Religious texts are meaningless. That is why they are deeply meaningful.Religious truths are ever-changing, endlessly adaptable. That is why they are timeless and immutable.Religions promise Everything. That is why they do not have to deliver.Religious insights are inexpressible. That is why believers never stop talking.The gods are absurd. That is why they are immortal. … [Read more...]

All you need is love?

I had an odd experience last week, when I was part of a panel discussion on Islam and Evolution at Hampshire College.As part of my presentation, I argued that Darwinian evolution counts against the notion of a supernatural designer, even though it does not strictly imply that there is no theistic God. And I made it pretty clear that I was representing a naturalistic, nonreligious point of view.I didn't know exactly what to do with one of the questions afterwards. A man from the audience asked me … [Read more...]

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 … [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 … [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, … [Read more...]

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...]