Archives for September 2008

22nd century apologetics

I've been reading articles that express concern about the rather loony fundamentalism of Sarah Palin, the Republican VP candidate. (For example, Matt Taibi, Sam Harris.) American conservatism is seriously dangerous for the planet, both environmentally, and because some conservatives are crazy enough to start a nuclear war to fulfill their apocalyptic fantasies. (Mind you, the thought of someone like Sam Harris with access to nuclear weapons is also scary.)Anyway, if (not a small if) civilization … [Read more...]

Repeating history

I'm trying to think of anything recent that is truly new in the landscape of arguments over religion. Depending on how coarse-grained you're willing to allow comparisons to get, there isn't a whole lot that is new under the sun.Philosophy about religion tends to repeat itself this way. It's hard to come up with a new version of the design argument that either Hume or Darwin doesn't have something significant to say about. Dawkins's "a designer that explains complexity would have to be even more … [Read more...]

Christian politics

I wonder if there's an indirect reason (on top of the direct reasons) to be concerned about Christian politics in the United States. That is, maybe they're being too easily preyed upon by business interests, and therefore making life more difficult for all of us who want to avoid predation.As social animals, we tend to be on our guard against free riders and cheaters. We'll often go out of our way, even against some of of our more immediate interests, to punish such people. Psychologists also … [Read more...]

Turkish ban on Richard Dawkins’s web site

Groan. The Turkish creationists are at it again. Now, according to The Guardian,A Turkish court has banned internet users from viewing the official Richard Dawkins website after a Muslim creationist claimed its contents were defamatory and blasphemous.At least the attempt to ban Dawkins's The God Delusion seems to have fizzled out. Sigh. … [Read more...]


There must be some agreement among right-wing "documentary" producers that associating their objects of hate with Hitler is the best way to rally their troops.First, I saw Expelled, which was full of heavy-handed associations between Nazis and "Darwinists." And now, I watched the movie Obsession. A DVD was included as an advertising insert in The Chronicle of Higher Education, of all places. Short summary: radical Muslims are the Nazis of today, and those of us dubious about getting on board the … [Read more...]

Faith and Reason – Part 3

On the one hand there are the pro-reason folks: atheists, skeptics, naturalists, humanists, and Marxists. On the other hand there are the pro-faith folks: theists, mystics, supernaturalists, religious believers, New Agers, and Existentialists. The pro-reason people are anti faith and the pro-faith people are anti reason. The big question is:Q1. Which is better, reason or faith?This is, of course, an oversimplification. Some of the pro-reason crowd thinks that faith has its place in life, and … [Read more...]

Secularists as another multicultural tribe?

I'm not a political junkie, but I'm beginning to see a familiar sense of panic in some Democratic circles, which might mean a Republican win is likely this November. Christian nationalism may work, once again. So, as far as political secularism is concerned, we'll get a fast deterioration rather than slow. We should expect, for example, more right wing Supreme Court judges who will usher in a legal regime where government favors religion over irreligion. (It will be generic theism rather than … [Read more...]

Britain vs US on creationism

There is a minor controversy going on in the UK now, concerning Michael Reiss, the education director of the Royal Society. One of the world's most prestigious scientific societies put an Anglican clergyman in charge of its education concerns, and the result was Reiss coming out in sympathy with bringing up creationism and intelligent design in the classroom. Many critics, including some within the Royal Society, want Reiss fired.The interesting bit is that Reiss has no problem with evolution, … [Read more...]