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June 28, 2006
Strictly speaking "atheism" is a simple lack of theism, but those of us who assert the nonexistence of god generally have a lot more to say about what that means for our individual lives, the lives of our families, and for society as a whole.
The Nonbeliever Antidiscrimination Project provides information on Membership, Employment, and Service Restrictions Targeting Nonbelievers. The Secular Web Reference Desk is a listing of many of the most useful, high-calibre resources and tools of interest to secular and religious scholars.
June 23, 2006
Added While prayer is peaceful, violence is often in name of God (2006) by Jon Brodkin to the Kiosk.
Christians today denounce atrocities committed by their religious forebears during the Inquisition and Crusades. President Bush calls Islam a "religion of peace," despite the murder of American innocents on 9/11 in the name of Allah. Violence in the name of religion is often portrayed as the purview of psychopaths who twist the divine word of God to suit their own destructive purposes. But is religious violence a problem of people, or a problem of scripture?
Hector Avalos is associate professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University (Ames, IA), the author of four books on biblical studies and religion, the former editor of the Journal for the Critical Study of Religion, and executive director of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion. In this intriguing, original study of religious violence, Avalos offers a new theory for the role of religion in violent conflicts. Starting with the premise that most violence is the result of real or perceived scarce resources, Avalos persuasively argues that religion creates new scarcities on the basis of unverifiable or illusory criteria.
June 14, 2006
Added Contra Carrier: Why Theism is Needed to Make Sense of Everything (2006) by Paul Herrick to the Cosmological Arguments page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In "Ten Things Wrong with Cosmological Creationism," Richard Carrier argues that if we try to explain the existence of the universe by positing God, we still leave the existence of God itself unexplained--invoking an additional, unnecessary entity without any explanatory benefit. But Paul Herrick resists this conclusion, arguing that theists have a reasonable reply to Carrier's argument. Moreover, this reply requires the existence of God, as it cannot be applied to any material object or collection of material objects. This, in turn, demonstrates that theism offers an explanatory advantage over scientific naturalism, collapsing a crucial premise of Carrier's argument.
June 13, 2006
Specific articles from the former Atheism Web authored by mathew that may be of interest:
An Introduction to Atheism (1997)
Common Arguments (1997)
Logic and Fallacies: Constructing a Logical Argument (1997)
June 9, 2006
Added Why I Am Not a Christian (2006) by Graham Oppy to the Naturalism, Immortality, Evidential Arguments from Evil, and Argument to Design pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library, as well as the pages on Are We Free and Morally Responsible for Our Actions?, Can Life Have Meaning without God?, Are Atheists as Moral as Theists?, the Character of Jesus, and Why I Am Not a Christian.
Graham Oppy explains the ways in which his reasons for rejecting Christianity differ from those offered by Bertrand Russell in his famous paper of the same title. In section I, Oppy considers how Christianity should be characterized, the best way to build a case against theism, and the nonrational reasons why people believe in God, among other things. In section II, he offers an account of his journey to unbelief and the philosophy of religion. By section III, Oppy explains why he is not a Christian, as well as some of the things that he does believe. Here he pines in on appeals to contingency and causality in theistic arguments, the problem of evil, free will, the mind-body problem, the history of the universe, human history, and the historicity of the Gospels--outlining his "supervenient naturalism" along the way. Oppy wraps up by considering the meaning of life and whether virtuous behavior relates to Christian belief.
June 6, 2006
In a recent column, Toronto Sun columnist Michael Coren labels Da Vinci Code "a disgrace," likening its criticism of the Church with the imprisonment, torture, and killing of Christians in countries where "there are concerted campaigns to eliminate followers of Jesus Christ." What Coren doesn't appreciate, however, is that Dan Brown's book taps into the widespread dismay with the early compromise of Christian ideals by the Church itself.
June 3, 2006
All of these pages have been reformatted for easier browsing and extensively revised with the addition of several new resources.
June 1, 2006
Defending the Fine-Tuning Argument against a few very common objections, Wardman demonstrates that the reasoning that underpins this variation of the Design Argument is far more robust than it is usually given credit for. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason that we need not postulate a Designer for the universe after all.
A growing number of powerful arguments have been formulated by philosophers and logicians in recent years demonstrating that the existence of God is improbable. These arguments assume that God's existence is possible but argue that the weight of the empirical evidence is against God's actual existence. This unique anthology collects most of the important arguments for the improbability of God that have been published since the mid-1900s.
Here are two atheological arguments, called the "Lack-of-evidence Argument" (LEA) and "the Argument from Nonbelief" (ANB). LEA: Probably, if God were to exist then there would be good objective evidence for that. But there is no good objective evidence for God's existence. Therefore, probably God does not exist. ANB: Probably, if God were to exist then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world. But there are many nonbelievers in the world. Therefore, probably God does not exist. Reasons are given for saying that although LEA is not totally implausible, ANB is a stronger atheological argument than it is.