Does Cosmos Promote Atheism?

Stargazing is my hobby, and I subscribe to various related publications, including the magazine Astronomy. Bob Berman is a regular columnist for Astronomy and his columns are usually entertaining and informative. Occasionally they are peevish, as when he recently devoted much of his monthly column to a matter of pronunciation. He insisted at length that the name of the first magnitude star Vega is pronounced “Vee-ga” not “Vay-ga.” Well, I guess we all have pet peeves. One of mine is people who ma … [Read more...]

Atheists’ Favorite Parts of the Bible

There is a link on Debunking Christianity to an interesting article by Valerie Tarico on the topic of atheists’ favorite Bible verses. I thought that they would be the really horrid ones like II Kings, Chapter 2, where we have the lurid story of the prophet Elisha, who was approaching the town of Bethel when a group of children began to mock his baldness. Elisha curses them in the name of The Lord and two she-bears come out of the woods and maul forty two of the children. Now being among the h … [Read more...]

Belated Response to Ed Feser

Ed, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. All of May was taken up by final exam grading and then copy-editing and indexing my new book, due out in August, It Started with Copernicus (completely unabashed and self-serving plug). This is a response to your post of April 25, “A Second Exchange with Keith Parsons, Part I.”I am very pleased to see how much agreement there is between us. You say that a crude divine command theory would posit a cosmic dictator, a Saddam Hussein writ lar … [Read more...]

Morality and Atheism: An Exchange with Prof. Feser

Note: This is my initial post of an exchange with Dr. Ed Feser on the topic “Can morality have a rational justification if atheism or naturalism is true?” My answer, of course, is “Yes it can!” I decided to address the issue by spelling out, in some detail, what I think a good naturalistic theory would be. In my second post I will directly address Dr. Feser’s post. I thought that I recalled that our initial post on this topic had a 5000 word limit. I was wrong; it was 2500 words, and Dr. Fese … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis on the Torments of Hell

This is a modified quote from my essay "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine" in The End of Christianity, edited by John Loftus, Prometheus Books, 2012. The page numbers in parentheses refer to Lewis's book The Problem of Pain. Now, I know, as my friend John Beversluis discovered when he wrote his wonderful book on Lewis, whenever you say anything about what Lewis said, a host of wrathful Lewisites will say that you took his words out of context, or that Lewis modified or retracted his … [Read more...]

Reply to Prof. Feser’s Response, (Part III)

Ed, Russell’s argument is from Why I am not a Christian, which was a popular talk given to a general audience. As you say, almost certainly he was aiming at popular apologetics. He could, however, address the argument at a much more sophisticated level. I think his best response to cosmological arguments came in his classic debate with Frederick Copleston. Since I have written on this debate, I hope you will not mind if I quote myself at length: "Copleston’s first argument was the “argument from … [Read more...]

Hysterical Homophobe Fred Phelps Dies

I just got the message that the Rev. Fred Phelps has died:http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/anti-gay-pastor-fred-phelps-sr-dies-84-22986518#.UysiKRZcHhI.emailPhelps and his congregation became infamous by picketing funerals for those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan with signs reading "Thank God for IED's (Improvised explosive devices that accounted for many casualties)." Their "reasoning" was that God permitted American soldiers to be killed as punishment for America's … [Read more...]

Response to Prof. Feser’s Response to…etc (Part II)

Ed, this will be a rather truncated response to these points because I will address just the arguments you present here. A fair treatment of your arguments would need to address your article on these topics in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. However, two physical realities—time and space—limit me here.The question I posed was why we should think that a presumptively fundamental physical reality (quarks and leptons, quantum fields, superstrings, or whatever) needs supernatural sup … [Read more...]


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