Keeping a Civil Tongue

A couple comment threads have gotten a little nasty/unproductive lately, so I want to jump in and try to reestablish some expectations of productive dialogue.  Before I do, I want to give two bits of information up front.I don't censor comments and that's not changing.  I only delete comments that are spam unrelated to the site.  Google's overenthusiastic spam filter may delay your comment for a few hours, but I will always let it through once I get back to Blogger.  That means you're free to … [Read more...]

Where Yuan Went Wrong (Part 3)

This is part of a series of posts which tackles sexual ethics and debating strategies (but not at the same time)In this last post on problems with Christopher Yuan's rhetoric (meant as a caution to Christians or anyone else addressing a hostile audience), I want to highlight a misstep that occurred outside of the main lecture.At the beginning of the talk, some of the members of the sponsoring groups passed out index cards and told us to write down any questions we had for Yuan.  After he … [Read more...]

Play it Again: Desecration as Discourse

The giant comment thread at "Is it so hard not to desecrate a Eucharist" has been heating up again over the last few days, and I want to do a recap of why I think P.Z. Myers's stunt was bad instrumentally for atheism and bad ethically for any individual atheist.  Here's the rundown:There's no way to get your hands on a consecrated wafer for the purpose of desecration ethicallyThis is a pretty prosaic point and was the focus of the original post, but it keeps coming up, so I'll go through … [Read more...]

Don’t Hand Weapons to Your Enemies

It didn't take very long into the comment thread of my post critiquing nasty atheists for someone to lob the 'accommodationist' charge at me.  So let's get a few things straight: I don't think religion and atheism are compatible (with the exeptions of some extremely boring religions)..  And, on either side, the stakes of being wrong are high enough that there's little use in papering over the differences or agreeing to disagree.  If you want to sort out the truth, I think that goal is best serv … [Read more...]

Committing a Capital Crime in Debate

Over at Friendly Atheist, one reader had a question for Richard the advice columnist: I have a quick and simple question for you. Since you do not believe in god, why do you capitalize “God” in your texts? I share many of the same beliefs/ideals as you, therefore not seeing a reason to capitalize the word “god”. Richard replied that he used the upper case G for clarity and to avoid putting people off needlessly, and I was in total agreement.  I was pretty surprised to see the high proportion of … [Read more...]