Unabashedly Self-Promoting Blurb

John Loftus' latest anthology, The End of Christianity has been printed by Prometheus and is now being distributed. I have an essay in the book titled "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine." (BTW, John and Victor Reppert are having a knock-down-drag-out squabble on their respective blogs--Debunking Christianity and Dangerous Idea--about what John calls 'the outsider test of faith.' The imbroglio now seems to be generating rather more heat than light.) I really enjoyed doing the piece on … [Read more...]

Son of Naturalism and Norms

First, apologies if I am boring the hell out of everyone but a few of us fanatics with yet another sequel on naturalism and norms. It is just that I think the issues are very important, and I have gotten such terrific feedback on these points, that I am going to post a couple more replies to Philip K. and Dianelos.Philip K, Your commentary raises a good many deep issues, so many that pursuing them all would take us far afield and far exceed the space we have to address matters here. I think that … [Read more...]

Religious Reminiscences

We usually debate weighty issues on SO, but I thought I would offer something a bit lighter. For fun I am writing a memoir (I was inspired by Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid) of growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in the '50's and early 60's. These are my religious reminiscences. Names have been changed. Mom and Dad were both practicing Christians. Grace was said before every meal. Mom read us Bible stories at bedtime. We were church members and regular attendees. … [Read more...]

The Monty Hall Problem – Part 3

I'm going to make two objections to standard justifications of the correct answer to the Monty Hall problem. The conclusion to an unsound argument can still be true, so if I'm successful at showing that there is a problem with the reasoning supporting the accepted answer to the problem, this will not show that the accepted answer is false, just that the justification of the answer is faulty.At a high level, the two objections are that the standard justification (1) begs the question, and (2) … [Read more...]

Naturalism and Norms (Postscript)

Philip K asks some very probing and incisive questions about ethical naturalism (EN) in his comment on my post “Naturalism and Norms.” These questions raise issues too large and too important to be addressed in the very limited space of a comment box, so I am making a new post. He puts two questions to the ethical naturalist:Here are two questions, then. First, is it an empirical discovery that the members of each species have a natural purpose, a proper endpoint? Second, is the ethical nat … [Read more...]

The Monty Hall Problem – Part 2

These probability tree diagrams represent a standard line of reasoning in support of the 'correct' answer to the Monty Hall problem. … [Read more...]

Changing minds

A student I ran into recently told me that I, along with his roommate, was the reason he became an atheist. Apparently when in a questioning period, he went to a panel discussion on campus where I represented a godless infidel perspective, and this helped tip the balance.Now, I don't want to exaggerate my influence, though everyone who teaches is gratified when occasionally a student gets something deeper from what we do than just a passing grade. I'm sure his roommate and other peers have had a … [Read more...]

The Monty Hall Problem – Part 1

This post is off topic, but there are math and logic buffs out there who might enjoy a discussion of the Monty Hall problem, and I'm hoping to get some feedback on some thoughts I have about a standard solution to the problem.Fig Leaf JustificationAtheists and Naturalists are a minority group. Most people in the USA believe in God. So those who are doubters and skeptics are generally clear on the idea that the majority can be in the wrong, and also that smart people can believe stupid things. … [Read more...]