Two Executions

This post is a follow-up on the "Pro Choice and Pro Life" posting of Herb Silverberg. Herb's thoughtful reflections have added to SO's offerings, and I am surprised that they have not drawn more comments. Yesterday there were two executions, one in Texas and one in Georgia. In Texas, Lawrence Brewer was executed. In 1997, Brewer and two associates kidnapped a man named James Byrd, who had been walking down a country road not far from Jasper, Texas. They beat Byrd savagely, urinated on him, … [Read more...]

Testing Supernatural Hypotheses

Are supernatural hypotheses testable? This was a question raised by Victor Reppert on his Dangerous Idea blog, and I responded a couple of weeks ago. The subsequent discussion got rather confused and confusing, and I would like to try to untangle things and see if I can get clearer on the issue here. Thanks much to interlocutor Richard Wein whose gentle but persistent probing of my remarks has pressed me to try to state things more precisely and cogently. What is a supernatural hypothesis? I … [Read more...]

Laws of Supernature

On his Dangerous Idea blog Victor Reppert reprints an old exchange between us (we have been going at it for over 35 years now): An Old Exchange between Keith Parsons and myself over theistic explanations This is one that appears in my paper on Hume on Miracles, Frequencies and Prior Probabilities. [Parsons] Science is unavoidably naturalistic, or atheistic if you prefer. Science operates in terms of scrutable, independently testable entities that operate in accordance with knowable … [Read more...]

The Day of Prayin’ and Eatin’

Our Governor Goodhair held his fundamentalist pep rally in Houston Saturday. Though only 8000 had registered for the event about 30,000 attended as megachurches—like John Hagee’s in San Antonio—bused in the faithful. Except for a few mentions of abortion, the speakers kept it strictly apolitical, scrupulously avoiding the wedge issues that have inflamed the culture wars. Good to know the event had nothing to do with politics. It wasn’t an even with a likely presidential candidate currying favor w … [Read more...]

In Defense of the Prayerapalloza

Since I believe in fair and balanced blogging (ahem), and since I have been very critical of Texas Governor Rick Perry's fundamentalist pep rally to be held at Houston's Reliant Stadium tomorrow, I am reprinting here a letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle defending the event:Satan deceivesI was totally disgusted by the article "Perry day at Reliant: Piety and politics?" (Page A1, Sunday). The article criticized Gov. Rick Perry for calling a prayer meeting for our nation that will be … [Read more...]

Theocratic Doin’s A-Transpirin’

The Houston Chronicle (7/31) has an interesting report by writer Joe Holley on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s upcoming “Day of Prayer and Fasting,” officially called “The Response,” scheduled for August 6. Now I’m a bit skeptical about the “fasting” part of this. Take a look at any crowd of Texans, and you can tell that they are not really into the fasting thing. In Texas, “Caution: Wide Load” signs have to be worn by pedestrians. “A Day of Prayer and Bar-B-Q” will probably be more like it. But I’m … [Read more...]

First Response to my Hell Article

Well, things happen fast in our hyper-connected world and there is already a review of my chapter “Hell: Christianity’s Most Damnable Doctrine” in John Loftus’ new anthology, The End of Christianity. Someone called “jayman 777” (I’ll call him “Jayman”) reviews it at this site:http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/review-of-chapter-10-of-the-end-of-christianity/In my essay I argue that the traditional doctrine of an eternal, punitive hell is morally indefensible. Could a just God cre … [Read more...]

The Attack on Higher Education

This post is a bit off topic, but I think people interested in higher education (which include many followers of SO) need to know that higher education is presently under strident, well-funded, ideological attack here in Texas. Be warned. If it succeeds here this campaign will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you:Presently there are some who claim to value education, but think that public higher education needs drastic reform. These individuals think that the taxpayers would be getting a … [Read more...]


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