What's New on the Secular Web?
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October 28, 2011
Undergoing life-saving surgery, Ronald Aronson realized that there is a force beyond ourselves giving our lives meaning. It just isn't God.
October 13, 2011
Substantially updated the list of books, articles, and reviews by Michael Martin to include dozens of previously unlisted, recent, and forthcoming publications.
October 11, 2011
New in the Kiosk: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? Is Not an Argument (2011) by James R. Henderson
One will sometimes hear theists "argue" for god's existence by posing the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" (I am treating the case where the theist is not giving the cosmological argument but rather simply trying to get this question to do all of the existential work). The atheist's inability to give a naturalistic explanation is taken to be proof of god. I argue that this is no argument at all. Rather, it is the identification of a problem that requires explanation. God, of course, is one explanation, but then evidence must be marshaled to support god's existence (or whatever explanatory principle one invokes), and that evidence must go beyond the mere existence of the universe—the thing to be explained cannot be evidence for the explanatory principle.
October 6, 2011
New in the Bookstore: The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True (2011) by Richard Dawkins.
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world. But there is another kind of magic, the magic of reality—science. Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations, and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.