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July 24, 2016
New in the Kiosk: How Western Liberals Undercut Dissidents From Islam (2016) by Taner Edis
"Liberals and leftists have acquired a reputation of shying away from any criticism of Islam. We liberals are well trained to be sensitive to whether our speech sounds appropriate. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, many liberals condemned the blasphemy and the imagined racism of the murdered cartoonists as well as the violence. People who complain about "political correctness" have begun to speak of a "regressive left" that attempts to shut down any speech that may offend minority identities, particularly the religion and politics of Muslim immigrants. All this frustrates those of us who come from a Muslim background, but identify as secular liberals. If I had my way, liberals and leftists would start doing things differently."
July 21, 2016
Added On (False) Prophets and Messiahs (2016) by Michael Moore to the Prophecy page under Christianity and the Psychology of Religion page under Theism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Innumerable claims to being a prophet or messiah should raise suspicions even among believers that a great many claimants have been false prophets. Nonbelievers go even further: all prophets are false. Among those that believe that some prophets are the real deal, one might think that picking out the genuine article would be a straightforward matter: just wait and see whether a prophet's predictions come true. Historically, however, within the three Abrahamic religions there are accounts where a prophecy came true, yet its author was declared false, or where a failed prophecy did not disqualify a prophet from being regarded as genuine. And in each of these major religions, those who deviated from orthodoxy threatened the security of those in power and were met with ridicule, censorship, persecution, or ruin. Such responses illustrate a kind of need dominance that is (a) a common reaction to being faced by stubborn opposition and is (b) directed against anyone who opposes any need.
July 3, 2016
Anyone who has ever bumped into a theist has probably heard of the supposed miracles that come about through prayer, faith, and devotion to a particular deity. Miracles are important to the believer because they, in the theist’s mind, help to prove the reality of the supernatural. That is, if miracles can occur today then they certainly could have happened in the 1st century. Still, this belief in the magical, as a method to justify faith in a deity which cannot be proved to exist, has and does persist in our culture. This article examines "miracle" workers, namely faith healers and exorcists, who have used religion to scam millions of people out of money.
June 9, 2016
New in the Kiosk: Using Intelligent Design to Show There Is No God the Creator (2016) by Dor
"I discuss some of the implications of Intelligent Design, implications that may not have occurred to its believers. Putting aside, for now, the validity or otherwise of Intelligent Design, I argue that--using the believers'own arguments--it is possible to show that God is not the Creator. I do this by showing that the human body, rather than being the creation of a perfect god, is in fact a sign of engineering incompetence."
June 6, 2016
Added Is Acceptance of Evolution Evil? (2016) by Michael D. Reynolds to the Creationism - Evolution page under Science and Religion and the Naturalism page under Nontheism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
An often overlooked religious criticism of biological evolution focuses on the alleged ethical consequences of accepting it, particularly increased immorality and harmfulness. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds describes and critiques one such criticism, that provided by biblical literalist John MacArthur and his historical forebears documented in Charles Sprading's Science Versus Dogma and Maynard Shipley's The War on Modern Science. MacArthur makes seven chief assertions about the ethical consequences of accepting evolution: (1) that naturalism and its acceptance of evolution removes the foundation of morality and causes immorality; (2) that accepting evolution prevents belief in spiritual things; (3) that acceptance of evolution entails that humans are no better than animals; (4) that conceding evolution robs human life of meaning or purpose; (5) that naturalism and its acceptance of evolution leads to nihilism; and that evolutionary concepts laid the groundwork for (6) Communist and (7) Nazi ideology. Reynolds concludes that MacArthur's assertions exemplify the rejection of rational, evidential thinking in favor of unquestioning credulity.
May 16, 2016
Richard Dawkins is in his mid-seventies, as of this writing. He's been an atheist for most of the previous century AND the entirety of this one. Likewise Daniel Dennett, who is nearly as old as Professor Dawkins. Christopher Hitchens (Jefferson rest his soul) would have been about 65 this year. Sam Harris, the youngster in the bunch, is nonetheless greying and middle-aged. The "New" Atheists Aren't. Meet The REAL "New" Atheists: Seth Andrews, AronRa, and Matt Dillahunty...