Americans not more religious than Europeans?

There is some recent research that adds to the long-known fact that Americans inflate their religious participations in surveys. It appears that in terms of frequency of attending services, Americans are not such an outlier compared to other post-industrial nations after all. Shankar Vedantam suggests that this indicates that Americans are actually not significantly more religious than Europeans.That, however, strikes me as relying too much on one type of research instrument as much as relying … [Read more...]

What God Cannot Do – Part 1

For the past couple of months I have been reading philosophers of religion, esp. Richard Swinburne, about divine attributes. According to most theists, omnipotence is a divine attribute, a property of God. There are some interesting problems and puzzles concerning omnipotence, a key problem being the paradox of the stone. Here is a summary of the problem by Swinburne:The paradox arises when we ask whether God, allegedly an omnipotent being, can make a stone too heavy for himself to lift. If he … [Read more...]

Evolution and its Rivals

Synthese has a special issue on "Evolution and its Rivals," including papers by a number of people, particularly philosophers, involved in criticism of intelligent design creationism. I haven't had a chance to read them all yet, what with just having finished a semester—I turned in final grades today. But I thought I should post, because access to the issue is free to the public until December 31. (Thanks to Glenn Branch.) … [Read more...]

Extraordinary Claims and Extraordinary Evidence

Note: This will be my last post until after the holidays. I look forward to responding to comments in a couple of weeks.An online site called CARM—Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries—has posted an article titled “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.”http://carm.org/apologetics/evidence-and-answers/extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence Victor Reppert’s Dangerous Idea blog linked with this site and a lively discussion followed. Since I have defended the princ … [Read more...]

If Threatened, Call the Mounties

It is a real pleasure to be able via this medium to correspond with smart people in Britain, Australia, Greece, Finland, and all over. Though the exchanges sometimes get boisterous, they are usually thoughtful and informed. The downside is that you cannot completely exclude comments by the ignorant, the fatuous, the self-important, or the seriously deranged. In this latter category is Dennis Markuze of Montreal, Canada. He is an infamous troll of atheist and skeptical sites. He posts under … [Read more...]

Another Honor Killing

I ran across a Turkish news item that was in many respects not unusual: A newly wed couple murdered by the brother of the bride in order to restore the family honor.Apparently the bride's family strongly objected to the relationship, disapproving and trying to dissuade her. But this was not in a rural area but the center (not the slums) of a huge metropolis, and the bride asserted her independence. Finally, however, the older brother of the bride said that he was provoked and had no choice but … [Read more...]

Scientific proof of God! (Again!)

Here's another example of a Muslim use of half-understood science to prove the existence of the soul and of God, published in something that is ostensibly a scientific journal. (Thanks to Glenn Branch.)"Molecular genetic program (genome) contrasted against non-molecular invisible biosoftware in the light of the Quran and the Bible," by Pallacken Abdul Wahid, claims that "The failure of experiments to produce life through purely chemical means or to restore life to a dead cell would in fact … [Read more...]

On public radio

If you're interested in science and Islam, check out the latest in the "Science and the Search for Meaning" program by Wisconsin Public Radio, called "Can Islam and Science Coexist?"It opens with a five minute interview with me, and goes on to talk to others, including an advocate of "Islamic science" and an Islamic creationist.Hey, it's not bad to get in a skeptical note in a Templeton-funded program. … [Read more...]


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