In a worrying development for every citizen concerned about protecting state-church separation, the so-called “Public Expression of Religion Act” passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week on a largely party-line vote of 244 to 173. Sponsored by Republican representative John Hostettler, this bill’s purpose is to make it too expensive for private citizens and public interest groups to sue the government to compel it to cease actions which violate the Constitution. With the law as it exists now,… Read more

Ebon Musings is now back up, at a new host that has more than enough capacity to handle its increased traffic. Browse away! I’ll be posting a new article there in the next few days. Read more

A frequent point of contention in debates over religion is whether God’s existence is a topic that can be addressed by science. Interestingly, this is one of the few issues where various people on both sides take both stances. Some scientists, such as the late Stephen Jay Gould and his principle of “nonoverlapping magisteria”, hold that religion is in a separate realm from science and addresses different questions, and never the twain shall meet. Other scientists hold that God’s existence… Read more

Baylor University has recently released a study, titled “American Piety in the 21st Century”, on American religious affiliation and church attendance. This study has been widely described as casting doubt on previous studies which have found that religious belief is declining in America. In particular, the Baylor researchers have described their study as an explicit rebuttal to the much-cited 2001 CUNY ARIS study which found that as many as 15% of Americans are non-religious. In contrast to this finding, Baylor… Read more

We live today in a divided world. More so than lines based on race, religion or nationality, there is a fundamental distinction that partitions human society, and that distinction is wealth. The wealthy, prosperous, industrialized nations of North America, the European Union and Japan, the ones that have the greatest influence on world affairs and shape the development of human civilization, are often called the First World. By contrast, there are a far greater number of nations, harboring a far… Read more

Inspired by a recent dust-up at the Huffington Post over some remarks by Sam Harris, as well as the furor provoked by the Pope’s recent verbal attack on Islam quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II, I’ve decided to offer some thoughts on whether Islam is an intrinsically violent or evil religion. First off, the obvious: Like every religion on this planet, Islam exists only in the collective actions of the people who follow it, and people can act in… Read more

In the United States of America, sports is a national obsession. Every week, tens of thousands of avid fans pack into stadiums and arenas to watch their teams battle for supremacy on the field of play, and millions more watch and listen on TV and radio. Devoted fans follow their hometown teams with an interest verging on fanaticism, memorizing vast quantities of statistical and historical minutiae, filling their homes with the colors and iconography of their teams, and fiercely defending… Read more

(Author’s Note: The following review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site’s policy for such reviews.) Summary: A witty, razor-sharp attack on religious belief of all varieties. As one might have expected, Dawkins pulls no punches whatsoever and does not hesitate to heap scorn on foolish beliefs where appropriate. Atheists will cheer it; believers will probably be appalled and bypass it, which is unfortunate, since this book presents a great deal of legitimately new and interesting information,… Read more

While the voracious hordes of religious proselytizers continue to bombard society, demanding that their beliefs be wedged in wherever they can find a crack, atheism continues to grow quietly in the background. Largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and politicians, the advocates of nonbelief are still making their case, and they are increasingly finding people receptive and even eager to hear their message. There are many encouraging signs that, after the frenzied religious madness that has dominated the headlines over… Read more

Attention please: Due to a surge in traffic over the past few months, Ebon Musings is now bumping up against its monthly bandwidth transfer limits at its current host. I’m taking action to move it to a new host that can handle its growth. Therefore, if it should be down for a few days in the near future, there’s no need to panic; I haven’t converted, the theocrats have not gotten me, and I don’t intend to stop writing for… Read more

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