Progress? What progress?

I threw a party last night to welcome a new colleague to our physics department, and later in the night, I found myself talking about science and religion with him. (Not entirely uncommon when you get some food and wine into a bunch of science-types.)If I understood correctly (keep in mind the wine), he was arguing that questions about origins (the universe, life etc.) were especially profound, and that how we answer such questions were bound to have significant societal consequences. As science … [Read more...]

So, what’s the point?

I expect that everyone who gets involved in science and religion debates from a skeptical point of view occasionally asks themselves what the point of all this effort is. After all, religion is one of those areas in life where it's notoriously difficult to either say something really new or to change anyone's mind. To get through to many believers, the hurdle is not so much to present an argument as to persuade them that reasons and evidence are relevant in the first place. And that persuasion … [Read more...]

An Illusion of Harmony review

The Brunei Times has a review of my critique of Muslim attitudes toward science, An Illusion of Harmony.The review is interesting. Not because it has any substance; it consists largely of invective. But it's an interesting example of what those of us who want to be critical of Islam face. Even when you avoid going on an Islam-bashing expedition, it's very hard to get devout Muslims to pay attention to what you're actually saying. … [Read more...]

Ted Rall on pandering to the religious

Ted Rall, the cartoonist and opinion writer, has an interesting piece out called "Onward Christian Panderers."It's mostly complaints about politicans sucking up to the Christian Right—nothing unfamiliar, though well-expressed. It's worth mentioning, however, that while Rall might not be a great fan of organized religon, he is a theist. We should notice how many, from liberal religionists to the "spiritual but not religious," are just as pissed off at religious politics as the average … [Read more...]

Hitchens, apparently, is bleeding insane

PZ Myers reports on his experiences at the Freedom From Religion Convention, including a lengthy description of Christopher Hitchens's talk, where Hitchens apparently goes of the deep end and gives full rein to his revenge fantasies against Muslims.Great. With Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, we get two prominent and articulate spokespeople for godlessness who responded to 9/11 with bigotry against Muslims. Hell, that's half the public face of atheism in English-speaking circles, these days. … [Read more...]

Mitchell Cohen on “The New Atheism”

There's an interesting interview with political scientist Mitchell Cohen in the leftist magazine Dissent.One of Cohen's virtues is that he refrains from discussing the "New Atheists" in terms of the media stereotype of the angry atheist. He also displays a critical attitude toward political Islam that is refreshing in leftish circles. Heh, he even slams the cheap anti-Darwinism that some leftists indulge in.Being leftwardly inclined myself, I figure I should applaud such outbreaks of sanity. … [Read more...]

Video for Ontario talks on science and Islam

The Centre for Inquiry Ontario has made a video of the talk I gave on "Science and Religion in Islam" on October 3 at Ryerson University in Toronto, plus the Q & A, and Q & A's after I gave a similar talk in other institutions. It's pretty dark and the slides are not very visible, so until the Q & A starts, it's not great visually. If you want to follow the PowerPoint slides along with the talk, you can get them from my web site as well. … [Read more...]

Freedom to criticize

Sam Harris and Salman Rushdie have an important op-ed in the LA Times, "Ayaan Hirsi Ali: abandoned to fanatics."In fact, I'd add this: Ayaan Hirsi Ali gets a lot of accusations that her critique of Islam is not sophisticated enough, that she oversimplifies things, or that her tactics do not really help the Muslim women she speaks for. She gets flak for being inflammatory and unnecessarily insulting to a world religion. In some contexts such criticisms might need to be debated; I expect some of … [Read more...]


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