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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

August 27, 2005

Added The Concept of Immortality (MP3), an interview with Keith Augustine (2005) to the Secular Web Radio Show index page.

InfidelGuy (Reginald Finley) interviews Internet Infidels Executive Director Keith Augustine on the topic of death and immortality. Augustine discusses the case against life after death, the evaluation of alleged evidence for survival of bodily death (such as near-death experiences, "reincarnation memories," and ghosts), if there is any health benefit to belief in life after death, whether human beings can come to terms with the inevitability of ceasing to exist forever, and whether those who disbelieve in life after death are more malicious than afterlife-believers.

Added Internet Infidels: A Decade of Internet Infidels (MP3) (2005) to the Secular Web Radio Show index page.

InfidelGuy (Reginald Finley) discusses the 10 Year Anniversary of the Secular Web with Internet Infidels founder Jeffrey J. Lowder (Real Audio), Executive Director Keith Augustine, and Publicity Director Clark Adams. Topics discussed include the history, purpose, and current projects of Internet Infidels, the usefulness of religious debates, the online community fostered by the Internet Infidels Discussion Forum, and the future of the Secular Web. Questions and comments from callers are included.

August 26, 2005

Added a link to Churches ad hoc: a Divine Comedy (Off Site) on the Freethought-related Humor page.

NOTE: Unlike the Secular Web library, the humor collection is not to be taken seriously. Some of the material may be unsuitable for some readers. If you are inclined to be offended by bad language and poking fun at religion, do not read anything here lest you will burn in the flames of eternal hell as "God" and the "Devil" laugh with glee.

August 19, 2005

Added "Crosses and Flags" by Jeanne Khan to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

"Consider the crowd
who rose upon cue
to thwart the intent
of laws which forbid
praying in public
before football games..."

August 16, 2005

Added "Intelligent Design: A 'Different Idea' Best Kept Out of the Classroom" by Craig Stern to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

A brief overview of intelligent design, prompted by President Bush's recent endorsement of the theory.

August 11, 2005

Added "Senator Frist, the DOD, and the BSA" by Matthew Goldstein to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

The "Support the Boy Scouts" amendment recently passed the Senate 98-0 after a federal District Court had declared unconstitutional the government support for theists-only BSA that the bill redeclares to be the law. Its Constitution be damned, nontheists are not protected by that document even if everyone else is!

August 8, 2005

Richard Carrier corrected Note 6 in The Formation of the New Testament Canon (2000).

Corrected various errors and ambiguities with regard to which imperial letter for which Eusebius seems to be the only known source.

August 6, 2005

Added Review of Michael Shermer's The Science of Good and Evil (2005) by Kenneth Krause to the Secular Ethics and the Morality and Atheism index pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

In this review of Michael Shermer's most recent attempt to ground secular ethics in evolutionary biology, Kenneth Krause outlines some of the highlights of The Science of Good and Evil before turning to a discussion of some of its deficiencies. Among the former is the emphasis that moral problems "must be subjected to rational scrutiny," that moral sentiments and behaviors arose from evolution rather than God (and exist outside of us in this limited sense), and that while religion may have had limited success in "identifying universal moral and immoral thoughts and behaviors" and canonizing them, religion did not generate them. Krause then turns to a survey of empirical evidence for the thesis that "monotheism has proved an ineffectual prescription for morality," finally noting statistics showing that widespread American belief in God hasn't improved social problems like crime rates. This paves the way for Shermer's secular alternative. Many of Shermer's points were not original, but still valuable since they clearly "cannot be repeated enough," and his core standards are fairly intuitive and thus hardly revolutionary.

August 5, 2005

Added Hume's Tacit Atheism (1975) by Charles Echelbarger to the Biological Argument to Design section on the Argument to Design index page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

In this interpretation of David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Echelbarger critiques George Nathan's argument that the Dialogues indicate that Hume believed that "God is the ultimate cause of order in the universe" and that Hume's criticisms were only intended to question the nature of God, not his existence. After analyzing the text of the Dialogues and determining what Hume's ostensible God can't be, Echelbarger concludes that Hume's atheism is "tacit, subtle, and ironic," and that it is "more accurate to say that, for Hume, Nature takes the place of God."

August 1, 2005

Current Feature: An Open Letter to Professor Antony Flew (2005), by Raymond Bradley

In this open letter to Antony Flew, fellow professor and philosopher Raymond Bradley criticizes Flew's much publicized renunciation of atheism, contending that Flew is confused about what sort of God he now believes in, that the evidence on which he rests his case for abandoning naturalism is poorly researched, and that his arguments for a nonnatural designer God are poorly reasoned.

Book-of-the-Month: Unintelligent Design (2003), by Mark Perakh

Spurred on not only by the quasi-scientific agenda of the so-called intelligent design theorists, who seek to prove the existence of God mathematically, but also by his personal contact with otherwise rational scientists, physicist Mark Perakh sets out to reveal the falsity of the claims of neocreationism with a thorough, carefully-detailed series of arguments aimed at the very heart of those who would see evolutionary theory discarded. Perakh strips away the reader-unfriendly "mathematizing" present in the neocreationist theses in order to reveal their flawed logic and meaninglessness.

Special Feature: Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of (2004), by Richard Carrier

First published in October 2004, updated in December 2004 and again in January 2005--including direct correspondence with Antony Flew himself--Richard Carrier details Antony Flew's alleged conversion from atheist to theist. As Carrier puts it, "Flew has ... abandoned the very standards of inquiry that led the rest of us to atheism. It would seem the only way to God is to jettison responsible scholarship."


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