Archives for 2007

Antony Flew’s new book

Philosopher Antony Flew has a new book out titled There Is A God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.But what's interesting is that he didn't write it--Christian apologist Roy Abraham Varghese did.Today's New York Times has the fascinating and disturbing story about how some evangelical Christians have exploited an aging man's loss of memory and critical thinking capacity to make him the basis of a fallacious argument from authority in support of their views.UPDATE (November … [Read more...]

Scientology offering “Hubbard study tech” to low-income Christian churches

CNN reports that the Church of Scientology is partnering with Christian churches in low-income areas to offer free tutoring (and indoctrination in L. Ron Hubbard's "study technology"). This is actually not a new development--Scientology has long partnered with a number of pastors of Baptist churches to promote its "Applied Scholastics" program, such as Rev. Alfreddie Johnson and the Rev. Fred Shaw. … [Read more...]

Logic implies God?

I'd normally ignore it as too crazy even for creationists, but I've encountered this argument more than once lately. It's the notion that the existence of "the laws of logic" requires a transcendent divine authority—a version of the eye-roll-inducing "Transcendental Argument" favored by the likes of the late Reconstructionist Greg Bahnsen. For example, as creationist Dr. Jason Lisle puts it:Laws of logic are God’s standard for thinking. Since God is an unchanging, sovereign, immaterial B … [Read more...]

The “Sixth Horseman”

Here's a snippet from the end of Paul Kurtz's lead editorial/article in the last Free Inquiry:I am astonished by the fact that six books on atheism have been published by five authors (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor Stenger) to such vitriolic comment in the press. . . Incidentally, to our list of six books by the so-called five horsemen, we should add a new one, which is perhaps equally significant: An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in … [Read more...]

Flew interview

My mind is on intelligent design today, probably because I've just started teaching about it in my science-and-pseudoscience course. Anyway, the ID people are pushing Antony Flew hard, because he's out with a new book There is a God, and because it's always nice to be able to highlight a major convert to your cause. There's an interesting interview with Flew online, which reminds me why the whole affair pisses me off. Here's Flew's brief description of his reasons to believe: There were two … [Read more...]

Bad science, bad theology?

A very common charge against creationism and intelligent design is that not only is this bad science, but also bad theology.I'm not entirely comfortable with this. Yes, academic theologians are much less likely than, say, televangelists, to attack evolution. Being able to point to theologians who accept evolution is very useful in the political and cultural struggle over science education. I'd love it if larger numbers of ordinary religious people would be influenced by sophisticated theologians … [Read more...]

Review of Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming

WHY WE FIGHT A Review of Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, Norton (2007), 253 pp. Reviewed by Keith M. Parsons Soon after the U.S. entered the Second World War, the War Department commissioned prominent director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) to do a propaganda film explaining and justifying America’s participation in the conflict. He made Why We Fight, a classic of the genre. Eschewing maudlin appeals to patriotism or ove … [Read more...]

Is secularism morally irrelevant? (Or worse?)

Back in the days of the European Enlightenment, sentiments like Denis Diderot's "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" rang true. Hotheaded and dangerously violent, yes, but I can sympathize. Get rid of the bloodsucking ruling class and their ideological enablers. You can see why opposition to organized religion once could be part a desire for broad-based social liberation. Secularism could once be an important part of standing up for the … [Read more...]