The Cure for Religious Diversity

I'll admit that I was surprised to see John Loftus' new book The Outsider Test of Faith. On one hand, the OTF has been Loftus' signature argument for six or seven years now. On the other hand, it's fundamentally a simple argument.The OTF, boiled down, states that you should evaluate your faith from the outside. As Loftus puts it, "The only way to rationally test one's culturally adopted religious faith is from the perspective of an outsider, a nonbeliever, with the same level of … [Read more...]

Stenger’s “God and the Atom”

Richard Feynman once opined on the most important sentence in science:If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon b … [Read more...]

The Myth of Persecution

I'm a bit slow in my review of Candida Moss' The Myth of Persecution. It has received positive reviews from James McGrath, Thomas Verenna and Jim West. In my defense, I'm buying a house and finding that it's killed all my reading (and writing) time.Since I'm arriving late, I'll keep things short. Moss makes clear that this is a book with a political point. In the introduction and the last chapter, Moss dwells on the modern problems caused by Christianity's sense of being persecuted. … [Read more...]

Download the Universe

Apparently Carl Zimmer, science writer extraordinaire, was complaining at a conference that science writing lacks the social network backing found in genres like romance or science fiction. There simply aren't the online communities reviewing and discussing the works of popular science books, and this was preventing any e-book market from forming.Challenged to do something about it, Zimmer and a number of others authors, including Tom Levenson of Balloon Juice, put together a blog called … [Read more...]

Nonbeliever Nation

The most influential political movement for my generation has to be the Religious Right. While I'm sure its members have never felt that they've ever completely succeeded, they've done more to change politics in America than any other group. They've redefined public religion: our most prominent Christians used to include liberals like Harry Emerson Fosdick and Henry Ward Beecher, now their ranks are almost completely conservative. They've redefined politics, largely by elevating the role of … [Read more...]