Louise Antony’s NYT Editorial on Good without God

LINK (HT: Ex-Apologist) … [Read more...]

The Definition of Atheism, the Anal-Retentive Defense of Etymological Purism, and Linguistic Relativism

Back when I was the moderator of the USENET newsgroup alt.atheism.moderated, I used to debate the definition of atheism and I used to defend the atheism as the lack of belief position. I'm persuaded, however, by Ted Drange that by default we should define our terms in a way which matches ordinary usage. Ordinary usage of the word "atheism" is that it means the belief that God does not exist. I see no benefit whatsoever to the proposal that nontheists should spend their limited time on trying to … [Read more...]

Recent Discussion of My Old List, “How to be an Atheist Apologist”

I haven't been a regular, active participant on message boards for years, but I recently decided to participate in the thread at Rational Skepticism about my 2006 post, "How to be an Atheist Apologist." The topics we've discussed include:Is the concept of an "atheist apologist" even coherent or is just a contradiction in terms?Where was the sarcasm in my post? Was there any sarcasm in my post?Introduction to basic terminology in Bayesian confirmation theory, e.g., prior probability, explanatory … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 11

A key claim made by Christian apologists who defend the resurrection goes like this: (JAW) Jesus of Nazareth was alive and walking around unassisted on the first Easter Sunday.This claim is either true or it is not. In posts 7 through 10 of this series, I have been examining the implications of the supposition that (JAW) is not true. This supposition appears to represent five different logical possibilities, as illustrated in the following diagram.JIM = Jesus is a myth.JA = Jesus was alive on … [Read more...]

Christopher Hitchens RIP

Dear Bleaders,I wrote a little essay on Christopher Hitchens and the meaning of life and death for the Ottawa Citizen called "For Atheists This Life is Enough." Maybe have a look? Maybe tell me what you think.x Jennifer … [Read more...]

Religious Minimalism

This is an interesting article that I find largely congenial:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-clayton-phd/science-religion-religious-minimalism_b_1143257.htmlI do wonder what the authors mean by "humility," which is an attitude they recommend for both believers and non-believers. Humility is a Christian virtue, and it has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, a dose of humility can be a fine corrective for some of the overweening arrogance on display, for instance, among the … [Read more...]

Christopher Hitchens: 1949 – 2011

The incomparable Christopher Hitchens has died.I never met him, but I already miss him. … [Read more...]

“The Argument from Reason” (2)

At 349, Reppert says: "We ought to draw the conclusion if we accept the premises of a valid argument".This is obviously wrong. Suppose, to take the worst case, that my beliefs contradict one another. If we are supposing classical logic -- as Reppert clearly is -- then, from my contradictory beliefs, using Reppert's principle, I ought to infer that every claim is true. But, even though there IS a valid argument from premises I accept to an absurd conclusion, I ought NOT to "draw" the absurd … [Read more...]