The Damnable Thing about Damnation

Do you ever read the reviews on Amazon Books? Many are a waste of time, but some are interesting. I noticed one that reviewed The End of Christianity, Prometheus Books, 2011, ed. John Loftus. The review was written by one “Alex C.” I assume that this is not Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex. Maybe he is a relative of Ray Comfort, the Christian apologist. At any rate, I was interested to see that he had some comments on my essay in that volume, “Hell: Christianity’s most Damnable Doctrine (pp … [Read more...]

What Does Philosophy of Religion have to Offer Today?

PhilosophyOfReligion.org has posted a series of short essays on the question of what the philosophy of religion have to offer for today's university. My response has recently been posted:http://philosophyofreligion.org/ … [Read more...]

Gratuitous Evils: What are the Chances?

Gratuitous evil is evil that God would not permit. In Alvin Plantinga’s terms, God would not actualize such evils either strongly (i.e. by directly creating them) or weakly (i.e. by allowing free creatures to commit them). A gratuitous evil is one that God would have no morally sufficient reason for actualizing (strongly or weakly). God has a morally sufficient reason for actualizing an evil e in a world W if and only if e is necessary in W for some good g, and W, containing both e and g, is b … [Read more...]

OK, so That’s What he Really Means

The following are recent statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and the explanations of those statements by his staff.[Note: Yes, this is satire. I am explicitly noting this since the Trump candidacy is proving Poe’s law that reality can become so bizarre that it is indistinguishable from satire.] Trump: Yeah, shoot crooked Hillary. Shoot her now.Staff: He meant that photographers should make an effort to shoot candidate Clinton in a more complimentary way, si … [Read more...]

Are we Addicted?

As an entrepreneur, a heroin pusher has a big advantage. His customers become addicts; they cannot do without the product he sells. Pushers have no problem with getting repeat customers.Heroin addiction is a terrible national problem, but it is far from the most widespread addiction. According to an article in today’s Houston Chronicle, “The Talking Dead” by Prof. James A. Roberts, Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, the typical (‼!) American checks his or her smartphone every 6 and … [Read more...]

Repost: Review of Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce

In honor of the apotheosis of idiocy that was the nomination of Donald Trump, I am reposting this review from five years ago. It is even more relevant now.Mike Judge is one of the most incisive commentators on the dumbing down of American culture.  He created the cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead, two dimwitted adolescents who sit around watching music videos and providing moronic commentary (e.g., “He said ‘butt.’  Heh, heh, heh”).  To many viewers, myself included, Beavis and Butthead … [Read more...]

Changing Ethics by Changing Brains

In his very enjoyable PBS series and the accompanying book, The Brain: The Story of You, neuroscientist David Eagleman writes about the famous “trolley dilemma.” Here is the scenario: A runaway trolley is barreling down the tracks towards a group of four workers. You see that they will all be killed unless you pull a lever diverting the trolley onto a side track where it will only kill one workman. What do you do? In this case almost everyone will pull the lever. You sacrifice one life to save fo … [Read more...]

Melania Trump Speaks Again; Trump Team Denies Plagiarism

The Trump team was quick to deny the Melania Trump’s latest speech was plagiarized. They noted that “four score and seven years ago” is a common way of saying “eighty seven.” Eighty seven is just a common number they observed, nothing special about it. Further, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort noted that the phrase “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” is a phrase in the public domain that is not protected by any copyrights. When asked about her references to being “en … [Read more...]