April 8, 2006

As many others have observed, the right wing in modern American politics subsists in a near-perpetual state of frothing rage. This situation serves the purpose of leaders of the religious right, since after all, angry people are more easily led and less likely to think coherently; and to encourage it to continue, they whip their followers into a frenzy with inflammatory accusations and keep their rage alive through the constant creation of new scapegoats. This pattern has recently repeated, and… Read more

April 6, 2006

The last and arguably most important question of free will, one that is closely intertwined with the nature of choice, is the issue of moral responsibility. What is it that makes us responsible for what we do? Most traditional views, especially dualist views, hold that for a person to be morally responsible for an action they commit, they must have been able to choose a different course of action at the time. This belief is commonly held, but has rarely… Read more

April 5, 2006

It has been a hundred and twenty-five years since Charles Darwin passed away, but his legacy is alive and well. The theory of evolution which he was first to propose has become the unifying pillar of modern biology, drawing together a vast array of evidence from genetics, paleontology, biochemistry, ecology and other scientific fields. Contrary to the creationists who are perpetually (and wrongly) forecasting its imminent demise, today evolution is in better shape than it has ever been. And one… Read more

April 4, 2006

The claim is often bandied about that atheists are “angry”. The implication, presumably, is that life without God offers only a life of constant frustration and unhappiness (and, one imagines, damnation thereafter – wrath being one of the seven deadly sins), whereas belief in God is the road to tranquility and peace. However, if this is the message that apologists intend to convey, they should look to their own flocks before accusing others of the sin of anger. Even casual… Read more

April 3, 2006

What does it mean to make a choice? This question is at the heart of many of the debates over free will, and justifiably so. It may seem simple initially, but the more deeply one considers it, the knottier it becomes. The basic dilemma seems to be this: Every event that occurs either had sufficient cause to occur or it did not. If it did, then it seems choice has no part to play: the event happened because of that… Read more

April 2, 2006

A recurring topic of debate among atheists is just how much respect we should pay to people’s religious beliefs. A substantial number of nonbelievers, I am certain, would unabashedly proclaim that religion is all so much superstitious rubbish, and we should not pay other people’s ridiculous superstitions any respect, regardless of the esteem in which they themselves hold them. The opposite position (more common among liberal theists, probably, than among atheists) is that all religious beliefs should be treated with… Read more

April 1, 2006

Clearly, what is immaterial in the human mind can influence the physical world, or our acts of will and understanding would be without effect. If our will is free these physical effects are not wholly predictable. —http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9511/revessay.html A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market. The servant returned, trembling and frightened. The servant told the merchant, “I was jostled in the market, turned around, and saw Death.” “Death made a threatening gesture, and I fled in terror. May… Read more

March 31, 2006

The forces of theocracy are on the march, and Daylight Atheism is keeping a close eye on them. First, an article from the March 3 Legal Times, Alabama Judge Declares War on U.S. Supreme Court: Sitting calmly in his impeccably neat office at Alabama’s Justice Building, state Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker does not look like a man at war with the U.S. Supreme Court. …Last month, Parker wrote an op-ed in The Birmingham News, attacking the high court’s “blatant… Read more

March 30, 2006

A new essay, “Into the Clear Air”, has been posted on Ebon Musings. The article details the four common stages of deconversion and offers help and guidance to people in the process of losing their religion. This is an open thread. Comments and feedback are welcome. Read more

March 30, 2006

For most of human history, philosophers have believed that only the possession of an immaterial soul could confer free will on human beings. (There have been exceptions: the ancient Greek Stoics, for example.) This idea has fallen somewhat out of favor, but there are many theists who still hold to it. They are willing to concede that the universe we live in is an interwoven tapestry of cause and effect, but insist that we are special somehow, that we are… Read more

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