For Hitchens and co, religion does little good and secularism hardly any evil. Never mind that tyrants devoid of religion such as Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot perpetrated the worst atrocities in history. As H. Allen Orr, professor of biology at the University of Rochester, observed, the 20th century was an experiment in secularism that produced secular evil, responsible for the unprecedented murder of more than 100 million. (Abramovich, 2009)
Divine Command Theory (DCT) is the idea that morality is grounded in God or God’s nature such that what God commands is necessarily morally good. Historically speaking, the Euthyphro Dilemma has been used to combat such a position. DCT comes in several forms and is adhered to by a good many theologians and apologists.
Many people, particularly fundamentalists, still believe in a real and actual Satan. Of course, to everyone else, this is completely incomprehensible. And here’s one reason for why, as John Loftus sets out in his book The End of Christianity (p. 100):
Jonny Scaramanga came to do a talk about his experiences with Christian education at Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub recently. I was gutted to have missed it – I was really looking forward to that one. However, keeping a tab on his blog, it seems clear that he is embroiled in a right ding-dong with his arch nemeses, Accelerate Christian Education, or ACE. Here is his article ion the subject which he wrote for the Guardian.
A few weeks back, theologian, author and blogger Randal Rauser had a pop at me. We have previously had a few cross-posts and whatnot, and even debated on US radio/Reasonable Doubts podcast on the subject of the Nativity, which can be found here. Luke, a theist who regularly comments here,, also comments at Rauser’s blog, and I got into a revived debate about libertarian free will and the Kalam.
OK, so most people of neutral, skeptical or commonsensical persuasion understand that the global flood claims of Genesis are nonsense. Yet the meme still persists amongst literalists and fundamentalists. I love GearHeadEd’s comment over on DC. It shows that that much water is truly a ridiculous concept. I wrote extensively once on why people believe such silly things. Here is Ed’s comment:
A Tel Aviv University Press Release has built on work hinted at in Israel Finkelstein’s The Bible Unearthed which claimed that camels were not domesticated in the Ancient Near East to long after they are claimed to be existent and members of a goodly number of biblical stories. In other words, these anachronisms strongly suggest that the claims of the Bible are made up. Here is the story:
William Lane Craig is ubiquitous in conversations about theistic and Christian apologetics. Being the foremost modern philosopher/theologian still operating, he is often called upon or used as a source for theistic and Christian arguments, winning many debates in the process (on technique and rhetoric, in the main). I have part critiqued his Reasonable Faith book here.
Another fascinating video from skydivephil, the pair whom I interviewed here (well worth checking out). This time, the ‘before the Big Bang’ idea is investigated in interviewing Sir Roger Penrose with regard to the cyclical universe.
The end is Nye!
Sorry, made that joke last time, but now it seems better suited.
So last night was the much-trafficked debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and AiG founder Ken Ham. Now, I am obviously biased towards the scientific consensus; evidence tends to do that. However, I have to say that I was pessimistic about how the debate would go. I didn’t figure either side would really win, but rather it seemed there would be a lot of talking past each other. And while that happened to an extend, overall I think Nye handled things rather well.
Paper.li is a cool way of disseminating information, blogs, articles and what have you. I have signed the Skeptic Ink…
Daniel Dennett has finally responded (it has been long-awaited) to Sam Harris’s short treatise Free Will. The review can be found at the Center for Naturalism, here. I am going to look at what Dennett says, and what Harris’s idea of free will is compared to Dennett. Essentially, whilst there is lots to like about what Dennett says, there is also much I disagree with.
This blog post is very much a timely piece as there is much newsworthiness concerning the Atheist Assembly and secular gatherings in general. It needs to be read so share away! Simon Clare is organiser of Horsham and Brighton Skeptics in the Pubs and one-time atheist street-preacher. Check out his website at http://www.simonclare.co.uk/ (and will soon feature new blog posts once again!).
Love, hate it or ignore it, the Sunday Assembly project has been successful enough to warrant a serious discussion about how it should be run.
So having posted the Philpapers survey results, the biggest ever survey of philosophers conducted in 2009, several readers were not aware of it (the reason for re-communicating it) and were unsure as to what some of the questions were. I offered to do a series on them, so here it is – Philosophy 101 (Philpapers induced). I will go down the questions in order. I will explain the terms and the question, whilst also giving some context within the discipline of Philosophy of Religion.
Some time back I posted an argument on mentalizing deficits with regard to God being unfair. This broadly stated that certain autistic type people who have an inability to empathise are less likely to believe in God, presumably because the intersubjectivity of empathy allows an agent to see the,selves from somebody else’s point of view. This means that they are less able to suppose what God would think about them whilst doing any given moral action, and such like. The abstract, to the paper looked at in the post, reads:
OK, it might take you a while to stop laughing. Now, these days, I don’t really get involved in evolution arguments with people who flatly deny evolution on such blatantly anti-intellectual terms. I see it as self-delusion, and having written before that such people are impervious to reason and evidence, and that showing such actually entrenches their views, I try not to be bothered by such positions. But often fail.
OK, so this sort of thing is what you would usually expect from rabid Republican senators. Anyway, looks like that sort of behaviour has traversed the Atlantic. Let me just get this out of the way first – AAAAARRRGGGGHHHH! Fuckwit!
Anyway, the BBC:
Why is it more probable that your god exists than man made him up?
We have an exceptionally high prior probability that your god is false given that we both believe that every other god claimed to be true (before and after) is false. Thus, on prior probability, the JC God is HIGHLY unlikely to exist. How does the Christian overcome this? They have to provide high CONSEQUENT probability. ie Evidence. But this is poor. Let’s take the four Gospels, written by unknown people at unknown dates in unknown places with ex post facto agendas to evangelise, at least 40 years after the person they are writing about and whom they have never met, has died.
Here is another account in my series of real-life deconversion stories. They are often painful, psychological affairs, as you can see from the various accounts. Phil Stilwell, someone whom I came across on facebook (The Unbelievable page). It is a few years old now, but well worth the read. Happy reading. The previous accounts can be found here:
This is a fascinating account of someone I met on facebook who has interesting things to say with regard to religion and society in a part of the world which is easy to misunderstand for someone like me. I found mention of sleep paralysis interesting as I have suffered a few times with this and my sister had it badly for years. It is prevalent in African folklore and I can see how it must contribute to ideas of the supernatural.
Anyway, here is an insight into being nonreligious in a very religious and superstitious context: