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What's New Archive1999August

August 31

Added the March/April1999 issue of TheSkeptical Review
Farrell Till examines Ezekiel's prophecy agai nst Egypt (chapters29-32) and shows that the total destruction and devastation predicted byEzekiel failed to happen. Inerrantist Everette Hatcher III continues hisefforts to prove that the book of Daniel was written in the 6th centuryB. C. by an important Jewish official in the Babylonian and Persian royalcourts. Farrell Till replies to Hatcher, arguing that most of Hatcher's"arguments" consisted of appeals to fundamentalist authors whom he quotedand listed with only sketchy comments of his own in support of their claims.Till continues his discussion of alleged prophecy fulfillments that continueto concern a former fundamentalist who is trying to put aside his beliefin biblical inspiration. And readers and editor Farrell Till exchange commentson a variety of issues.
Join the Internet Infidels in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence!Click here for informationon the SETI@home program and how to join The Internet Infidels SETI@homegro up. We currently h ave 75 members in our group who have processed 3,376packets of data.

August 29

Added "Letterfrom Americans United for Separation of Church and State Concerning theNew York State Senate's Religious Ridicule Bill" (1999) by EdwardTabash
Earlier this year, an actual blasphemy law was introduced intothe New York State Senat e. This measure would make it a crime to ridiculeany religious belief or ridicule any concept of a deity upon which suchbeliefs are based in any public place. This bill is clearly unconstitutionalin that it violates both Religion Clause and the Free Speec h clause ofthe First Amendment. This bill would give religionists special rights tosilence those who disagree with their beliefs, placing the state on theside of assisting religious believers in suppressing public expressionsof dissent, thus violating the Establishment Clause. It would also punishpeople for expressing their views on matters of religion, thus violatingthe Free Exercise Clause. In prohibiting speech because of the specificcontent and message of that speech, this legislation violates the Fre eSpeech Clause. The letter to the New York State Senate contains a comprehensiveconstitutional argument as to why this measure is completely unconstitutional.

August 24

Added "Copin'with Copan" (1999) [ 150K ] by DougKrueger
Doug Krueger reviewed A Shattered Visage: The Real Faceof Atheism by Ravi Zacharias. Paul Copan, of the Ravi Zacharias InternationalMinistries, wrote a defense of the book, and this is Krueger's response.The extended discussions of the relevant subjects serve not only to reinforcethe original review, but will also serve as valuable analyses in theirown rig ht. Subjects include the relation of Hitler to atheism, biblicalreliability, ethics and atheism, and others.

August 22

Added "Review of Eyewitnessto Jesus" (1999) (Off Site ) [ 16K ] by J.K.Elliott
Elliott observes that despite Thiede's skill as a "great publicist,"Thiede's book did not concern a newly discovered text. "Magdalen Collegelibrary, Oxfo rd had possessed the manuscript (catalogued as no. 17) eversince it was presented to them by a former student in 1901."
Added J.K.Elliott author page to the ModernLibrary

Added "TheLittle Known Literary Battles Between the Gospel Writers" (1999) [33K ] by JamesDeardorff

The most obvious solution to the Synoptic Problem (order ofpriority among the New Testament Gospels) has been rejected by most scholarssince the 19th century largely because of embarrassments it wa s causingfor the church and/or their own theologies. However, if theological commitmentis abandoned and the evangelists are considered to have been human beingswith human emotions, rather than pipelines from God, it is seen that numerouseditorial oddities associated with the traditionally attested order (Matthew-Mark-Luke)are easily explainable and make good psychological sense. They indicatethat the gospel writers were engaged in a behind-the-scenes tit-for-tatbattle brought on by the strong anti-gentile slant of the Gospel of Matthewin its Hebraic form.
Added JamesDeardorff author page to the ModernLibrary

Added "RedundantComplexity: A Critical Analysis of Intelligent Design in Biochemistry"(1999) (Off Site) [ 42K ] by NiallShanks and Karl H. Joplin

Biological systems exhibit complexity at all levels of organization.It has recently been argued by Michael Behe that at the biochemical levela type of complexity exists -- irreducible complexity -- that cannotpossibly have arisen as the result of natural, evolutionary processes,and must instead be the product of (supernatural) intelligent design.Recent work on self-organizing chemical reactions calls into question Behe'sanalysis of the origins of biochemical complex ity. His central interpretativemetaphor for biochemical complexity, that of the well-designed mousetrapthat ceases to function if critical parts are absent, is undermined bythe observation that typical biochemical systems exhibit considerable redundancyan d overlap of function. Real biochemical systems, we argue, manifestredundant complexity - a characteristic result of evolutionary processes.
Added NiallShanks author page to the ModernLibrary

Slightly revised "PositiveAtheism and The Meaninglessness of Theism" (1999) [ 15K ] by MichaelMartin

Martin argues that there is no inconsistency between his thesisthat religious language is meaningless and his defense of positive atheism.Martin slightly revised his paper in response to a recent e-mail letterfrom Keith Burgess-Jackson.
Added "Critiqueof John Warwick Montgomery's Legal Evidences for Christianity" (1998)[ 66 K ] by RichardPackham
Montgomery asserts that Christianity's claims survive examinationusing the legal tests for evidence. He does this only by misstating andtwisting the rul es of evidence and the facts.
Added RichardPackham author page to the modernlibrary

August 21

Added "Unholy Alliance"(1997) (Off Site) [ 13K ] by WendyKaminer
Kaminer talks about the "unholy alliance" between "religiousforays int o social welfare" and the government.
Added "Touchedin the Head by a TV Angel" (1998) (Off Site) [ 9K ] by WendyKaminer
Commentary on the CBS telivision series, "Touched by an Angel."
Added "TheLatest Fashion in Irrationality" (1996) (Off Site) [ 24K ] by WendyKaminer
Books on angels and other forms of popular spirituality.
Added WendyKaminer author page to the ModernLibrary

Added "AnAtheist's Values" (1964) (Off Site) [ Index ] by RichardRobinson

Added RichardRobinson author page to the historicallibrary

August 16

Added "TheRest of the Story" (1999) [ 46K ] by JefferyJay Lowder
I review Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ . I concludethat "Strobel did not interview any critics of Evangelical apologetics.He sometimes refutes at great length objections not made by the critics(e.g., the claim that Jesus was mentally insane); more often, he doesn'taddress objections the critics do make (e.g., the unreliabilityof human memory, that non-Christian historians do not provide any independentconfirmation for the deity of Jesus, etc.) Perhaps this will be a welcomefeature to people who already believe Christianity bu t have no idea whythey believe it. For those of us who are primarily interested in the truth,however, we want to hear both sides of the story."

August 15

Added July1999 Feedback to the Feedbacksection

Added the January/February1999 issue of The Skeptical Review

Added WhereWas God? by WilliamEdelen to the Freethoughtsection of Faithand Reason in the Modern Documents section of our Library.

Their "God" was where their "God" has alwaysbeen, living in th e fantasy, imaginations and superstitions of the humanmind.

August 14

Join the Internet Infidels in the Search for ExtraterrestrialIntelligence. Click herefor informati on on the SETI@home program and how to join The Internet InfidelsSETI@homegroup. We currently have 44 members in our group who have processed 1912packets of data.
Added a BriefBiography of William Edelen to the WilliamEdelen section of the Modern Library.
William Edelen wrote the essays: TheDeath of Matthew Shepard, Gnatsand Camels, TheTen Commandments, Religionis the Cause of Violence, and TheSin of Silence. Click hereto find out who William Edelen is.

Added SufferingBelief by Andrea M. Weisberger to the IIBookstore as the October 1999 II Book of the Month

One of the most int ractable problems for thecontemporary Anglo-American theist is reconciling the enormous amount ofapparent gratuitous suffering in the world with the existence of an all-perfectdeity. Suffering Belief reviews the leading attempts at justifying theexistence of evil and salvaging a rational basis of belief in the traditionalWestern God. Through a systematic evaluation of the kinds of evil thatmost strongly call belief into question, such as genocide, natural catastrophes,animal suffering, and disease, it is shown that there is scant basis forcontinued belief in an all-perfect God and compelling reason for abandoningsuch a damaging construct.
Added TheSin of S ilence by WilliamEdelen to the Freethoughtsection of Faithand Reason in the Modern Documents section of our Library.
I lost count of ministerial colleagues who saidto me: "For God's sake Edelen ... forget what you learned in seminary ...just play the game ... you get big church es that way."

August 8

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August 4

Added Thallus: AnAnalysis by Richard Carrierto our collection of articles on the Historicityof Jesus.
This is a preliminary essay outlining importantfacts about Thall us (or Thallos), a pagan chronologer of unknown date whois occasionally mentioned in the works of Christian apologists, modernand ancient, as a 1st century pagan witness to the gospel tradition ofa "darkness" at the death of Christ. The essay concludes th at Thallus eitheris not such a witness, or else wrote in the 2nd century.

August 2

Is there a 1st century papyrus of the gospel text? Hardly. A bookreview of The Jesus Papyr us by Carsten Thiede and Matthew d'Anconaaddresses the claim in detail. The U.S. edition of thi s book is calledEyewitnessto Jesus. The review is by Professor J.K. Elliott , Professor of NewTestament Textual Criticism at the University of L eeds, England.