Freethinkers: A source guide has just put up "Freethinkers: A source guide to atheists, humanists and other nontheists." It's intended as a resource guide for journalists interested in various forms of nonbelief, but it's useful for other purposes as well. It's worth a quick look. … [Read more...]

More on Theistic Explanation

The discussion following my earlier post on "the hard problem" has gone on at rather great length, and has broached a number of topics. One of those topics has been theistic explanation, and Alex Dalton and Dianelos Georgoudis have raised some points that need further argument and clarification. First, when, if ever, would a rational atheist such as (ahem) myself be driven, "as a last resort" to admit that something is inexplicable on naturalistic terms and concede that it must be due to the … [Read more...]

St Louis “Skeptics in the Pub”

I'll be in St Louis on October 22, speaking at a "Skeptics in the Pub" event. It'll be about Islam and science, particularly Muslim creationism.It should be interesting. … [Read more...]

Neoconservatism and critics of Islam

Ibn Warraq, the well-known critic of Islam and author and editor of books such as Why I Am Not A Muslim, has left the Center for Inquiry to join the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative Washington DC think tank. [Thanks to David Harding for pointing this out to me.]There is an interesting tendency for the most vociferous critics of Islam to get wrapped up in neoconservative politics. Perhaps (and I can only speculate here) this has to do with the tendency for both popular … [Read more...]

American Ignorance

Growing Number of Americans Say Obama is a Muslim"A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) now say Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34%) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48% in 2009. Fully 43% say they do not know what Obama’s religion is." Religious Knowledge Survey"On average, Americans … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 10

One way of understanding "science" is that it is concerned with the discovery and verification of facts. But, what is a "fact"? The word "fact" has different meanings or shades of meaning, depending on what it is that we are contrasting with "fact". One important distinction is that of fact vs. theory.D. Fact vs. TheoryWhat I have in mind here is the idea that direct observations are where the rubber meets the road in science. Theories can be tweaked, revised, and even rejected, but "facts" or … [Read more...]

Another loss for Turkish secularism

Turkey recently had a referendum on constitutional changes, in which the ruling party enjoyed a crushing victory.The Western press, to the extent it paid attention, was preoccupied with questions such as whether this was a victory for democracy, and whether it was a victory for Islamism. The answer to both is yes. Western powers need not worry: the ruling Islamists in Turkey are loyal economic neoliberals, and they are far from the ridiculous bomb-tossing image of Islamism promoted by our holy … [Read more...]

The Sentence “God exists” – Part 4

In Part II of The Coherence of Theism (revised edition), Richard Swinburne discusses the idea of a "contingent God". This is because the characteristic of "necessary being" makes it so that, according to Swinburne, the concept of "God" cannot be defined in ordinary and non-stretched words. So, in Part II, Swinburne sets aside the property of being a "necessary being" to show that the other characteristics implied by the word "God" can be clarified and understood in terms of ordinary words … [Read more...]