Geert Wilders’ film “Fitna”

Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders' film, "Fitna" (Arabic for "strife" or "challenge"), has been released, first on LiveLeak (from which it has been removed) and now on YouTube (below). The film depicts unethical statements from the Koran and by Muslim leaders, as well as photographs of terrorist atrocities committed by radical Islamists. The government of Indonesia has called for YouTube to remove the video, and it has provoked calls for boycotts of Dutch goods. This will no doubt … [Read more...]

Islam surpasses Catholicism

According to the Vatican, Islam has passed Catholicism as the world religion with the largest number of adherents. The issue, according to monsignor Vittorio Formenti, is that "it is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer."He's not quite saying to Catholic women that they should get back to following church teaching and have large families, or the scary Muslim infidels will overrun them. … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

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“Power Lab” Bible School

While walking around my neighborhood, I noticed a large sign on the lawn of a minister's house. It said "Power Lab," with background iconography of an atom and a test tube. But it also said "Discovering Jesus' Miraculous Power" and "Vacation Bible School." I googled the lot when I got home. Apparently, you can buy a kit for this in Christian stores. And I noticed a good number of churches, of all sorts of denominations, have web pages up for this as their vacation bible schools. Fascinating. I … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (follow-up)

This is turning into the never ending series, but there are a couple of questions I thought were too interesting to bury in the comments.Sastra asks, "exactly how are you defining "metaphysics?" I'm not sure if you ever say, specifically. You seem to be taking it as the nature of "ultimate reality" -- but the word "ultimate" seems rather hazy and vague."It's got to be somewhat vague, I think. "Metaphysics" isn't one of those things you define by necessary and sufficient conditions. It's more of … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 5)

I'll wrap this up by saying why I care about the whole metaphysics and naturalism issue. I don't know if it's of any wide significance; after all, I've mainly been picking out a strand in naturalistic thinking and saying something about why I like it and why it fits my more science-centered prejudices. But in certain debates that I happen to care about, it matters.What I have foremost in mind is the unending struggle over creation and evolution. Due, I suppose, to the nature of political … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 4)

Well, what about knowledge apart from science? Can reasoning about morality be reduced to a form of science? Can mathematics? Or the multiple discourses of everyday life, from cooking to religion, that might be nonscientific but no less legitimate on their own terms? Even many naturalists leave these alone, resisting what they view as scientism or reductionism—particularly naturalist philosophers of a neopragmatic bent, such as Kai Nielsen. Pragmatists still shun metaphysics, but then, what … [Read more...]

Nonmetaphysical Naturalism (part 3)

Originally I had thought I'd break a long post into two parts, but then I got carried away. So this ended up as a kind of online note-taking and thinking out loud prompted by some recent books I've read. Oh well, here goes again...I've said I'm partial to the idea of rehabilitating metaphysics, bringing it out of the realm of armchair reflection and Platonic rationalism and seeing how it might play a role in systems that make contact with reality tests. There is, I think, another advantage to … [Read more...]