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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

May 30, 2006

Added My Escape From Catholicism (2006) by Dan Ferrisi to the Kiosk.

Although Dan Ferrisi was born into a 100% Roman Catholic family, he eventually came to deplore religion as a pernicious influence on the species. This is the story of his journey from Catholicism to atheism.

May 27, 2006

Added The Jesus Dynasty : The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity, by James D. Tabor to the Secular Web Bookstore

James D. Tabor is Chair of Religious Studies at UNC-Charlotte. He has studied the earliest surviving documents of Christianity for more than thirty years and has participated in important archaeological excavations in Israel. Drawing on this background, Tabor reconstructs for us the movement that sought the spiritual, social, and political redemption of the Jews, a movement led by one family. This is a book that will change your understanding of one of the most crucial moments in history.

May 26, 2006

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

Carrier discusses the latest on Flew's deistic position, and his receipt of the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University, a Christian university in Southern California.

May 25, 2006

Emended Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity (2002) by Richard Carrier.

Corrected several sentences about Inanna and Osiris to convey more accurately what was said about them in ancient texts.

May 16, 2006

Added Was Christianity Too Improbable to Be False? (2006) by Richard Carrier to the Christianity and Resurrection pages, as well as the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page for Robert Turkel (J. P. Holding).

Was the success of Christianity too improbable for Christianity to have been false? According to James Holding's "Impossible Faith," no one would have accepted early Christianity if it were not true. In particular, he offers seventeen hostile conditions, plus an additional critical assumption about the role of luck, that he claims would have made it impossible for Christianity to succeed--unless it was true. In this remarkably extensive chapter-by-chapter critique, Richard Carrier evaluates Holding's arguments in light of historical scholarship and identifies several troubling fallacies in Holding's reasoning.

Revised Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences (2003, 2006) by Keith Augustine in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

In this substantially updated version of this paper, Keith Augustine surveys several reports of near-death experiences (NDEs) with clear or suggestive hallucinatory features, including out-of-body discrepancies, bodily sensations, encounters with living persons, striking cultural differences, random or insignificant memories, returns from a point of no return, hallucinatory imagery, and unfulfilled predictions. An extensive discussion of the quality of the evidence for 'veridical' observations during NDEs has been added, with particular focus on the seemingly impressive 'Pam Reynolds' case. Entire sections on psychophysiological models of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and the role of the temporal lobe in NDEs have also been added, while an earlier section on the true extent of cross-cultural consistency among NDE reports has been updated.

May 12, 2006

The judges' assessments of the Carrier-Wanchick debate on Naturalism vs. Theism have been posted.

Two of the four independent judges called the debate for Richard Carrier, while the other two judges called the debate a tie. See the assessments page for each of the judges' takes on the debate as a whole as well as the pros and cons of each side of the debate.

May 7, 2006

Added Law and Order: Creationism (2006) by Ross Raffin to the Kiosk.

The judicial system establishes that a criminal theory can be shown true beyond a reasonable doubt without anyone witnessing the event. The credibility of a well-established theory is powerful enough to warrant the death sentence. Yet, there is a gear shift that occurs whenever detectives are compared to scientists. The very same people who agreed or disagreed with the prosecutor's hypothesis will say that no amount of evidence will convince them that evolution occurred.

May 2, 2006

Added Emerson's Intuitions (2006) by Gary Sloan to the Kiosk.

In defending his transcendental philosophy, Ralph Waldo Emerson used reason, logic, and evidence when they served his purpose, but abandoned them when they conflicted with his cheery intuitions.

May 1, 2006

Current Feature: I Was an Atheist in a Foxhole (1989) by Philip K. Paulson

Philip Paulson dispels the old cliche that there are no atheists in foxholes by recounting his experiences in the military. (Note: This piece was written in 1989 and was previously published in The Humanist magazine.)

Book-of-the-Month: Facing Death: Epicurus and His Critics (2004) by James Warren

Epicurean philosophers argued that death is "nothing to us." Were they right? James Warren articulates the arguments found in the writings of Epicurus and others, arguments which are central to the Epicurean project of providing peace of mind and therefore also central to an understanding of Epicureanism as well offering resources for modern discussions of the value of death.

Special Feature: Not Practicing What You Preach: The Boy Scouts of America's Refusal to Recognize Atheism (1993) by Todd M. Pence

Pence argues that the policy of the Boy Scouts of America concerning persons who do not believe in God is inconsistent with its own principles. He offers a challenge to anyone affiliated with the BSA who reads this article and agrees with the ideas expressed in it.


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