What's New on the Secular Web?
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May 28, 2003
"If I want to be a moral and ethical person I cannot be a Christian."
May 27, 2003
Drake responds to Turton's critique of Drake's "Knowledge, Expert Opinion, and the Public Sphere."
May 24, 2003
Added "When the Public is Justified in Ignoring the Expert Consensus: A Reply to Michael Drake" by Michael A. Turton to the Agora.
"Drake's article on expertise is a first-rate example of a common expert strategy: the deployment of expertise as a political club to get the reader to accept the expert's values, without really recognizing that they are indeed values which the layman is free to accept or reject as she pleases."
May 15, 2003
"Knowledge, Expert Opinion and the Public Sphere: Why We Teach the Science We Do " by Michael Drake becomes the current Feature article through June 14th.
"There are good reasons why we rely on expert opinion when it comes to scientific claims ... and 'fairness' has nothing to do with it."
May 14, 2003
Denneson is the author of:
"Nietzsche's The Antichrist"
"Society and the Individual in Nietzsche's The Will to Power"
"Wittgenstein on Seeing"
Robbins is the author of:
"Secular Humanism, Christian Theism, and the Meaning of Life"
Walters is the author of:
"New Light on Joseph Smith's First Vision" (Off Site)
Young is the author of:
"The Origin of the Word Agnostic"
May 10, 2003
Surprisingly, perhaps, there are quite a few Hebrew errors in the Old Testament, errors which are more or less translated out in Christian translations, apparently in order to alleviate what would otherwise be obvious problems in traditional Christian theological interpretations.
Steven Carr has authored numerous articles of interest to freethinkers, including articles on the Bible, the Quran, the evidence for the martyrdom of the Apostles, and atheism.
May 9, 2003
"Through the many tantalising clues left in Acts itself, and with our knowledge of Josephus' testimony as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Damascus Document, we have enough evidence to prise open the received understanding of Christian origins and allow some new light to fall on the subject."
May 6, 2003
Listen to live broadcasts from WBAI, where the emphasis is on "News, views, issues and culture" of interest to freethinkers. In addition, many interviews with notable freethinkers are archived and available in Real Player format.
Kyle J. Gerkin and J.P. Holding amicably engage each other in an and ongoing discussion of their differing worldviews. The goal is to tear down the wall of antipathy that too often divides Christians and skeptics, so as to foster a respectful understanding of those differences.
May 5, 2003
Mark Vuletic has updated his essay "In Defense of Evolution," originally published in 1994, a brief paper outlining some of the problems with creationism, and defending evolution from a few creationist criticisms.
"When we look at the world, we encounter vast evidence confirming the evolutionary account of ... life, and nothing even remotely resembling a disproof of it. This is an inexplicable mystery if, as creationists insist, God created the variety of life through a means other than evolution. Had God done so, it would scarcely be possible for the world not to abound with clear evidence decisively refuting evolution--it would, in fact, be possible only if God deliberately went about after creation carefully rearranging the world to make it look as though evolution had occurred, so that His poor creations might be misled, and thereby condemn themselves to an eternity in Hell. In other words, assuming God exists in the first place, either He used evolution as His means of creating the diversity of life on Earth, or else He is an abhorrent liar and deceiver."
May 4, 2003
Added "Pitfalls of Metaphysics and Chimera of Divine Revelation" by Mohammad Gill to the Modern Library.
"History shows that metaphysics is subjective, prevaricated to the extent of unintelligibility, and irrational; it is essentially ostentatious and philosophically so dense that it is inane. Likewise, many revelations are demonstrably and factually wrong. Both are anachronistic and have ceased to be inspiring sources of human knowledge. Any reliable human knowledge is empirical and scientific."
May 2, 2003
Texas Tech biology professor Michael Dini's now-infamous "affirmation" requirement was flawed on the basis of principles which most skeptics and evolutionists themselves presuppose.
May 1, 2003
"Animal and Extraterrestrial Artifacts: Intelligently Designed?" by Loren Petrich continues as the current Feature article through May 14th.
The "Intelligent Design" movement claims that the scientific community has neglected the possibility that the features of living things are the product of intelligent design. Although the intelligent-design hypothesis is sometimes viewed as a Trojan horse for introducing certain theological hypotheses into science, intelligent design can be performed by entities that are both nonhuman and nontheological, and the scientific community has actually dealt with several important examples of these.
Book-of-the-Month for May: The Mind Made Flesh: Essays from the Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution by Nicholas Keynes Humphrey.
This book, by the author of Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation, collects together a series of controversial essays that probe what we think we know on a variety of topics. Dealing with the complex issues of evolutionary psychology in terms that most well-educated lay people can comprehend is no mean feat, but Professor Humphrey accomplishes this with both wit and style.
Video-of-the-Month for May: Evolution.
The (long) story of evolution is told very well in this eight-hour series first shown on PBS. Beginning with a dramatization of the struggles of Charles Darwin in a two-hour sequence aptly titled Darwin's Dangerous Idea, the production moves on to cover various topics related to evolution (major transformations of species, the intellectual development of humans, the phenomenon of animal extinction, and the organized opposition to evolutionary theory by religious fundamentalists). Interview segments with those on both sides of the fence are accompanied by extraordinary visuals that are dazzling. Narrated by actor Liam Neeson, this is a remarkably intelligent and entertaining approach to a fascinating topic.
See "What's New? " for past months and years.