The Argument from the Biological Role of Pain and Pleasure

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Biological vs. Philosophical Perspectives on Morality

(This is from my archives and is undated; I'm guessing I wrote this about a decade ago. I think it is still relevant, as evidenced by Jerry Coyne's article about explaining morality.)I recently updated one of the official FAQs for the *.atheism newsgroups. (For interested parties, I updated the "Atheist Media FAQ" at In private email, I received the following suggestion relative to the "morality and religion" section of my bibliography: "Good … [Read more...]

Help Wanted – Part 1

For the past two years I have, in my copious free time, been studying Richard Swinburne's case for God. Recently my focus has been on his evaluation of the cosmological argument (hereafter TCA) in his book The Existence of God, 2nd edition (hereafter EOG). His version of TCA is quite simple:e: A complex physical universe exists.Thereforeg: God exists.But Swinburne's argument about TCA is not so simple. Swinburne does not present TCA as a proof of the existence of God, nor does he claim that TCA … [Read more...]

Friendly Atheism, Reasonable Nonbelief, and Unfriendly Apologetics

I am what William Rowe calls a "friendly atheist." I respect many Christian philosophers and other theistic philosophers. I do not believe they are irrational or suffer from a mental disorder, as some "unfriendly atheists" have claimed.Similarly, I know Christian philosophers who I happily describe as "friendly theists;" I've always enjoyed my interactions with them. Other theists, on the other hand, may be described as "unfriendly theists." For example, some theists seem to believe--almost as a … [Read more...]

Why Are Members of the Clergy Assumed to be Moral Experts?

At (site now discontinued), I found a set of lecture notes entitled "Why religion is irrelevant to ethics". Here is a quotation I particularly liked: Why are members of the clergy (who presumably are experts in the theology of their particular sect) assumed to be experts in ethics? Why put them on ethics ommissions rather than taxi drivers or literature professors?This issue obviously boils down to presuppositions. If you assume a priori that a member … [Read more...]

Craig’s “Altar Calls”

(This is an old post from my archives, originally written around 2006.)I was watching the video of Craig's old debate with Henry Morgentaler, and the altar call at the end of his first rebuttal struck me. Craig invited Morgentaler to become a Christian. This isn't the first time he's done this; he did the same thing to Paul Kurtz when they debated.This led me to ask half-seriously, "What if Craig's opponent did the same thing to him?" For example, in the atheist's conclusion of their first … [Read more...]

When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

I chuckled when I stumbled upon a book with this name: "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People : Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage" by Dave Burchett … [Read more...]

LINK: Stairs on Parsons on Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology

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