Secular Scandinavia

Well, I'm back from my trip to Norway and Sweden, and when you add this to my previous trip to Denmark, I can now pretend to be an expert on all things Scandinavian.Still, I did have a chance to ask locals (humanities and social science types, mostly) about whether the Scandinavian reputation for secularity and irrelevance of religion to much of the population is accurate. The answers I got were mostly yes. Some observed that newagey paranormal beliefs can be very popular, but it's also true … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 1

Richard Swinburne's case for God can be broken down into five phases:I.  The Coherence of TheismII.  The Nature of the Universe as Evidence for GodIII. The Nature of Human Life as Evidence for GodIV.  Religious Experience as Evidence for GodV.  The Life of Jesus as Evidence for GodPhase I is presented in Swinburne's book The Coherence of Theism (revised edition, hereafter: COT).  He argues that the assertion 'God exists' makes a coherent and contingent factual … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

Jack Chick does global warming denial.As a bonus, Chick's "Was it ‘Global Warming’ or God’s Warning?" argues that extreme weather events in the US are due to the US not being friendly enough to Israeli interests. Presumably if we slaughter more Muslims, we will have fewer tornadoes. … [Read more...]

Messianic Prophecy

Since The Secular Outpost is more focused on naturalism and atheism, and because I'm already making lots of posts here about the resurrection of Jesus, I'm continuing my critique of messianic prophecy on my own blog: plan to slowly work my way through the … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 17

A quick review of previous posts on this topic...Parts 7-10 discuss the first lemma of a dilemma argument.The first lemma is based on the supposition that JAW is not the case.JAW = Jesus was alive and walking around on the first Easter Sunday.Part 11 (December 17th) summarizes the previous discussion of the first lemma.I argued that if this basic Christian assumption is NOT the case, then the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is weak and we should conclude that the skeptical view of the … [Read more...]

Above is a Turkish news photo I include completely without any sort of context. Out of curiosity, how do readers interpret something like this? An illustration of Muslim womens' docility? An image of Muslim women remaining devout and yet claiming a place in the public sphere? That it's annoying that people behave like religious sheep in the 21st century? That it's a wonderful picture of human cultural diversity?  ...? … [Read more...]

The Brain and the Meaning of Life

The Brain and the Meaning of Life, by Paul Thagard (one of my favorite philosophers of science), is worth a look.It's intended for a more popular audience, so it doesn't have citations in the text or detailed arguments for his positions that could convince critics. It's a book that is, however, nicely expressive of a naturalist position without being a fully-fleshed out defense. I especially like how he uses ideas concerning inference to the best explanation to reject both religious claims to … [Read more...]

“False science”

Liberal religious figures baffle me when they make true but irrelevant pronouncements concerning how science does not strictly imply that their God is a fiction. But credit where it's due—at least they don't shit all over science like conservative God-botherers are wont to do. Take, for example, David Barton, the "historian" much favored by the Religious Right, who says things likeThere is science and there is science that is falsely so-called. See, the Bible doesn't have trouble with science, b … [Read more...]