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April 14, 2008
The Kiosk contains articles which are intended to be easily read and of general interest to secularists. The Bookstore contains books on the same subjects. Although one could always search for articles or books by a given author on the main Kiosk/Bookstore page, the new author index should make it even easier to find articles and books of interest by a given author.
April 13, 2008
John Allen Paulos is a mathematician who writes popular books about the role that mathematics plays in everyday life. In Irreligion he tackles arguments for the existence of God, from design arguments to arguments from miracles to Pascal's wager. His refutations are intended to plant the seeds of doubt more than to offer scholarly analysis. In some cases mathematics is relevant to the argument, but overall the book is a rather light-hearted and personal account of why the author remains unconvinced.
April 11, 2008
Many New Testament scholars have presented their personal reconstruction of the historical Jesus, laboring to painstakingly separate fact from myth. Unfortunately, in the absence of a rigorous methodology, religious beliefs have doggedly militated against their best efforts, and E. P. Sanders' The Historical Figure of Jesus is no exception to this tendency. In this review, Jacob Aliet outlines what he takes to be the five main weaknesses of Sanders' scholarship, some philosophical, some methodological, as revealed in The Historical Figure of Jesus.
April 10, 2008
"The curious thing about the old Arabic tale of the kind and considerate camel owner is that we never seem to get it. The compassionate owner, who permitted his camel to warm his nose under his tent, was victim of his own tolerance, which eventually cost him his abode. Now it looks as if we have to confront another camel--and it's all about the elective study of the Bible in high schools."
April 7, 2008
The Atheism Tapes is a ground-breaking series that will challenge your basic beliefs. In these off-the-record interviews, neurologist turned playwright, filmmaker and self-described atheist Jonathan Miller filmed conversations with six of today's leading men of letters and science: the New York Times best-selling author Richard Dawkins, philosophers Daniel Dennett and Colin McGinn, distinguished playwright Arthur Miller, theologian Denys Turner, and Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg, who discuss their personal intellectual journeys and offer an illuminating analysis of nontheism from a wide range of perspectives.
April 6, 2008
"This is presented as science. There is no method to it. There is no predictivity, no falsifiability, no plausibility, no consistency. It is not science. It is not a philosophy. It is not even a theology. It is a waste of my time."
April 1, 2008
The Great Debate: Section Four: Faith and Uncertainty, of God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (2007-2008), edited by Paul Draper, in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In the final debate, "Faith and Uncertainty," John Schellenberg argues that a certain kind of uncertainty about the existence of God actually provides strong evidence that God does not exist, given that a loving God would not deny those open to accepting him grounds to believe in him. Shedding Pascal's wager of its numerous shortcomings, Jeffrey Jordan attempts to strengthen what he thinks is right in the wager by developing an updated "Jamesian wager." Jordan's contention is that individuals should believe in God for pragmatic reasons: belief in God increases one's chances of living a longer or happier life.
Please note that readers may submit questions to any of the authors in this debate about their contributions. Q&A sessions for all debate topics will be published in Spring/Summer 2008.
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.
Book-of-the-Month: God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer (2007) Bart Ehrman
For Ehrman, the question of why there is so much suffering in the world is more than a haunting thought. Ehrman's inability to reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of real life led the former pastor of the Princeton Baptist Church to reject Christianity. In God's Problem, Ehrman discusses his personal anguish upon discovering the Bible's contradictory explanations for suffering and invites all people of faith--or no faith--to confront their deepest questions about how God engages the world and each of us.