Nice declaration, but…

The Secular Islam Summit earlier this month appears to have produced "The St Petersburg Declaration," which expresses some very agreeable sentiments. Normally I'd endorse it, and encourage others to endorse it as well. But I find it hard to support an event organized by some thoroughly vile neocon figures such as Michael Leeden, is dripping with hard-right US and Israeli nationalist connections, and so far seems to be celebrated by the right-wing press who are not generally allies of secularism … [Read more...]

We live in the land of biblical idiots

That's the headline of an opinion piece in today's Los Angeles Times by Stephen Prothero.Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, is author of a new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't. Part of his book is based on a "religious literacy quiz" he has given to his undergraduate students for the last two years, the results of which show that the majority consider themselves to be religious Christians, but are profoundly ignorant of … [Read more...]

An Illusion of Harmony interview

I should be on the "Faith and Freethought" internet radio show tomorrow at 8pm-9pm Eastern time to discuss An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam. … [Read more...]

13th District of California: holy smiting imminent?

The Secular Coalition of America reports that Rep. Pete Stark of the 13th Congressional District of California has acknowledged his nontheism in response to their inquiries. A Los Angeles Times article carries a little more detail:"When the Secular Coalition asked me to complete a survey on my religious beliefs, I indicated I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being," Stark said. "Like our nation's founders, I strongly support the separation of church and state. I … [Read more...]

Good week for infidels in the book world

The 11 March New York Times bestseller list for hardcover books includes five that should be of interest and possible encouragement to infidels: The God Delusion and Letter to a Christian Nation are still there, of course, at #12 and #24 respectively; Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel is on for its third week, at #7; and they are newly joined by Chris Hedges' American Fascists, at #13, and Victor J. Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis at #21. Not altogether bad.Of course, we are all expecting An … [Read more...]

An Illusion of Harmony

It's out! An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam is now available in bookstores, amazon.com, etc. etc. Just in time, John Gray has a full-length review in the latest New Scientist. With any luck, An Illusion of Harmony will benefit from the current public interest in all things Islamic.Buy the book! It won't make me rich, but if you want decent, accessible critiques of religion to be available to the general public, you should support books like this when they are published. (OK, … [Read more...]

Secular Islam Summit

On March 4, 5, in St Petersburg, Florida, a "Secular Islam Summit" appears to be scheduled. Nice idea. It wouldn't hurt to have more discussion of secularist ideas in a Muslim context. And it could be interesting to see what comes out of a gathering of secular-oriented dissidents with Muslim roots.Unfortunately, I don't see the summit as shaping up that way. Right now, it's bringing together too many people who confuse desire for a more secular Islamic culture with praise of American and Israeli … [Read more...]

Forthcoming books

My Science and Nonbelief came out in 2006. Unfortunately, the hardcover costs $65, which is absurdly expensive. Too bad, because it's a damn good book, and I like that I was able to include a good number of illustrations to help the text along.Anyway, the good news is that Prometheus picked up the paperback rights, and the new edition will be coming out this November, for $18.95. Much more reasonable.While I'm at it, I have a completely new book coming out in just a couple of weeks: An Illusion … [Read more...]

Those Crazy Jewish Evolutionists

International Jewish conspiracies and anti-evolution screeds all rolled into one [link]. The money quote:The memo points to "indisputable evidence" that "evolution science has a very specific religious agenda" and refers readers to a Web site that asserts the universe revolves around the earth. It also suggests that Jewish physicists are part of the force behind a "centuries-old conspiracy" to destroy the Christian teachings of Earth's origins. … [Read more...]

Fundamentalist scientists

A previous student of mine pointed out an interesting article in The New York Times, on a fundamentalist Ph.D. geologist who is a young earther. Now there's someone who's going to have an interesting career.Not that this sort of thing is hugely unusual. Back when I was in graduate school (almost 20 years ago now—urh) I knew another physics Ph.D. student who was very conservatively religious and was inclined toward a young-earth position. It's a crazy position to hold if you're going to be a … [Read more...]