Science in the [insert-name-of-scripture]

It may be an intellectual embarrassment, but the belief that the Quran anticipates modern science and technology is very widespread among Muslims. Zillions of websites tell their readers how the Quran miraculously reveals everything from the expansion of the universe to the details of embryology. I have a good deal on this sort of apologetics in An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam.There's a lot less of this sort of thing among Christians, but occasionally I run into it. Among … [Read more...]

Reasonable Doubts interview part 2

Part 2 of my interview on the Reasonable Doubts podcast is now available online.This part (the last) of the interview also concerns Islam. It focuses not on Islam and science, but issues about proper secularist criticism of Islam. The hosts also have an interesting discussion on Islam and similar issues among themselves.Support Reasonable Doubts; it really is a nice program. … [Read more...]

Reinterpreting Islam

A Turkish project to reinterpret and reject some of the hadith (traditions handed down from the Prophet and his Companions) seems to have attracted some media attention. This BBC story, for example, talks of "radical revision" and hints at a religious reformation.The Turkish newspapers that I follow online don't seem to be making as much of a big deal of it. From what I can see, the radical nature of what the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs is doing is a bit hyped. It is true, however, … [Read more...]

High weirdness

Like many creationism-watchers, I regularly visit sites such as The Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis, and so on. I like weirdness, and these are good places to find views that are very weird from a mainstream scientific standpoint.Today I ran into a paper in the Answers Research Journal that is high weirdness indeed: "An Apology and Unification Theory for the Reconciliation of Physical Matter and Metaphysical Cognizance" by Desmond P. Allen. Hoo boy. I don't know how to describe … [Read more...]

Candidates and deities

Today's This Modern World cartoon should be of interest to those who do "not profess belief in the one true grouping of deities." … [Read more...]

Pew Forum survey on American religion

A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life of 35,000 Americans found that 44% of them have changed affiliations between "major faith traditions," such as from Baptist to Methodist. 28% have switched between traditions.Protestants make up a bare majority of Americans--51.3%.16% classify themselves as not affiliated with any faith (despite only 7% being brought up that way), and 4% as atheist or agnostic.Mormons account for 1.7% of the population, Muslims 0.6%, and Hindus 0.4%.Those … [Read more...]

German children’s book against religion

Apparently, the German Family Ministry is trying to get a children's book critical of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam "to be included on a list of literature considered dangerous for young people." The book includes religious figures depicted in unflattering, broadly stereotypical ways.Now, it looks like the book is indeed offensive, in the sense that if I were religious, I'd certainly be offended by it. But I don't know how much of this would be religious hypersensitivity. Children's … [Read more...]

Art, schmart

Occasionally I run into the complaint that without the influence of religious culture, art suffers. Modern art, apparently, is the inevitable result of a civilization that has lost interest in God; it is the sort of ugly, purposeless, offensive stuff you get when art loses track of transcendent ideals.I guess if you believe in Beauty with a capital B, and that art (should that be Art?) should be about reaching into the higher Platonic realms to nourish the soul or whatever, some of this might … [Read more...]