Matthew Ferguson: PAMLA 2014 Paper: Philosophically Defining the Supernatural

From Ferguson's website: Yesterday I presented a conference paper at the 112th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA). The conference theme for this year was “Familiar Spirits,” and I presented a paper titled “Philosophically Defining the Supernatural.” The topic relates to previous articles that I have written, both here in my blog series on metaphysical naturalism and in an earlier article here.The paper that I presented yesterday represents my most … [Read more...]

Why be Skeptical? Reason #1 (Lying Cheating College Students)

Lying to Parents graph

If most people lie and deceive, and if people often lie and deceive,  then we have good reason to be skeptical.  We have seen in previous posts that most children lie and lie frequently,  and that most teenagers lie and cheat and do so frequently; it is now time to take a look at the behavior of college students.A study of lying in everyday life was conducted in which one group consisted of college students and a second group consisted of community members (ranging from 18 to 71 years old).   … [Read more...]

If You Think Atheists Should Ridicule Theistic Beliefs, Read This

This is a paper I started writing almost ten years ago, but never finished. Atheistic Advocacy as a Risk Communication Problem Jeffery Jay Lowder Abstract. In this paper, I introduce a new way of thinking about atheistic advocacy. In an important sense, atheism is a risk. Therefore, attempts to argue either for the truth of atheism or for the tolerance of atheists and atheist civil rights constitute risk communications. By applying the findings of risk communication scholars to … [Read more...]

Why be Skeptical? Reason #1 (Lying Cheating Teenagers)

One good reason why we should be skeptical is that people often lie, deceive, and cheat.This is not just my personal opinion. This is a fact, a fact established by scientific observation and research. I have presented factual scientific data showing that very young children lie, and that elementary age children lie frequently. Now it is time to look into how much teenagers lie, deceive, and cheat.I take it as an obvious truth that teenagers sometimes lie and deceive and teenagers … [Read more...]

Reza Aslan Claims Harris and Dawkins Aren’t Atheists

"Renowned scholar" Reza Aslan wrote an article for Salon.com with the title, "Sam Harris and 'New Atheists' Aren't New, Aren't Even Atheists." I don't know if this title was chosen by him or his editors, but it's false. To deny that Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins are atheists is as ridiculous as to deny that the Pope is Catholic.If one can look beyond the absurdity of the title's claim, however, I find much in the article to agree with.The "New Atheism" isn't new. Criticism of the "New … [Read more...]

Why be Skeptical? Reason #1 (Little Liars)

percent of transgressors who lied

If an adult person is not mentally ill and not mentally disabled, then he/she will answer YES to the following questions:1. Do children sometimes lie?2. Do teenagers sometimes lie?3. Do college students and young adults sometimes lie?4. Do adults sometimes lie?It take it to be UNCONTROVERSIAL that children, teenagers, young adults, and adults sometimes tell lies.There might be some who disagree about the claim that VERY YOUNG children tell lies (i.e. children who are only … [Read more...]

Why be Skeptical? Reason #1 (continued)

I was planning to focus on teenagers and adults in this post, but there seems to be some SKEPTICISM about the idea that babies and very young children are involved in deception and lying. Since skepticism, at least critical skepticism or skepticism which demands good reasons and solid evidence for claims, is a good thing in my view, I don't want to ignore or discourage such skepticism.Rather, I think we should take a closer look at some important facts and evidence on this question about … [Read more...]

Why be Skeptical? Reason #1

In a previous post I put forward seven reasons why we should be skeptical (Reason For Skepticism #7 is in the comments section).  In this post I'm going to provide some facts and data in support of Reason For Skepticism #1:(RFS1) People are often dishonest, deceptive, or have been deceived by others.Here is a nice summary statement about psychological research on this topic:Overall, the experimental evidence shows that when placed in the right (or wrong) situation, people are prone t … [Read more...]


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