The Eisenhower Test

The campaign of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for the Republican presidential nomination has caused rifts within the party's base, as evangelical Christians agonize over whether they could support a candidate who believes slightly different things about God than they do. The latest spat in this conflict comes in a post by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who argues that Mormons are not Christians. Sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, himself a Mormon, fires back. … [Read more...]

Book Update

I've finished the fourth chapter of my book, which deals with the argument from reasonable nonbelief and draws on the Ebon Musings essay "One More Burning Bush", plus its subsidiaries.As before, any regular commenter who's interested in reading the chapter and offering feedback is welcome to do so. E-mail me or leave a comment if interested. … [Read more...]

America the Paradox

On this Fourth of July, I've been giving careful thought to what this day signifies. For Americans, this is a date that means more than barbecue grills in the backyard or colorful stars blossoming in the night sky, more even than patriotic music and red-white-and-blue flags rippling in the breeze. These are time-tested symbols, but if we do not look closely and remember, we risk seeing the symbols only and not the underlying reality at which they point.America's history is far more than … [Read more...]

Atheism Is a Civil Rights Issue

Back in April, I noted with dismay when science writer Chris Mooney urged atheists to be silent and not voice their views, lest they provoke negative reactions from religious people. Now his partner in that effort, Matthew Nisbet, has written a far worse post along the same lines which has stirred up a hornet's nest among some prominent atheist bloggers.Nisbet seems to bear some irrational personal animus against Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens which has colored all his views on … [Read more...]

Popular Delusions VI: Homeopathy

Before the advent of evidence-based medicine, a huge variety of quack nostrums and dubious cures flourished. Many of these have faded away with time - and in cases like radioactive water, this was almost certainly for the best. However, some superstitious treatments that predate scientific medicine are still being used today. One of the most prominent is homeopathy.Invented by Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800s, homeopathy claims that "like cures like": a substance that produces symptoms of … [Read more...]

Lightbringers

In the World in Shadow series, I have written about some of the terrible natural evils that afflict humans. My primary purpose in writing this series is to illustrate the strength of the atheist's argument from evil, that the existence of vast amounts of undeserved and random suffering disproves the existence of a powerful, benevolent deity.However, there is another reason I write this series, and that is so I am not accused of excessive optimism. I am, as I will readily admit, an optimist, … [Read more...]

Theocracy Watch XI: A Dark Day for Separation

I'm sorry to report some bad news for allies of church-state separation everywhere. Back in February, I wrote about a momentous case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the Freedom from Religion Foundation argued that George W. Bush should not have the right to unilaterally use money appropriated by Congress to fund religious organizations. That case, Hein v. FFRF, has been decided, with the court ruling 5-4 in the administration's favor. This is a sad outcome, though not terribly shocking, … [Read more...]

A Threefold Anniversary

When I look back on my life, it seems sometimes that significant events tend to cluster around certain dates. This is almost certainly a product of the law of large numbers and the selective memory of the mind, as opposed to some cosmic kismet, but we can still recognize and commemorate these dates for what they mean to us and what they have brought into our lives.Today's date, June 25, is an anniversary of threefold significance. First, as I noted on this date last year, June 25 is the … [Read more...]

On Magic(k)

Throughout history, groups such as the Puritans have railed against what they see as the overly elaborate and ostentatious ceremony and ritual surrounding religious events. But despite the fulminations of religious reformers, ceremony and ritual are not superfluous add-ons to faith, but very much at the core of it. Belief in the supernatural is usually intended to give the believer a sense of control over events, and a highly elaborate, ritualized ceremony is often more effective at this than a … [Read more...]

Why I Am Not a Libertarian

I: The Dilemma of the CommonsI don't usually post purely political essays on Daylight Atheism, as opposed to posts that touch on religion in some way. But the new series beginning with this post is personally important to me, and deserves an exception.Though I only have anecdotal evidence, it's my experience that the majority of atheists hold a politically liberal view. The second largest group, a substantial minority, takes a libertarian stance. (Classic conservativism is a distant … [Read more...]


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