Human Reproduction Is Ridiculous

Over the past year leading up to the birth of my son, Elizabeth and I (her more than me, obviously) have had an intimate view of what it takes to bring a new human being into the world. And going through this has only cemented a view that her and I both held, namely that human reproduction is ridiculous.Contrary to those who assume that pregnancy is "natural" and therefore easy, it's the most burdensome and dangerous thing most ordinary people will ever do. At every step, there's an … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Descent of Man

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechJohn Galt is still talking. In this section of his doorstopper monologue, he lectures about Rand's views on human nature:"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a … [Read more...]

More Than the Sum of Our Senses

I'm still reading Timothy Keller's book. He's very much a fan of presuppositional apologetics, like this one in which he argues that an intelligent being that came about through evolution wouldn't be able to trust its own reasoning abilities:Evolutionists say that if God makes sense to us, it is not because he is really there, it's only because that belief helped us survive and so we are hardwired for it. However, if we can't trust our belief-forming faculties to tell us the truth about … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dusk

I just finished reading Sex at Dusk, independent scholar Lynn Saxon's reply to Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha's book Sex at Dawn, which I reviewed last month. This book fills in the biggest gap in my original review, so I wanted to say some more about it.When I originally read Dawn, I thought that Ryan and Jetha's strongest argument was the existence of the South American tribal societies that believe in partible paternity, the idea that a child can have more than one biological father. … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dawn, Part II

(See part 1 here.)Primitive WarfareAs part of the sex-as-social-glue hypothesis, SaD asserts that pre-state societies were universally peaceful. The book argues that in a hunter-gatherer society with no possessions and no fixed resource base, rival groups would have nothing to fight about [p.183].But this claim flies in the face of the evidence. As I wrote about in my review of The Better Angels of Our Nature, it's inevitable that evolution would produce creatures with the capacity … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dawn

Summary: An interesting but sloppy argument that would have been much improved by more careful use of evolutionary reasoning.Sex at Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, is a bestselling science book that sets out to present a radically new model of human prehistory. The authors' thesis is that, prior to the invention of agriculture, the human species lived in small, roaming hunter-gatherer bands that had no notion of personal property or privacy. In these tribal societies, they say, … [Read more...]

Evolution Is Still Happening: Beneficial Mutations in Humans

One of my all-time most popular posts on Daylight Atheism, "The Scars of Evolution", lists some of the kludges, hacks and jury-rigs left behind in the human genome, the telltale signature of evolution. The vestigial structures and design compromises still found in human bodies are tangible evidence that our species has a long evolutionary history and didn't just pop into existence ex nihilo. But a different line of evidence comes in the form of ongoing mutations in the human gene pool. Most … [Read more...]

The Language of God: From Atheism to Belief

The Language of God, Chapter 1By B.J. MarshallThe chapter begins with a description of Collins' experiences growing up. His parents shrugged off the business world and lived an agrarian life on huge tracts of land in the Shenandoah Valley. His father went on to teach at a women's college. Collins was homeschooled, and faith did not play a part in his upbringing. He went to an Episcopal church, but it was more for music appreciation than theology. OK, so we have a picture here of an ardent … [Read more...]

Under Green Leaves

In an old essay on Ebon Musings, "Finding Beauty in the Mundane", I wrote in a contemplative mood:Have you ever considered the trees? Though their kind of life is far grander, slower and more patient than ours, they are each individuals, as different as human beings are. They add beauty to the world, give peace in their dappled shade, freshen the air and enrich the earth, and turn even the most hard-edged urban environment into a blossoming garden. We humans grew up beneath the trees, and … [Read more...]

The Contributions of Freethinkers: Richard Leakey

Atheists have a great number of famous names to our credit. We can justly claim renowned composers, scientists, musicians, civil rights leaders - and conservationists, as we'll see in today's post on the contributions of freethinkers.Richard Leakey was born in Nairobi in 1944, son of the famous archaeologist Louis Leakey. The elder Leakey was a strong supporter of racial equality, and Richard's upbringing reflected that belief. He started school soon after the Mau Mau rebellion had been … [Read more...]