In the last two days the entire western world has been reeling from the horrific terrorist attacks on Paris. In response, twitter has seen hashtags like #PrayForParis and #Prayers4Paris trending as people far and wide join hands to stand in solidarity with the French people (even if “standing in solidarity” often consists of little more than a […]
Faith-Head Christians vs. Brain-Dead Atheists
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled “Faith-Head Christians vs. Brain-Dead Atheists” for the John Templeton Foundation to be published at Slate. The article was published a few days ago. You can read it here.
Healthy dialogue in a polarized world
The importance of charitable and thoughtful dialogue has long been a particular interest of mine. (See, for example, my 2011 book You’re not as Crazy as I Think: Dialogue in a World of Loud Voices and Hardened Opinions.) So I was happy to join Drake and Paul at Boldcupofcoffee.com for a discussion of these themes.
Contempt for dissenting opinion
In “Advice on politely educating ridiculous religious people” I took issue with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s claim that “religious beliefs are ridiculous.” In the discussion thread Rob Gressis asked: “How do you feel about people who believe in astrology or crystals?” I replied by noting that I wouldn’t call their belief ridiculous since such a statement would […]
Is it time to teach the controversy?
You probably know this phrase as the clever marketing strategy of The Discovery Institute. Right in the upper echelons of marketing slogans, alongside DeBeers’ “A diamond is forever” and Nike’s “Just do it!” we have Discovery Institute’s “Teach the controversy”, a clever plea for open-mindedness and free inquiry as a way to bring intelligent design into […]
Is Peter Boghossian guilty of hate speech?
Over the last day my good readers have drawn to our attention a couple passages on Peter Boghossian which are worth spotlighting on the main stage. To begin with, Derek M pointed out a truly bizarre fact that Boghossian’s promotional blurb mentions that he was kicked out of a doctoral program. For example, in the […]
Mock beliefs, not people?
In my essay “Laughing at Fundamentalists?” I critiqued John Loftus and Keith Parsons for advocating ridicule or mockery of those they call “fundamentalists”. In response a few commenters advocated mocking beliefs rather than the people that hold them. And how’s that supposed to work? Skeptic Sam (trying unsuccessfully to stifle a snicker): “Do you seriously […]
Why was Tsarnaev not read his Miranda rights? And how amazing that anybody should care to ask.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, was taken into custody last night. Since then I’ve heard many discussions, and read many opinions, over the fact that he wasn’t read his Miranda rights when he was taken into custody. The initial justification given was a Supreme Court decision that the reading of […]
Can we end atheist and Christian name-calling?
Earlier today The Atheist Missionary posted a comment which offered a link to a postcard length caricature of Christianity. The comment came replete with TAM’s own self-satisfied commentary: what’s absurd are the theological underpinnings of Christian theology, succinctly expressed here: http://p.twimg.com/AoGpjSCCAAAhv8G.jpg:small Atheists look at something like this and chuckle. I’m not sure what goes through […]
The grounds for excluding religious voices in secular society
Jerry commented: “I believe that everyone has the right to express their beliefs on public policy, whatever it is that has contributed to the formation of those beliefs.” Jerry may think that. But these days he may find himself in opposition to the secular state. Case in point, the debate in the Surrey School Board […]
The Pornographic Harry Potter? On the near impossibility of reasoning with Christian fundamentalists
When I was in Rio last month I found myself in the back of a cab on my way to the conference at which I was to speak. Unfortunately, when we arrived I discovered that the cabbie didn’t accept credit cards and I had no Brazilian money. To complicate matters further, the poor fellow spoke no […]
Losers who promote their own books on their blogs
“Don’t you get tired of losers who promote their own books on their blogs? Dude, that is really pathetic.” Yeah I know, it is pathetic. However, I’ve got no dignity so I don’t mind. Gimme a mic and an audience and I’ll start prattling off on myself shamelessly like a mallard preening or a peacock strutting, […]