February 5, 2006

Recently, Free Inquiry magazine had a very interesting “symposium in print” on the question, Secularism — Will it Survive? The affirmative answers seemed more like pious hopes to me, I have to say. And the thought I have given the question since has led me in an increasingly negative direction. I think secularism is moribund. Politically, it has been losing too many battles. Intellectually, it has become harder to defend without sounding like someone reciting outdated platitudes.I am most familiar… Read more

February 4, 2006

Richard Carrier brought the following to my attention:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/11/15/12016/649 Read more

February 4, 2006

(Redating this post.) While I am discussing the theme of defining one’s opponents out of existence, here’s an interesting twist on the idea. I received an email from a Christian with a link to an article that suggests most atheists could not pass a lie detector test if asked during the test if they believe in God and answered “No.” The following is an excerpt. “Indeed, to suppress the truth that God has placed within each man only leads to… Read more

February 3, 2006

The cartoon crisis keeps growing, with Muslim protests and threats (and minor acts) of violence worldwide. (See the cartoons.)Ordinary Muslims are, by and large, playing to stereotypes — behaving like easily insulted fanatics. Muslim intellectuals writing in British newspapers are also doing their usual thing — blaming it all on Western racism and exclusion, saying that there are legitimate material grievances behind the protests, and saying the cartoons were nothing but provocations expressing Western hostility to Islam. Most Muslims agree… Read more

February 3, 2006

Environment-concerned members of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals had been hoping for the group to issue a statement on the dangers of global warming and the need to address the issue, but the chances of this were torpedoed “after NAE President Ted Haggard received a sternly written letter from 22 Bush-friendly evangelical leaders, including James Dobson.” Also signing this letter were ex-convict Charles W. Colson, D. James Kennedy, Richard Land, Donald Wildmon, Richard Roberts, and Louis P. Sheldon.The letter… Read more

February 1, 2006

In his speech before the United Nations last fall, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prayed that Allah (God) might usher in the era of the “Hidden Imam.” It was a curious remark that at the time I filed away and resolved to research later. Well, it’s later. The “end times” to be precise, for the Hidden Imam is an eschatological figure in Islam that will bring about a new world order:”The Hidden Imam … will eventually leave his Greater Occultation and… Read more

February 1, 2006

In a recent blog entry, theistic philosopher William Vallicella criticizes a statement made by psychologist Paul Vitz, in which Vitz asserted that it is “intrinsically impossible” to “prove the non-existence of anything.” As Vallicelli correctly points out: “But surely there are things whose nonexistence can be proven. The nonexistence of a round square can be proven a priori by simply noting that something that is both round and nonround cannot exist.”What Vallicelli writes is consistent with my own essay on… Read more

January 31, 2006

I recently received an email from an agnostic named Dan who was, ironically enough, quite militant about his agnosticism! According to Dan, “one cannot logically be an atheist” because “a negative can never be proven.” Notice, however, the statement “a negative can never be proven” is itself a negative statement. Either the statement “a negative can never be proven” can itself be proven, in which case the argument is self-refuting, or it can’t be proven, in which case it doesn’t… Read more

January 31, 2006

In a series of feature articles prominently displayed on the Answers in Genesis (AiG) website, Creationist Ken Ham seems to promote a point of view that can best be described as postmodern relativism. In an article on searching for silver bullets, Ham writes:“[U]ltimately, the [evolution versus creation] argument is about how you interpret the facts—and this depends upon your belief about history. The real difference is that we have different ‘histories’…, which we use to interpret the science and facts… Read more

January 30, 2006

For all the Religious Right political influence and the cultural weight of the most mindless forms of Christianity in the United States, at least it’s not a Muslim country.After a Danish and a Norwegian newspaper printed a couple of cartoons less-than-fully-respectful of Muhammad, Muslims the world over are indulging their sense of outrage, demanding that Denmark and Norway somehow censor or otherwise punish the newspaper or the cartoonists. Some comments sent to the Turkish newspaper I read online huff about… Read more

Follow Us!



Browse Our Archives