Audience Poll: What Questions Would You Like to See Addressed on the Secular Outpost?

(We haven’t made as much progress as I would like on implementing the suggestions already provided, but I’m redating this point anyway to solicit more suggestions.)

If there is a topic you’d like to see authors of The Secular Outpost address, please post a comment below and suggest it.

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

  • Larry Tanner

    Thanks for offering. I was interested in a recent comment made by William Lane Craig. In the context of comments made by Richard Dawkins about Craig's endorsement of genocide (Deut. 20:10-20), Craig says: "I would say that God has the right to give and take life as He sees fit."

    My question is whether God does have the right to give and/or take life (let's say "human life" for now). I'm sure there must be oodles of scholarship on this question, but I'm not aware of it.


  • Spencer

    I would personally love to see more interaction between the authors of this blog and the authors of popular Christian/theistic blogs. Perhaps the authors here could address some of their writings directly, such as those at:

  • Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Spencer — That is an excellent suggestion. What would be most helpful would be if you or other readers could identify specific posts on these other blogs which you would like us to discuss.

  • Leo

    Good question I think once in a while you should make it. For now I wan't to see discussions on the Doctrine of Hell, Divine Command Theory, the "Kalam Cosmological Argument AGAINST the existence of God" of Quentin Smith and the argument Oppy makes about the imposibility of Heaven.

  • Rob

    I would like to see some members of this blog, especially those who subscribe to some form of belief in objective moral values, to take on the "nice nihilism" of Alex Rosenberg's provocative and acute new book THE ATHEIST'S GUIDE TO REALITY.

  • Bradley C.

    With all the new people that you are getting on here, I would be very interested in a conversation between Bradley Monton and Victor Stenger on fine tuning / ID.

  • The Uncredible Hallq

    I second Spencer's suggestion. It seems like five years ago, the atheist and theist blogospheres interacted with each other a lot more. We've moved away from that, which is unfortunately a self-reinforcing trend, since it's awkward to respond to a blog post that wasn't really written for you in the first place.

    Randal Rauser's blog looks like it may be avoiding that problem to some extent. This post, for example, looks worth commenting on:

    With all the well-known people being brought onto this blog, this could also be a really good place for hashing out disagreements among atheists about religion. Stuff like "criticisms of Dawkins and Harris advanced by atheists," Bradley Monton on ID, stuff like that.

    One specific suggestions in this vein would be a discussion of the paper "How Not to Attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical Misconceptions About Methodological Naturalism" by Maarten Boudry et al.

  • Pete Hoge

    I am interested in posts about the
    apparent stalemate between atheist
    thinkers and religious apologists.

    How can one side dominate over the
    other? Is that even relevant or

    How can religion be utterly taken
    out of general society through
    peaceful means?

  • Dalila Teckel

    Good question. I started to follow this blog just few weeks ago, despite being a regular reader of Internet Infidels Secular Web for at least one year, since some theistic blogs achieved a significative popularity in Brazil. More recently I enjoyed a lot the suggestion of articles published in philosophy of religion periodicals. But I'm not sure. I'm always looking for interesting things to translate em publish in my own blog. Maybe you could talk about atheistic alternatives to secular humanism? About the charges against secular humanism made by thinkers as John Gray (Straw Dogs, Black Mass) and Michel Onfray?
    I think is this.

  • Stig K Martinsen

    Meta-ethics and particularly the "objective moral values" argument used by Craig and others to justify Divine Command Theory and hence theism interests me.

    The argument sounds weak to me, but still Craig often wins debates on this when his atheist opponents affirm objective moral values but don't explain how they ground them , so Craig can retort "You've got no leg to stand on".

    I find it likely that morality is an evolved adaptation (or some complex interplay between biological and cultural evolution), and thus there IS no objective standard outside of human and some higher animal societies (so the typical Craig retort "but then we're just animals!" is ironic and pointless). And morality as an adaptation fits best with metaethical views like emotivism, quasi-realism or even error theory.

    But of course atheists and agnostics have all kinds of views on meta-ethics, and many seem to find room for objective moral values anyway. So how should these things be debated (often in front of audiences partial to DCT)? Can DCT be succesfully combated from any other meta-ethical position, or even without committing to a specific non-supernaturalist meta-ethics? Would an admission that, ultimately, objective moral values DON'T exist be fatal in a typical theist/atheist debate format?

    My concern is that at the moment the theistic side gets away with bad arguments for DCT that appeal to emotion (the horror of having no objective, binding moralty to organize society around) more than logic and evidence.

    Sorry if this has already been treated at length, I'm new to this site.

  • Hiero5ant

    I would like to see a kind of "reverse Wedge strategy" which underscores the gulf between "sophisticated theology" and what actual theists actually believe.

    For example, if I began at my house moving outward in concentric circles, visiting every church of every denomination, how far would I have to travel before I heard a sermon on how there must have been a beginning, because Hilbert's Hotel proves that there can be no actual infinites?

  • Spencer
  • Dianelos Georgoudis

    Since oral debates have many disadvantages I would like to see this site promote written debates between knowledgeable theists and atheists on the many interesting topics that lie around. One possible format would be to have one thread where only the two specialists wage their debate and a parallel thread where everybody else can comment.

    Here is a case in point. In his “The Last Superstition” theistic philosopher Ed Feser argues with some force that the classical arguments by Thomas Aquinas are misunderstood by many atheists who then proceed to publish trivially invalid refutations. I would be very interesting and instructive if a knowledgeable atheistic philosopher should debate in writing with Feser about the merits of these arguments.

  • Dathinkingman

    I have noticed that there is almost no discussions of the so-called scientific Quranic prophecies often defended by muslim apologists. this also reflects poorly in Atheism vs Islam Debates as the atheist proponents usually don't have proper understanding and responses to the arguments.

  • Stig K Martinsen

    An exercise in playing "devil's advocate" could be amusing:

    What is the strongest case FOR theism that is published, or could be built, according to the Secular Outpost writers? Consider for both general/unspecified theism and christian theism.

    It always impresses me when philosphers genuinely try to present the strongest case they can imagine for the opposite side… before demolishing it.

  • Chris W

    I'd love to see a critique of the McGrews' Bayesian argument for the Resurrection.

  • Angra Mainyu

    I second Stig K Martinsen's, hiero5ant's, and Dianelos Georgoudis' suggestions.

  • Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Stig — Ask and ye shall receive.

  • preparedfortheworst

    I've been looking into different forms of epistemology recently. Really interesting field.

    But, for a specific topic, I'd say the atheists relation to the burden of proof. Does any form of atheism have a burden of proof? Can negative claims be proved? Things along that nature.

  • Hiero5ant

    I would very much like to see addressed the return of IIDB.

    With the death of the Richard Dawkins forums and the sad, fragmented degeneracy of the successor communities like FRDB and TalkRational into platforms for a dwindling handful of knowledgable posters vs. an only slightly less small handful of kooks and quacks, there just isn't anywhere to go, and that's a shame.

  • Jeffery Jay Lowder

    Hiero5ant — The topic of "the return of IIDB" is a policy issue that is handled by the II Board of Directors. I have not been on the Board for years, so I cannot speak on their behalf. I can forward your request to Keith Augustine to see if he or the current members of the Board want to address it, but I can't promise you anything.

    Out of curiosity, what about AtheistNexus? Don't they fill the gap?

  • Stig K Martinsen

    Jeffery Jay Lowder said…

    Stig — Ask and ye shall receive.
    June 15, 2012 9:52:00 AM CDT

    Yes thanks, that was great. I have a lot of respect for Draper, he seems to have some of the best arguments on both sides of the theism/atheism debate!

    Lots of interesting posts over the last couple of weeks actually. I need to find more time to read them carefully.

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