Archives for June 2008

US Religious Landscape Survey

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has just come out with Part 2 of their massive US Religious Landscape Survey. Their description of the results:The survey finds that most Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to their faith; for example, most do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. The survey also finds that religion is closely linked to political ideology.The nonaffiliated are around 16%, but only about 4% are actually nonbelievers. Almost every American believes … [Read more...]

Christian Student Deflates Atheist Professor (Round II)

I'm sure all of you recall fondly the Chick "Big Daddy" Tract where the Christian student chastens his unbelieving professor with preposterous anti-evolution arguments. Here is something else in that same genre, forwarded to me by a former student (hmmmmm). BTW, they did not even get absolute zero right. It is -459.67 degrees F, not -458 degrees F. Enjoy.A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, 'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The … [Read more...]

Lunatic “science” textbooks

Every now and then I'm reminded that there's this strange parallel world of religiously driven "science" education. One example that recently came my way is the The Quest for Right series of texts, advertising itself as "the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences."Apparently, "physical science" opposes evolution. But what the texts mean by physical science is very different from, well, physics. They appear to oppose quantum … [Read more...]

Skeptical Approaches to Miracles – Part 2

I can think of at least four different skeptical approaches to miracle claims. The Big Guns - AtheismAtheism eliminates biblical miracles, but it is difficult to persuade religious believers that there is no God. Also, God is just one of many supernatural persons who can allegedly override the laws of nature, so disproving the existence of God leaves open the door to "miracles" performed by angels, demons, spirits, witches, shaman, etc.The Nuclear Option - NaturalismThis approach not only … [Read more...]

Tu Quoque Apologetics

I don't think that philosophical defenders of theism could ply their trade without employing tu quoque arguments. The use of this device in defense of theistic doctrine goes back at least to Bishop Berkeley. When atheist astronomer Edmund Halley (famous for his comet) charged that the doctrines of Christianity are incomprehensible, Berkeley composed The Analyst which offered the tu quoque argument that the concept of the infinitesimal in Newton's calculus is as obscure and contradictory as any … [Read more...]

ReachMD radio appearance

ReachMD, an XM radio channel appealing to medical professionals, is running an interview with me this week. It's a 13 minute "Book Club" segment, talking about Science and Nonbelief. You can listen to it online. … [Read more...]

Rumors about Bush converting to Catholicism

Apparently, there are rumors that George W. Bush might be thinking of converting to Catholicism.Interesting. If true, I wonder if the attraction is to a kind of theocon authoritarianism that often shows itself in the Catholic hierarchy. If you want a tradition with a long history, intellectual depth (not incompatible with being basically bullshit), heavy-handed social conservatism, and strength of organization and numbers, conservative Catholicism might be the way to go, after all. … [Read more...]

Fremouw article

Take a look at Ed Fremouw's short article, "Science and Religion: A Personal Synthesis," in The Compass, the online newsletter of The Jefferson Center. When I search for a label to identify my spiritual perspective, my literal self suggests “scientific rationalist” or at least, without equivocation, “natural materialist.” With at least equal comfort, however, I choose the more frequently heard “religious humanist.” … [Read more...]