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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

Secular Relief Efforts

Internet Infidels is deeply saddened by the destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These events have severely impacted thousands of people, and we support the ongoing relief efforts. Below are links to three secular charities that are directly supporting the aid efforts in the affected areas:
American Humanist Association
Atheist Alliance Hurricane Donation Fund
Center for Inquiry / SHARE

October 18, 2005

Added "Happy is the Man that Feareth Always": Psychology vs. Religion (2005) by Michael Moore and Daniela Kramer to the Faith and Reason and Theism index pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Moore and Kramer analyze four main conflicts between humanistic psychology and prominent religious precepts found in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic prayers. These conflicts concern locus of control, self-esteem, social values, and the status of the family. The authors conclude that the messages promoted by various prayers are diametrically opposed to the goals of humanistic psychology and progressive education.

Richard Carrier emended his article Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of (2004, 2005) to clarify Flew's current position.

To allow readers to make their own call, the last paragraph was changed to include a more complete quotation of Flew in place of its interpretation.

October 11, 2005

Added Atheists of the New River Valley and the Memphis Freethought Alliance to the Local Organizations page.

Added Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics at UW-Madison, and updated the Birmingham Freethought Society listing, on the Student Organizations page.

October 6, 2005

Added Depravity, Divine Responsibility and Moral Evil: A Critique of a New Free Will Defence (1995) by Andrea Weisberger to the Arguments for Atheism: Evidential Arguments from Evil index page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

A popular response to the problem of evil contends that there is a necessary connection between free will and the existence of moral (or human-caused) evil. Alvin Plantinga, for instance, has advanced a concept of "transworld depravity"--essentially the idea that in any possible world where a given person has substantial free will, that person will necessarily commit at least one immoral act. In criticizing Plantinga's notion of transworld depravity, Clement Dore offers an alternative solution. But Weisberger argues that Dore's solution also fails because the existence of free will in no way necessitates either the human capacity to act wrongly or the excessive amount of moral evil we actually find in the world. Weisberger concludes that the free will defense utterly fails to undermine the argument from evil.

October 5, 2005

Added a link to the Fallacy Files (Off Site) on the Secular Web Reference Desk page.

Fallacy Files consists of a collection of named logical fallacies, and their descriptions, as well as a collection of fallacious and/or otherwise bad arguments.

October 4, 2005

Added "Bush's God...?" by Rob Sullivan to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

George Walker Bush relates that he relied on guidance from "a higher Father" as he came to the decision to invade Iraq. Now that it's apparent that the best case scenario for Operation Iraqi Freedom will be a moderate Islamic republic aligned with Iran, and the worst case scenario a metastasizing war between Sunnis and Shiites spreading throughout the Middle East, perhaps it's time to address some questions surrounding President Bush's initial decision to go to war.

October 2, 2005

Added The Pollution Solution: A Critique of Dore's Response to the Argument from Evil (1997) by Andrea Weisberger to the Arguments for Atheism: Evidential Arguments from Evil index page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Several contemporary philosophers of religion have offered 'solutions' the problem of evil which insist that the world would actually be worse off than it currently is if there were no evil in it. Although John Hick's soul-making theodicy is the most prominent example of such a solution, Clement Dore has recently offered a theodicy that Weisberger dubs "the pollution solution." According to this response, evil is a necessary consequence of the 'polluting' natural machinery of the world. But as Weisberger points out, Dore fails to answer the critical question: Why couldn't God have created "nonpolluting" natural machinery? On the face of it, there is no reason to believe that such a world is logically impossible, and Dore offers no evidence to the contrary.

October 1, 2005

Current Feature: Limiting God (2005), by Matthew Stevens

Although we can never prove or disprove the existence of God, science can tell us where God isn't. God isn't to be found in the creation of the Earth, nor in the evolution of life. Nor can God know the future; physics shows us why.

Book-of-the-Month: God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory (2004), by Niall Shanks

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: Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection (2000), by Barbara Forrest

"Science, because of its reliance upon methodological naturalism, lends no support to belief in the supernatural. Consequently, philosophical naturalism, because of its own grounding in methodological naturalism, has no room for it either. While for the supernaturalist, this absence may be the chief complaint against both science and methodological naturalism, for the philosophical naturalist, it is the source of the greatest confidence in both."


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