Archives for October 2009

Supernatural Agents

Ilkka Pyysiäinen's new book, Supernatural Agents: Why We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas is a very nice addition to the recent literature on cognitive science-based explanations of religious and supernatural beliefs.Pyysiäinen provides a useful update on what is happening in this fast-changing field, though this is an academic book and some previous acquaintance with the field is probably necessary to get the most out of the book. Still, Pyysiäinen is especially notable in how he has (in pr … [Read more...]

Further Comments on Naturalism and Consciousness

First, I would like to apologize for not getting back to my interlocutors more promptly. I have to do blog postings at times when there are no other pressing duties, and there have been no such times for the past month. My previous post on August 31, “More on Metaphysical Naturalism and Consciousness” prompted much high-quality response, and I find that gratifying. I would like to respond to some of these responses. Unfortunately, it may be another month before I can continue the conversation aga … [Read more...]

Angry atheists etc.

Last night I gave a talk on "Angry Atheists and Soulless Scientists: Stereotypes of nonbelief in the era of the 'New Atheism'". The link is to the slides of the talk (.pptx). It was interesting, especially the discussion that followed.Thanks to all the readers here who helped me when I asked about common stereotypes about nonbelief a few months ago. … [Read more...]

Adoration of science

Vic Stenger has a very nice slogan: "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."It's nice and catchy. Memorable. It inspires my envy, because I'll never come up with anything that good. It's too bad I find myself in such disagreement with what it actually says.I guess a common objection might be to ask whether it's fair to blame religion in such a blanket sense. But that's not my gripe. In context, Stenger is saying that it takes something like a set of beliefs in … [Read more...]

Can there be an effective reply to the Kalam Cosmological Argument persuasive for the ‘common man or woman,’ and for commonsensible philosophers?

Joshua Rasmussen’s post “More Reflections on Bill Craig and Wes Morriston on the Kalam Cosmological Argument” (April 29, 2009), accessible at, has initiated many interesting and thoughtful comments about the merits of the KCA. Rasmussen had occasion to remark in his initial post: “My sense is that the Kalam argument is more likely to appeal to the common man or woman than to your average philosopher. From the common man’s perspective, beginnings ob … [Read more...]