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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

January 31, 2003

Added "Why I Couldn't Deconvert" by Ronald Defenbaugh to the Agora.

"There was no deconversion for me because I was never converted."

January 29, 2003

Added "Never Acquiesce" by "Matt" to the Agora.

The strength and pervasiveness of the conviction among the general public in the United States and elsewhere that atheists are incompetent or too untrustworthy to hold positions of trust is all too pervasive. In fact, there is even government support for some forms of anti-atheist discrimination. Atheists should never acquiesce.

January 26, 2003

Added "The Mind of the Nonbeliever" by Gym Would to the Agora.

The nonbeliever seems to think differently than most people. That capability can allow the nonbeliever to excel in many ways and many endeavors, yet thinking differently than the majority can also be dangerous in a world controlled by believers.

January 22, 2003

Added "Betrothal and Marriage in the Bible" by J. E. Hill to the Agora.

A short essay which explores the concepts of marriage in terms of biblical principles.

January 19, 2003

Added "The End of Pascal's Wager: Only Nontheists Go to Heaven " by Richard Carrier to the Modern Documents section of the Library.

A rebuttal to any form of Pascal's Wager, a rebuttal which requires theists to abandon several of their cherished beliefs about god and/or heaven if they are to escape its logic, demonstrating in the process that unbelief may be the safest bet after all.

January 18, 2003

Added "Fundamental Flaws in Mark Steiner's Challenge to Naturalism in The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem" by Richard Carrier to the Modern Documents section of the Library.

This is a critical rebuttal to Mark Steiner's book The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem (1998). Steiner argues that naturalism appears to be false because nature is fundamentally mathematical. Carrier argues otherwise.

January 17, 2003

Added "Joseph Kony's Spirit War" by Richard Petraitis to the Agora.

A glimpse into a fascinating yet horrifying world, a world little-known outside of Africa, a world of religion and violence where "Magic wars" have claimed the lives of thousands, many of them children conscripted into "The Lord's Resistance Army" to fight in Joseph Kony's Spirit War."
Richard Carrier has updated his article "The Bonebox of James: Is It Physical Evidence of the Historicity of Jesus? with the addition of a "New Evidence Offered" paragraph:
"According to an official, peer-reviewed report by scripts expert Rochelle Altman to The Bible and Interpretation ("Official Report on the James Ossuary"), there is positive evidence that part of the inscription, the part saying "the brother of Jesus," is a later forgery, and only the rest of the artifact is genuine. Though I am not qualified to judge her assessment of the evidence, that it has been accepted by several leading scholars in the field leads me to suspect she may be right. According to her analysis, not only does that portion of the inscription appear to be by a different and significantly less competent scribe, but it uses letter forms from wildly different centuries, and has somehow erased a standard end-of-sentence mark. She hypothesizes that the forgery was committed (I suppose by a zealous Christian or profiteer) in the 3rd or 4th century."

January 16, 2003

Feature Article for the second half of January: "A Freethinkers' Haven Grows in--Culpeper?" by Kristin K. Nauth.

In one of the most conservative towns in Virginia, a female skeptic is launching a "live-in/live-out think tank" for secularists of all stripes, but only those with a good sense of humor need apply.

Added a link to Quentin Smith's new Vita. [Off Site]

January 11, 2003

The September/October 2002 issue of The Skeptical Review (TSR), Farrell Till, Editor, is now online.
Topics this issue include: "" [ Off Site ] (the URL of the website for the new online edition of TSR that will replace the printed edition), "Come Again?" (the would-be apologist Robert Turkel, aka James Patrick Holding, attempts to defend the preterist interpretation of Matthew 24, namely that some or all of the end-time events allegedly prophesied here have already been fulfilled), and "The Humpty Dumpty of Biblical Apologetics" (Till replies to Turkel's article on preterism, kicking off an extended debate in the new online edition).

January 10, 2003

Added "And suppose, after all, that death does end all" - Ingersoll by Margaret Downey to the Agora.

Downey, a Certified Humanist Celebrant, brings Ingersoll along to comfort a friend as he lays dying, and then celebrates his life in the way that he wanted her to as she officiates at his memorial service.

January 8, 2003

Added "Supernatural Science" by Shawn Dawson to the Agora.

"Supernatural Science" is a short, one-act play which uses the so-called Intelligent Design movement to emphasize the absurdity of mingling the supernatural with science.

January 6, 2003

Added "The Skeptic's Rule" by Jan Brazill to the Agora.

"Why is it that believers can be skeptical of every religion but their own? Could formulating this aversion help them see the error of their ways?"

January 1, 2003

Feature Article for the first half of January: "Why Creationism?" by Richard Green.

Is Creationism an absurd but harmless set of beliefs which may be ridiculed but should be tolerated, or is it a pernicious "mind virus" which must be opposed? Why do Creationists go to such extraordinary lengths to justify and promote their beliefs? How do creationism and evolution fare in British schools?

Book-of-the-Month for January: Meyebela: My Bengali Girlhood by Taslima Nasrin.

Meyebela, "girlhood," was coined by Nasrin ("Shame") because no term for a girl's childhood exists in Bengali. In this powerful memoir of her Muslim childhood, Nasrin revisits her growing-up years in a rural village in Bangladesh, having recognized even as a child the injustices of her world. (Note: Nasrin has been living in exile since 1994--ever since Muslim clerics issued a fatwa against her for her criticism of Islam's repression of women.)

Video-of-the-Month for January: The Shawshank Redemption, featuring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, James Whitmore and others.

Based on a short novel by Stephen King, this is a surprisingly uplifting tale of a man who is imprisoned for the (justifiable?) murder of his wife and her lover.

Richard Carrier has updated section 4e., "Craig's Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus," of his essay "Review of In Defense of Miracles"

See "What's New? " for past months and years.