Creationist theme park

Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham's creationist outfit, appears to be following up their successful (and scientifically hilarious) creation museum with a full-scale theme park:The theme park, to be called Ark Encounter, . . . is envisioned as a full-scale wooden ark that would include associated museums, theaters, amenities, event venues and outdoor parking.That alone would be enough to show that Kentucky is immune to embarrassment. But to really emphasize the point, governor Steve Beshear … [Read more...]

Desecrating the Quran

In light of recurrent news items concerning desecrations of the Quran, I thought I should contribute.After all, I don't treat the Quran as a special book. In both my offices—at home and on campus—it's not unusual to see books strewn and stacked on the floor. And it occurs to me that I have, in the past, created sights that would shock some of my more devout Muslim friends. I have had, I will confess, a copy or two of the Quran lying on the floor, tossed aside. Worse, I have had other books on top … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the nicer USAnian holidays: it's very light on the religion and nationalism, and the consumerist frenzy is postponed to the day after.Still, on the Christian radio channels I occasionally listen to, I've noticed an effort to Christianize Thanksgiving—to inject some Jesus into it. Sigh.I don't mind if they want to do it for themselves. There's a certain logic of monotheism that drives it to put religion at the center of everything. It's just unfortunate that conservative C … [Read more...]

Turf war?

There is some substance to the perennial debate over whether the existence of gods is largely a philosophical problem or a scientific matter. But I also wonder whether much of the debate is an artifact of existing academic disciplinary boundaries.So here's a suspicion to consider: most of this dispute is due to an artificial, socially constructed and historically reinforced separation that makes philosophy and the sciences separate cultures with their own sets of habits ("methods"). Our … [Read more...]

Answers to Objections

Ten years ago I had a debate in Colorado Springs with Methodist minister, the Rev. Trigg. Nice man and a stimulating debate. The topic was "Theism vs. Secular Humanism as a basis for ethics." I wrote up a set of answers to anticipated audience objections, which I do not think I have ever posted anywhere. I think they might be of interest here:Objection: God is the only possible foundation for ethics. Because God's nature is absolutely and essentially holy, all value must ultimately flow from … [Read more...]

Unsecular Turkey

Here's an interesting corrective to the notion that Turkey is a "secular state" as so often described in Western media reports.The Diyanet (the Turkish Directorate of Religious Services) has long been one of the largest government departments, and is devoted to Sunni Islam. In Turkey, clergy are government employees. With recent expansions, the number of people employed by the Diyanet will go up to 130 thousand. Before the current Islamist ruling party took power in 2002, this number was around … [Read more...]

Secular Web asking for support

The Secular Web—this blog is a side-project of the Secular Web—is asking for support. It's a good cause; I encourage donations. … [Read more...]

Historical fine-tuning

I would like to bring a hitherto much-neglected example of divine fine-tuning to the attention of the public: the fine-tuning of human history. Moreover, this fine-tuning is reaching a critical point now.Let us set aside religious sources as interested parties, and restrict ourselves to arguments with a secular pedigree. Even with this restriction, it is clear that we live in times where we can anticipate great transformations, ranging from the utopian to the apocalyptic.On the … [Read more...]


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