More Witches Have Been Executed Since World War II Than in Centuries Past

Most people probably think of witch burnings as a terrible fever (or fervor) that died out sometime soon after the glory days of Salem’s infamous witch hunter Cotton Mather.

But an Agence France-Presse story today, commemorating the almost one hundred 17th-century executions of accused witches at Norway’s arctic “Gates of Hell,” points out that witch killings never ceased. In fact:

Some 50,000 people are believed to have paid with their lives in Europe during the medieval witch trials. But by comparison, the number of people killed for the same reason worldwide since World War II is estimated at between 70,000 and 80,000.

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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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Adelaide Atheists Succeed in Bringing Museum’s Evolution Exhibit Back

In the 19th century, Adelaide was nicknamed “the City of Churches,” not so much for its many houses of worship, but for its variety of beliefs and denominations. Adelaide was established by Protestants who wanted to be free from the clutches of the Church of England, and they understood that others might like the same freedom of conscience.

It’s fertile ground for atheists, who find both a climate of relative tolerance and a population still largely in the throes of superstition.

Enter Atheists SA (South Australia), an organization of rationalists founded by Brian Morris. He’s already made enough waves that Britain’s the Guardian newspaper gave the group some lovin’ a couple of weeks ago.

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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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