The True Cost of Fundamentalism: Women’s Health

In an editorial titled “Women at Risk,” today’s Houston Chronicle presented some very alarming facts:Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world according to a report in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Between 2010 and 2014 the rate at which Texas women died from complications related to pregnancy doubled…” Texas has the highest number of people without medical insurance in the country. In Texas, Medicaid, for the few that qualify for it, only covers a wo … [Read more...]

Science Matters

Will science matter in the Trump Administration? All signs are that it will not. Indeed, not only will science not matter, it will be actively opposed. The title of Lawrence Krauss’s article “Donald Trump’s War on Science,” published in the December 13 New Yorker, sounds alarmist. After all, haven’t we heard hype from the right about the “War on Christmas” and the “War on traditional values,” and so forth? Is Krauss engaging in the same sort hyperbole? Not at all. He details the “qualifications” … [Read more...]

The Empirical Confirmation of Miracle Claims

Is the empirical confirmation of miracles possible, in principle? Hume has often been interpreted as denying the possibility. However, Hume does say that it is conceivable that there could be testimony for a miraculous event that is so unlikely to be false that it would be a “greater miracle” for the testimony to be false than the occurrence of the event. Presumably, he means that, in principle, the likelihood of the provision of particular testimony T, given the non-occurrence of the Miracle M, … [Read more...]

Truth: What Really Matters Now

In the nearly ten years that I have been contributing to Secular Outpost, I have enjoyed conversations with a number of outstanding theistic thinkers. I will not name them since that might lead some respondents to focus on these individuals rather than the general point I am making. While we deeply disagree on philosophical issues, I have learned a great deal from these interlocutors, and I regard them with a deep respect that I hope is mutual. Though our differences are deep, there is something … [Read more...]

Living in the Post-Truth Era

Donald Trump sailed into the White House on an ocean of lies. His erstwhile political opponent, and then wishy-washy supporter, Sen. Ted Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar.” I take it that a liar becomes pathological when his lies are no longer conscious fabrications, but merely statements made with no regard to truth or falsity. The pathological liar does not circumvent truth; he is oblivious to it. Truth is simply irrelevant to his narrative, which is aimed entirely at creating an emo … [Read more...]

How do you Spell “Hypocrite?” B-A-P-T-I-S-T

There was an excellent editorial in this morning’s Houston Chronicle concerning the still-growing sexual assault scandal at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. For anybody who does not follow college football, for decades the Baylor Bears were a laughingstock, a delicious cupcake for the real teams like UT, A & M, and Oklahoma, who would regularly pound them to the tune of 50-0. Then, praise Jesus, a miracle occurred. St. Art came to Baylor. The formidable head coach Art Briles arrived and s … [Read more...]

Evangelicals and the Donald Dilemma

Apparently, the candidacy of Donald Trump is splitting evangelicals. Trump presents them with the ultimate dilemma: As president, Hillary Clinton and a Democratically-controlled Senate could change the Supreme Court in ways highly antithetical to evangelicals. Today’s Houston Chronicle quotes Robert Jeffress of the Dallas First Baptist Church as saying, “…in the end, the election is a binary choice between a pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-conservative justices on the Supreme Court candi … [Read more...]

Priests and Celibacy

Here is an interesting article sent to me by a former student. It is written by a psychologist who had a 30-year career counseling priests who had lapsed from their celibacy vows:http://www.vox.com/2016/4/7/11325336/priests-love-therapyI have never understood the celibacy requirement. Was Jesus celibate? We have zero evidence one way or another. It would seem highly unusual for a 30-year old man never to have had sexual relations. Who knows? Paul said, (I Corinthians 7:1) "It is good for … [Read more...]