Looking for a Miracle

According to a news report from India, "At least 50 people in Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after gazing at the sun looking for an image of Virgin Mary."My first reaction to news like this is that it confirms my prejudice that the human race is, generally speaking, insane. Still, I wonder how religious examples of self-harming behavior are different from more secular examples. No small number of people have lost their shirt investing in a stock market bubble, which with … [Read more...]

SUPERLATIVELY SILLY SUPER-SENSITIVE SECULARISTS

One of the oddest things about the “new atheist” phenomenon, typified by the best-selling anti-theistic works of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, is that some of the most vituperative criticisms of these works have come, not from fundamentalist Bible-beaters, but from liberal, secular, intellectuals. For instance, last October, the Los Angeles Times published a sublimely silly op-ed by author and critic Lee Siegel, who decried the new atheist authors and acc … [Read more...]

Former religious right leaders recant

Rob Boston has a post at AlterNet, "Theocracy Rejected," reporting on how and why Frank Schaeffer, John Whitehead, and Cal Thomas have publicly repudiated their involvement with the religious right. All three now challenge the idea that Christians should seek political power in order to impose their ideas on American culture.A few quotes from each give the flavor:Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer, from his book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious … [Read more...]

The new seven deadly sins

The Catholic Church has announced a new updated list of seven deadly sins for the twenty-first century, which are:1. accumulating obscene wealth2. polluting the environment3. genetic engineering4. drug dealing5. abortion6. pedophilia7. causing social injusticeThis has been a topic of discussion on the SKEPTIC mailing list, with many observing that the Catholic Church itself is guilty of several of these new sins. One wag (Barry Williams) observed that transsubstantiation seems a lot like … [Read more...]

Most important, or least important?

In the March 6 issue of Science, there's an interesting story on paleontologist Stephen Godfrey, who grew up in a fundamentalist environment and lost that form of faith through his education.One part I want to highlight comes toward the end:Trying to articulate where his religious beliefs stand now, Godfrey's eyes fill with tears. "It's been so long, a lifelong struggle, to sort out," he says. He has flirted with atheism but found it too depressing. Several years ago, he stopped attending church … [Read more...]

Science in the [insert-name-of-scripture]

It may be an intellectual embarrassment, but the belief that the Quran anticipates modern science and technology is very widespread among Muslims. Zillions of websites tell their readers how the Quran miraculously reveals everything from the expansion of the universe to the details of embryology. I have a good deal on this sort of apologetics in An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam.There's a lot less of this sort of thing among Christians, but occasionally I run into it. Among … [Read more...]

Reasonable Doubts interview part 2

Part 2 of my interview on the Reasonable Doubts podcast is now available online.This part (the last) of the interview also concerns Islam. It focuses not on Islam and science, but issues about proper secularist criticism of Islam. The hosts also have an interesting discussion on Islam and similar issues among themselves.Support Reasonable Doubts; it really is a nice program. … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X