The deacon at the local parish has been kind enough to set aside some time to chat with me tonight.  I’m not having a debate, but a conversation.  I’ve been reading plenty of apologetics and having debates of my own, but I was planning to have this be a less academic-themed discussion. The main question I’d like to discuss is what sustains him in his faith.  I’m curious as to whether it’s mostly the kind of academic/philosophical ideas that I’ve been discussing… Read more

–1– The universe has seen fit to give me an excellent birthday present this year.  On Wednesday, I discovered this video of my new favorite machine in the whole world: a train that lays its own tracks!  I am a total eight-year-old boy when it comes to big noisy machines.  Pity the person who got stuck behind me on a narrow escalator the other day.  The escalator next to ours was being repaired, so I stopped walking and hung halfway… Read more

For an explanation of what Weatherwax Wednesdays are all about, read the introduction post.  This week’s quote builds on Monday’s post about the impact of the Santa Claus story on children.  Unsurprisingly, in Discworld, Christmas is a little stranger.  In Hogfather, Death must take over the duties of the Santa-analogue, after an attempt is made on his life.  In the passage below, Death explains to his mostly-mortal daughter, Susan, why the Hogfather can’t be allowed to perish.  (Note, in Discworld, Death… Read more

I really appreciate the personal stories that were shared in the comments thread of yesterday’s post on Santa Claus.  I’m going to be returning to some of the more philosophical issues that were raised tomorrow in my Weatherwax Wednesday post (luckily enough, Terry Pratchett wrote an entire book about the Discworld analogue of Santa, so I’ve got some great passages to draw on).  For today, I thought I’d just share two stories about my own experiences with Santa growing up…. Read more

Thanks to everyone for the lively discussion on last week’s post which necessitated a follow-up and set an agenda for upcoming posts.  As always, if you’d like to respond to a Monday Call to Arms in longer form as a guest blogger, please email me at leah (dot) libresco (at) yale (dot) edu. — In my more cynical moments, I sometimes think Santa Claus is God’s greatest gift to atheists. I don’t that mean in the usual, anti-materialist way. The… Read more

Welcome to the Humanist Symposium, installment 57!  And just as an fyi, 57 is both an idoneal number and also the smallest number with exactly 10 representations as a sum of 3 distinct primes (thanks, WolframAlpha!) Humanists and the Self Critiquing Humanity wrote a takedown of our modern culture of extreme individualism, which is posited as “one of the three basic unethical ideas which predicate almost all immorality in the world.” Leah at The Whore of All the Earth shares… Read more

–1– Hello, visitors from Jen’s Conversion Diary!  If you’d like a quick introduction to this blog, you may want to check out yesterday’s post giving a preview of upcoming topics inspired by back and forth with the commenters.  Soon to come: why God is not like a hurricane!  Why morality is kind of like a hypercube!  Hope you stick around for the discussion. –2– I’ve got a new opinion piece up on the Huffington Post today titled “The Only Law… Read more

Sorry for the slow responses to your comments. I’ve been (foolishly) trying to reply to every point raised at once. To give myself a little time, I’m using this post to outline the major questions I’m going to try to address, and give you a very brief précis of the posts coming up on these topics. Sound off in the comments if I’ve left out a topic you’d like to get feedback on! What is your definition of God? Aristarchus… Read more

Due to the very interesting comment threads developing on the posts from the last three days (and since the Discworld quote I’d chosen was in no way relevant to the ongoing discussion), I’ll be substituting a post responding to some of the questions and challenges in the comments.  It will go up sometime this afternoon/evening. While I’m doing housekeeping, I should add that I’ll be hosting the Humanist Symposium here next weekend.  Check out the link for more information, and… Read more

Commenter Aristarchus is pretty much in complete disagreement with my weighting of evidence for God in yesterday’s post. Aristarchus said: To be convinced that a god or gods existed, I would need to see some sort of proof of supernatural powers. If someone came to me in a dream and made very specific, unlikely predictions, that I wrote down and talked about at the time, and then those things happened, that would be evidence. (If the event was sufficiently unlikely… Read more

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