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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

July 29, 2003

Doug Krueger has posted his closing statement in the "Theism or Atheism: McHugh vs Krueger" debate in the Formal Debates & Discussions forum. Stay tuned--Christopher McHugh's closing statement is yet to come.

July 23, 2003

Added "A New Argument against the 'Feigned-Allegiance Reply'" by Horia G. Plugaru to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

One of the theistic maneuvers used to explain and justify the hiddenness of God is the so-called "Feigned-allegiance Reply" (FAR). Although some arguments against FAR have been published in the literature, Plugaru here presents what he believes is a new and valid attack on FAR (NAFAR).

July 21, 2003

Added "The Witch Killers of Africa" by Richard Petraitis to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

If you thought that witch hunts had ended long ago, you would be wrong. "Currently, African societies are at the same critical historical juncture that propelled much of Europe out of a period of deadly superstitions, nearly three centuries ago, a time when Europeans executed those believed to be witches and warlocks. Between 1991 and 2001, a total of 22,000 to 23,000 Africans were lynched to death, by fearful neighbors, as witches."

July 19, 2003

Added "The Essential Role of the Church of England" by Sean Ellis to the Agora.

The author presents the view that the Church of England--far from being a defender of faith--acts as a necessary and effective protective against the more virulent forms of faith.

July 17, 2003

Added "The Fine Tuning Argument--What's the Big Deal?" by Matthew R. Opel to the Agora.

Fine-tuning arguments in favor of the existence of creator-gods garner a certain amount of respect, even beyond the theological circles where you would expect them to be influential. In this essay I show how testing the assumptions of the fine-tuning argument can cause it to produce unsatisfying or bizarre conclusions, and how a reevaluation of the probabilities at its heart negates the argument entirely.

July 16, 2003

Secular Web authors and anyone interested in publishing on the Secular Web: The Submission Guidelines, covering the submission of articles to be considered for publication on the Secular Web, have been significantly revised in order to make the procedure more seamless for submissions destined for the Agora and Features sections of the Kiosk.

July 15, 2003

"Is Secular Humanism Taught in Our Public Schools?" by J. E. Hill becomes the current Feature article through July 31st.

Since the absence of the Christian religion (or any religion) is mandated for public schools by virtue of the Establishment Clause, the Religious Right asserts that secularism or humanism is taught by default. Where is the secular humanism content? Is it in the books? Is it in the curriculum? Teaching methods? Administration? The answer is that it is nowhere to be found.

July 14, 2003

Added "The Implausibility of Satan" by Paul Doland to the Agora.

Is the Satan character believable? Could he really exist? Doland says, "From start to finish, the concept of an all-evil, super-being Satan is untenable."

July 11, 2003

Added "'God' Has No Explanatory Power" by Matthew Goldstein to the Agora.

Atheism, properly understood, makes the fewest unsubstantiated, unnecessary, knowledge claims and is thus more sensible than theism or agnosticism.

July 7, 2003

Both Christopher McHugh and Doug Krueger have now posted their second rebuttals in the "Theism or Atheism" debate in the Formal Debates & Discussions forum. Stay tuned--there is more to come. (Note: The July 3 announcement, now corrected, erred in reporting that both had posted their second rebuttals.)

July 5, 2003

Added "Is Homocentricity a Religion?" by Abe Mann to the Agora.

Most people, even many atheists and other otherwise nonbelievers, walk through life with some preconceptions that seem pretty "religious" or "supernatural." A majority of people admit to a feeling of superiority in relation to "mere animals." The notion that a human individual is somehow more precious than almost anything else in the world, seems to me to be utterly pretentious and, if considered objectively and scientifically, very close to what many religions try to teach us.

July 4, 2003

Updated the Call for Papers

Want to be published on the Secular Web? One of the best ways to get published is to submit a paper requested in our Call for Papers. In particular, we are looking for several authors to write book reviews.

July 3, 2003

Added the Ethical Culture Society of Puget Sound to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

Doug Krueger has now posted his second rebuttal in the "Theism or Atheism" debate in the Formal Debates & Discussions forum. (Stay tuned--there is more to come.)

July 1, 2003

Republished "The Cultural Left: Making the World Safe for Fundamentalism" by Daniel G. Jennings in the Agora. [Editor's note: This article was originally published June 6, 2003. It was inadvertently deleted while attempting to rectify a server error.]

One of the biggest threats to secularism in the world today is something that, for lack of a better term can be called "the Cultural Left."

"An Atheist Defends the Design Argument" by Toby Wardman continues as the Feature article through July 14th.

Defending the Fine-Tuning Argument against a few very common objections, Wardman demonstrates that the reasoning that underpins this variation of the Design Argument is far more robust than it is usually given credit for. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason that we need not postulate a Designer for the universe after all.

Book-of-the-Month for July: God is Dead: Secularization in the West by Steve Bruce.

Christianity in the democracies of the "first" world has been declining in power, popularity and prestige since 1900. Many commentators try to minimize the extent of this change; they maintain that religious sentiment remains strong despite declining levels of church involvement, and insist that secularization is an academic myth. In this robust defence of the secularization paradigm, Bruce elaborates just what Weber, Durkheim, Berger and Wilson thought was happening to religion in the West, and responds to critics of this concept.

Video-of-the-Month for July: Looker.

"If looks could kill...."

This movie blends an interesting scientific concept with both a sinister plot line and a comedic touch. A plastic surgeon gets suspicious when beautiful models that he has operated on begin to die in mysterious ways. With the help of the next in line to be killed, he traces the deaths to a mysterious corporation which is involved in developing new technologies. Directed by Michael Crichton. Starring Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, and Leigh Taylor-Young.

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