Monthly Archives: December 2010

Nightline’s Recent Sam Harris Segment

Pretty interesting:

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Richard Dawkins v. William Lane Craig: Do You Second That Emotion?

This video rather cleverly (and, I think, fairly) catches out Richard Dawkins evading the substance of William Lane Craig’s debating points, substituting them with the straw man argument that Craig is making merely emotional appeals: And here’s Smokey Robinson (which … Continue reading

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Free Will Confusion Watch: Gnu Atheist Jerry Coyne Calls Humans Molecular Puppets, Then Endorses Sam Harris’s New Year’s Resolution

In a blog post this past summer, evolutionary biologist, Jerry Coyne, didn’t flinch at spelling out the implications of strict naturalism for the idea of free will: We simply don’t like to think that we’re molecular automatons, and so we adopt a … Continue reading

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Change Your Mind, Change Your Brain?

This was in the Los Angeles Times this past month: For the Trappist monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, life follows a pattern centuries old. They spend their days in the field and their nights in silence. They gather in prayer … Continue reading

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Social Engineering Watch: Would Renewed Blue Laws Be Good For America?

Curiously, it appears that some liberals are showing an interest in seeing the return of blue laws to America (laws instituting no work on Sundays). Perhaps there are a lot of conservatives who would join them on this: My own … Continue reading

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The Decline and Fall of the Male Empire

Hanna Rosin charts it:

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A Sign from Zeus: Andre Glucksmann on Textual Interpretation and Emphasis

A quote doesn’t get more profound than this, so I’ll post it twice (so that you’ll read it twice). It comes from the French philosopher, Andre Glucksmann: Socrates’s uncertainty revealed a rupture that gave birth to philosophy. The divine word is … Continue reading

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DADT Meltdown Watch: Baptist Ethicist Richard Land Warns of God’s Judgment on America

The religious right’s meltdown over the end of DADT continues apace. Here’s what “Baptist ethicist” Richard Land recently wrote to President Obama concerning the consequences of DADT repeal: [H]omosexual behavior cannot be normalized without rejecting God’s moral standards (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; … Continue reading

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American Tea Party Politics Arrives in China?

Mark Lilla, writing in the New Republic, tells a fascinating anecdote, which occurred just a few years back, of an end-of-semester discussion that he had in his office with a bright student from Beijing that he taught at the University … Continue reading

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Atheism on Trial: Robots v. Fairies?

Atheists tend to be comfortable with one, and only one, irreducible thing in the universe: matter. Matter just is. It has no explanation outside itself, but it’s here; it is its nature to be here. Did it just jump into existence … Continue reading

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A Great Christmas Song That Isn’t a Christmas Song (But Feels Like It)

Something to exit Christmas 2010 with:

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It’s a Wonderful Life: The Last Five Minutes

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Have a Very Reflective (and Not Too Melancholy) Christmas

One’s a Christmas song, the other isn’t. But, somehow, they seem to go together. And:

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The Universe is Young, Not Old. Really. Gregg Easterbrook Says This: “Creation glistens with the dew of morning.”

At Reuters, Gregg Easterbrook has an imagination bending little essay that surveys what astronomers think they now know about the cosmos: Current evidence suggests the universe may continue, in roughly its current form, for at least hundreds of billions more years: which, to … Continue reading

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Atheism and the Quest for Meaning: What Does It Mean to Say That All of Existence is Contingent?

It means that life didn’t have to be—it was an accident—and yet here we all are. Our existence is neither inherently necessary or meaningful. Welcome! Now, as human beings, what do we do? Well, we can try to take the incoherence of … Continue reading

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DADT Meldown Watch: Linda Harvey Bemoans the Loss of Disgust

The politics of disgust having failed, Linda Harvey, of Mission America, writes the following zinger in the wake of the repeal today of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT): Now it’s a toss-up as to which movement will take down our country … Continue reading

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What is the Penalty for Apostasy Under Islamic Law (Sharia)?

Richard Dawkins wrangles, after a good deal of effort, a direct answer from a talk show participating imam: Good work, Richard Dawkins!

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The Internet: Where Religions Come to Die?

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Forbidden Intellectual Porn: The Under 30 Crowd Appears to Be Dropping the Religious Beliefs of Their Parents in Record Numbers? Why?

Ted Cox, a former Mormon who lost his own faith in a library, has a theory: knowledge is power—it’s long been the forbidden fruit—and the Internet makes that fruit more widely and readily accessible than ever before (to religion’s detriment): Preachers and pastors lament the … Continue reading

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The New Ball(s) and Chain Watch: Hanna Rosin on the Historic Rise of Women and the Decline of Men

For all of recorded history, men have dominated the public sphere (and the domestic private sphere as well, as in the pater familias). But the 21st century is in the midst of a historic pivot: women appear to be on their way … Continue reading

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