Atlas Shrugged: The Ubermensch

Nietzsche

Atlas Shrugged, part I, chapter VAlthough the most vivid (and creepiest) scenes depicting Ayn Rand's views on love and sex are still to come, this chapter offers a preview, as we find out in flashback that Dagny and Francisco became lovers during their college days. The first hint of this comes on a summer day when they're walking along the Palisades. Here's how Francisco initiates their relationship:He said brusquely, "Let's see if we can see New York," and jerked her by the arm to … [Read more...]

Why I Am An Atheist (In 200 Words or Less)

DATwitterWordCloud

[Note: This month, Patheos is organizing a "Why I Am A..." blog series, challenging contributors to explain the basis for their philosophy in 200 words or less. Here's my contribution. —Adam]I'm an atheist because personal experience isn't sufficient.People from every religion claim to have personal experiences that bolster their beliefs, whether it's the warmth of God's love or the cool knowledge of a moral lawgiver, the Buddhist satori or the Mormon burning in the bosom. Clearly, … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Swerve

Summary: The compelling true story of the Renaissance humanists who rescued Greek and Roman philosophy from oblivion and wrenched the Western world out of the Dark Ages. After the collapse of the Roman empire, Europe descended into a centuries-long era of cultural and intellectual stagnation, a dark age of theocracy and feudalism. But how did the Western world pull itself out of this pit? What brought about the rekindling of light and reason in the Renaissance? That question is the subject of … [Read more...]

The Temporal Democracy of Self-Slices

Via Dangerous Intersection, I saw this TED lecture by Daniel Kahnemann, based on his book Thinking Fast and Slow, about the conflict between the "experiencing self" and the "remembering self". His thesis is that we have countless moment-to-moment experiences, most of which quickly fade from memory and leave no trace, while a few significant ones are retained and used to construct an overarching story or narrative of one's life. According to Kahnemann, many experiences which were unpleasant or … [Read more...]

Morality Is Relative But Not Subjective

Guest post by Samantha Eliza Benten The Law of Non-Contradiction, as stated by Aristotle: "One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time." Often, this is expressed in the formula: A ? ¬A, where "¬A" signifies "not A" or "not having quality A". (To prevent a common error, understand that it does NOT mean "the subset of everything except A." For example, to say that "an animal that is a cat cannot be, at the same time, a dog" is NOT an … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Questions for Atheists

The Language of God, Chapter 7By B.J. MarshallThe next part of Chapter 7 shows Collins' poor understanding of atheism. He starts by differentiating between "strong" and "weak" atheism, but then he makes the baseless claim that for the majority of atheists, strong atheism is "generally the assumed position" (p.161). He makes this distinction so that he has a group he can refute. He asks three questions, and I'd like to address them similarly to those posed by Michael Egnor.But first I would … [Read more...]

The Language of God: A Biologist in His Element (Sort Of)

The Language of God, Chapter 4By B.J. MarshallThis chapter is entitled "Life on Earth: Of Microbes and Man." Right from the beginning, you should probably know that there's a lot in this chapter that Collins gets right. It's like how William Lane Craig is totally in his element when he talks about cosmology, because he's an astrophysi ... wait, that's right, he's not. (I couldn't help but slam "The Case for a Creator" my parents got me for my first birthday post-deconversion. Nothing says … [Read more...]

Could Creationism Be Rational After All?

By Richard Hollis (aka Ritchie)I thought I'd kick off the guest posts with a little philosophical thought experiment (hark, is that the sound of you all clapping your hands in glee?). When I wrote the following, I mean it fairly light-heartedly, but with an eye to the fact that we should perhaps remember we have less reason to be sure of ourselves than we may think.Despite the insistence of many who champion it, Creationism does not qualify as a scientific theory under any reasonable … [Read more...]

Whence Comes God's Nature?

According to the vast majority of religious believers (though perhaps not to the tiny minority of elite theologians), God is basically in nature like a larger and more powerful human being. He has plans and desires which he takes actions to fulfill; he likes some people and things and dislikes others; he experiences emotions like anger, jealousy, love, and forgiveness; he can be persuaded to act on another's behalf; and so on.The most peculiar aspect of this anthropomorphic theology is its … [Read more...]

Epicurus' World

The story goes that the renowned physicist Richard Feynman was once asked to summarize the most important finding of modern science in a single sentence. Feynman replied, "The universe is made of atoms."Although there are many other scientific discoveries that are arguably of equal importance, Feynman's choice makes a lot of sense. The discovery of atoms is so familiar to us that it's easy to overlook its breathtaking significance. We know, at the smallest scale where it still makes sense to … [Read more...]


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