Archives for 2008

How secular can we get?

Take a reasonably secular bunch of people. They don't participate in the local religious rituals, have a worldly morality that pays no attention to what the religious leaders say, and are inclined to think of sacred stories as a boring genre of fiction. They don't identify with any particular religion, think religiously colored politics is a really bad idea, and don't spend much time worrying about "the meaning of life" and existential matters.Yet I would guess a clear majority among such very … [Read more...]

Advertising freethought

There appear to be a number of advertising campaigns going on to promote freethought, for example, AHA's "Why believe in a god" and Freethought Action. I suppose these are necessary in the present age and circumstances. But in a more cynical mood (more even than my normal baseline level of high cynicism), I can't help thinking of the way so many American churches are essentially commercial enterprises that heavily depend on advertising. … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

Palestinians are in serious trouble. For decades, they mostly had to worry about the madness due to two monotheisms. Jews thought the land was holy, and Palestinians' own predominant monotheism, Islam, also insisted it was sacred. Nowadays conservative Christian fanatics in the US are also in on the act. According to Jack Chick, God punishes the United States with catastrophic weather whenever we are insufficiently enthusiastic about oppressing Palestinians.Sigh... … [Read more...]

Faith and Reason – Part 4

There are some questions about faith and reason that it would be helpful to understand and answer:Q1. Which is better, reason or faith?Q2. Is faith a real alternative to reason?Q3. Do reason and faith sometimes conflict with each other?Q4. Do reason and faith have separate and distinct intellectual jurisdictions, so that they can never come into conflict with each other?But before we can intelligently answer these questions, we need to get a handle on the basic concepts:Q5. What is reason?Q6. … [Read more...]

Young People Turning Against Christianity in Greater Numbers

LINK (HT to Jim Lippard) … [Read more...]

Combining evolution and ID

I finished grading another batch of student papers where I get to see what a bunch of smart juniors think of evolution and intelligent design.As usual, their tendency is to split the difference. Many of them are classic god-of-the-gaps reasoners, eager to insert supernatural powers wherever it looks that there's something significant that we do not have a complete scientific story about. They also don't like to go against anything with "science" stamped upon it. So they combine evolution and … [Read more...]

Skeptical Approaches to Miracles – Part 5

In Miracles and the Modern Mind, Norman Geisler summarizes Spinoza’s argument about miracles:1. Miracles are violations of natural laws.2. Natural laws are immutable.3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws.4. Therefore, miracles are impossible.(MMM, p.15)Contrary to Geisler's interpretation, Spinoza does not argue against the possibility of miracles. Rather, he assumes that miracles do occur, and then argues against defining “miracles” in terms of violations of natural law. In other words, … [Read more...]

Another anti-atheist campaign ad by Elizabeth Dole

I previously wrote about the North Carolina senate race, and Republicans attacking the Democratic candidate for associating with (shudder) the godless. Apparently they've gone one step further and released a TV ad falsely implying that Kay Hagan, the Democrat, is an atheist herself. Hagan, naturally, is enraged at the attack on her Christian faith, and has denounced the smear campaign associating her with nonbelief.After November 4, when Americans elect a new pastor-in-chief, along with new sets … [Read more...]