Back when I was the moderator of the USENET newsgroup alt.atheism.moderated, I used to debate the definition of atheism and I used to defend the atheism as the lack of belief position. I’m persuaded, however, by Ted Drange that by default we should define our terms in a way which matches ordinary usage. Ordinary usage of the word “atheism” is that it means the belief that God does not exist. I see no benefit whatsoever to the proposal that nontheists… Read more

I haven’t been a regular, active participant on message boards for years, but I recently decided to participate in the thread at Rational Skepticism about my 2006 post, “How to be an Atheist Apologist.” The topics we’ve discussed include:Is the concept of an “atheist apologist” even coherent or is just a contradiction in terms?Where was the sarcasm in my post? Was there any sarcasm in my post?Introduction to basic terminology in Bayesian confirmation theory, e.g., prior probability, explanatory power, etc.Whether… Read more

A key claim made by Christian apologists who defend the resurrection goes like this: (JAW) Jesus of Nazareth was alive and walking around unassisted on the first Easter Sunday.This claim is either true or it is not. In posts 7 through 10 of this series, I have been examining the implications of the supposition that (JAW) is not true. This supposition appears to represent five different logical possibilities, as illustrated in the following diagram.JIM = Jesus is a myth.JA =… Read more

Dear Bleaders,I wrote a little essay on Christopher Hitchens and the meaning of life and death for the Ottawa Citizen called “For Atheists This Life is Enough.” Maybe have a look? Maybe tell me what you think.x Jennifer Read more

This is an interesting article that I find largely congenial:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-clayton-phd/science-religion-religious-minimalism_b_1143257.htmlI do wonder what the authors mean by “humility,” which is an attitude they recommend for both believers and non-believers. Humility is a Christian virtue, and it has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, a dose of humility can be a fine corrective for some of the overweening arrogance on display, for instance, among the “self-made men” of Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. There is no such thing as… Read more

The incomparable Christopher Hitchens has died.I never met him, but I already miss him. Read more

Internet Infidels just published the following on The Secular Web: “The Presumption of Naturalism and the Probability of Miracles: A Reply to Keith Parsons” by Don McIntosh.Abstract:In Chapter Four of Science, Confirmation, and the Theistic Hypothesis, Keith Parsons defends the dictum that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence as part of a general critique of miracle claims which aims to defend naturalism as a rational operating philosophy against potential defeaters. In this defense of miracle claims Don McIntosh argues, first, that… Read more

As the end-of-the-year approaches, now is a great time to consider making a charitable donation to support the Internet Infidels and The Secular Web.Hundreds of scholarly authors and other writers have donated time and effort to make their insights freely available and easily accessible to all by publishing on the Secular Web. Behind the scenes, others have donated substantial amounts of time and effort peer reviewing article submissions to ensure that they represent the best scholarship available.Our virtual library is… Read more

A key claim made by Christian apologists who defend the resurrection goes like this: (JAW) Jesus of Nazareth was alive and walking around unassisted on the first Easter Sunday.We are considering the implications of the following supposition:4. (JAW) is false.On this supposition, there are three logical possibilities:A. Jesus was not alive on the first Easter Sunday.B. Jesus was alive on the first Easter Sunday but did not walk at all that day.C. Jesus was alive on the first Easter Sunday… Read more

In chapter 4 of his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins advances an argument for atheism he calls the “Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit,” in reference to Fred Hoyle’s famous comment about a Boeing 747 arising by chance in a junkyard.[26] Just as Hoyle’s argument appeals to the (alleged) improbability of evolution, Dawkins’s argument appeals to the (alleged) extreme improbability of God. Indeed, the title of chapter 4 is, “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.” Dawkins is not a philosopher… Read more

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