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What's New on the Secular Web?



See also: Events & The News Wire


September 30, 2003

Added UUI, Unitarian Universalist Infidels, to the Secular E-Mail Lists & Discussion Groups page in the E-Mail Lists section of the Electronic Resources listings.

This is a support and networking organization for nonreligious Unitarian Universalists (UUs). It is a forum where atheist, agnostic, skeptic, free thinking, and/or secular humanist UUs can express their views without fear of offending the faithful.

Link added on the index page of articles by Richard Carrier in the Modern Library to "A Look at Carrier's Godless Comments in Review" (Off Site) by Mark McFall.

This is a rebuttal to Carrier's "Some Godless Comments on McFall's Review of On Jesus" (Off Site), which, in turn, was a rebuttal to McFall's original "Review of On Jesus" (Off Site). Carrier argues that Jesus does not qualify as a bona fide philsopher. McFall argues that he does qualify.

September 28, 2003

Link added on the Related Sites page in the Separation of Church and State section of the Modern Library to "The Wall" (Off Site).

This is a a syndicated column by Kimberly Blaker on church and state (and other issues) from a liberal perspective.

Link added on the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "Ever Hearing but Never Understanding" (Off Site) by Craig Hazen.

This is a response to "Faith and History: A Critique of John Warwick Montgomery's Apologetics" by Mark Hutchins.

Link added to "Theological Noncognitivism Examined" (Off Site) by Steven J. Conifer.

Conifer examines theological noncognitivism, usually taken to be the view that the sentence "God exists" is cognitively meaningless, and concludes that if there is any version of noncognitivism that is true, then it has relevance only to the most esoteric forms of God-talk.

September 27, 2003

Added "Go Fish" by James A. Bartlett to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

For two years, it rode peacefully on my bumper. Then one day, somebody decided it had to go.

Link added to "Epicycles of Theodicy" (Off Site) by Shlomi Tal.

A theory that many people have not yet given up and which requires a clockwork of epicycles is the theory of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God. In order to be able to keep this cherished theory of God, people have devised epicycles of theodicy, defences of God's omnibenevolence in spite of all appearance to the contrary. This article discusses the free will, judgement, afterlife, and mysterious ways defenses, endeavoring to show that they fail, and that the rational person must consider a more economical theory.

September 26, 2003

Link added on the Historicity of Jesus page in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?" (Off Site) by Dan Barker.

During the 19 years that Barker preached the Gospel, the resurrection of Jesus was the keystone of his ministry. Every Easter he affirmed the Apostle Paul's admonition: "If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain." But now he no longer believes it. Why?

Links added on the Judaism and Biblical Criticism pages in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "Elucidation of Genesis 1" (Off Site) by Shlomi Tal.

This article is a secular-minded elucidation of the first chapter of the book of Genesis based on the original Hebrew text, with translation and commentary.

Link added on the Islam page in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "The Platygaean Qur'an" (Off Site) by Shlomi Tal.

In 1993, Shaikh Abd Al-'Azeez bin Baaz, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, declared that the earth is flat, and that anyone saying otherwise is an atheist deserving of punishment. Strange as though such a ruling may seem, it is based on verses from the Quran, here made evident, which teach geocentrism and a flat earth.

September 25, 2003

Added Washington State Atheist, Agnostic, and Freethought Organizations to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

Link added on the Theistic Arguments: Links to Other Resources page in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "A Designer Universe?" (Off Site) by Steven Weinberg, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics.

"There do not seem to be any exceptions to [the] natural order, any miracles ... but the great monotheistic faiths are founded on miracle stories--the burning bush, the empty tomb, an angel dictating the Koran to Mohammed--and some of these faiths teach that miracles continue at the present day. The evidence for all these miracles seems to me to be considerably weaker than the evidence for cold fusion, and I don't believe in cold fusion. Above all, today we understand that even human beings are the result of natural selection acting over millions of years of breeding and eating."

September 23, 2003

An RSS feed of The News Wire is now available for anyone who wants to read The News Wire via an aggregator.

Link added on the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page in the Theism section of the Modern Library to "A Verdict on Josh McDowell" (Off Site) by Gordon B. Hazen.

This is a detailed rebuttal to some of McDowell's specific claims in chapter 4 of his Evidence That Demands a Verdict.

September 22, 2003

Added "Resurrecting Atlantis" by David M. Payne to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

The Atlantis worm suddenly appeared on the computers--some of which were not even connected to the Internet--of a carefully-selected group of individuals of interest to the agency, a pop-up window hawking an all-expense paid trip to the Atlantis Resort on Dead Man's Cay. The agency's top secret report describes the astonishing events which transpired for those who accepted the invitation. (Editor's note: Fiction. 11,000+ words.)

September 21, 2003

Link added to the Atheism and Agnosticism Awareness Society (Cornell University) on the list of Student Organizations in the Organizations section of the Secular Web.

Link added to "Evidentialist Apologetics in Islam" (Off Site) by Imran Aijaz on the Islam index page in the Theism section of the Modern Library.

Aijaz discusses two common apologetics in Islam: Qur'anic I'jaz (the Qur'an is allegedly inimitable, thereby demonstrating its divine origin), and Scientific Miracles (the Qur'an allegedly presents scientific facts which were unknown at the time of its revelation, thereby demonstrating its divine origin). He finds both apologetics wanting and suggests that they should be discarded.

Link added to "The Reason the Universe Exists is that it Caused Itself to Exist" (Off Site) by Quentin smith on the Physics and Religion index page in the Science and Religion section of the Modern Library.

There are two familiar responses to the question, "Why does the universe exist?" One is that "God created it." The other is, "For no reason--its existence is a brute fact." In this essay, Smith explores a third alternative, that the reason for the existence of the universe lies within the universe itself.

Link added to "Time Was Created by a Timeless Point: An Atheist Explanation of Spacetime" (Off Site) by Quentin smith on the Physics and Religion index page in the Science and Religion section of the Modern Library.

Smith agrees with theism that there is a cause of spacetime's beginning to exist and that this cause is a timeless, uncaused, simple, independent, necessary and transcendent being. Smith argues, however, that this being is not God but a spatially zero-dimensional point.

September 20, 2003

Thanks to AJ Milne, The News Wire Editor, The News Wire Archives are now being regularly crawled by an automated system that looks for, and removes, bad links. Users of The News Wire should find browsing the back catalogue less frustrating; the vast majority of archived links should be live. The system depends, however, on the remote server to provide an appropriate error message for bad links. Not all servers do this. So if you notice any bad links in your browsing, please report them to the News Wire Editor.

Link added to "Skeptical Reviews Regarding Robert Turkel's Tekton Apologetic Ministry" (Off Site) on the Criticisms of Christian Apologetics & Apologists index page in the Theism | Christianity section of the Modern Library.

This site, devoted to critiques of Turkel's work, hosts or links to approximately three dozen articles of interest.

Link added to "The Mind-Brain Problem" (Off Site) by John Beloff on the Immortality index page in the Life After Death section of the Modern Library.

Beloff, a long-time opponent of materialism, concedes that the prospect of surviving death is untenable, and explains why. (See especially, the "Weak Dualism" section.)

Link added to "Is Trinitarian Ontology Coherent? (Off Site) by Imran Aijaz on the Christian Worldview index page in the Theism | Christianity section of the Modern Library.

"The doctrine of the Trinity as presented in the Athanasian Creed depicts an ontologically incoherent model of God. If one is to remain consistent with the philosophical treatment of theism in contemporary philosophy by the likes of Swinburne and Craig, it follows that the doctrine of the Trinity, and its relation to 'Christian monotheism'--being profoundly irrational--should be abandoned."

September 19, 2003

Added FreeThinking-HomeEducators, ("Free Thinking Home Educating Families") to the list of resources on the Links page in the Parents' Corner in the Families section of the Secular Web.

Updated the phone numbers for the Australian Freethought organizations listed on the Freethought Organizations page of The Atheism Web.

Added The Jesus Debates to the Secular E-Mail Lists & Discussion Groups page in the E-Mail Lists section of the Electronic Resources listings.

Was Jesus a real, flesh and blood person who was crucified and rose from the dead? Was he a prophet? Was he the Son of God. Was he created or is he actually God? Was he a myth whose history was created? Was he an imaginary person who grew to be a legend? Does he live even now, changing the lives of His believers? Is the Bible a trustworthy book to be used as an accurate history of Jesus? This stimulating group will discuss all the facets of Jesus, pro and con. Christians and non-Christians are welcome to join the discussion to share thoughts, to agree or disagree.

Link added to "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Q" (Off Site) by Bob and Gretchen Passantino on the author index page of Earl Doherty.

This is a response to the position of Doherty and others as supporters of the majority opinion on the existence of a Q document as found in the field of professional New Testament scholarship.

September 18, 2003

Updated the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page with the addition of links to the individual chapters (pertaining to individual Christian apologists) of "Critique of Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith" by Paul Doland.

September 16, 2003

Added "How Should Secularists View the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

Both the Israelis and the Palestinians use religious arguments to justify their positions. What are the facts, and how should the secularist respond to this faith-driven conflict?

September 15, 2003

Added the SDP HomeScholars of Southern California, (a Secular, Diverse and Progressive homeschool support group in Southern California), to the list of resources on the Links page in the Parents' Corner in the Families section of the Secular Web.

September 14, 2003

Added the Asimov Humanists (The Humanist Association of Montgomery County, Texas, Isaac Asimov Chapter) to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

September 12, 2003

Added the Space Coast Objectivism Promoters and Explorers (Objectivist Club at UCF) to the list of Local Organizations Around the World.

September 8, 2003

Added "Bishop Spong, Christian 'Humanist'" by shirley Braverman to the Agora.

He does not believe in any of the supernatural events depicted in the Bible, yet John Shelby Spong will not be labeled "an atheist." He considers himself a Christian through and through, a Christian who sees a need for a new Reformation and whose church is leading the way into the future--even at the risk of alienating half its members. Spong believes that Christianity must change or die. Braverman believes that if the Christians are to be brought into the twenty-first century, it can only be done by an insider like Bishop Spong.

September 5, 2003

Thanks to AJ Milne, News Wire Editor, the News Wire filed-by-category archives are back online after a lengthy absence. Broken links to previous stories' in the Eye on the Right and Stories-by-category pages are also fixed.

September 1, 2003

Feature article: "Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe" by Matt Young.

Can you apply a skeptical empiricism to religious beliefs? The author answers, "yes"--and religion comes up short. In place of theism, Young offers what Einstein called "a cosmic religious feeling," in this excerpt adapted from his book, No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe.

Book-of-the-Month: God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, Neil A. Manson (Ed.).

This book is a collection of essays by nearly two-dozen different contributors representing all sides of the debate about whether the design of "God" is the best explanation for the observations of scientists. It is a major contribution to the question of just what the relationship between science and religion ought to be. Contributors include such notables as: Michael Behe, William Lane Craig, Paul Davies, William Dembski, John Leslie, Kenneth R. Miller, Martin Rees, Michael Ruse, Elliott Sober, and Richard Swinburne.

Video-of-the-Month: Red Dwarf - I.

This BBC comedy/sci-fi/parody owes something to Douglas Adams's satirical Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, something to The Odd Couple, and even more to the slacker sci-fi of John Carpenter's Dark Star. Behind the crew's constant bickering there lurks an impending sense that life, the universe, and everything are all someone's idea of a terrible joke.

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


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