What's New on the Secular Web?
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June 25, 2005
Added Rational Thought (Stanford U.) and Atheist, Agnostic and Nonreligious Student Association (UNC-Chapel Hill) to the Student Organizations page in the Secular Web's Organizations resource.
June 23, 2005
Added Review of The Evolution of the Soul (2005) by Yujin Nagasawa to the Conceptual Arguments section of the Life After Death: Immortality index page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In The Evolution of the Soul Richard Swinburne makes a courageous attempt to defend (Cartesian) substance dualism--the thesis that the mind (or soul) is distinct from the body, yet interacts with it. Nagasawa's review critically analyzes two of Swinburne's arguments: (i) that one's conscious existence entails the existence of one's soul; and (ii) that a dualist has no obligation to explain how interaction is possible between ontologically distinct minds and bodies. At the very least, Nagasawa concludes, Swinburne has an obligation to explain why such interaction is inexplicable--and without invoking the existence of God.
June 17, 2005
Dvortsov says, "I felt an itching sensation to add another fringe color to our progressive rainbow: 'Hi! I am a secular conserv...' Brrr! Just an innocent attempt to spell out my political identity gives me goose bumps! I can imagine the apoplectic reaction from a sea of secular progressive officers and religious liberal soldiers: 'A conservative among our troops?!'"
June 10, 2005
Added Substance Dualism and Disembodied Existence (2000) by Nicholas Everitt to the Immortality index page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Richard Swinburne defends substance dualism--the idea that mind and body are two radically different things--throughout his various works, including The Coherence of Theism, Is There A God?, The Evolution of the Soul, and Personal Identity. Nicholas Everitt's critique focuses on the latter two books, as Swinburne appears to believe that the argument from the possibility of disembodied consciousness he develops there is his most persuasive argument. After much philosophical reflection, Everitt concludes that Swinburne's primary argument for dualism has no force because it simply assumes what it is trying to prove.
June 7, 2005
Added Argument from Insufficient Knowledge of the Bible for the Nonexistence of the God of Christianity (2005) by Horia George Plugaru to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
AIK is a new probabilistic argument against the existence of the Christian God. According to one version of the argument, if the Christian God existed he would ensure that (nearly) all human beings have an excellent knowledge of the Bible before they die. But, as a matter of historical fact, most human beings do not even get close to having an excellent knowledge of the Bible before they die (if they even know it at all). Therefore, the Christian God probably doesn't exist.
June 6, 2005
Rationalist International is a forum for rationalist ideas and positions of world-wide concern. It aims at representing the rationalist view where public opinion is formed and making the voice of reason heard and considered, where decisions are taken which will shape our future.
The Indian Rationalist Association (IRA)with head quarters in New Delhi and several branches and thousands of members all over the country is one of the largest and most vibrant freethought organizations in the world. The IRA promotes reason, critical thinking and scientific temper in all public fora and has launched a mass scale education movement against superstition in Indian villages.
June 5, 2005
The Parents' Corner is a compendium of articles and resources that help nontheistic parents deal with the challenges of secular child-rearing in a religious world. Traditional child-rearing resources typically assume that parents are religious and wish their children to be so as well. The needs of nontheistic parents are ignored by these resources, some of which even go so far as to condemn the very idea of raising children without religious belief. The Parent's Corner is intended to address this imbalance by providing information that addresses the unique questions and challenges that nontheistic parents face.
June 2, 2005
In this five-part essay, Marczyk considers the scientific evidence against the existence of a soul which harbors one's consciousness and survives the death of the body. In particular, parts 1 and 2 present numerous examples of strong neuroscientific evidence for what the author calls "mind-brain unity," focusing on the evidence that one's sense of self, personality, and behavioral dispositions depend for their very existence on certain states of the brain, and thus cannot possibly survive the destruction of the brain at death.
June 1, 2005
Did Jesus rise from the dead? Although 19th and early 20th century Biblical scholarship dismissed the resurrection narratives as late, legendary accounts, Christian apologists in the late 20th century revived historical apologetics for the resurrection of Jesus with increasingly sophisticated arguments. The Empty Tomb provides a sober, objective response to arguments offered in defense of Christianity's central claim.
For two millennia in Christendom, every generation has been "the last generation," the generation that was to experience the Second Coming. Babinski explains the delay. [Editor's note: First published in the Secular Web Kiosk, April 2001.]
Hermeneutics is the science of interpreting written texts, especially those that claim to be sacred, and it seems that Christian apologists need a lesson in the fundamentals of hermeneutics when it comes to their attempts to explain away the prophecy failure in Matthew 24:34 with regard to the Second Coming. [Editor's note: First published in the May/June 2002 issue of The Skeptical Review.]