Moses and Myth

I got a correspondence this morning from a reader who identified himself as having been raised in a strictly orthodox Jewish environment. One argument that he had often heard concerned the historicity of the stories about Moses, the Exodus, and the delivery of the Law at Mt. Sinai. I cannot reproduce these arguments here since they were quite detailed. However, the basically amounted to saying that it is unreasonable to hold that these stories were fabrications and that there just is no … [Read more...]

Is Extremism Political, Religious, or Political/Religious?

Atheist author and blogger Dan Arel as recently written that he was wrong in his previous response to the critiques of Islam by “new atheists” such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins: admit in public that one was wrong requires a greater commitment to honesty and tru … [Read more...]

Does the Brain Construct Reality?

PBS is hosting a series on the brain, appropriately titled The Brain hosted by Rice University Neuroscientist David Eagleman. I watched the first episode last week and found it highly informative and entertaining. People have wondered what scientific achievements of the 21st Century could rival those of the 20th Century—relativity theory, quantum physics, DNA and molecular biology, and big bang cosmology. My guess is that this century will be the Century of the Brain, that is, we will finally g … [Read more...]

Please Excuse me from the Francis-Frenzy

I was watching the NBC Evening News a couple of nights ago as it covered the arrival of Pope Francis I. The allegedly objective reporter referred to the Pope not as "The Pope" or as "Pope Francis," but as "The Holy Father" and "His Holiness." Is NBC now CBS--The Catholic Broadcasting System? Would any imam or even the Dalai Lama be shown such reverential deference? Of course, Francis does look cuddly compared to his predecessor, Grand Inquisitor Benedict XVI. J. Edgar Hoover would have looked c … [Read more...]

Divine Commands and Informative Identity

Last week I had an exchange with Matthew Flannagan on divine command theory (DCT) in the comments section of the post “Does William Lane Craig Actually Believe in Evil?” I raised some standard Euthyphro-type objections and asked for his response. He graciously replied even though he has treated the topic in much greater depth and detail elsewhere, particularly in his book, coauthored with Paul Copan, Did God Really Command Genocide? (Baker Books, 2014), and in his article “Is Ethical Naturalism m … [Read more...]

Darwin the Philosopher

I have noted several unfortunate statements by scientists, some of whom I deeply respect, expressing disdain for philosophy. Their view, apparently, is that if you have science you have no need for philosophy. This attitude is doubly unfortunate. First, it betrays considerable ignorance, and, second, when scientists reject philosophy, they really, really should avoid philosophical questions, like the existence of God, because they say embarrassing things that a bit of philosophical insight would … [Read more...]

Craig on Appeals to Common Sense

Here is something written by a reader who asked not to be further identified. I think he makes a good point and raises the interesting question of when appeals to common sense are reasonable and when they are not. The author begins by commenting on a reply made to me by Craig in our 1998 debate. ….but I recently watched (and enjoyed) your 1998 debate with William Lane Craig and found myself rather irked by something Craig said.  The result is what you see below, which I thought you m … [Read more...]

Atheist Revival Meeting

Folks, it has come to my attention that some other atheists on other sites are indicating that we here at SO are not real atheists. We may even be crypto-Christians who appear in atheist guise to delude the unfaithful. So, I and Jeff and Bradley—and you atheists who frequently comment, like Scott, Ryan, and PDH—are all under a cloud of suspicion. Well, we might as well admit it. We are backsliders. We are lukewarm in our unbelief. We occasionally show respect to theists, whereas furious, ven … [Read more...]