Atheism and the Meaning of Life, Again above article by Jennifer Fulwiler, who converted from atheism to Catholicism, raises the perennial issue of the meaning of life for atheists. For me, the most engaging part of the piece is the quote from Ross Douthat. Douthat apparently concedes that an atheist’s joys and sorrows can feel as intensely meaningful as they do for the theist. However, he proposes an interesting analogy. In warfare, the motivation f … [Read more...]

GOP Creationist Believes in Evolution Within Phyla

Check this out: addition to the usual nonsense, there is something interesting here. This guy says he believes in evolution up to a point, that is, within a phylum. Creationists all along have endorsed evolution within "kinds," whatever those are. Supposing that this guy knows what a phylum is, he seems to extend the "kind" all the way to phyla. … [Read more...]

The Amalekites and Options for Apologists

I have been having a very interesting discussion with a Christian correspondent who calls himself “Veritas.” Discussions of this sort all too often generate far more heat than light, so let me first note that in our interactions the contributions by Veritas have been consistently intelligent, courteous, and candid. The focus of our conversation has been a particular scriptural passage, I Samuel 15: 1-3. For convenience, let me quote these verses:“Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoi … [Read more...]

Biblical Genocide and Village Atheists

This post springs from an interesting discussion I had with Scott Scheule in the comments section of an earlier post. The issues there are important enough to deserve a deeper look.Quoting the Bible against believers is one of the hoariest weapons in the freethinker’s war chest. It has been done many times, never more cogently or eloquently than in Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Robert Ingersoll’s Some Mistakes of Moses is another fine instance of the genre. The tactic cites cruelties, hor … [Read more...]

Getting back to the “Fundamentals” in Texas Education Texas is great. Sure, the weather is hot, and you might have to dodge some tornadoes, and you had better like Tex-Mex and chicken fried steak (actually, I do). But it is never boring. The fundamentalists keep it interesting. The State Board of Indoctrination, er, Education, which is dominated by fundamentalists, wants to make sure that Texas students are fed … [Read more...]

The Historian’s Job and Christian Apologetics

I am currently writing a work of history. My co-author and I are investigating the nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands by the U.S. from 1946 to 1958. During that period, the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests (including some duds) on or near Bikini and Eniwetok atolls in the Marshall Islands. These tests produced a total combined yield of 108 megatons, the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb (.015 MT) exploded daily for over nineteen years. Needless to say, unleashing this amount … [Read more...]

Religion and Violence

I hope that Victor Reppert will not feel that I am baiting him. In a recent post I said some mean things about C.S. Lewis, which with Victor is generally like humming “Hail to the Victors Valiant” around an Ohio State fan. Here I begin with a paragraph he recently wrote for his Dangerous Idea blog:“The ‘religion leads to violence’ idea is based on a profound confusion. ANYTHING can lead to violence. But the idea that non-religious people have "nothing to kill or die for" while religious peopl … [Read more...]

The Worst of C.S. Lewis

Victor Reppert posted this quote from Lewis on his Dangerous Idea blog:From C. S. Lewis's essay "Christian Apologetics, " found in God in the Dock. “I have sometimes told my audience that the only two things really worth considering are Christianity and Hinduism. (Islam is only the greatest of the Christian heresies, Buddhism only the greatest of the Hindu heresies. Real Paganism is dead. All that was best in Judaism and Platonism survives in Christianity.) There isn’t really, for an adult mi … [Read more...]