Archives for January 2009

Supernatural? Ick.

I'm not entirely certain why I object to supernatural beliefs.Sure, supernatural claims are, I think, invariably mistaken. But that alone is no reason to object. A false belief may still be socially useful, culturally meaningful, or commendable in a zillion different ways. Now, particular religions, including all the really popular ones, very often do obstruct what I happen to care about. Abrahamic monotheism is, I think, an especially potent source of political nastiness. But supernatural … [Read more...]

The Trilemma – How Old?

The trilemma argument goes something like this:Jesus claimed to be God. Therefore, either Jesus was in fact God, or else he was a liar or a lunatic. But clearly Jesus was neither a liar, nor a lunatic, so he must in fact be God.C. S. Lewis presented the trilemma argument in a 1943 BBC radio program, and in 1952 he published the argument in his widely read book Mere Christianity. The Christian apologist Josh McDowell promoted this argument further in 1972, in his bestseller Evidence that … [Read more...]

Theism and the Genetic Fallacy

Skeptics have long argued that the human propensity to believe in gods is due to a pervasive and potent feature of human psychology--the tendency to project human form and activity. The Greek philosopher Xenophanes, maybe the first critic of religion, noted over 2500 years ago that people’s gods looked and acted like them. Ethiopians worshipped gods with snub noses and curly hair. Red haired and blue eyed people had gods with red hair and blue eyes. Warlike people have warrior gods. If oxen and h … [Read more...]

Atheism and the Meaning of Life

I would like to add a bit more to my earlier discussion of the charge often made by theistic apologists that life must be meaningless for atheists:An argument frequently deployed in popular attacks on atheism is the claim that atheism makes life meaningless. Without God, without a transcendent source of meaning and purpose, human life amounts to little more than the life of a flea, so the argument goes. If there is no God, then T.S. Eliot’s despairing little ditty must have it r … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

This one is devoted to Catholic-bashing and conspiracy thinking. On the other hand, lately I've been reading a fair bit of conservative Catholic philosophy. There's an argument that conservative Catholics and Chick deserve each other. … [Read more...]

Gender in creationism

I was just refereeing a paper that among other things, found a slight gender imbalance among Turkish (Muslim) college students surveyed about their acceptance of evolution. About a quarter overall accepted evolution, with female students being a few more percentage points in favor than the males. The paper also had a reference to an American study from the 1980's that found a similar result for US students.If there is a slight gender gap here (two studies is hardly enough), well, good for the … [Read more...]

Vic Reppert on Misconceptions about Atheism

Vic Reppert sent me a link to his Dangerous Idea Blog where he discusses Sam Harris’s effort to debunk misconceptions about atheism:’s comments are generally even-handed. He often takes heat from some of his nuttier correspondents for not being mean enough to us atheists, and I admire his commitment to fairness. I do have a few bones to pick, though. Below are listed some of the assertions that Harris argues are … [Read more...]

Fred Phelps Humor

Fred Phelps, Jr. is affiliated with Westboro Baptist Church, the church that stages anti-homosexual protests at the funerals of U.S. military killed in action. (In case you're wondering what these funerals have to do with Phelps' complaints, welcome to the club.)Anyway, someone had some fun at his expense. Capitalizing on Fred's homophobia, a man puts the moves on Fred. I found it mildly entertaining. Maybe you will too. … [Read more...]