Two juxtaposed articles in the June/July issue of Scientific American Mind offer some intriguing insights into how theistic beliefs may have first developed in the human species. First, an article titled Preschool Determinists: When cognitive scientists Laura E. Schulz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jessica Sommerville of the University of Washington tested preschoolers, they discovered that the kids were thoroughgoing “causal determinists.” The children assumed that everything happens for a reason. Schulz and Sommerville showed the kids toy… Read more

I have often described atheism as a positive and hopeful worldview, and I stand by that description. I truly do believe that humanity has the potential to inherit a future glorious beyond imagining – not an imaginary heaven, but a real and genuine utopia existing in this world, one built up by our hands and our effort. But I cannot deny that this vision still lies far in the future, and some days it seems as if it is receding… Read more

The founding fathers of the United States of America wrote freedom of the press into the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights. As their own quotes and records show, they did this because they felt that a free, independent press was one of the most vital checks on the power of government, and the only way to impart to ordinary citizens the information they need to be responsible decision-makers in a democracy such as ours. In the United… Read more

I realize this has been an eventful day on Daylight Atheism, but it’s come to my attention that today is also a very special day, one that I’d be remiss if I failed to commemorate. From the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s daily Freethought of the Day e-mail bulletin: On this date in 1949, Dan Barker was born in California. His father, Norman Barker, a talented trombonist, played with Hoagy Carmichael, and has a cameo with Judy Garland in the movie… Read more

One of the most widespread delusions of our society is the belief in self-proclaimed psychic mediums who assert that they can speak to the spirits of the dead. John Edward, Sylvia Browne, James van Praagh, and Allison Dubois are some of the most popular, and command considerable fame and wealth for their alleged abilities, attracting attention such as prime-time TV shows, best-selling books, and personal consultations for which they charge hundreds or thousands of dollars per hour. However, so far… Read more

I’ve been aware of The Raving Atheist since before I created Daylight Atheism. For a time, his was one of the few atheist blogs I read regularly. However, I gradually soured on him, and by the time I had created this blog, I had decided that on balance he was a detriment rather than a credit to the cause of atheism, and resolved never to link to him. There were several reasons for this. First of all, I strongly disliked… Read more

Ladies and gentlemen, dear readers and interested lurkers, I’d like to introduce you all to a group that holds a unique place in my memories: the ChildCare Action Project, or CAP for short. I mentioned in a previous post, A Personal Journey to Atheism, that one of the last things I did before confirming myself as an atheist and humanist was to seek out an evangelical Christian group and invite them to present their best case to me. Well, now… Read more

The Politics of Atheism posts back in April inspired a healthy debate with several regular commenters who advocate a libertarian political philosophy. One of the major claims of this philosophy, defended both on this blog and by prominent libertarians such as Timothy Sandefur, is that “taxation is theft” and that any taking of property from any individual, by the government or by anyone else, without that individual’s consent is an immoral act even if done with the best of intentions…. Read more

Allow me to be the first person to offer Michael Newdow a oneway ticket (coach, please) out of the United States and leave him with the words of Southern outlaw music group Lynyrd Skynyrd: “I hope Mr. Newdow will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow”. — In 2002, the “notorious atheist” Michael Newdow won a major court victory. The federal Ninth Circuit court ruled that the 1954 addition of the phrase “under God” to the United States… Read more

In a previous post, Shattering Stereotypes, I discussed ways in which atheists can clear away the noxious stereotypes about us that are spread by religious groups and that hinder our ability to get our message across. That is the vital first step in speaking effectively on behalf of atheism. But once we have cleared that ground of the thorns and thistles of stereotypes, we must decide on what to build there. Again, we nonbelievers will achieve more if we speak… Read more

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