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...]

Texas Day of Prayer and Fasting. Yee Haa!!!

If you are an atheist in Texas, you can never be bored. There is always something interesting going on. Our Governor, Rick Perry, has declared that August 6 will be a day of "prayer and fasting" with a big prayer meeting at the Houston Reliant Center. Now, from what I see on TV, several days of fasting might be good for some of the governor's "bigger" supporters. The prayer stuff though is a bit more dubious. The prayer meeting will be paid for by something called the American Family … [Read more...]

Unabashedly Self-Promoting Blurb

John Loftus' latest anthology, The End of Christianity has been printed by Prometheus and is now being distributed. I have an essay in the book titled "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine." (BTW, John and Victor Reppert are having a knock-down-drag-out squabble on their respective blogs--Debunking Christianity and Dangerous Idea--about what John calls 'the outsider test of faith.' The imbroglio now seems to be generating rather more heat than light.) I really enjoyed doing the piece on … [Read more...]

Son of Naturalism and Norms

First, apologies if I am boring the hell out of everyone but a few of us fanatics with yet another sequel on naturalism and norms. It is just that I think the issues are very important, and I have gotten such terrific feedback on these points, that I am going to post a couple more replies to Philip K. and Dianelos.Philip K, Your commentary raises a good many deep issues, so many that pursuing them all would take us far afield and far exceed the space we have to address matters here. I think that … [Read more...]

Religious Reminiscences

We usually debate weighty issues on SO, but I thought I would offer something a bit lighter. For fun I am writing a memoir (I was inspired by Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) of growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in the '50's and early 60's. These are my religious reminiscences. Names have been changed. Mom and Dad were both practicing Christians. Grace was said before every meal. Mom read us Bible stories at bedtime. We were church members and regular attendees. … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms (Postscript)

Philip K asks some very probing and incisive questions about ethical naturalism (EN) in his comment on my post “Naturalism and Norms.” These questions raise issues too large and too important to be addressed in the very limited space of a comment box, so I am making a new post. He puts two questions to the ethical naturalist:Here are two questions, then. First, is it an empirical discovery that the members of each species have a natural purpose, a proper endpoint? Second, is the ethical nat … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms

My recent exchange with Taner on ethical naturalism (EN) prompted a good bit of stimulating comment and criticism. I’ve been out of town for a couple of weeks and away from blogging, so I have not been able to reply to each comment as it arrived. Rather than attempt to do so now, I would like to address the issue that seems to me to be at the heart of much of the discussion: How do naturalists justify norms? The prima facie problem is this: Norms tell us what should be, not what is. Many p … [Read more...]

Response to Taner

Taner, Thanks for the long post and the many insightful points and queries. Since Aristotle is the founder of naturalized ethics, it is really important that we get him right. Aristotle does not base his ethics upon “human nature,” but what he calls “the human function.” (Sorry, I don’t know the Greek) The human function comprises the way of living for which nature has suited humans. That is, just as the Great White Shark is suited (as the Richard Dreyfus character says in Jaws) to swim, eat, … [Read more...]


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