The Case for a Creator: Astroturfing Science

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 4 Lee Strobel’s usual interview technique is to ask softball questions that are carefully phrased to make it as easy as possible for his interviewees to “refute” them. But credit where credit’s due – in the next section of chapter 4, he actually asks a good one. In talking to ID advocate Stephen Meyer, he brings up the evidence I discussed in my previous post: “If the scientific evidence for theism is so compelling…… Read more

Daylight Atheism Los Angeles Meetup

For all DA readers in the Los Angeles area (if any): Three weeks from now, on the weekend of September 5, I’m going to be in California to attend a friend’s wedding. The weekend is booked solid, but my flight back to New York leaves from Los Angeles on Tuesday the 8th, and I’ll have that Monday free. So, do I have any readers in or near L.A. who’ll be around on Labor Day and are interested in meeting up?… Read more

Poetry Sunday: An Arundel Tomb

Today’s edition of Poetry Sunday features a return of the English poet and novelist Philip Larkin. Born in Coventry in 1922, Larkin received a degree in literature from Oxford in 1943. Though he worked for most of his life as a librarian at the University of Hull, he was well-known and widely acclaimed for his poetry and his work as a literary reviewer and jazz critic. He received numerous awards for his writing in his lifetime, including the Queen’s Gold… Read more

Why the Religious Right Fears Empathy

In the days before Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation, we witnessed a strange spectacle: religious-right Christian after religious-right Christian spoke out against her nomination on the grounds that she valued empathy, and that this was an undesirable quality for a judge to have. Coming from a religion whose founder supposedly said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” this is laughably absurd. Empathy is one of the… Read more

The Republicans' Descent into Delusion

I don’t usually post on purely political issues, but this one has become impossible to ignore. In the last few weeks, the American right has worked itself into a fever pitch of insanity over the prospect of healthcare reform. If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve seen the shouting, raging protestors disrupting town-hall meetings, screaming at their representatives about how the healthcare bill is tyranny and fascism. These people are almost loud enough to drown out all other debate over… Read more

Too High a Price to Pay for Comfort

Religion inspires billions of people around the world today to live honest, decent, law-abiding lives. Faith-based charities of every religious tradition have brought comfort, hope, and healing to millions of people who would otherwise starve, lay homeless, and be left to fend for themselves. Religion gives comfort and consolation to so many who have faced adversity in their lives, whether it be suffering from illness, natural disaster, or the loss of someone whom they loved. —http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2837/ The good that’s done… Read more

Exposing Scientology

I’ve written about the ludicrous “space opera” beliefs of Scientology (the Plan 9 from Outer Space of modern religions). In the future, I want to tell the story of my personal encounter with Scientology proselytizers, but today I have another subject: some recent news exposés that reveal the secrets and the machinations of the cult. First and foremost, the St. Petersburg Times deserves credit for its truly superb investigative reporting on the inner workings of Scientology. In their 2009 special… Read more

The Case for a Creator: Why Cosmologists Are Atheists

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 4 Strobel’s next interview is with Stephen Meyer, a philosopher who’s also one of the cofounders of the Discovery Institute. Strobel and Meyer touch on several topics (fine-tuning, irreducible complexity) that will be discussed in more detail in later chapters, so I’ll defer responding to those arguments for now. Amusingly, Strobel also gives Meyer credit for contributing to Of Pandas and People – the textbook which provided one of the crucial pieces of evidence… Read more

Getting a Philosophy Under Your Feet

I recently read a Christian book that’s more interesting than the usual anti-atheist apologetics: Not the Religious Type, by Dave Schmelzer. Its author is a theologian and self-proclaimed former atheist who now pastors an evangelical church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship, in the Boston area. This book is in large part about the New Atheist movement, and unlike most Christian authors, who have nothing but anger and scorn for outspoken atheists, Schmelzer actually shows our viewpoint a measure of sympathy and understanding:… Read more

The Three Kinds of Theism

If you’re an atheist who’s setting out to debate religious believers, there are three main categories of theism you can expect to meet. Although religious belief is one of the most diverse of human phenomena, with a limitless variety of gradations and exceptions, I think these three suffice to classify nearly all of the theists that a nonbeliever is likely to encounter. If you want to debate, it’s important to keep this in mind, because your strategy for dealing with… Read more

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