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What's New on the Secular Web?

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March 25, 2006

Added Update (March 2006) to Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of by Richard Carrier.

Discusses Flew's removal from press contact, his most recent private revelations, and the publication of his new article "My 'Conversion'" in the Autumn 2005 issue of Think.

Sam Harris agreed to be added to our Honorary Board.

Sam Harris is the author of the bestseller The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.

March 24, 2006

Added Why I Am Not a Christian (2006) by Richard Carrier to the Arguments from Confusion, Evidential Arguments from Evil, Argument from (Reasonable) Nonbelief, Argument from Evolution, and Argument from Physical Minds pages in the Evidential Arguments for Atheism index of the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library, as well as the Argument to Design, Physics and Religion, Naturalism, and Why I Am Not a Christian pages.

In this explanation of why he is not a Christian, Richard Carrier outlines the top four reasons why he rejects Christianity: God's silence, God's inactivity, lack of evidence, and the overt conflict between discovered reality and Christian theory. Though a lay exposition geared at a general audience, the essay appeals to a variety of atheistic arguments, including the argument from religious confusion, an evidential argument from evil, divine hiddenness, the argument from biological evolution, and the argument from physical minds. In an interesting twist on the argument from design, Carrier turns the fine-tuning argument on its head, noting that several features of our universe--features predicted by naturalism--are highly improbable if Christian theism is true.

March 23, 2006

Updated The Rubicon Analogy (2006) by Richard Carrier.

Carrier's rebuttal to James Holding's claim that we have as much evidence for the Resurrection as we have for Julius Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon has been appended. The endnotes have been substantially expanded (totaling 19) and Carrier has added 8 addenda after them. These addenda serve as a reply to Holding's addenda in his response to Carrier's Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story.

March 17, 2006

Minor changes made to The Date of the Nativity in Luke (4th ed., 2001) by Richard Carrier.

Carrier was misled by historian Paul Barnett into thinking Cappadocia was a free state in 36 C.E. when in fact it had been annexed as a Roman province in 17 C.E. This detail has been corrected. Hyperlinks were added to later sections of the essay that needed to be cross-referenced to related sections earlier in the essay. A few citations of Tacitus were added.

March 8, 2006

The second rebuttals in the Carrier-Wanchick debate on Naturalism vs. Theism have been posted.

Richard Carrier's second rebuttal, Wanchick Gets It Wrong, defends the 7 arguments for naturalism offered in his opening statement against Tom Wanchick's criticisms. Tom Wanchick's second rebuttal defends his various arguments for theism against Carrier's objections. Per the rules set forth prior to the debate, both debaters now have 2 weeks to submit their closing statements for publication on the Secular Web.

March 5, 2006

Added Hemingway and Jesus (2006), by Gary Sloan, to the (newly redesigned) Kiosk.

Both Hemingway and his character Frederic Henry were victimized by an inability to live up to the selfless ethic associated with Jesus.

March 2, 2006

Added The Rubicon Analogy (2006) by Richard Carrier in Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story (6th ed., 2006) to the Historicity of Jesus, Resurrection, Argument from Miracles, and Argument from Holy Scripture pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Against Carrier's argument in the Main Argument of Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story, James Holding claims (in "Julie's River Run: On Comparing the Rubicon to the Resurrection") that we have as much evidence that Jesus rose from his grave as we have that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. There are numerous errors in Holding's argument. Carrier's rebuttal responds briefly to the most important issues. In the end, Carrier's claim remains unchallenged: we have more evidence that Caesar crossed the Rubicon than we have that Jesus rose from the grave. Therefore, the claim that this resurrection is "as well attested" as the Rubicon crossing is still false.

March 1, 2006

Current Feature: Death and the Meaning of Life (2000), by Keith Augustine

In this short essay, Augustine considers whether life is inherently meaningless if death is the permanent end of our conscious existence and our lives are not part of a "higher purpose."

Book-of-the-Month: The Meaning of Life (1999), by E. D. Klemke

This is a compilation of twenty-five essays by different authors on the meaning of life which is divided into three sections: "The Theistic Answer," "The Non-Theistic Alternative," and "Questioning the Question." Particularly interesting are the selections provided by William Lane Craig, Walter T. Stace, Kurt Baier, Paul Edwards, Kai Nielsen, Richard Taylor, Thomas Nagel, R. M. Hare, and W. D. Joske.

Special Feature: Despair, Optimism, and Rebellion (2005), by Evan Fales

In this contribution to an American Philosophical Association symposium on "God, Death, and the Meaning of Life," Fales considers three responses to loss of faith in the Christian God: despair, optimism, and rebellion. Western culture is permeated by belief in an afterlife on religious grounds, shaping these responses in particularly anxious ways. Fales considers both how atheists can respond to the question of the meaning of life, and, in what is surely a surprising direction for some, whether Christianity even has the resources to provide meaning through doctrines as problematic as requiring another to pay for your own sins.


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