Operation Clambake

I'd like to give a quick shout out to Andreas Heldal-Lund who continues to maintain Operation Clambake, a clearinghouse of valuable information on the Church of Scientology. Many of us infidels have corresponded with Andreas over the years and I remember a particularly tough time he went through five years ago keeping the secret library of Scientology online despite enormous pressures from the Church's legal team to remove all traces of these documents from the internet. So if you have burning … [Read more...]

Beleaguered Minority?

Brad Harrub of Apologetics Press gave a talk at my university last week, to kick off a series of creationist presentations that went on in local churches.I like talking to creationists -- their views at least have the virtue of being wrong, when so much else said in defense of religon is not even wrong. So I hung around with a bunch of students afterwards who peppered him with questions. The students did a pretty good job, and Harrub adopted a defensive position, saying he was only asking that … [Read more...]

Dennett review in NYT

The New York Times has just published a rather stupid review of Daniel C. Dennett's new book, Breaking the Spell. The intelligent design creationists like it, and just about anyone who buys into the traditional self-conception of philosophy as the fundamental intellectual discipline should find much in it to like as well. Wieseltier, the reviewer (who doesn't display much evidence of knowing much about any of the relevant sciences addressed in Dennett's book), starts out with "The question of … [Read more...]

Pomo – ID link

If anyone is still interested in the points of connection between creationism and postmodernism, or just wants something that has less to do with modal navel-gazing, take a look at Norman Levitt writing on Steve Fuller and ID. … [Read more...]

Lessons from Primates

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been busy migrating the software that supports the secweb.org kiosk. That’s online now so I can breathe a little easier. Yesterday I read a fantastic article in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs by primatologist Robert Sapolsky on primate behavior (also online here). The typical story of evolution, primates, and human history goes something like this: out of the group emerges a few alpha males who claw and tear their way to the top. Once … [Read more...]

Sophisticated Critique of Many Worlds Explanation of Fine-Tuning

The following essay was recommended to me by Paul Draper. The paper is not a defense of the fine-tuning argument, but he regards it as one of the best critiques of the many worlds explanation of fine-tuning:Roger White, "Fine-tuning and Multiple Universes," forthcoming in Noushttp://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/white/papers/ftmu.pdf (PDF)Here is some info about the author:ROGER WHITE, (Ph.D., MIT), Assistant Professor of Philosophy, specializes in philosophy of science, epistemology, and … [Read more...]

Carrier and Wanchick debate: Argument from Mind-Brain Dysteleology

In the Carrier-Wanchick debate, Carrier gives an argument for naturalism from the fact that minds are embodied in brains. As part of the setup, he writes:If BT [Biblical theism] is true, then (a) a brainless mind is possible, (b) God could have imbued humans with one, (c) no mind exists that was not deliberately created or allowed by God, and (d) in choosing what to do or allow, God would have obeyed the same moral code that a majority of Christians obey.Following this, he argues that, if … [Read more...]

Frivolous Lawsuit on the Historicity of Jesus

Here's one that belongs in the category, "I don't know whether to laugh or to cry."When people see the words "Catholic priest" and "stand trial" used together, they will probably assume that the priest is either being prosecuted or sued for some sort of alleged sexual abuse. A recent court proceeding in Italy, however, provides an amusing, if not irritating, exception to that trend. CNN recently reported that Luigi Cascioli, an Italian atheist, had petitioned the local court to force a Catholic … [Read more...]

Reppert on Drange vs. Wilson

Victor Reppert here provides an assessment of the Drange-Wilson debate on the existence of the Christian God. … [Read more...]

Are Atheists “Afraid” of God?

Imagine a man, Tom, who likes sweets but not ice cream. He has no personal disagreements with anyone who does eat ice cream; he just chooses not to eat ice cream himself. In fact, Tom is friends with several people who will eat ice cream, but no other dessert. Suddenly, out of nowhere, comes an editorial from a prominent TV personality and ice cream lover making all sorts of accusations about people like Tom who don't eat ice cream. According to the editorial, people like Tom dislike the taste … [Read more...]