What's New Archive ● 2000 ● February
February 28Added Evangelical Agnosticism (1985) by William Young to the Agnosticism section of the Modern Library.
This article provides some history about agnosticism since 1869 and suggests the reasons for the introduction of the term evangelical agnosticism.
February 27Added a book review of Earl Doherty's The Jesus Puzzle to the author page of James Still
Added new feature article "Double-Talk in Defense of the Dubious" by Philip Kuchar
The existence of both hell and God's love and mercy cannot easily be justified, and neither can the appropriateness of substitutive sacrifice. In wanting to hide or soften the repugnant ideas of hell and human sacrifice, the theologian resorts to "double-talk".Added new opinion piece "The Apology of John Paul II" by John Patrick Michael Murphy
Pope John Paul II will soon request forgiveness for the conduct of the church over the centuries. It reportedly takes 50 pages to lay it all out--things like the papal pogroms against the Jews, the crusades against Islam, and the Inquisitions against its own people. Will 50 pages be enough?
February 26Added "Asa and Archer: Does the Bible Contain Errors?" (2000) [ 27K ] by David Zaitzeff
Zaitzeff exposes the flawed methodology of Biblical harmonizers like Gleason Archer.Added David Zaitzeff author page
Arguing that perhaps Jesus never existed as a historical figure, Price maintains an agnostic stance, while putting many puzzles and scholarly debates in a new light. He also incorporates neglected parallels from Islam, the Baha'i Faith, and Buddhism. Deconstructing Jesus provides a valuable bridge between New Testament scholarship and early freethinkers in a refreshing cross-fertilization of perspectives.Added The Psychological Origins of the Resurrection Myth by Jack A. Kent to the Christianity section of the II Bookstore
Kent offers a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the Christian faith: namely, that the first experiences of Jesus were bereavement hallucinations. Includes a discussion of the Habermas-Flew Debate on the Resurrection.
February 24Added "Review of Andrea Weisberger's Suffering Belief" (2000) [ 13K ] by Graham Oppy
Oppy reviews Andrea Weisberger's recent book on the problem of evil.
February 23Added a new opinion piece "Pat Robertson's Big Lie" by James Still to the home page.
Robertson taped a telephone message in support of candidate George W. Bush, warning Michigan voters that John McCain was pro-labor, against the First Amendment, and that a McCain victory would destroy the Republican Party. But Michigan voters didn't go for it. Is this the beginning of the end for Pat Robertson?Added The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics by Peter Byrne to the ethics section of the II Bookstore
Don't let the title scare you! The book is written at an intermediate level, so that it is accessible to laymen but there is plenty of meat for the scholar as well. Contains chapters on (among other things) the nature and objectivity of morality, morality without religion, and morality with religion. Anyone interested in the relationship between religion and morality will want a copy of this important book.
February 21The Internet Infidels' SETI team now has 117 members who have processed 30,549 units of data. They did this with 68.79 years of personal computer processing time. In the past couple of months our team has broke into the top 100 of the Club teams. We are currently sitting at #75. Click here to find out how to join the team!
Sic: "The author of Matthew also gives us some internal evidence that this is mythical: for if so public an event had really occurred (2:4, 2:16), it is curious that no one remembers it later (13:54-56), not even Herod's own royal heir (14:1-2)."
February 18Updated our Call for Papers
In a previous version of our call for papers, we requested essays on attempts to use evolution as evidence against theism. We've now revised that request; we are now asking for papers which specifically comment on Paul Draper's evidential argument from biological evolution. Draper argues that by combining biological evolution with the problem of evil, one can begin to build a cumulative case (in the spirit of Richard Swinburne) against theism.
February 16Added the December 1999 feedback.
February 13Published opinion piece "Is Anybody Out There?" by Paul M. Pfalzner to the features page.
With the decentralized SETI program now running quietly on thousands of PCs, futurists think that we'll discover extraterrestrial intelligence in our lifetimes. Is the whole "first contact" crowd little more than a cargo cult of lonely island peoples or is there something to this whole SETI thing?
Added the debate "Does God Exist" to the Events Page. The debate is on February 24th between Corey Washington, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Theodore Cabal, dean of the James P. Boyce College of the Bible (part of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky).When Cupid's arrow strikes, is it mere molecules in motion or have we finally found our soul mate? Carrier explores nature's greatest mystery--amore!--as well as the notion of physical beauty, impulse, biology, and Hollywood's obsession with sex.
February 9Added God's Protectors by William Edelen to the Freethought section of the Modern library.
If I hear one I more phony politician make the statement that "we need to return God to the classroom" .. I'll gag. The quackery of God and Jesus talk is a stink that is rising clear to the Ozone layer. What a blessing it would be for us all in these remaining months before the election if the phony "protectors of God" would grow up and recover something called.... integrity.
February 8Added "We Are Too Weak to Walk Unaided: A Family Therapist View of the Pathogenic Aspects of Prayer" (2000) [ 91K ] by Michael Moore and Daniela Kramer
Many aspects of psychology are at loggerheads with religion. In this paper excerpts from prayers, hymns and scriptures of the three monotheistic religions are used to illustrate major areas of conflict between these two institutions. Special attention is given to those aspects of prayers which contradict basic tenets of psychological well-being not only of individuals but also of families. The discussion is divided into four major fields: Feudalism vs. egalitarianism, developmental issues, defense mechanisms, and interpersonal control mechanisms. In each field, several examples, organized around subtopics, show how the manifest message of religious texts legitimizes and encourages practices considered pathogenic by the standards of various psychological approaches.Added "Time, Successive Addition, and Kalam Cosmological Arguments" (2000) [ 31K ] by Graham Oppy
Feburary 7Added "Review of R.C. Sproul's Not a Chance" (2000) [ 21K ] by Graham Oppy
Oppy reviews Sproul's book about the role of causation and chance in modern science, and, in particular, in modern cosmology.
February 6Added "Review of Clergy in the Classroom" (2000) [ 10K ] by Sally Morem
A review of Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism by David A. Noebel, J.F. Bladwin, and Kevin Bywater.Cliff Richardson updated the physics index page, the creationism index page, the Duane Gish page, and the creationism debates page in the modern library.
February 2Posted a revised edition of "Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' for Jesus: Is It Reliable?" (2000) [ 92K ] by Jeffery Jay Lowder
Lowder has corrected an error in his discussion of Lucian's reference to Jesus. Lowder previously questioned whether Lucian was concerned with historical accuracy; Lowder now believes that Lucian was concerned with reliability. Nevertheless, Lowder argues that Lucian is probably not an independent witness to the historicity of Jesus.Added "Preaching to the Choir" (1997) [ 2K ] by Robert McNally
A review of E. Calvin Beisner's Answers for Atheists, Agnostics, and Other Thoughtful Skeptics.
February 1Posted a revised edition of "Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' for Jesus: Is It Reliable?" (2000) [ 91K ] by Jeffery Jay Lowder
Lowder has completely reworked his comments on Pliny the Younger and Mara Bar-Serapion. On the former, Lowder refutes Holding's suggestion that Pliny, as a former "state priest," had firsthand knowledge of Jesus. On the latter, Lowder now argues that Bar-Serapion's letter does refer to Jesus, but it is worthless as a witness to the historicity of Jesus because Bar-Serapion gained his information from Christians, the date of the letter is unknown, and the letter contains historical errors.