October 21, 2009

One Word on “American Culture”

Posted in Atheism, food, Worldview tagged , , at 11:22 am by Andrew

I guess I’m still a little steamed about that idiot Bill Donohue, but I think there’s a larger issue here on the romanticization of the 1950s Norman Rockwell-style faux Americana that so many on the Religious Right want to label as “authentic American culture.” (Here’s a particularly horrifying spectacle, replete with the breathy sigh that Rockwell “captured in intimate detail what America used to be.” No, no he didn’t. Rockwell painted an America that never was.)

Is there an authentic “American Culture?” I think there is — but not what the Religious Right wishes it were. Here, let’s try a thought expermient: you have to describe “American Culture” to an outsider, but you get just one word. What’s your word? Mine’s after the break….
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Posted in Atheism, Creationism tagged , , , , at 10:23 am by Andrew

Here’s an interview in Salon with Richard Dawkins about his latest book, “The Greatest Show on Earth.

Whoa, look at that — it’s half off today. I just ordered my copy. You should order yours! Here, let’s let Dawkins himself give the pitch:

No, I’m not really aiming [the book] at creationists. I don’t think they read books anyway, except for one book. It’s aimed at the intelligent layperson who does read books and who vaguely knows a little bit about evolution and who vaguely knows that there are creationists and maybe even vaguely thinks that he’s a creationist himself, but who is curious and wants to know the evidence.

It’s just that the evidence is so enthralling, it’s so exciting. It is so wonderful that here we are on this planet and we understand why we’re here. And it’s just a sort of ecstatic feeling to understand why you exist, and I want to share that feeling with other people.

October 20, 2009

This is Why I Blog About Christianity, part 845

Posted in Atheism, Atheism and Morality tagged , , at 1:19 pm by Andrew

I frequently get this sort of question on this site and in my email: “Why do you spend so much time talking about something you don’t believe in? Why can’t you just live and let live?”

I usually answer this in two ways. First, I very much do believe in “live and let live.” When a Christian tells me that she just believes, that there’s a personal feeling or experience or history or whatever, I accept that. I’m not out to convert Christians to unbelievers; I’m out here to answer apologetics. By and large, my criticism kicks in only when your mindset shifts from “Hey, I believe in Christianity, but it’s cool if you’re an atheist” to “I believe in Christianity and so should you.”

But there is a second reason, and it’s powerfully illustrated by the latest missive from Bill Donohue. To be sure: Donohue is low-hanging fruit (probably in the same genus as our old friends Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort). But this bigoted moron is given space in the New York Times to peddle his unadulterated hate speech — that tells me that we atheists still have a ways to go before things are right with the world.

Donohue tells us:

Today’s radicals are intellectually spent: they want to annihilate American culture, having absolutely nothing to put in its place. In that regard, these moral anarchists are an even bigger menace than the Marxists who came before them.

If societal destruction is the goal, then it makes no sense to waste time by attacking the political or economic structure: the key to any society is its culture, and the heart of any culture is religion. In this society, that means Christianity, the big prize being Catholicism. Which explains why secular saboteurs are waging war against it.

So apparently this blog and thousands of others like it are all frauds; we’re all part of the Vast Conspiracy to Destroy American Culture. It isn’t that we don’t believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky; it’s that we know that the secret shortcut to destroying American Culture is to give polite, logical arguments against the religion that ~70% of its inhabitants profess (and perhaps 20% believe quite fervently).

Welcome to the Conspiracy, my brothers and sisters!

October 16, 2009

Debate Resources

Posted in Atheism, Debates tagged , at 11:46 am by Andrew

I’ve added a link to the Agnostic Popular Front, a website devoted to critiquing all of the debates in Luke’s archive.

The archive of my “Advice for Debating…” series can be found here.

More on Biblical Contradictions

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism, The Bible tagged , , , , at 10:48 am by Andrew

There’s a great discussion going on in the comments section relating to Biblical contradictions; in light of that, I thought I’d clarify the point regarding those contradictions — at least to me.
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Falsifiability and the Argument Regarding Design

Posted in Answering Apologists, Science, The Universe tagged , , , at 10:26 am by Andrew

Conceptually, I think the Argument Regarding Design — the notion that something must have created this wondrous universe that displays such complexity is bogus on basically every level, from the incorrect factual premise to the unsubstantiated conclusion. I set forth a lot of those arguments in my article “The Heavens Do Not Declare The Glory of God.”

One of the arguments I’ve made only by implication in that article is the falsifiability argument; namely, that the Argument Regarding Design is empty as a hypothesis, because any state of the universe could be offered as “evidence” for the hypothesis. So, for example, many apologists argue that the narrow band for various cosmological constants is evidence that the universe is “finely tuned” so as to permit human life.
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October 8, 2009

Encounter With Jehovah’s Witnesses

Posted in Atheism tagged , , at 8:08 pm by Andrew

Russell Glasser recounts his encounter with Jehovah’s Witnesses over at the Atheist Experience blog.

I always enjoy these sorts of stories; it’s a reminder that most atheist-theist dialogues are not the kind of philosophical/historical/scientific debates that we see online. Most begin when one person asks another what they believe and why.

Of course — just as here, and just as Russell noted — so many of them veer off so quickly into the bizarre.

October 7, 2009

The Final Word on Einstein’s “God”

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism, Science tagged , at 4:00 pm by Andrew

Since the pernicious rumor that Einstein was a theist continues to make its way across the Internet, just keep in mind Einstein’s actual, final words on the subject:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

Einstein may have been right (or wrong); I cite his words here not as evidence for atheism, but because so many Christians continue to insist that Einstein was in some way a theist.

Answering “Who Cares” #2: Natural Evil

Posted in Answering "Who Cares", Answering Apologists, Atheism tagged , , , , at 3:24 pm by Andrew

While I was at trial, “Who Cares” left a number of comments across the blog that I’ll touch on. This is #2 in the Answering “Who Cares?” series.

In the comment section of my third argument for the Summary Case for Atheism (“The Heavens Do Not Declare the Glory of God”), our friend “Who Cares” has tried to respond to some of the arguments there.
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Fundamental Errors and the Cosmological Argument

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism, Creationism, The Universe tagged , , , at 1:03 pm by Andrew

In the comments section of this post, I get in to a bit of an exchange with Makarios over the common Christian apologetic, the Cosmological Argument.
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