From Victor Stenger: Higgs and Significance

(Reblogged on behalf of Victor Stenger. This article was originally published on The Huffington Post here.)As the world knows, on July 4 it was announced that the Higgs boson, or a reasonable facsimile, has been seen by two independent experiments at CERN. The statistical significance reported was expressed as "5-sigma." Let's look at what this means.When subatomic particles are smashed together at high energy, they create a complex mix of secondary particles. Before you can claim a new … [Read more...]

Please Welcome Matt DeStefano to the Secular Outpost!

I'm pleased to announce that Matt DeStefano has joined The Secular Outpost as a contributor. Here is a quick autobiography by Matt.I grew up as an Evangelical Christian, but I began to seriously doubt the basic tenets of my faith after reading major philosophical works pertaining to religion. I eventually saw my faith as untenable, and abandoned it for a largely naturalist perspective. I have a BA in Philosophy (specialization in Logic & Philosophy of Science) from Sacramento State … [Read more...]

Whites-only Christian Gathering in Alabama?!?

According to MSNBC, "A three-day whites-only religious conference — which will conclude with a flaming cross — in Lamar County, Alabama, has some residents upset at the racist implications while the minister complains that his freedom of speech is being violated."""Yes, we believe that the Europeans and their descendants are the chosen people of God," according to the website for Christian Identity Ministries, which is holding the event with Church of God’s Chosen. "We believe this, not beca … [Read more...]

Ryan Stringer’s “Evil and Skeptical Theism”

The following was just published in the Secular Web's Modern Library:"Evil and Skeptical Theism" by Ryan StringerAbstract:In this paper I critique a response to atheistic arguments from evil that has been called "skeptical theism." I start by formulating a simple atheistic argument from evil and briefly justifying its two premises. Then I defend the argument against a skeptical theist's potential response. First, I indirectly defend my argument by arguing that skeptical theism is both … [Read more...]

Changing the Boy Scouts of America’s Policy on Gays from Within

Interesting news on the BSA:A high-profile member of the Boy Scouts of America's governing board says he doesn't support the Scouts' policy of excluding gays and will work from within to seek a change. Ernst & Young CEO James Turley, whose accounting firm has welcomed gays and lesbians in its own work force, becomes the first member of the Scouts' Executive Board known to publicly disapprove of the policy. "I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people … [Read more...]

LINK: Are Mermaids Real?

PZ Myers pretty much sums it up.It’s sad that NOAA even had to issue this statement.But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found Are there any government agencies that would like to take a stand on elves, leprechauns, pixies, and Bigfoot?LINK … [Read more...]

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence (ECREE), Part 3: Is ECREE False? A Reply to T. Kurt Jaros

As a follow-up to my last post on extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (ECREE), I'm going to respond to a blog post by T. Kurt Jaros. As in my previous posts,let B represent our background information; E represent our evidence to be explained; H be an explanatory hypothesis, and ~H be the falsity of H.Objection: "The trouble with the first part [of the phrase ("extraordinary claims")] is that we’re not quite certain what precisely are extraordinary claims. Again, whether a c … [Read more...]

The Poverty of Theistic Morality

In an effort to increase visibility of an article that has been largely ignored by theists, I thought it would be interesting to discuss what Adolf Grünbaum has to say about the theistic implications of morality in his excellent essay, "The Poverty of Theistic Morality." He writes:One vital lesson of that analysis will be that, contrary to the widespread claims of moral asymmetry between theism and atheism, neither theism nor atheism as such permit the logical deduction of any judgments of moral … [Read more...]


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