Bound by scripture

Last week I gave one of my talks where about half the audience was Muslim. (This is what happens when the organizers use a bland title such as "Islam and Science.")These are always interesting. I don't go out of my way to criticize Islam, but I forcefully point out the severe weakness of Muslim lands in basic science, and highlight the pseudoscientific nonsense a lot of Muslim talk about science and religion gets bogged down in. The result is invariably that the Muslim part of the audience … [Read more...]

Texas SBOE wants IDeology Taught in Texas Schools

I commented in a previous posting about the Texas State Board of Education and how its Chair, a fundamentalist dentist, and other board members are willing water carriers for the Discovery Institute. They are pursuing the latest D.I. ploy of having the "weaknesses" of evolution taught in science classes. This ploy, which is really rather pathetic and smacks of desperation, makes me wonder what the next creationist tactic will be after this one also fails. Will they demand that biology … [Read more...]

Talk in Madison, WI

I'll be giving a public talk on "Islam and Science" in the Madison Public Library this Thursday evening at 7:00. (More information.)It'll be based on An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam.I jut thought I'd mention it, in case anyone who reads this lives in the vicinity. … [Read more...]

His mother was an atheist (horrors)

We're pretty used to an atheist having a snowball's chance in hell of success in American politics. Here is something I hadn't come across before: a "values voter" firmly decided she's going to vote against Barack Obama because his mother was an atheist and father was a Muslim.Does this mean there is someone out there spreading "his mother was an atheist" as a smear against Obama? Sigh... … [Read more...]

Added Links to 2 New Blogs

I've added links on the bottom-right frame of the Secular Outpost to two new blogs."The Frame Problem" According to its founder/editor, this blog is "the first blog carnival on the Net dedicated to Scientology, entitled the CarnivUL of The fraudless (or CarnivULT) - inspired by UTI's the Carnival of the Godless.""The Atheist Spot": The editor/founder of this blog writes: "Our goal is to help the quality sites and blogs out there be heard, specifically those focused on the atheist (and … [Read more...]

Does education have any effect on religious belief?

I've been reading Phil Zuckerman's Society without God. It's a very interesting book, and I'll write a short review at some point. But one paragraph of statistics he cited caught my attention:Sociological studies have consistently shown that the more educated a person is, the less likely he or she is to accept supernatural religious beliefs. For example, a recent Harris poll found that of Americans with no college education, 86 percent believed in the resurrection of Jesus, 77 percent believed … [Read more...]

Take the Unbelief Test!

I was looking at an ad on the Amazon site for Daniel Keeran's book If there is no God, and I saw this blurb for the book:"Atheism is more than a belief in no god or gods. Take the unbelief test. Do you believe: 1. humans have souls? 2. there is an afterlife? 3. humans have greater intrinsic value than other life forms? 4. objective free moral choice exists in humans apart from genetic or instinctual factors? 5. sexuality has moral limitations beyond mutual consent? 6. a child in the womb has as … [Read more...]

An Argument for Atheism – Part 4

In Chapter 2 of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins gives an argument for atheism. The argument is a chain of reasoning consisting of five inferences. The first inference is a non sequitur, but I have attempted to rescue the argument by making explicit an unstated assumption, and by clarifying the first two premises.In my last post on this argument (9/08/08), I began to examine the revised first inference:1a. Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into … [Read more...]


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