Sunday: The Old Bridge

Hudson Highlands Nature Center, November 2009. Photo by the author. Camera details: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS. Click for larger version. Read more

The Case for a Creator: A Parade of Horribles, Part II

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 7 Earth’s Size Gonzalez’s next assertion strikes me as highly dubious. He claims that, if the Earth were larger than it is, the higher surface gravity would tend to smooth out mountains and ocean basins, producing a perfectly spherical planet with little surface relief. (He provides no numbers on how much bigger the planet could be before this happens.) This would result in a “water world” whose surface was evenly covered by a shallow… Read more

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