New Chick Tract

OK, from last month, but I’ve been away for a while. Read more

The Meaning of ‘miracle’ – Part 3

Swinburne’s description of Aquinas’ concept of a ‘miracle’: Aquinas wrote that a ‘miracle’ in a wide sense is any event brought about by a rational agent in virtue of powers greater than normal human powers; and so many events brought about by demons or angels would count as miracles. But in a strict sense, he claims, a miracle is that which occurs outside the whole system of created nature; it is that which no other agent except God has the… Read more

“DM” nailed?

“DM,” who had been flooding this blog with threats (which occasionally got through the spam filter and other trapping devices), finally seems to have overreached. We’ll see if he stops. It would save me some time and general headaches. Read more

Rest is a human need

At ten-years-old, while still an Orthodox Jew, I wondered why an all-powerful God had to take a day off each week to rest. I also worried about what bad things might happen to us if such a controlling God should fall asleep at the wheel of the universe. As an atheist, I now appreciate the sentiment of a perceptive biblical writer more than I did when I believed rest was a commandment from God. Occasionally the Bible gets it right,… Read more

Laws of Supernature

On his Dangerous Idea blog Victor Reppert reprints an old exchange between us (we have been going at it for over 35 years now): An Old Exchange between Keith Parsons and myself over theistic explanations This is one that appears in my paper on Hume on Miracles, Frequencies and Prior Probabilities. [Parsons] Science is unavoidably naturalistic, or atheistic if you prefer. Science operates in terms of scrutable, independently testable entities that operate in accordance with knowable regularities. Supernatural beings, on… Read more

Human solutions for human problems

Prayer, at best, can be an effective placebo. It helps believers feel they are doing something positive, and prayers might even “cure” some psychosomatic disorders. Now let’s look at the prayers of politicians. Several presidential candidates asked God whether they should run, and God said “yes.” Funny how God’s plan always seems to be the same as that of the politician who asks for guidance. God even told Tim Scott, my congressman, that he should oppose the Boehner Bill to… Read more

The Day of Prayin’ and Eatin’

Our Governor Goodhair held his fundamentalist pep rally in Houston Saturday. Though only 8000 had registered for the event about 30,000 attended as megachurches—like John Hagee’s in San Antonio—bused in the faithful. Except for a few mentions of abortion, the speakers kept it strictly apolitical, scrupulously avoiding the wedge issues that have inflamed the culture wars. Good to know the event had nothing to do with politics. It wasn’t an even with a likely presidential candidate currying favor with fundamentalist… Read more

In Defense of the Prayerapalloza

Since I believe in fair and balanced blogging (ahem), and since I have been very critical of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s fundamentalist pep rally to be held at Houston’s Reliant Stadium tomorrow, I am reprinting here a letter to the editor of The Houston Chronicle defending the event:Satan deceivesI was totally disgusted by the article “Perry day at Reliant: Piety and politics?” (Page A1, Sunday). The article criticized Gov. Rick Perry for calling a prayer meeting for our nation that… Read more

The Meaning of ‘miracle’ – Part 2

Let’s start with Swinburne’s description of Aquinas’ concept of a ‘miracle’:Aquinas wrote that a ‘miracle’ in a wide sense is any event brought about by a rational agent in virtue of powers greater than normal human powers; and so many events brought about by demons or angels would count as miracles. But in a strict sense, he claims, a miracle is that which occurs outside the whole system of created nature; it is that which no other agent except God… Read more

Militant atheism, militant Christianity

In South Carolina, where I live, the Confederate flag is prominently displayed on the grounds of the State Capitol. Many of us want it moved to a museum that contains artifacts of the Civil War (also referred to as “The War of Northern Aggression”). That’s why I’m somewhat conflicted about whether the cross-shaped steel beam found in the rubble of 9/11 should be placed in a museum that memorializes the event. The courts might have to decide whether this cross… Read more

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