On who I voted for, the liberal democratic tradition, and words for bad things

(Alternative title: “Philosophical-political blog post that attempts to combine three blog posts into one.” It’s funny if you get the reference to Spinoza’s Treatise.) [Read more...]

Yes, smart and well-informed people often use words in confused ways

One comment on my recent post on deontology was to express incredulity that a term so many philosophers apply to themselves could lack a coherent definition. I, on the other hand, think that’s the most plausible thing in the world, and I’ve stumbled across a good example of it while doing my research for the [Read More...]

No, atheists do not interpret the Bible like fundamentalists

Libby Anne has a post replying to an earlier post of mine on fundamentalists vs. liberal Christians. She apparently didn’t read my follow-up reply to James McGrath, which explains my position a little more, but there’s another issue here that I’ve been meaning to address for awhile: no, atheists do not interpret the Bible like fundamentalists. [Read more...]

Follow me on Twitter! (currently: tweeting Ezekiel)

This is just a quick reminder that I tweet. I’ve been meaning to write a post about how I’ve fallen in love with Twitter, but the short version is that if you’re not on Twitter, you should be. Among other things, I’m currently tweeting my way through Ezekiel, which is easily the most misogynistic book in [Read More...]

Pulling some devastating punches: a review of The Bible Unearthed

In his book Did Jesus Exist?, Bart Ehrman defends the claim that there was a historical Jesus… but that, contrary to what most Christians have believed throughout history, the historical Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet. Ehrman offers a rebuke to anyone who tries to remove Jesus’ moral teachings from their apocalyptic context, or invoke him in [Read More...]

Some quick thoughts on “humanist communities”

Since James Croft asked (on Facebook), I’m going to quickly dash off some thought in response to his post “The Argument for Humanist Communities.” [Read more...]

“Deontology” and why our jargon for ethical theories is a mess

I keep meaning to reply to Yvain’s reply to my recent post on abortion, but there’s one preliminary I need to get out of the way first: Yvain asks if I’m  “a deontologist (ie you believe things are wrong not because of their consequences, but because they fit into predetermined Categories of Wrong Things).” [Read more...]

A year of blasphemy

Ken at Popehat has responded to calls to let “other values” trump free speech in the case of blasphemy laws by simply rounding up a years worth of blasphemy-related news stories. I could quote his conclusion, but instead, I’ll just quote the first month’s worth of stories: [Read more...]

Why abortion really seriously isn’t murder, and you shouldn’t get too excited about identifying logical fallacies

Yvain–a writer who I mostly really like (see his blog)–has a post on LessWrong about what he’s decided to call “the noncentral fallacy,” which nominates as a candidate for “the worst argument in the world. I think the post is about 15% brilliant and 85% disastrously wrong. [Read more...]


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