The Best and Brightest Fanatics

An op-ed I wrote about Islam, "The Best and Brightest Fanatics," has been published in a number of newspapers internationally. I thought the Secular Outpost readership might enjoy it as well.The sobering thought is that this op-ed, a short piece where I can do very little with detail and nuance, and where I address a topic of current newsworthy interest rather than something that I really care about deeply and work upon, has reached the largest audience among everything I have ever written. … [Read more...]

Possible Worlds and the PSR

On his Dangerous Idea blog Victor Reppert quotes an argument that supports a version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). When philosophers start going on about possible worlds, I usually catch a whiff of snake oil. Such is the case here. This is the argument: ReppertIn the book In Defense of Natural Theology (IVP, 2005), Garrett DeWeese and Joshua Rasmussen wrote an essay entitled “Hume and the Kalam Cosmological Argument.” defend a version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which th … [Read more...]

L.A. Times religion reporter loses faith

William Lobdell, religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has written a moving account of the some of the stories he has covered and his journey into and out of faith. … [Read more...]

Reply to Vic Reppert on Cosmological Questions

My friend Vic Reppert was kind enough to address some responses to my “Atheist Manifesto” on his Dangerous Idea blog. I would like to address his comments. Vic and I go back thirty years or to the time that we were both students at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. I think Candler had a similar effect on both of us—it drove us to philosophy. Vic’s remarks were in response to one paragraph of my “manifesto”: When asked for reasons for thinking that God exists, most people reply with a … [Read more...]

“A False Quest for a True Islam”

Since I rant here on Islam-related issues, I should point out that Free Inquiry has just run my article, "A False Quest for a True Islam" and also put it on their web site. It points out what I think are some errors of secular critics of Islam. … [Read more...]

A Metaphysical Naturalist Manifesto

Keith Parsons, in his inaugural blog, declares that he is “new to this whole blogging thing, but [he] thought [he] would start off with a big post”—and thus provided us with his “Atheist Manifesto.” He expressed the desire “to hear what some of you think, and maybe get some others to submit their own manifestoes.” Well, what follows is my manifesto since I too am new to this whole blogging thing and thought I should also start off with a big post.By metaphysical naturalist I mean someone who hold … [Read more...]

In response to the challenge to reply to Michael Gerlson's argument against atheism, I offer the following:It is hard to say what exactly Mr. Gerlson’s argument is since it is not expressed very clearly or precisely. Reading between the lines, I think the argument may be reconstructed as follows: The problem of deriving an “ought” from an “is” is insuperable for atheistic naturalism, but does not exist for theists. From a naturalistic perspective, our instincts and impulses are all on a par. Our … [Read more...]

Open Question to All Atheists: Can You Answer This?

In a recent editorial commenting on "New Atheists" Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, Michael Gerlson presents the following purportedly unanswerable objection to atheism:But there is a problem. Human nature, in other circumstances, is also clearly constructed for cruel exploitation, uncontrollable rage, icy selfishness and a range of other less desirable traits.So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should … [Read more...]