Zombie Ayn Rand

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New Chick Tracts

Jack Chick celebrates hell, and shows that his version of the Christian God is a seriously nasty character. The sheer obnoxiousness of the divine moral order as envisioned by Chick may even call into question atheistic attempts to use evil to argue against the existence of an omnibenevolent God. If someone can endorse this sort of hell, and such an arbitrary way of consigning people to hell, as central to the schemes of an omnibenevolent God, they shouldn't have too much difficulty shrugging … [Read more...]

Liberal pseudoscience

You have to wonder about American liberals, as represented by the Democratic party. Their foreign policy difference from Republicans is that they claim to be even better at slaughtering Muslims and erasing civil liberties. Their economic difference is that their version of neoliberalism tilts more toward certain Wall Street factions and Silicon Valley, rather than other Wall Street factions and extractive industries.I will admit, however, that liberals in power have been more reluctant to attack … [Read more...]

Demographics on our side?

These days I often run into the notion that in the US, demographics is on the side of nonbelief. The excessive politicization of the Religious Right has turned off the poor, minorities, and the young. The new generation of "millennials" or whatever is less identified with organized religion. So if we just ride out this latest, last-gasp wave of theocratic politics such as attacks on contraception, time is on our side.I'm dubious. For a long time now, I have also regularly run into a version of … [Read more...]

Fazıl Say to exile himself; Turkish “secularism”

Since earlier I mentioned the trouble Fazıl Say, a famous Turkish pianist, has run into due to his open atheism, here's an update. Apparently he has decided Turkey has become too intolerant of religious dissent, and that he would live in exile in Japan. (Where, let's face it, a classical pianist will be much better appreciated anyway.)And still, at the end of the news story, there's the obligatory lazy comment that "Turkey is an officially secular country."Well, maybe. Under some loose … [Read more...]

Does it matter how people reject religion?

By and large, I'd prefer it if more people did not hold supernatural beliefs—or at least, if they did not hold politically potent supernatural beliefs. (While I'm at it, I'd also like world peace, for my knees to suddenly not show the effects of my age on the basketball court, and so on and so forth.)I'm not sure it matters much how such nonbelief would come about. Given my general cynicism about the human race, I don't expect that any widespread nonbelief would be due to careful, reflective r … [Read more...]

Free speech for Muslims?

I often complain about how conservative Muslims' overdeveloped sensitivity to religious insult erects barriers to the freedom of speech, and particularly speech criticizing anything Islamic. That's a serious problem for nonbelievers and anyone who cares about freedom of expression.But here in the US, where we so love to posture about how we're so much freer than those benighted Muslim countries, our paranoia about terrorism has created an environment where American Muslims cannot feel free to … [Read more...]

Turkish pianist under investigation for atheism

Fazıl Say, a Turkish pianist of international renown, apparently has a twitter habit and a tendency to say what he thinks. And since in a couple of tweets he has expressed atheism and engaged in some light mockery of Islam, he is now under investigation by the office of the Public Prosecutor, under suspicion of violating a Turkish law against insulting religion.Once again, reason to be thankful I don't live in a Muslim country. … [Read more...]