Well, I’m still here.It also occurs to me that I would have very little opportunity for direct evidence of the Rapture a day after the promised date. I don’t have many friends or colleagues who would be good candidates for being taken up in the air.Maybe if I were to go down to the supermarket and it seemed especially uncrowded? I’ll have to see what happens. I shouldn’t run out of milk until Tuesday. Read more

Just in time for the impending rapture:And here’s an anti-Masonic rant, just as in the good old days: Read more

Taner, Thanks for the long post and the many insightful points and queries. Since Aristotle is the founder of naturalized ethics, it is really important that we get him right. Aristotle does not base his ethics upon “human nature,” but what he calls “the human function.” (Sorry, I don’t know the Greek) The human function comprises the way of living for which nature has suited humans. That is, just as the Great White Shark is suited (as the Richard Dreyfus… Read more

I want to pull something Keith Parsons just said from out of the comments, since it ties in nicely with some questions prompted by one of the books I’m currently reading. Keith said:. . . collapsing the fact/value distinction does not need neuroscience; it goes back to Aristotle. Really, the idea that there is a fact/value dichotomy has only become entrenched in ethics since Hume’s “discovery” that you cannot derive an “ought” from an “is.” Ancient, medieval, and early modern… Read more

All too often, I succumb to the temptation to think that America’s Founding Fathers (peace be upon them) were merely human. I entertain heretical thoughts, such as our Holy Constitution being a superannuated eighteenth century relic. In my darkness of unbelief, I imagine that important parts of the Holy Constitution are structurally antidemocratic, and I sometimes even suspect that document may be better scrapped rather than our having to patch it up with another boatload of amendments.But that would be… Read more

I regularly gripe about Sam Harris here. When I’ve had more lengthy pieces to write, I’ve written against his ignorant approach to Islam, and expressed ambivalence about those aspects of the “New Atheism” associated with Harris.But if I’m going to keep griping, it might not be a bad idea to rehash specifically why I think the popularity of Harris should be embarrassing for nonbelievers. This mainly because a common response to public criticism of religion is is that the critic… Read more

Historian Jackson Lears has a damning review of all Sam Harris’s books in The Nation magazine: “Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris.”It’s not a perfect takedown. Lears can’t resist reaching into the liberal religious apologetic bag of tricks (oh, he’s not addressing real religion, which is the more sophisticated and more experiential stuff), plus indulges in traditional humanities-based suspicion of science (which manifests itself as bashing “positivism” and “reductionism”).But if you can get beyond the obligatory 10% posturing-content, it’s… Read more

I used to have a principle not to be overly discouraged about any insanity I might observe in the US. After all, something similar but worse was bound to have taken place in Turkey. I could then be happy I didn’t live there.With the increasingly entrenched right-wing nature of US public life over the past couple of decades, I can’t hold this principle consistently anymore. We now routinely do things here that I would find out of place in a… Read more

A little comic relief from all the heavy-duty philosophizing on this site. This is one of the more amusing of these types of stories:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-preacher-warns-end-of-the-world-is-nigh-21-may-around-6pm-to-be-precise-2254139.htmlYou sinners have only a few days to mend your ways if you don’t want to be left behind! I enjoyed the idea that God sent the gay pride movement as a sign of the end times. Best, though, was the guy at the bottom of the story who said he gave up raccoon hunting so he… Read more

I hesitate to respond to Victor Reppert’s latest riposte (April 19) on his Dangerous Idea blog, since BDK and others have already hashed it out with considerable sophistication and subtlety. My aim here, however, is not to refute Victor (knockdown refutations in philosophy occupy a shadowy ontological niche somewhere between very rare and nonexistent), but to understand as clearly as possible just where our differences lie. In my experience, intractable disagreements come down to ground-floor, big-ticket items like a clash… Read more

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