Archives for June 2011

Texas Day of Prayer and Fasting. Yee Haa!!!

If you are an atheist in Texas, you can never be bored. There is always something interesting going on. Our Governor, Rick Perry, has declared that August 6 will be a day of "prayer and fasting" with a big prayer meeting at the Houston Reliant Center. Now, from what I see on TV, several days of fasting might be good for some of the governor's "bigger" supporters. The prayer stuff though is a bit more dubious. The prayer meeting will be paid for by something called the American Family … [Read more...]

On the “Think Atheist” radio show

An interview with me is appearing today on the "Think Atheist" radio show. They tell me that "The show will air at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern but then be available to stream from our archive immediately after it concludes." … [Read more...]

Being identified as an atheist

I'm not always comfortable being publicly identified as an atheist.The label is accurate enough; I don't think that any God or other supernatural entities exist. But the word "atheist" has other connotations as well, and I don't always want to take them on board or fight against them.For example, in a piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education that quotes me, there is this paragraph:Now, the deeper question may be whether science can ever flourish in Muslim countries without complete … [Read more...]

Unabashedly Self-Promoting Blurb

John Loftus' latest anthology, The End of Christianity has been printed by Prometheus and is now being distributed. I have an essay in the book titled "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine." (BTW, John and Victor Reppert are having a knock-down-drag-out squabble on their respective blogs--Debunking Christianity and Dangerous Idea--about what John calls 'the outsider test of faith.' The imbroglio now seems to be generating rather more heat than light.) I really enjoyed doing the piece on … [Read more...]

Son of Naturalism and Norms

First, apologies if I am boring the hell out of everyone but a few of us fanatics with yet another sequel on naturalism and norms. It is just that I think the issues are very important, and I have gotten such terrific feedback on these points, that I am going to post a couple more replies to Philip K. and Dianelos.Philip K, Your commentary raises a good many deep issues, so many that pursuing them all would take us far afield and far exceed the space we have to address matters here. I think that … [Read more...]

Religious Reminiscences

We usually debate weighty issues on SO, but I thought I would offer something a bit lighter. For fun I am writing a memoir (I was inspired by Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) of growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in the '50's and early 60's. These are my religious reminiscences. Names have been changed. Mom and Dad were both practicing Christians. Grace was said before every meal. Mom read us Bible stories at bedtime. We were church members and regular attendees. … [Read more...]

The Monty Hall Problem – Part 3

I'm going to make two objections to standard justifications of the correct answer to the Monty Hall problem. The conclusion to an unsound argument can still be true, so if I'm successful at showing that there is a problem with the reasoning supporting the accepted answer to the problem, this will not show that the accepted answer is false, just that the justification of the answer is faulty.At a high level, the two objections are that the standard justification (1) begs the question, and (2) … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms (Postscript)

Philip K asks some very probing and incisive questions about ethical naturalism (EN) in his comment on my post “Naturalism and Norms.” These questions raise issues too large and too important to be addressed in the very limited space of a comment box, so I am making a new post. He puts two questions to the ethical naturalist:Here are two questions, then. First, is it an empirical discovery that the members of each species have a natural purpose, a proper endpoint? Second, is the ethical nat … [Read more...]