Is It Completely Unfair for Dawkins to Equate “Faith” with “Blind Trust”?

While going through some old files, I discovered this passage at the end of a book review. The book being reviewed was Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath. The reviewer was Paul Pardi, a philosopher at Seattle Pacific University. Here is what Pardi wrote: "I also have one technical contention to make with McGrath on the topic of faith as blind trust. In taking Dawkins to task on this point, McGrath does not seem to account for the fideist tradition and the i … [Read more...]

Sins of Omission: What the Bible does not Say

The Bible was written in ancient times by many authors. Over a thousand years separated the earliest from the most recent writings. Naturally, the Bible reflects the cultural and intellectual milieus of the times and places of its composition. Unless one is theologically committed to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, it should not be embarrassing that biblical writings reflect a pre-modern cosmology or that the biblical scale of earth history is off by six orders of magnitude off (4.6 billion … [Read more...]

Christianity without Belief in the Resurrection?

BBC News has a story describing an interesting survey. Several particular results stand out: Half of the respondents reported that they do not believe that the Resurrection happened. But of these, many also identified as Christians. About one-fourth of respondents who identified as Christians reported that they do not believe that the Resurrection occurred. So much for 1 Corinthians 15:14. According to the BBC story, it is also true that 9% of people identifying as non-religious … [Read more...]

Soulless

Things have been a bit slow here at SO the past couple of weeks with Jeff and others spending time bashing Donald Trump (an entirely worthwhile enterprise), so I will try to enliven things a bit. Although the notion plays no part in neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, or any other of the sciences of the brain and mind—where the regulative assumption has long been that the brain is sufficient for all mental functions—souls still have their defenders. By “soul” I mean a simple, s … [Read more...]

Trumping Enlightenment Values

David Brooks is one of the few conservative pundits that I can read without nausea. He actually knows something and respects those Enlightenment ideals of free and open inquiry. Here is what he has to say about Enlightenment Values:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/opinion/the-enlightenment-project.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0As I … [Read more...]

The Harm of Junk “Studies”

As a cat lover, this article from Huffington Post caught my eye:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cats-mental-illness-toxoplasma_us_58adc06ae4b03d80af714072?The "study" debunked here is just one example of many, many such junk "studies" that come out all the time. This junk science does enormous harm. There are all sorts of ax-grinders that sit in waiting for some purportedly scientific "study" to confirm their obsessions. Then we never hear the end of it, even after the junk has been t … [Read more...]

More Dangerous Silliness from the Religious Right

I just got this in a message from the Center for Inquiry about measures before the Florida Legislature:"Legislation that would grant special privileges to religious beliefs in public schools has been introduced by Florida Rep. Kimberly Daniels (D-Jacksonville), and Sen. Dennis Baxely (R-Ocala).The sponsors of the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act” (HB 303 and SB 436) claim the measures would protect the religious liberty of students, parents, and teachers. In f … [Read more...]

A Qualified Defense of Contempt

I was pleasantly surprised to see an op/ed by a professional philosopher in Sunday’s (1/29) Houston Chronicle. Karen Stohr’s essay “Our new age of contempt is on full display,” was first published in the New York Times. Stohr is an associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown and a senior research scholar at Georgetown’s Kennedy Center for Ethics. Professional philosophers, like other academics, tend to communicate eagerly with their peers, less eagerly with students, and less eagerly still wi … [Read more...]