“ReasonFest” in Lawrence, KS

The University of Kansas Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics is putting on a two-day festival May 6-7th. The first annual ReasonFest features a debate between Dan Barker and John-Mark Miravalle on "Does God Exist?" and a full day of secular speakers including Darrel Ray, Tom Clark, Hemant Mehta, James Underdown, and Annie Laurie Gaylor.For more information, see the media release, a promo video, or a facebook notice. … [Read more...]

To hell with the Democrats

The first US national election I got to vote in was 1988. I was disgusted with Reagan, and worried about the 1980s incarnation of the religious right. So I voted Democratic, and they lost.In the 1992 presidential elections, I voted Democratic again. I was now thoroughly sick of the American right wing. The Democrats won: we got Clinton, Republican-lite. That was an improvement, I suppose. The Religious Right had less direct influence. Still, it was a center-right government, and all I ended up … [Read more...]

British imam in trouble for defending evolution

The New Scientist reports on a British imam (prayer leader) who is in hot water in his religious community because he defended evolution as being compatible with a non-literally interpreted Quran.A few notes:I would guess that Usama Hasan defends a version of guided evolution—intelligent design through common descent. Even watered-down compromises like guided evolution are very controversial in some Muslim communities. Explicit (rather than unconsidered default) creationism tends to be stronger i … [Read more...]

Can it add up?

One thing I appreciate about more conservative varieties of supernatural belief is that it is, sometimes, false. Oh, ordinary religion has plenty of vagueness, indeterminacy, and various unclarities of meaning. But it also has enough anthropomorphism, allegedly historical stories, and similar linkages to ordinary cognition that, with some work, it can be patched up to achieve some form of intelligibility.What follows is disappointing, since invariably such supernatural-claims-made-respectable … [Read more...]

Brian Leiter on boycotting Synthese

I don't consider the Intelligent Design movement of much intellectual interest anymore. It remains, however, fascinating from a political and cultural point of view.So, make what you will about this latest political flap. The ID movement has brought some influence to bear on a usually well-respected philosophy of science journal, Synthese. Brian Leiter describes a boycott effort being organized as a consequence.This is likely to remain largely an issue in academic circles. Still, it bears … [Read more...]

The Problem with Metaphysical Naturalism (According to Victor Reppert)

Victor Reppert and I have had a long series of exchanges (thirty five years) dating back to when we were both graduate students at Emory University. I do not think that we would come to agreement even if we were granted another thirty five years to debate, but I am determined at least to get clear on the grounds of some of our disagreements. As always, philosophical debate is impeded by the slipperiness of definitions. You think that you have ably refuted an opponent’s claim that X is Y, and he r … [Read more...]

More detail or less?

It's a common observation in psychology and behavioral economics that normal human reasoning often violates formal norms. Many people might, for example, judge it more probable that a librarian will be an introvert and wear glasses compared to a question about librarians just wearing glasses. It should be the other way around, since among librarians that wear glasses, some will not be introverts. Vivid conformity to a stereotype, compared to a more generic situation, can make a description seem … [Read more...]

Twisted Script

Well-known novelist Richard Hoyt has written Twisted Script, a novel that satirizes both Evangelicalism and Islam. Apparently he's had trouble getting it published through conventional means. (Surprise, surprise.) So he's making it available very cheaply online. If anyone is interested, take a look. … [Read more...]


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