Archives for September 2009

Philosophy (eye-roll)

I don't expect analytic philosophy of religion to be able to settle much about a God, any more than I'd expect an analytic philosophy of botany to be able to tell me how to obtain a banana.Whenever you think you might have a nice armchair argument for atheism, the cure is simple. Summon a few theistic philosophers and they'll pick it apart. And vice versa.You'd think that since it's long been clear that all philosophy of religion is capable of doing is to cancel itself out, we'd have moved on to … [Read more...]

Trilemma Update

On my blog, I have recently returned to working on an analysis and evaluation of the Trilemma argument for the deity of Jesus: #8 and on: Does the evidence from the synoptic Gospels for the premise that "Jesus claimed to be God" hold up under closer examination?Posts #4 - #7: Most leading Jesus scholars reject the assumption that the Gospel of John is a reliable source of the words and teachings of Jesus, so we can safely ignore about … [Read more...]

Quantum drivel for ID

As a rule of thumb, never trust anything coming from a non-physicist with the word "quantum" in it. Hell, be wary even when it comes from a physicist. For example, don't too easily trust philosophical musing about quantum physics emanating from the first generation of physicists who were inventing quantum mechanics. They were just trying to figure out what the blazes was going on, and inescapably they went down many blind alleys in the process. That's how it goes.Here's an example of quantum … [Read more...]

Non-drinkers of bottled water

I'm going to give a talk next month on atheists and stereotypes next month. It occurs to me that "atheist" is not a natural kind, and I'm wondering if the following analogy might help to bring this across.People who don't believe in a God are like people who don't drink bottled water. Statistically speaking, the group might have some noticeable characteristics, but you're still lumping distinct subgroups together. People who refuse bottled water might be, statistically speaking, more likely to … [Read more...]

Does God Hate Women?

I've just read Does God Hate Women? by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom. They very effectively point out how conservative religious doctrines on gender roles subordinate women.I got the book not just because of Benson and Stangroom's excellent reputation as no-nonsense skeptics, but because I wanted a single go-to source I can use or cite as representative of secular liberal opposition to conservative religious insistence on confining women to the domestic and reproductive realm. Does God … [Read more...]

The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason

Vic Stenger's new book, The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason is now out. It's an affirmation of the "New Atheism" by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennett, and Stenger, including responses to some of the critics. I'm not going to say a lot about the book, other than recommending it as a very good statement and defense of the new atheism specifically. I remain ambivalent about the new atheism—I favor a more disillusioned form of nonbelief—but Stenger makes a case that will have con … [Read more...]


Most nonbelievers think there is something absurd about the denial of death. Sam Harris expresses this view well:We live in a world where all things, good and bad, are finally destroyed by change. Parents lose their children and children their parents. Husbands and wives are separated in an instant, never to meet again. Friends part company in haste, without knowing that it will be for the last time. This life, when surveyed with a broad glance, presents little more than a vast spectacle of … [Read more...]

We don’t care

In both the United States and Turkey, the two countries I can observe most closely, the strength of conservative religious movements has a lot to do with how the religious are better at organizing care-giving and social solidarity compared to more secular people.In the US, much care-giving is linked to churches. From pastoral visits to the sick to church members pitching together to help a recently unemployed member, especially if you're relatively poor or in reduced circumstances, churches are … [Read more...]