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August 31, 2015
"Based solely on scientific principles and research, a book could be written counseling us humans about how to treat each other ethically. This book might contain a scientifically based purpose for humanity. Science-based principles of effective parenting could be taught in public schools so that all future parents would learn them."
August 17, 2015
New in the Bookstore: The Bible Against Itself: Why the Bible Seems to Contradict Itself (2006) by Randel Helms.
All books are written for or against some point of view, and the books of the Bible are no different. Bible book authors were often motivated to write because they wanted to challenge or correct those who had written before them. As Helms explains, The Bible is a war zone, and its authors are the combatants. Read about the prophets calling the other prophets blasphemers, the Paulist Christians labeling the Jacobite Christians dogs and sinners, and vice versa, and the apocalyptic authors erring again and again, but continuing to predict anyway (using as their sources the errors of previous apocalyptic theories).
August 6, 2015
Hiram Crespo discusses "The Four Cures" which are at the heart of the doctrine of Epicurus of Samos. He invites you to study Epicurus, and to engage yourself and others in philosophical discourse. He promises that your life will be enriched as a result.
August 4, 2015
Added Religious Attitudes toward the Disabled (2015) by Michael Moore to the Psychology of Religion, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism pages under Theism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In this essay Michael Moore provides ample evidence that discrimination against the handicapped is often doctrinally justified in all five of the major world religions today. Moore cites not only direct scriptural support for discriminatory attitudes toward the disabled, but also actual instances of such discrimination by religious perpetrators and even apologists' use of explicit arguments for holding handicapped persons in low regard. The specific example of religiously inspired discrimination against the disabled illustrates the more general point that believers can use scripture to rationalize virtually any human behavior.
July 14, 2015
"Being raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, 'doing the right thing' was a simple equation, one in which the result was always predictable: either I obeyed and measured up to the standard of right--or I did not. Having the rules simplified and the choices limited allowed a sense of security and a false confidence so that whether or not I measured up I could point to exactly which steps or missteps were responsible."
June 17, 2015
If any of a number of the universe's physical constants had been even slightly different, then life as we know it could not exist. According to the fine-tuning argument, the extreme improbability of the actual constants having, by chance, their uniquely life-permitting values suggests that they were "fine-tuned" by God to allow life to exist. But there are at least two fatal problems with the fine-tuning argument. First, if the fine-tuning argument's premises hold, then its conclusion does not, since a parallel "divine-pruning" argument yields the opposite conclusion using the exact same line of reasoning. Second, the fine-tuning argument wrongly assumes that the extreme improbability of a unique outcome's occurrence by chance in this lottery-like context implies that that outcome did not occur by chance. Both problems show that the fine-tuning argument does not justify theism or even supernaturalism more generally.
June 16, 2015
The freedom of our schools to teach well-established science and to instill an appreciation for independent critical thinking is under attack by religious fundamentalists. To the extent they succeed, our children and our society will suffer.