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What's New Archive2000July

July 30, 2000

Added the March/April edition of The Skeptical Review.

July 29, 2000

Added the following event to our Events Page:
When:  06 August 2000 6:30 P.M.
What:  Debate: Does God Exist? Sponsored by the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs.  Between Dan Barker,
           spokesperson for Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Larry Siekawitch, Senior Pastor of the
           Colorado Springs Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
Where:  All Souls Unitarian Church, Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:  http://www.freethinkerscs.com/ or email  ftcs

July 26, 2000

Added "Second Letter on Behalf of Prof. Dr. Gerd Luedemann" (2000) by Robert W. Funk
Do the theological faculties of Germany's state universities serve only the church, or do they also serve the broader needs of a pluralistic culture? This is the central question in the debate over the controversy surrounding biblical scholar and George-August University faculty member Gerd Luedemann who, after announcing his nonbelief publicly last year, was then denied his academic rights in his teaching position. This second letter, provided to us by an interested third party, responds to the Dean of George-August and defends Luedemann against the charge that he is unfit to prepare students for ordination in the Lutheran Church.

July 24, 2000

Added "Review: Nature's Destiny" (2000) [ 51K ] by Mark I. Vuletic
Although Denton's book is widely praised among creationists, Denton is no fundamentalist. In his latest book, Michael Denton argues for a theological view that is most like deism or pantheism. However, Denton's view is "distinct from pantheism and some varieties of deism in that it takes the production of familiar and anthropomorphic life as the raison d'être of the universe.

July 23, 2000

Added "William Lane Craig's Critique" (2000) [ 10K ] by Robert M. Price
Responding to William Lane Craig's critique, Price defends the hypothesis that 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 is a post-Pauline interpolation.

July 21, 2000

Added Feature Article "The Strategies of Christian Fundamentalism" (2000) by Joseph R. Kiefer II
This article posits that the strategies employed by fundamentalist Christians to induce belief in doctrine diminishes human potential through evoking fear and guilt and promoting powerlessness in adherents. The author illustrates the untoward effects suffered by adherents through adopting the Christian fundamentalist belief of unworthiness, and he discusses the maladaptive coping strategies developed as a result of these beliefs. Examples are given of fundamentalist Christians viewing themselves as persecuted while condemning others of different religions. The author further demonstrates how circular reasoning entraps believers and leaves them ignorant of their helplessness. Finally, he describes how personal vulnerabilities are manipulated by rigid doctrine and strict authority in order to control adherents and propagate the religion.

July 20, 2000

Added The Tale of the Five Officers (2000) [ 5K ] by Mark Vuletic
An excellent, fictional introduction to the problem of evil and five theistic responses to the problem. Note: for more information on the problem of evil, see the Modern Library's argument from evil page.
Added Review of Dr. Massimo Pigliucci's Talesof the Rational: Skeptical Essays in Nature and Science
Internet Infidel's Book of the Month for July, 2000
Added "Science, Reason, and Genetics" (April 17, 2000) (Real Audio) (Off Site) by Richard Dawkins with Christopher Lydon
The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says your genes care about themselves, not about you. You're just a vehicle to make more genes. Given his view, some of Dawkins' readers have asked him how he gets up in the morning knowing he is nothing but a collection of selfish genes in an uncaring universe. But Richard Dawkins wonders why people consider science so bleakly, thinking it robs life of warmth and worth. To him, science is filled with wonder, beauty, and awe. Dawkins contends that when Newton explained the prism, he didn't rob the rainbow of its mystery as the poet Keats complained, he opened the door to the greater wonders of relativity and an expanding universe. The interview includes a fascinating exchange between Dawkins and Kenneth Miller during the call-in segment.
Added "Evil and Christianity" (2000) [ 51K ] (Off Site) by Austin Cline to the Argument from Evil page in the Modern Library's Arguments for Atheism section
In what ways does Christian theology suggest that the Christian god is personally and continually responsible for the existence of evil in the world?

July 18, 2000

Added endorsements by Dan Barker and Mark Vuletic to the advertisement for the videotape of the Lowder-Fernandes Debate
If you haven't yet seen the tape of this debate, order your copy today!

July 16, 2000

Added "Cosmological Kalamity " by Dan Barker to the Science and Religion section of the Modern Library.
Three possible flaws in the Kalam cosmological argument are discussed. 1) If God is the only object accommodated by the set of things that do not begin to exist, then the Kalam argument has the effect (if not the intention) of begging the question. 2) Kalam's logic regarding the impossibility of an actual infinity disproves the existence of an actually infinite God. 3) Since the universe is not a member of itself, the Kalam argument is illogically comparing apples and oranges.
Added "In God We Trust" by John Patrick Michael Murphy to the Freethought section of the Modern Library.
Is such a slogan inclusive, pluralistic, non-elitist, and consistent with the American doctrine of separation of church and state? Are there citizens who have no god to trust, or citizens who have a god, but don't trust him? If so, then who is included in the pronoun 'We'?"
Added "Biblical Contradictions" by William Edelen to the Freethought section of the Modern Library.
To go through the thousands of contradictions in the Old and New Testament would take more space than is available in an entire newspaper.  So, only a few to get your brain working. Which of the following contradictions is the one "without error"?  Both cannot be right.
Added "The 4th of July" by William Edelen to the Freethought section of the Modern Library.
I am always overwhelmed with thanksgiving and gratitude that men of the stature and integrity of Jefferson, Adams and Madison never stooped to the low level of inviting a bible thumper for a "prayer breakfast" to placate bible belt America.

July 10, 2000

Added "Design Yes, Intelligent No: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory and Neo-Creationism by Massimo Pigliucci

A regular contributor to The Secular Web, Dr. Massimo Pigliucci continues to challenge creationism on all fronts, including the latest brand of intelligent design theory.  Referring specifically to the work of William Dembski and Michael Behe, the author highlights the fatal flaws in the ID arguments and renders a crushing blow to the pseudo-science that underlies creationist claims.

Added "A Biochemist's Response to 'The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution'" (1999) [ 92K ] (Off Site) by David W. Ussery to the responses to Michael Behe page in the Modern Library's creationism section

A fellow biochemist provides a detailed critique of Michael Behe's 'biochemical challenge to evolution.'
Slightly expanded the analysis of Ezekiel's prophecy concerning Tyre in "Newman on Prophecy as Miracle" [ 40K ], part of the Review of In Defense of Miracles (1999) by Richard Carrier

July 7, 2000

Made minor changes to "How Do We Account for the Rise of Christianity," section 2j of Why I Don't Buy the Resurrection Story (2000) by Richard Carrier

July 5, 2000

Added "Design? Yes. Intelligent? No. A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory" (2000) [ Index ] (Off Site) by Massimo Pigliucci
A presentation by evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci on the flaws in the arguments of Michael Behe and William Dembski.
Revised the page linking to critiques of anti-evolutionist William Dembski in the Modern Library's creationism section.
Added a statement in the description of Mark Vuletic's response to Pigliucci that Pigliucci revised his review of Dembski's book in light of Vuletic's comments.
Added "A refutation of Pascal's wager and why skeptics should be non-theists" [ 48K ] (Off Site) by Massimo Pigliucci to the Pascal's Wager section of the Modern Library
Pigliucci appeals to a fundamental concept of modern statistics to illustrate the flaw in Pascal's Wager.

July 4, 2000

Added a page linking to critiques of anti-evolutionist William Dembski in the Modern Library's creationism section.

Added "The Unchristian Roots of the Fourth of July" by Michael E. Buckner

As we celebrate Independence Day across America it is worth publishing once again an accurate history of the philosophy of government that underlies the US Constitution. In The Unchristian Roots of the Fourth of July, Michael Buckner sets the record straight.
Substantially updated the Pascal's Wager section of the Modern Library

July 3, 2000

Added an essay to the modern library entitled, "Pascal's Wager Refuted" by Theodore M. Drange
The author schematizes the infamous argument for belief called "Pascal's Wager", after the seventeenth century French philosopher who first posed it. This argument is then critically analyzed.
Added an essay to the modern library entitled, "Does Big Bang Cosmology Prove the Universe Had a Beginning?" by Mark Ivan Vuletic.
There are a number of arguments for the existence of God which depend, at least in part, upon the notion that the universe had a beginning. But Vuletic points out that cosmologists know very little about the conditions present prior to the Planck Era. Until we know more, apologists must suspend their reliance upon the big bang as support for the cosmological argument.
Added a link to "Is Science Killing the Soul?" (1999) (Off Site) by Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker to the argument from physical minds page in the Modern Library's arguments for atheism section.
A transcript of a seminar by Dawkins and Pinker in which they discuss the scientific evidence against the existence of souls.

July 1, 2000

Added "The 'Inductive' Argument From Evil: A Dialogue" (1988) [ 71K ] by Bruce Russell and Stephen Wykstra
A fictional dialogue between three philosophical women about the inductive argument from evil. (For more information on the problem of evil, see the "Argument from Evil" page of the Modern Library's Arguments for Atheism section.)
Added Bruce Russell author page to the Modern Library