Archives for April 2010

Why we should have ceremonies with religious speeches

A benediction speech during graduation at Midwestern State University. It's the best argument for encouraging religious performances in public events that I've come across in a while.I figure that if you have a zealous religious performance along these lines, anyone with some sanity remaining will be embarrassed or repulsed by such a display. It will reinforce any inclinations they have to keep some distance between religion and things that actually matter.And if you have a generic performance … [Read more...]

Who is the audience?

It's an old (2009) photo, but I ran into it again today:It prompted me to ask if some of the more militant Islamic groups are aware of the disastrous public image presented by posters with "freedom can go to hell" and so forth on them. But then, many of them seem media-savvy to a fault. They must know how negatively the average liberal Westerner will respond to that sort of display.I guess their real audience must be others. Disaffected Muslims who will support groups who look like they will … [Read more...]

Distrust of Science

I ran into a news item suggesting that at least in paranormal matters, public distrust of science is quite strong. Indeed, in a study done on belief in ESP, people informed that the scientific community was skeptical about ESP ended up more likely to think that ESP was real.People like me, who are deeply involved in science education, often think that all we have to do is improve scientific literacy (whatever that means), and a better educated population will come to see that trust in science is … [Read more...]

Jordan Howard Sobel (1929-2010)

Sadly, another (belated) obituary for an important figure in philosophy of religion: Jordan Howard Sobel, who many of us will recognize as the author of Logic and Theism, passed away on March 26, 2010, at the age of 81. A full obituary is posted at The Prosblogion. … [Read more...]

Antony Flew’s Passing

Antony Flew died the other day. Like many secular people, I have mixed feelings. At the end of his life he was declared a theist. I say “was declared” because it is not clear to what extent in his final two or three years he was not simply in a state of senescent confusion. The final book issued in his name (actually authored by third-rate religious apologist Roy Abraham Varghese) is a crackpot screed that, surely, Flew would have repudiated with disdain had he been in possession of his powers. B … [Read more...]

Craig on Philo

First, sorry I have been away from S.O. for so long. Very busy. Anyway, I just noticed a small thing that I should probably ignore, but it irks me sufficiently that I am going to vent. In a footnote to his article "Theistic Critiques of Atheism," in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, edited by Michael Martin, Craig makes a few passing remarks about the philosophical journal Philo, of which I was the founding editor. Craig contends that in academe, atheism is a philosophy in full retreat, with … [Read more...]

Perceiving Moral Truths?

Dianelos Georgoudis has put forward a theistic view of ethics and moral reasoning in his comments on “A Question of authority”, a recent post by Taner Edis. Given the intriguing combination of ethics and philosophy of religion involved here, I was unable to resist engaging Dianelos in a discussion of his views. Although I am skeptical about the views he expresses, I envy him for having a theory of ethics and moral reasoning, when all I have are a motley collection of thoughts, hunches, obs … [Read more...]

Flew obituaries

Obituaries for Antony Flew: Times, Telegraph.Perhaps I shouldn't speak ill of the dead and all that, but I remain pissed off at the support the doddering Flew lent to a transparently naive form of the "intelligent design" argument. … [Read more...]