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March 4, 2024

Added the eighty-fifth Freethinker Podcast YouTube Interview with Robert M. Price on Paul, Lying Spirits, and Acts (2024) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Check out Edouard Tahmizian’s latest just over an hour interview with long-time biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Price’s reasons for thinking that St. Paul was […]

Interview with Robert M. Price on Paul, Lying Spirits, and Acts

Check out Edouard Tahmizian's latest just over an hour interview with long-time biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Price's reasons for thinking that St. Paul was actually Simon Magnus and why Price does not believe that Paul wrote any of the thirteen letters attributed to him, among other things. After Price outlines his grounds for these conclusions, the interlocutors turn the discussion to how far back Price dates the Pre-Pauline Creed in 1 Corinthians 15, how he interprets 1 Kings 22's apparent reference to God working with evil spirits, why God allows demonic possession to occur at all if he wants to eliminate sin, which account provides the clearest example of New Testament mimesis, whether we should date 2 Peter to the 2nd century CE, whether it makes any sense to think that Jesus would've "abolished" the 650 laws of the Jewish Torah, and much more. Tune in for an in-depth discussion of Price's insights into what contemporary biblical scholarship tells us about these fascinating issues!

March 1, 2024

Added Causes and Reasons: The Argument from Reason and Naturalism (2024) by Miklós Szalai to the Argument from Reason page under Arguments for the Existence of a God in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. Arguments from reason are philosophical arguments against naturalism that claim that if we held the human mind […]

God and Horrendous Suffering

The evidential problem of horrendous suffering is one of the most powerful refutations of the theistic God as can be found: if there's an omni-everything God, one who is omnibenevolent (or perfectly good), omniscient (or all-knowing), and omnipotent (or all-powerful), then the issue of why there is horrendous suffering in the world requires an explanation. The reason why is that a perfectly good God would want to eliminate it, an all-knowing God would know how to eliminate it, and an all-powerful God would be able to eliminate it. So the extent of horrendous suffering means that either God does not care enough to eliminate it, or God is not smart enough to eliminate it, or God is not powerful enough to eliminate it. The stubborn fact of horrendous suffering means something is wrong with God’s goodness, his knowledge, or his ability. In this paper John Loftus argues that horrendous suffering renders this omni-everything God unbelievable.

Causes and Reasons: The Argument from Reason and Naturalism

Arguments from reason are philosophical arguments against naturalism that claim that if we held the human mind to be a physical entity, then our thinking processes would be causally determined, mechanical ones, which would then make them unreliable as guides to objective truth. Our ability to grasp the ground-consequence relation couldn't be a material-causal power, the argument goes, but should instead be explained as the working of some sort of immaterial, spiritual entity (i.e., God, or a soul/spirit created by God). In this article, Miklós Szalai critiques this argument as it has been put forth by C. S. Lewis, Victor Reppert, Darek Barefoot, and others, ultimately defending a naturalistic analysis of the concepts of representation, truth, and inference.

February 24, 2024

Added a link to Edouard Tahmizian’s SoundCloud (2024) by Edouard Tahmizian to the Videos category on the Secular Web. Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has uploaded some additional musical creations on his SoundCloud account. Check it out!

February 18, 2024

Added Internet Infidels Sheet Music by Edouard Tahmizian for Flute | Noteflight (2024) by Edouard Tahmizian to the Videos category on the Secular Web. Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has created an official theme track for Internet Infidels on Noteflight. Take a listen and let us know what you think on Noteflight!

February 7, 2024

Added Sweet Prelude. Sheet Music by Edouard Tahmizian for Piano/Keyboard | Noteflight (2024) by Edouard Tahmizian to the Videos category on the Secular Web. Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has written a nice piano track that he’s titled Sweet Prelude. Check it out!

February 6, 2024

Updated Defending Weak Naturalism: Not a Trivial Position (2024) by Hugh Harris for the Kiosk. A truncated version of Hugh Harris’ “Defending Weak Naturalism: Not a Trivial Position” was published a few days ago. A substantial third and final part was accidentally omitted from the initially published version. That error has been corrected and the […]

February 3, 2024

Added the eighty-fourth Freethinker Podcast YouTube fifth Interview with Richard Carrier and John MacDonald on Mark, Galatians, and Apotheosis (2024) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Tune in to Freethinker Podcast as host Edouard Tahmizian is joined by Internet Infidels President John MacDonald in this 45-minute interview with historian and […]

Interview with Richard Carrier & John MacDonald on Mark, Galatians, & Apotheosis

Tune in to Freethinker Podcast as host Edouard Tahmizian is joined by Internet Infidels President John MacDonald in this 45-minute interview with historian and freethinker Richard C. Carrier. Carrier fields several questions from his interlocutors concerning how he harmonizes certain New Testament passages with his Christ myth theory, whether there's textual evidence that the Book of Mark predates that of Matthew (and, if so, how that sits with the resurrection appearance accounts), whether the Q source existed (and if so, whether Mark used it), whether seemingly anti-Jewish interpolations might really be references to another instance where God's chosen people fail to meet God's expectations, whether there was a grave site 'disappearing bodies' problem spurring the Nazareth inscription, and much more! Check out this gripping interview with our returning historian on facts that some suggest don't sit well with the nonexistence of a historical Jesus.

February 2, 2024

Added the eighty-third Freethinker Podcast YouTube Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Rationality of Bill Gaede’s Critique of Mathematical Physics (2024) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian for under an hour in an interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about whether Rational […]

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Rationality of Bill Gaede’s Critique of Mathematical Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian for under an hour in an interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about whether Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede's rope hypothesis and critique of contemporary mathematical physics constitutes a fair and rational critique of mainstream physics. In particular, Ed and Jason canvass how lay audiences should approach scientific questions requiring specialized training to understand, Gaede's knowledge of biology and attitude toward mainstream science, how Gaede's rope hypothesis appears to be more metaphysical than scientific in a way that mirrors the metaphysical status of Philip Goff's panpsychism, what it means for a theory to count as a scientific explanation, elements of Gaede's hypothesis that are in tension with each other, how "spooky action at a distance" differs from Gaede's characterization of it as "black magic," and more! Tune in for a critical analysis of Gaede's more emphatic claims, as well as some of those almost made in passing.

February 1, 2024

Added Is Faith a Path to Knowledge? (2024) by Evan Fales to the Religious Experience page under Arguments for the Existence of a God in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. In this paper Evan Fales considers whether (religious) faith has any role to play in conferring positive epistemic status to (especially […]

Defending Weak Naturalism: Not a Trivial Position

In "Trivial by Nature: A Critique of Hugh Harris' Weak Naturalism," Gary Robertson claims that there are major flaws in Harris' case for "weak naturalism" that render it either trivially true or internally inconsistent. In this three-part response Harris defends his concept of weak naturalism as a coherent, nontrivial position, and further reflects on how his argument could be strengthened. Harris outlines his initial argument to provide some context before addressing Robertson's specific objections to his thesis. At the same time, Harris also identifies several flaws in Robertson's initial critique that muddy the waters concerning what actually constitutes Harris' argument for weak naturalism.

Is Faith a Path to Knowledge?

In this paper Evan Fales considers whether (religious) faith has any role to play in conferring positive epistemic status to (especially religious) beliefs. He outlines several conceptions of faith that have been historically important within Western religious traditions. He then considers what role faith might be supposed to play, so understood, within the framework of internalist and externalist accounts of knowledge. His general conclusion is that, insofar as faith itself is a justified epistemic attitude, it requires justification and acquires that justification only through the regular faculties for contingent truths: sense perception and reason. Fales also argues that the operations of our cognitive faculties in arriving at epistemic judgments on matters of substance are sufficiently complex, subtle, and often temporally prolonged, to make it exceptionally difficult to reconstruct the cognitive process and to judge whether it meets standards of rationality.

January 26, 2024

Added the eighty-second Freethinker Podcast YouTube Interview with Robert M. Price on Old Testament Prophesying, Qur’anic Variations, & Josephusian Miracles (2024) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Check out Edouard Tahmizian’s about roughly hour-long interview with Christ myth biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Old Testament prophecy, variations in Qur’anic […]

Interview with Robert M. Price on Old Testament Prophesying, Qur’anic Variations, & Josephusian Miracles

Check out Edouard Tahmizian's about roughly hour-long interview with Christ myth biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Old Testament prophecy, variations in Qur'anic translations, I Clement, and early historical accounts of miraculous events. In this twelfth interview the interlocutors discuss whether Psalm 22:16 is genuinely prophetic of a coming messiah, why Muslims believe that the Devil acted as if Jesus was resurrected while simultaneously believing that Jesus never prophesized that he would rise from the dead, how textual variance in the Qur'an compares to that in the canonical Gospels, when the letter to the Corinthians in the First Epistle of Clement was written and whether we have any clue as to its authorship, and naturalistic explanations for Flavius Josephus' accounts of miraculous events. Tune in for a far-reaching interview with a noted biblical scholar!

December 31, 2023

Added Review of The Problem of Animal Pain: A Theodicy for All Creatures Great and Small (2023) by Liz Goodnick to the Evidential Arguments from Evil page under Arguments for Atheism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. In The Problem of Animal Pain: A Theodicy for All Creatures Great and Small, […]

Review of The Problem of Animal Pain

In The Problem of Animal Pain: A Theodicy for All Creatures Great and Small, Trent Dougherty claims that animal suffering is a logically necessary part of a world that contains the greatest goods—expression of the saintly virtues. He claims that even animal pain will be defeated insofar as animals will be resurrected as persons (think of the talking animals of C. S. Lewis' Narnia) who will come to embrace their role (including their suffering) in the drama of creation. Dougherty claims that if he can show that his saint-making theodicy makes the existence of animal pain unsurprising given the existence of God, and if he can show that his theodicy doesn't reduce the prior probability of God's existence, then he will "screen off" the disconfirmatory power that the existence of evil bears on the existence of God. In this review, Liz Goodnick deftly questions Dougherty's reasoning, particularly since the saintly virtues are only appropriate responses to a world that contains the kinds and as much suffering as this world does in the first place, and independently may not be worth that tremendous cost.

A Lawyer Evaluates Evidence of Supernatural Events

Christian apologists often claim to have "strong" evidence for Jesus' resurrection—but compared to what? The arguments of legal apologists are a far cry from those found in actual courtrooms, for a court will compare the case at hand against previous cases (or precedent) to determine the strength of the evidence for a claim. But in case law the physical facts rule prevents the consideration of claims of supernatural events, so no such precedent exists. In this essay Robert Miller nevertheless compares the kind of evidence that apologists offer for the resurrection of Jesus against the evidence appealed to by Spiritualists and Mormons for their claims, as well as against the sort of "corroborating" evidence used to prop up urban legends. Miller concludes that when it comes to evidentiary factors like public demonstration, hearsay, multiple attestation, and early recordation, the evidence appealed to by Spiritualists—as poor as it is—is still far superior to that appealed to for Jesus' resurrection.

December 30, 2023

Added the eighty-first Freethinker Podcast YouTube Interview with Bill Gaede & Keith Augustine on Unconventional Physics (2023) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this just over one-hour interview with Rational Science podcaster and Why God Doesn’t Exist author Bill Gaede and Internet Infidels […]

Interview with Bill Gaede & Keith Augustine on Unconventional Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this just over one-hour interview with Rational Science podcaster and Why God Doesn’t Exist author Bill Gaede and Internet Infidels Executive Director Keith Augustine. The participants canvass Gaede’s account of magnetic attraction and repulsion, why the “ropes” and “threads” of Gaede’s rope hypothesis don’t get tangled with each other, how his rope hypothesis differs from string theory, why he thinks that relativistic effects like time dilation are not evidence for either general or special relativity, his take on “black magic” accounts of quantum entanglement or “spooky action at a distance,” and what happens when you turn on a flashlight under his rope hypothesis. Tune in for an alternative take to the received wisdom of mathematical physics!

December 22, 2023

Added the eightieth Freethinker Podcast YouTube Interview with Robert M. Price on Christian & Islamic Apologetics (2023) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian’s over half-an-hour interview with returning biblical scholar Robert M. Price about Christian and Islamic apologetics. In this interview the interlocutors canvass the […]

Interview with Robert M. Price on Christian & Islamic Apologetics

Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian's over half-an-hour interview with returning biblical scholar Robert M. Price about Christian and Islamic apologetics. In this interview the interlocutors canvass the Christian apologetic claim that St. Paul would have been dismissed by his contemporaries had he made up the existence of 500 witnesses to the resurrected Jesus, how Christian apologists square Gospel claims that Jesus wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist with Jesus' status as the sinless son of God, whether the alleged reference to John the Baptist by Josephus is genuine, why Jesus would curse a fig tree when it was not in season for bearing figs, whether the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Muhammad was a genuine historical event, and why the Hebrews in the first five books of the Old Testament referred to the Abrahamic God as Yahweh rather than Allah if Allah was the true name of God. Check out the rapid fire discussion in just over 30 minutes!

December 6, 2023

Added Happy Holidays! Sheet Music by Edouard Tahmizian for Piano/Keyboard | Noteflight (2023) by Edouard Tahmizian to the Videos category on the Secular Web. Our Board Vice President, Edouard Tahmizian, has wrote a nice track to celebrate the coming Holidays! Tune in!

November 30, 2023

Added Embracing the Aliveness of Nature without Spirits (2023) by Sam Woolfe to the Naturalism page under Nontheism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. Animism—the widespread belief among indigenous groups around the world that natural features like plants, rivers, rocks, and mountains are alive and animated by anthropomorphic spirits—is widely considered […]

Trivial by Nature: A Critique of Hugh Harris’ Weak Naturalism

In this response to Hugh Harris' earlier Secular Web Kiosk piece "Proposing Weak Naturalism," Gary Robertson reviews some major flaws in Harris' case for what he calls "weak naturalism," which Harris by Harris' definition renders it either trivially true or internally inconsistent. In addition, the scientism, evidentialism, and arguments from ignorance undergirding Harris' arguments are incommensurable and, in the case of scientism, discredited. Furthermore, Harris applies a double standard in requiring scientifically verifiable evidence of his opponents' positions, but not of his own position. Finally, Harris' appeal to a perceived lack of decisive evidence to the contrary amounts to an appeal to ignorance.

Embracing the Aliveness of Nature without Spirits

Animism—the widespread belief among indigenous groups around the world that natural features like plants, rivers, rocks, and mountains are alive and animated by anthropomorphic spirits—is widely considered to be the oldest form of religion. Following the work of Justin Barrett, Stewart Guthrie, and others, the human propensity to attribute humanlike traits to natural objects is a plausible extension of an evolutionarily adaptive hyperactive agency detection device ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom. After all, the false positive detection of an imaginary predator is much less costly to survival and reproduction than the false negative dismissal of a real one. In this essay journalist Sam Woolfe argues that a "soft animist" need not posit that personhood permeates the natural world in order to preserve the essential animistic sense of responsibility to respect and protect nature in all of its aliveness. In this sense animism can signify not a particular metaphysical viewpoint, but rather the beneficent relationship to nature that such a viewpoint has traditionally inspired.

November 8, 2023

Added the seventy-ninth Freethinker Podcast YouTube seventh Interview with Robert M. Price on Old Testament Canon and Miracles (2023) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Check out Edouard Tahmizian’s roughly hour-and-fifteen-minute interview with legendary biblical scholar Robert M. Price about Price’s ongoing participation in Bishop Ray Taylor’s Wise as a […]