Does It Matter That the Atheist Bench in Florida Looks Kinda Ugly?

This is the atheist bench that was recently installed in front of Florida’s Bradford County Courthouse, in response to a Ten Commandments monument on the city-owned property:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: It’s not all that pleasing to the eye. It’s asymmetrical. It looks like someone just slapped a bunch of random quotations on any available space. Your head has to be damn near the ground to read some of the words on it.

As far as design goes, it could be a lot, lot better.

In fact, Gordon Haber at Religion Dispatches calls it “proof of unintelligent design”:

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Ohio School Board That Tried to Push Revisionist Christian History Cancels Course

Well, that was quick.

The Springboro School District in Ohio had tried to institute a 12-week summer course on the Constitution that would feature video lessons from Christian pseudo-historian David Barton:

But after complaints from parents in the district, groups like FFRF, and everyone who knows something about history, the school board members have changed their minds:

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Evangelism Through Debate: A Profile of Christian Apologist William Lane Craig

You know, if I were going to write a profile of a Christian apologist, I probably wouldn’t bring it up in front of Richard Dawkins… but that’s what Nathan Schneider did:

When, during a conversation in a swank hotel lobby in Manhattan, I mentioned to Richard Dawkins that I was working on a story about William Lane Craig, the muscles in his face clenched.

“Why are you publicizing him?” Dawkins demanded, twice. The best-selling “New Atheist” professor went on to assure me that I shouldn’t bother, that he’d met Craig in Mexico — they opposed each other in a prime-time, three-on-three debate staged in a boxing ring—and found him “very unimpressive.”

“I mean, whose side are you on?” Dawkins said. “Are you religious?”

That’s quintessential Dawkins for you right there :)

It’s actually a very interesting article about Craig, if for no other reason than it explains his usual debate game plan, which amounts to little more than a Gish Gallop:

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Say It All Together Now: The ‘Proof of Heaven’ Author Made Everything Up

Did you ever hear the story of how the band Van Halen had a line in their contract rider stipulating that a bowl of M&Ms had to be backstage before a show… but there couldn’t be any brown M&Ms in it?

The request wasn’t there just for the hell of it; it served a practical purpose. If there were brown M&Ms in the bowl, that meant the local crew hadn’t read through the contract. If they hadn’t read through the contract, they might have also missed out on checking some very important technical details, which could have ultimately led to minor or major problems during the performance.

The principle was that if you got the little things wrong, you probably screwed up the big things, too.

That’s what was going through my mind when I read Luke Dittrich‘s fantastic takedown of Dr. Eben Alexander in Esquire (the story is behind a $1.99 paywall). Alexander is the man who claimed to have visited Heaven while nearly dead, only to come back, write a book about it (Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife), and rake in the cash.

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Do Atheists Drink More Than Religious People?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Do atheists drink more?

It’s part of a larger series of questions dealing with atheism and morality. Do we swear more than religious people? Do we have more sex than they do? Are those inherently bad things?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]


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