War on Thanksgiving?

Many religious believers and atheists alike express regret at the crass materialism shown this time of year, when Thanksgiving now represents the prelude to a shopping spree for Christmas presents on “Black Friday.” I gained an appalling insight watching television on the Saturday after “Black Friday.” First I saw frenzied crowds of Egyptian protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, risking their lives to demand freedom. Then I saw frenzied crowds of American shoppers, trying to push others aside to s … [Read more...]

Atheistic Teleological Arguments, Part 1

Wesley SalmonSince Michael Martin begins his chapter on atheistic teleological arguments (ATAs) with a discussion of Wesley Salmon's 1978 article, "Religion and Science: A New Look at Hume's Dialogues," let us review Salmon's argument.[1] My goal now is simply to figure out what Salmon's argument is; I will defer an assessment of Salmon's argument until later. Some readers, especially those who are not philosophers or who are not familiar with the different interpretations of … [Read more...]

Atheistic Teleological Arguments: Index

I first learned about so-called "atheistic teleological arguments" (ATAs) when I read Michael Martin's Atheism: A Philosophical Justification in 1995. When I first read Martin's chapter on ATAs, I found them very puzzling. Since 1995 I have thought about them off and on but without investing the time to really understand them. Since I have learned much about Bayesian confirmation theory since 1995, I've decided to finally attempt a formal assessment of ATAs once and for all.The purpose of … [Read more...]

Amazon Review of my Hell Essay

Someone named James D. Zimmerman has reviewed the volume The End of Christianity, edited by John Loftus (Prometheus; 2011) on Amazon. I found this paragraph especially interesting:So, “many Christian denominations have long since dispensed with hell?” I wonder which ones these are. Catholics? The Greek Orthodox? Southern Baptists? Here is what the Greek Orthodox Catechism says awaits people following the final judgment:The condition of each individual will no more be changed, but those, who have … [Read more...]

Help Wanted: What is the Primary Source for This Quotation of Bertrand Russell?

From time to time I run across the familiar story about Bertrand Russell being asked how he would justify his nonbelief if he were suddenly in the presence of God. According to the story, Russell replied, "I'd say, 'Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence!"The earliest source I have been able to find for this quotation is:Wesley Salmon, "Religion and Science: A New Look at Hume's Dialogues." Philosophical Studies 33 (1978): 143-76 at 176, n. 20.Does anyone know if Salmon's article is … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 3

David Marshall has posted a critique of my first post in this series about the resurrection of Jesus.Here is the first in the series of my posts on the resurrection:http://secularoutpost.infidels.org/2011/11/argument-against-resurrection-of-jesus.htmlHere is Marshall's critique of that post:http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2011/11/is-resurrection-impossible-response-to.htmlThere are several points of criticism raised by Marshall (about 11 that I see). I have replied to two of Marshall's … [Read more...]

Louise Antony on Obedience to God

Obedience to such a God [i.e., the vengeful, despotic God depicted in the pages of the Hebrew Bible] would not be morally virtuous; it would be, at best, prudent. One does not owe allegiance to another being simply because that being is stronger. And it does not matter if the being in question is responsible for your very existence. No one thinks that an abused child is morally obliged to obey an abusive parent, simply because the parent gave the child life. Parents do not own their children, … [Read more...]

A Thanksgiving Gift from Emily

Dear Bleaders,"Faith" is a fine inventionWhen Gentlemen can see--But Microscopes are prudentin an Emergency.A favorite of mine from Emily Dickinson, offered here as a little digestif to your worldly feasts. Happy Thanksgiving. (Reread the poem slowly as if Lauren Becall were saying it into your ear very dramatically with an almost full honey stop on every verb and use all four syllables for E-mer-gen-cy. Anyway, that's just a serving suggestion, you can shoot it howsomever you like.)We're … [Read more...]


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