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7 Right-Wing Absurdities This Week: Colbert Causes Conservative Meltdown Edition
The hysteria on the right about Stephen Colbert’s elevation to CBS’s Late Night post has been nothing short of hilarious. Even before news hit that Colbert would replace David Letterman when he retires, Bill O’Reilly frantically declared that Colbert is responsible for the “destruction of America.” That’s quite a distinction, when there are so many other things vying for the title of “America’s Top Destroyer.” (Wait, reality contest show idea: “Who will be America’s Next Top Destroyer?”) More than failing infrastructure, abject refusal to deal with the coming climate catastrophe, rampant, spiraling inequality to rival the Gilded Age, near daily mass shootings, the criminalization of poverty; or deportation of millions of legions of innocent undocumented immigrants [insert your favorite scourge here], it is Stephen Colbert who is ushering in the decline of this great nation. [Read more]
Ten Cliches Christians Should Stop Saying
We Christians have a remarkable talent for sticking our feet in our mouths. When searching the words most commonly associated with “Christian,” the list ain’t pretty. I think part of this can be attributed to a handful of phrases that, if stricken from our vocabulary, might make us a little more tolerable. Yes, these things may mean something to you, but trust me, non-Christians don’t share your love for these tried-and-true cliches. [Read more]
World Vision & The Church I Used To Know
Twenty years ago, Christian historian Mark Noll wrote a book about evangelical intellectual life called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. I recommend it especially to those who believe that evangelical Christians are backward, hate-filled idiots (you know who you are). I’ve been thinking about his book lately, as my evangelical brothers and sisters are obsessing over gay marriage, or gays working in Christian organizations like World Vision, or whether Disney’s “Frozen” promotes a gay lifestyle. Noll’s book came to mind because it starts with an amazing line: “This book is an epistle from a wounded lover.” [Read more]
The Non-Elite: A Brief Meditation on the Nature of Atheist Humanism
What concerns me most about the misapplication of the word ‘humanist’ to full frontal atheists is that most such humanists are not humanists at all. Not in any meaningful sense. To be solipsistic about it, if they were they would not be full frontal atheists. By dint of past associations, I have a great many ‘friends’ (as Facebook misuses the term) who would call themselves new or raw or ‘out’ atheists—-Dawkinsites in short. In a pinch they will say they like books (who doesn’t?), art (sort of), and music (some). But I always have the impression that you can’t press them too closely on what books, music or art they like. [Read more]
Engage Youth in Convincing Discourse to Check the Spread of Bigotry, Say Scholars
A number of academics and experts have underlined the need for serious efforts to contain atheism in the Kingdom. Claiming that there is a link between the spread of atheism and extreme religious views, the experts said a moderate image of Islam must be promoted and any doubts youths may have about religion must be addressed in a convincing manner, Al-Madinah Arabic daily reported. Their comments came in light of a poll that showed the Kingdom is the first country in the Islamic world where the number of atheists had crossed the 5 percent mark. The poll, called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism”, was conducted by WIN-Gallup International. [Read more]
Is the Modern Skeptical Movement Actually Necessary?
Think back for a moment and consider the social and scientific climate in 1940′s America. I think that it’s fair to say that during and since that time, many erroneous (unscientific) ideas and unscrupulous claims have been successfully tackled and (last I checked) science almost always prevails. The interesting thing is that a vast majority of these erroneous ideas were defeated without the aid of a “skeptical movement.” I find this fact both fascinating and curious. [Read more]
Isaac Asimov on the Thrill of Lifelong Learning, Science vs. Religion, and the Role of Science Fiction in Advancing Society
Isaac Asimov was an extraordinary mind and spirit — the author of more than 400 science and science fiction books and a tireless advocate of space exploration, he also took great joy in the humanities (and once annotated Lord Byron’s epic poem “Don Juan”), championed humanism over religion, and celebrated the human spirit itself (he even wrote young Carl Sagan fan mail). Like many of the best science fiction writers, he was as exceptional at predicting the future as he was at illuminating some of the most timeless predicaments of the human condition. [Read more]
Hidden Miracles of the Natural World
We live in a world of unseeable beauty, so subtle and delicate that it is imperceptible to the human eye.
What is Consciousness?
Our story begins in 2002, when McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey, published two controversial papers in the Journal of Consciousness Studies in which he proposed that the brain’s electromagnetic information field is the physical substrate of conscious awareness. These papers were: Synchronous Firing and Its Influence on the Brain’s Electromagnetic Field: Evidence for an Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness, andThe Conscious Electromagnetic Information (Cemi) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy?. Then, in early 2013, professor McFadden followed up with two papers further detailing his theory, called: The CEMI Field Theory: Closing the loop, and The CEMI Field Theory Gestalt Information and the Meaning of Meaning, also published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. [Read more]
Are We Really Being Biblical?
It goes without saying that we disagree on a lot things in the church. If there’s something to believe in or a position to take – maybe it’s gay marriage or abortion or war or women in ministry or speaking in tongues – it’s pretty easy to find 2 people who passionately disagree. But there is one thing that usually unites us even in our passionate disagreement. We all think we’re biblical in the things we say and do. That is to say, we think we’re being faithful to what the Bible clearly tells to do. But are we really? [Read more]
Defending the Indefensible
Christian apologists usually manage to ignore the really tough questions posed by the Bible. But, occasionally, we read of one who will tackle a tough one head on. On the one hand we have to admire the fact that at least one Christian writer sees and understands that there’s a serious problem in this passage or that, but on the other hand, we can’t help but deplore a clumsy and/or dishonest explanation. I came across just such an example recently on the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry site. The article was titled, “Why were only the virgins left alive among the Midianites?” (Numbers 31:17-18). [Read more]
I Hate Easter
Well, Easter is soon upon us. It’s my least favorite Holiday. In fact, I hate it. With it coming in March or April, and in our neck of the woods, that means the snow has mostly melted, and the ugly fast-food paper bags, cups, wrappers, french-fry holders, combos bags, empty cigarette packs, beer cans, one boot or one shoe laying by the road (it’s always one…why is that?) plastic bags, and who knows what all, is right there to see and be appalled by. [Read more]
Foundation Beyond Belief’s First National Conference Needs You
To show up! Foundation Beyond Belief, the nation’s largest humanist charitable organization, is holding its first national conference, “Humanism at Work,” July 18-20, 2014 at the Hilton Rosemont in Chicago, Illinois. [Read more]
But How Do You Know the MRAs Are Atheists?
I think this question is mostly a thing of the past, but at one point, it was a favorite of those who didn’t like to see the atheist movement criticized were all over wanting to know how we could knew that the harassment and anti-feminism coming our way was coming from atheists. [Read more]
Islamic Economics of Sex
This one was particularly idiotic. I had written a fair few articles decrying the Burkha and Niqab. Listen, I don’t mind that it’s a cultural outfit in many parts of the Middle East. I don’t mind that it is a choice for some women. [Read more]
What We’re Up Against: Weekly Roundup of Creationist Comments
It was a big week for creationists trying to comment on this website (there was lots of other craziness too), so I can present only a short selection: [Read more]
My Black Atheist FAQ
Why do you call yourself a “Black” atheist? Short answer: Because I can. I’m allowed to self-identify. [Read more]
Witch-Hunter Apostle in the UK
We have written about Helen Ukpabio before. For those who are unaware of this issue? Culture and Religion sometimes intermingle in unexpected ways. We often don’t realise how the adoption of a new idea will work. Sometimes you get curry, the combination of new world ingredients and Asian spices. Sometimes you get Witchhunters.