Eighty Years Old and Still Scandalous

This year, of course, is the 150th anniversary year of the publication of On the Origin of Species. While the commemorations of Darwin and his revolutionary book are numerous, nobody seems to have noticed that this is also an anniversary year of another book that was in its own way revolutionary. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of Bertrand Russell's manifesto of sexual liberation, Marriage and Morals. At the time, Russell's book was considered quite shocking. Its … [Read more...]


Readers might be interested in checking out the imbroglio over on Victor Reppert's Dangerous Idea blog. It started on May 30 when he linked to William Lane Craig's argument that life without God is meaningless, and to my brief critique of Craig's claim. This posting elicited 32 comments (as of this writing), many of which are flowing with vitriol. A little of the vitriol has been squirted in my direction, for having the temerity to critique Craig, but most respondents have directed … [Read more...]

Evidence of absence

This blog might have been relatively quiet lately. At least I expected it to be so when I wrote this and put in in the pipeline to be posted later. That's because I seem to be doing most of the writing here, and when this appears, I'll be in the middle of some travels.So this is another case where absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. … [Read more...]

Headscarf politics

I often have occasion to complain about the nasty politics of the religious right in the United States. Still, to keep things in perspective, I should also be grateful it's not an Islamic religious right, and that our political culture, as corrupt as it is, is at least not a Middle Eastern political culture.Here's an example from a Turkish Islamist newspaper, Vakit. It's old news, from last month, and Türkan Saylan, the woman pictured, just died a week or two ago. But the level of nastiness is … [Read more...]

The Constitutional Rights, Privileges, and Immunities of the American People

I have not contributed any blog to the Secular Outpost for quite some time. And a decent respect for the opinions of humankind requires an explanation. The truth is that I have been very occupied with writing a book about the general theory of the constitutional rights of the American people. I am pleased to annouce that my book has been just been published. So here's the citation: The Constitutional Rights, Privileges, and Immunities of the American People: The Selective Incorporation of the … [Read more...]

New Chick Tracts

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Allen’s Fatuous Screed

I see that Taner has already had a crack at at Charlotte Allen's particularly inane and virulent diatribe against atheists, but I think it deserves a bit more comment. Actually, "deserves" is not the right word, because that implies that her effusions possess respectable intellectual content, worthy of reasoned riposte. They do not. Her remarks deserve contemptuous dismissal, and, after all, doesn't such a screed serve as its own best refutation? What a colleague of mine said about the … [Read more...]

“Whining atheist” stereotype

Charlotte Allen of the right-wing Manhattan Institute has an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times, "Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining." (Thanks to Eddie Tabash for the heads-up.)It's not much worthy of attention except for its airing of some common stereotypes about nonbelief the wave of "new atheism" seems to have activated. Allen describes atheists, represented by Dawkins, Hitchens & Co., as angry, whiners, suffering from a persecution complex, intellectually shallow, etc. etc. Thing … [Read more...]