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...]

C.S. Lewis, Hammer of the Theocrats

A comment on the Friendly Atheist site had a marvelous quote from C.S. Lewis. I ran it by Victor Reppert to make sure that it was genuine and to get its source. Victor verified that it is from the essay "Equality" in Lewis's collection Present Concerns. It is the best succinct critique of theocracy that I have read: I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the … [Read more...]

Christian Charity on Display

Yesterday (7/5/16) The Houston Chronicle published my letter below:The 5-3 Supreme Court ruling against Texas’ oppressive abortion restrictions is a rebuke to extremism. It is also a rebuke to dishonesty. The purpose of the legislation, indeed its sole purpose, was to restrict access to abortion. When they take office members of the Texas State Legislature swear an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution of the United States, and women in this country have a constitutional ri … [Read more...]

Busted. Victor Reppert has Nailed Us. We Became Atheists for the Sex

OK fellow secularists, the game’s up. Victor Reppert has nailed us.http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2016/06/surprise-surprise.htmlSecularist organizations seem to be having a lot of trouble with sexual harassment.  You have to ask "What did you think was going to happen?" One of the key selling points of secularism is that you don't have to follow those benighted old restrictions on sexual conduct imposed by those nasty, prudish and repressive Christians. And then, lo and behold, vul … [Read more...]

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

Sigh. I miss Jerry Falwell. Of all the fundamentalist loudmouths and rabble-rousers, he was the one I most loved to hate. He was absolutely dependable. Whatever the topic or context he was reliably sanctimonious, unctuous, bigoted, and utterly detestable. Other soldiers in the army of the night were just as obnoxious, like Jimmy Swaggart (“I have sinned against you.”), but they tended to be so dumb that they were more comical than offensive. I used to laugh out loud when Swaggart would point to t … [Read more...]