May 7, 2006

Daniel Dennett has written about free will, consciousness, the mind, evolution, and natural selection. In his latest book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, he turns his attention to a new topic, the origin and role of religion in the human species. Although Dennett is avowedly an atheist, this book is not about whether God exists per se. Instead, it is more an exploration of how it came about, what purpose it served in the past and what… Read more

May 5, 2006

A common accusation leveled against science by its enemies is that it is too closed-minded, too dogmatic, too authoritarian. From creationists to “alternative medicine” advocates to New Agers, the defenders of pseudoscience argue that science is closed to new ideas, set in its ways, unwilling to challenge conventional wisdom. If only science would examine our claims with an open mind, goes the refrain from each fringe community, they would see that they are fully deserving of inclusion. There is a… Read more

May 3, 2006

Never satisfied with compromise, never willing to accept anything less than complete dominion, the forces of theocracy are again on the attack against the constitutional guarantees that have made the United States of America what it is. In particular, there has lately been a rash of cases targeting those who are most vulnerable – the children who attend our public schools. Nowhere is it more important to be vigilant in defending the wall of separation between church and state than… Read more

May 1, 2006

The great Library at Daylight Atheism has been outfitted for an auspicious occasion. Merry bunting drapes the tall shelves of books, balloons congregate near the ceiling, and waiters quietly circulate bearing trays of drinks. Already the symposium is in full swing, and philosophers from every era and society in human history are circulating around the room and chatting animatedly: ancient Greeks in togas and sandals, Enlightenment Europeans – the men in frock coats and powdered wigs and the women in… Read more

April 29, 2006

Once the party of small government and fiscal conservativism, America’s Republican party has in the past few decades been hijacked by an unlikely coalition of religious extremists and big-business interests. This coalition has risen to power by cynically exploiting people’s fears, courting the support of minority special interest groups, and attacking its opponents’ patriotism as a cloak to hide its own noxious ideals, and now threatens the very constitutional ideals upon which this country has built. This much should be… Read more

April 27, 2006

Marc Gellman, a Jewish rabbi and one-half of the “God Squad”, has recently written a solo column titled “Trying to Understand Angry Atheists” in which he takes up one of the oldest religious clichés – that atheists are “angry”. It starts out well enough: I think I need to understand atheists better. I bear them no ill will. I don’t think they need to be religious to be good, kind and charitable people, and I have no desire to debate… Read more

April 26, 2006

While browsing Usenet some time ago, I came across this post on the newsgroup alt.religion.christian. It appears to be an excerpt from the book Drawing Near, a collection of 365 “daily readings for a deeper faith” by Christian pastor John MacArthur, whose ministry Grace to You claims a worldwide radio program, eleven million audiocassettes sold, and dozens of best-selling books written in its thirty-year history. The excerpt is worth reading, if only to marvel at the arrogance it displays. It… Read more

April 25, 2006

Thanks to a Google news alert, I recently became aware that the evangelist Billy Graham has a syndicated newspaper column, entitled “My Answer”. Graham addresses both theological queries and requests for advice, both of which he typically answers by quoting Bible verses and ending with a standard invitation for the reader to convert to Christianity. (Despite Billy Graham’s fame, few Christians today know that when he began preaching, he was one-half of a team. His partner, Charles Templeton, took a… Read more

April 24, 2006

Business & the Market In matters of economic organization, as in other areas, atheists should be guided by the evidence. One thing history has shown is that state-controlled economies simply do not work. The Soviet Union, the largest experiment in communism in human history, ultimately collapsed under the weight of its own failed economic structure, and most of the remaining communist countries are either in a state of economic tailspin themselves or are becoming increasingly capitalistic to survive. On the… Read more

April 22, 2006

After the vigorous (although, I’m happy to say, civil) debate inspired by the first two Politics of Atheism posts, I figured everyone could use a break. The third and final part of that series will appear shortly. In the meantime, allow me to bring to your attention a story that demonstrates the truly evil and loathsome depths to which the religious right in this country has willingly sunk. It appears that a common tactic of the anti-abortion movement is to… Read more

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