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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

October 30, 2003

Due to circumstances beyond his control, the News Wire Editor is temporarily unavailable. The News Wire will resume regular updates in a few days, probably on November 2 at about 11:00 PM EST. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

October 29, 2003

Added The EFnet chat channel #atheists to the listing of Internet Relay Chat Resources under the larger listing of Electronic Resources.

#atheists is, of course, a gathering place and chat channel for atheists.

October 27, 2003

Added "One of Jesus' 'Good Deeds' Examined" by Horia G. Plugaru to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

There are probably few of us who have never heard the saying, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone"--the words attributed to Jesus in the story told in John 8:1-11 of the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned to death for her crime. This is often taken to show that Jesus possessed great measures of wisdom and kindness. Plugaru believes, however, that this story demonstrates nothing of the kind.

October 26, 2003

Interested in publishing on the Secular Web? Although essentially unchanged, the Secular Web Submission Guidelines & Instructions have been extensively reworked in order to (hopefully) clarify the requirements and make them easier to understand.

October 24, 2003

Added "Denver Initiative: Left Wing Assault on Separation of Church and State in Name of 'Peace'" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Secularists may soon have to fight a two-front war against Bible-thumping Christians on the right and self-styled promoters of Eastern Religions on the left. Denver's "Peacefulness Ordinance," Initiative 101, would require the city to help ensure public safety by increasing "peacefulness" through the use of techniques typically associated with Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu religions.

October 23, 2003

Added United Universists to the list of International Organizations.

This organization advocates Universism as a framework to unite atheists, deists, agnostics, pantheists and transcendentalists in a shared goal of rational religion.

October 21, 2003

Added "Why I'm Not A Christian, Part Two" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

"One of the major reasons that I'm not a Christian is that I don't consider myself an evil and worthless wretch who has no ability to change himself or the world around him. I am not a Christian because I believe in hope and humanity."

October 19, 2003

Added "The Economics of Risk and Belief in the Almighty" by Bob Logan to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Rational people can "believe" in seemingly irrational propositions because they have made an economic decision--not one based upon the rationality of the proposition itself--and no amount of logical argument on your part will change the economics.

October 16, 2003

Added "Theist Tale" by David M. Payne to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

It was the year of our Lord 2069, and the early morning was peaceful and serene, with the sun rising and gently drifting in and out of the small fluffy clouds that dotted the turquoise sky. It was glorious to be alive. Rebecca thought of Genesis 1:3-5. She marveled at how true the scripture was for this day, for it was truly good. Yet night would bring terror that she had never known. The day which had begun so peacefully would end in a way so horrible that Rebecca could not have believed it possible. (Editor's note: Fiction. ~10,000 words.)

October 14, 2003

Added Kennedy Space Center Freethinkers (Florida) to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

Link added on the Modern Library author page for Michael Martin to his article "Three Courses in Philosophy of Religion" (Off Site).

Over a teaching career of thirty years at Boston University, Martin taught courses in the philosophy of religion at three different levels. In this paper, originally published in the The American Philosophical Association's APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy, (Fall 1997), Martin briefly describes the content of these courses, the teaching methods used, and some of the problems he encountered.

October 11, 2003

Added "Should Jesus Sue?" by Stephen Cheng to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Capitalism has certainly been kind to fundamentalist Christianity in America. Profits from Christian product sales have run well into the billions of dollars, yet Jesus is said to have taught that one cannot serve both God and Mammon. Should Jesus take a cue from FOX News and their attempt to sue Al Franken? Perhaps he should.

October 10, 2003

Added "Theism or Atheism: Krueger vs. McHugh" to the Nontheism: Atheism: Debates section of the Modern Library.

This is a written debate which was conducted originally in the Formal Debates & Discussions forum of the Internet Infidels Discussion Forums.

October 9, 2003

Added "Could Bush's Faith-Based Policies Undermine the War on Terror?" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

President Bush's domestic agenda of promoting "faith" could be jeopardizing our strategy and chances of victory in the war on terror. By mindlessly backing "faith-based groups," Bush and his advisors might be playing right into the hands of Islamic fanatics and their sympathizers.

October 7, 2003

Added "Could a Materialist Believe in Heaven and Hell?" by Clifford Greenblatt to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Could a materialist believe in a Heaven and a Hell? Greenblatt argues that an infinity of unspeakable torment and an infinity of amazing happiness can be deduced strictly from materialist cosmology.

October 5, 2003

Link added to "The Death Of Judas" (Off Site) by Steven Elliott on the Biblical Criticism page in the Christianity section of the Theism section of the Modern Library.

Elliot brings together in one place most or all of the problems concerning the biblical account of the death of Judas. As far as biblical problems go, these are not the most insurmountable but it is surprising that there are so many problems in so few verses.

Link added to "Illustrated Stories from the Bible" (Off Site) on the Christian Worldview page in the Christianity section of the Theism section of the Modern Library.

The stories, which you might not have heard, are taken directly from the Bible. According to those who claim that the Bible is the literal "Word of God," these are real historical events, yet preachers don't often bring them up. Were these stories more widely known, it would be much harder to maintain the popular, but erroneous, notion that the Bible God is a wholly benevolent being.

Link added to "The Turkey Challenge " (Off Site) by Farrell Till on the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page in the Theism section of the Modern Library.

Till responds to Turkel's "Chicken Challenge" with a challenge of his own: "The Turkey Challenge." "If Turkel refuses this challenge, people are going to wonder why his mouth is so big but the courage of his convictions is so small." -Farrell Till

October 4, 2003

Added "If Nothing Divides Like Religion, Then What Else?" by Dinker Charak to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

"The next century will not belong to those who lead the scientific progress, the next harbingers of human progress will not be those who lead scientific progress but the philosophers who dare to go where only religions have gone before."

Numerous links (Off Site) added on the index page of articles critiquing intelligent design proponent William Dembski in the Science: Creationism section of the Modern Library:

Commentary on William A. Dembski's No Free Lunch by Wesley Elsberry
Does the information increase if there is no selection? by Elliott Sober
The No Free Lunch Theorems and Their Applications to Evolutionary Algorithms by Mark Perakh
Rebuttal to William A. Dembski's Posting and to His Book No Free Lunch by Thomas D. Schneider
William Dembski's Treatment of the No Free Lunch Theorems Is Written in Jello by David Wolpert

October 3, 2003

Added Humanist Community Services of Northeast Pennsylvania to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

Added Maryland Atheist Network to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

Link added to Not a Free Lunch But a Box of Chocolates (Off Site) by Richard Wein on the index page of intelligent design proponent William Dembski in the Science: Creationism section of the Modern Library.

This is a critique of William Dembski's book No Free Lunch. The aim of Dr. William Dembski's book is to demonstrate that design (the action of a conscious agent) was involved in the process of biological evolution. Wein's critique shows that Dembski's arguments are deeply flawed and have little to contribute to science or mathematics.

October 2, 2003

Added "The Morality of the Christ?" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Jennings argues that there is no real morality in the story of Christ as presented in the Gospels, that the God-Man described in the Bible--if he really existed--would be a liar, a fraud and a sadomasochist.

Link added to The Ingersoll Chronology Project (Off Site) on the author index page of Robert Green Ingersoll in the Historical Library.

This is a chronology of Ingersoll's lectures, with newspaper commentaries.

October 1, 2003

Feature article: "O Holy Night" by William Hopper.

"Most modern Christians will tell you that the holiness of Halloween has been co-opted over the years by 'evil influences.' It's actually the other way around. It was the Catholic Church that tried to change what they saw as an 'evil' festival into a good and holy Christian celebration. It didn't work."

Book-of-the-Month: Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God, by A. C. Grayling.

"A distinctive voice somewhere between Mark Twain and Michel Montaigne is how Psychology Today described A.C. Grayling. In Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God, readers have the pleasure of hearing this distinctive voice address some of the most serious topics in philosophy--and in our daily lives--including reflections on guns, anger, conflict, war; monsters, madness, decay; liberty, justice, utopia; suicide, loss, and remembrance."

Video-of-the-Month: Quills.

"Quills will not only stun you with its amazing brilliance and beauty, it will take you on an impure journey through the mind and writings of the infamous Marquis de Sade. Geoffrey Rush (as the Marquis), Kate Winslet (as the laundry maid Madeleine), Joaquin Phoenix (as Coulmier the Charenton Asylum's resident priest) and Michael Caine (as the doctor) deliver top-notch performances in this provocative tale filled with erotic passion, desire, and true love."

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