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...]

Why Be Skeptical?

According to my old American Heritage Dictionary (2nd College edition, 1982), a “skeptic” is a person “who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.”  This seems to come close to what I have in mind when I support the view that students should be taught to be skeptical as a part of teaching students to become critical thinkers.However, this definition is a bit too weak.  Someone who only questioned “assertions” or “conclusio … [Read more...]

Questions Concerning the Existence of God

It does not look like I can retire this year, maybe next year (it could happen!).  But I think I will start my ten-year plan to develop a multi-volume critique of Christianity in January, even if I'm still working my 9 to 5 job.Part of evaluating Christianity is evaluating the fundamental metaphysical claim that 'God exists'.   If there is no God, then, obviously, there is no Son of God or God Incarnate, so the truth of most of the other basic Christian beliefs depends on the truth of t … [Read more...]

Link: Why the Argument from Causal Closure Against the Existence of Immaterial Things is Bad

I am quoting the abstract of this paper here, without comment pro or con, for interested readers who may wish to read the paper for themselves. Feel free to debate in the combox. Abstract. Some argue for materialism claiming that a physical event cannot have a non-physical cause, or by claiming the 'Principle of Causal Closure' to be true. This I call a 'Sweeping Naturalistic Argument'. This article argues against this. It describes what it would be for a material event to have an immaterial c … [Read more...]

LINK: What is a Physical Object? by Ned Markosian

I am quoting the abstract of this paper here, without comment pro or con, for interested readers who may wish to read the paper for themselves. Feel free to debate in the combox. Abstract: The concept of a physical object has figured prominently in the history of philosophy, and is probably more important now than it has ever been before. Yet the question What are physical objects?, i.e., What is the correct analysis of the concept of a physical object?, has received surprisingly little at … [Read more...]


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