What about improbable events?

In some corner of the multiverse, there exists a universe-bubble with physics close enough to our own to be recognizable, but different enough to make colonizing the stars feasible. In some point in this universes history, there was a Galactic Empire that ruled over many zillions of humans with an iron fist, imposing its religion upon all its subjects.According to the theology of the One True Faith, the gods were just. The gods cared deeply that judicial procedures and punishments be carried out … [Read more...]

Global Rebellion

Secular nationalism might not take a stand on supernatural beliefs, but it restricts the public role of religion. Citizens are expected to have an allegiance to a modern state and its political process, while their specifically religious commitments get relegated to private life. Legitimate coercion, including violence, and the task of imposing public order are monopolized by a secular state. Religions that emphasize cosmic order reflected on Earth, and that legitimize coercion in the context of … [Read more...]

Expelled Exposed

The National Center for Science Education, the premier creationist-watching organization, has put up a new web site, Expelled Exposed. It criticizes Expelled, the creationist movie about to appear in theaters very soon.It's worth a look, as Expelled seems to be getting good press in some conservative Christian circles. It's bound to help the "Christians are persecuted by secular academia" meme propagate further. … [Read more...]

Davis controversy

There's a minor uproar going on among secularists about Illinois state representative Monique Davis scolding an atheist activist, sayingWhat you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous . . . it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!Certainly an obnoxious outburst. But I also have a sneaky suspicion Davis stands out for being honest as well as perhaps bigoted.I would guess that Davis really, seriously believes in the whole package: God and the Devil, heaven a … [Read more...]

What do you mean by “meaning”?

Last year, a student told me that he could never accept evolution because that would destroy his faith, and without his faith, life would have no meaning.I think I remarked that that was interesting, and left it at that. I teach science, but I figure sorting out meaning-of-life issues is beyond my capabilities and not my job anyway. I guess I could have suggested that there are more liberal religious people who accept some version of evolution and seem to do fine in the religious meaning to life … [Read more...]

Missouri and “academic freedom”

I teach at a rather nice Missouri university, and Missouri, like many (most?) states in the US, gets quite a bit of conservative Christian pressure on state-supported science education.The feeling of being persecuted has deep roots in creationist movements. It's partially true, for that matter. Within the scientific community, the small minority of creationist scientists are usually treated like deviants, and often met with offhand contempt. The notion that people are hounded out their careers … [Read more...]

Berlinski’s new book

David Berlinski, the intelligent design proponent, is out with a new book, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions. Another hatchet job on Richard Dawkins & Co., by the looks of it. And the blurb for it online is not promising. Here are a couple of its bullet points:Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even … [Read more...]

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...]