Angry atheists etc.

Last night I gave a talk on "Angry Atheists and Soulless Scientists: Stereotypes of nonbelief in the era of the 'New Atheism'". The link is to the slides of the talk (.pptx). It was interesting, especially the discussion that followed.Thanks to all the readers here who helped me when I asked about common stereotypes about nonbelief a few months ago. … [Read more...]

Adoration of science

Vic Stenger has a very nice slogan: "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."It's nice and catchy. Memorable. It inspires my envy, because I'll never come up with anything that good. It's too bad I find myself in such disagreement with what it actually says.I guess a common objection might be to ask whether it's fair to blame religion in such a blanket sense. But that's not my gripe. In context, Stenger is saying that it takes something like a set of beliefs in … [Read more...]

Can there be an effective reply to the Kalam Cosmological Argument persuasive for the ‘common man or woman,’ and for commonsensible philosophers?

Joshua Rasmussen’s post “More Reflections on Bill Craig and Wes Morriston on the Kalam Cosmological Argument” (April 29, 2009), accessible at, has initiated many interesting and thoughtful comments about the merits of the KCA. Rasmussen had occasion to remark in his initial post: “My sense is that the Kalam argument is more likely to appeal to the common man or woman than to your average philosopher. From the common man’s perspective, beginnings ob … [Read more...]

Philosophy (eye-roll)

I don't expect analytic philosophy of religion to be able to settle much about a God, any more than I'd expect an analytic philosophy of botany to be able to tell me how to obtain a banana.Whenever you think you might have a nice armchair argument for atheism, the cure is simple. Summon a few theistic philosophers and they'll pick it apart. And vice versa.You'd think that since it's long been clear that all philosophy of religion is capable of doing is to cancel itself out, we'd have moved on to … [Read more...]

Trilemma Update

On my blog, I have recently returned to working on an analysis and evaluation of the Trilemma argument for the deity of Jesus: #8 and on: Does the evidence from the synoptic Gospels for the premise that "Jesus claimed to be God" hold up under closer examination?Posts #4 - #7: Most leading Jesus scholars reject the assumption that the Gospel of John is a reliable source of the words and teachings of Jesus, so we can safely ignore about … [Read more...]

Quantum drivel for ID

As a rule of thumb, never trust anything coming from a non-physicist with the word "quantum" in it. Hell, be wary even when it comes from a physicist. For example, don't too easily trust philosophical musing about quantum physics emanating from the first generation of physicists who were inventing quantum mechanics. They were just trying to figure out what the blazes was going on, and inescapably they went down many blind alleys in the process. That's how it goes.Here's an example of quantum … [Read more...]

Non-drinkers of bottled water

I'm going to give a talk next month on atheists and stereotypes next month. It occurs to me that "atheist" is not a natural kind, and I'm wondering if the following analogy might help to bring this across.People who don't believe in a God are like people who don't drink bottled water. Statistically speaking, the group might have some noticeable characteristics, but you're still lumping distinct subgroups together. People who refuse bottled water might be, statistically speaking, more likely to … [Read more...]

Does God Hate Women?

I've just read Does God Hate Women? by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom. They very effectively point out how conservative religious doctrines on gender roles subordinate women.I got the book not just because of Benson and Stangroom's excellent reputation as no-nonsense skeptics, but because I wanted a single go-to source I can use or cite as representative of secular liberal opposition to conservative religious insistence on confining women to the domestic and reproductive realm. Does God … [Read more...]