A terrible consequence of consequentialism

A few weeks ago, in The New York Times Magazine, the Ethicist column gave some terribly unethical advice.  A doctor wrote in with this dilemma: Years ago, I saw a young patient with headaches, who disclosed — reluctantly — that he had committed a serious crime and that somebody else took the fall for it. I believe he was telling me the truth (his headaches soon resolved after the confession). Before his admission, I assured him that whatever he told me would not leave the room. Later, without gi … [Read more...]

Feser’s Typology of Atheism (Part 2)

Today, I'm returning to Edward Feser's typology of atheism.  Monday, I took a look at ways atheists approach religious philosophy, today the focus is on responses to religious practice.  Here's how Feser splits up atheists: A. Religious practice is mostly or entirely contemptible and something we would all be well rid of. The ritual side of religion is just crude and pointless superstition. Religious morality, where it differs from secular morality, is sheer bigotry. Even where certain moral p … [Read more...]

High Octane Ritual

Yesterday I made a case for authority among atheists and today I’m addressing ritual without religion.In the big discussion about Greg Epstein’s humanist chaplains and the twitter forum on #humanistcommunity, PZ Myers claimed setting up atheist rituals that paralleled religious tradition was “a cheat and a waste.” At their essence, Myers claimed, ritual is just another world for “waste of effort, feel-good displacement activities that take the place of thought.”It’s easy to think of fairl … [Read more...]