Myself, Peter Atkins, Richard Swinburne, Ard louis,(and Richard Dawkins) in conversation

Here is a fairly long video of a discussion between myself, Richard Swinburne (philosopher), Peter Atkins (chemist), Ard Louis (physicist), and also Richard Dawkins (who was in the audience) at one point. The theme was Life, The Universe and Everything - The Quest for Truth.My main contribution is at 39 mins 30sec.(nb. Dawkins is at 1hr 18 min 20 sec [he has a pop at Swinburne and me] and my response to Dawkins at 1hr 24 min 30 sec).I posted on this before, shortly after the recording. Go … [Read more...]

Halloween: Satan’s Plot To Turn You Gay When you live in a parallel universe where dinosaurs were on the Ark with Noah, and talking snakes crawl into your garden, and vaccinating girls for HPV makes them promiscuous, and the Rapture could happen tomorrow, and the whole universe is 6000 years old, and trick-or-treating is a Satanic plot to make you gay, I can't help but wonder: How do you manage, in the real world, to dress yourself, drive cars, pay bills, vote (arghhhh), or hold a job? … [Read more...]

Ian’s Review of Carrier’s Proving History and Carrier’s Reply

An atheist named Ian with a deep background in math and science has written a critical review of Carrier's Proving History.A Mathematical Review of "Proving History" by Richard CarrierAmong other things, Ian complains that Carrier uses a version of Bayes's Theorem (BT) that is "unduly complex" and "highly idiosyncratic." I disagree. I think one's assumptions can play a huge role in historical Jesus studies, so it valuable to use a version of BT which explicitly includes background knowledge … [Read more...]

dangerous idea: Corduan replies to Carrier on miracles

dangerous idea: Corduan replies to Carrier on miracles … [Read more...]

How to be Secular

I just read Jacques Berlinerblau's How to be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom. It's a good book and well worth reading, precisely because it will rub a lot of atheists the wrong way.I see little to object to in Berlinerblau's description of the poor state of secularism in the United States. I'd be even more blunt: secularism has not just faded, it has been defeated, and any attempt to resuscitate it must start from the fact of defeat. I also tend to agree with his description of … [Read more...]

William Lane Craig: “Animals aren’t aware that they’re in pain”

Recently, some theists have attempted to deal with that part of the problem of evil generated by horrendous animal suffering found in nature - including hundreds of millions of years of animal suffering before we humans even showed up - by saying that animals aren't aware that they are in pain. They maintain this is what "science" has shown. That helps bring the problem of suffering down to size!Indeed, that animals aren't aware that they are in pain is a remarkable "recent scientific … [Read more...]

Nagel’s “Mind and Cosmos” Reviewed by Michael Weisberg & Brian Leiter

"We conclude with a comment about truth in advertising. Nagel’s arguments against reductionism are quixotic, and his arguments against naturalism are unconvincing. He aspires to develop “rival alternative conceptions” to what he calls the materialist neo-Darwinian worldview, yet he never clearly articulates this rival conception, nor does he give us any reason to think that “the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two.” Mind and Cosmos is cert … [Read more...]

More Open Questions for Muslims

Note: These are not rhetorical questions. I really would like to know.Q: What is blasphemy against the Prophet? Is any criticism of Islam or the Qur'an or Mohammed considered blasphemy? If not, can you cite any instances of such critiques that are not blasphemous?Q: On the other hand, if even the mildest and most respectful critique is considered blasphemous, does this mean that non-Muslims may not, respectfully, express their reasons for not accepting Islam?Q: What about a religious … [Read more...]