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What's New Archive2003June

What's New on the Secular Web?

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June 30, 2003

Added "The Cultural Right--Making the World Safe for Fundamentalism: A Response to Daniel G. Jennings" by Gareth Martin to the Agora.

It is, in fact, the Political Right who have opened the door to Fundamentalism.--and not just opened it, but welcomed it and its campaign contributions with open arms.

June 28, 2003

Added "Reply to Martin on Atheism and Morality" by Jeffrey J. Lowder to the Modern Library.

Lowder responds to Martin's recent reply to his review of Martin's book, Atheism, Morality and Meaning, answering Martin's objections.

Added "The Book of Job and J.B.: Faith vs. Reason" by Gary Sloan to the Agora.

J.B., a modern verse drama by Archibald MacLeish, offers an infidel's antidote to the relentless fideism of the Book of Job.

June 23, 2003

Added "A Defence of Pacifism" by Philip Kuchar to the Agora.

"The question of pacifism might be thought never so irrelevant as at a time in which the most powerful nation in history considers itself in a state of permanent war. Terrorism is the new face of evil, which has dutifully replaced communism. I do not suppose that the war on terrorism will ever be won, just as there will never be victories in the wars on drugs and on poverty. In each case there is at best a metaphorical war. But, of course, the question of pacifism is not irrelevant, given the near universal skepticism outside the U.S. regarding its so-called war on terror. Daniel G. Jennings' brief article, "A Few Moral Problems with Pacifism," provides the occasion for my discussion. Jennings' objections to pacifism do not seem to me particularly strong. I first define "pacifism" and then deal with each of his three objections in turn. Finally, I discuss some background issues, specifically WWII and political realism."

June 19, 2003

Added "A Few Moral Problems With Pacifism" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora.

The practice of pacifism in the real world creates moral and ethical dilemmas that make the pacifist position a morally indefensible stand.

June 17, 2003

The News Wire is now in the capable hands of our new News Wire Editor, AJ Milne. He has given it a bit of a facelift, and he expects to be able to do updates almost daily. Our thanks to Eric Roode, News Wire Editor "retired," who did a commendable job in making the News Wire what it is!

Added "The Emerald Bay Club" by David M. Payne to the Agora.

This is a tale of greed, misused religion and family power run amuck in the future.

June 15, 2003

"An Atheist Defends the Design Argument" by Toby Wardman becomes the current Feature article through July 14th.

Defending the Fine-Tuning Argument against a few very common objections, Wardman demonstrates that the reasoning that underpins this variation of the Design Argument is far more robust than it is usually given credit for. Nevertheless, there is a very good reason that we need not postulate a Designer for the universe after all.

June 14, 2003

Added links to "Good and Bad Reasons for Believing" (Off Site) by Richard Dawkins on the Dawkins' author page in the Secular Web Library, and on the Essays page in the Parents' Corner.

From How Things Are: A Science Toolkit for the Mind, edited by John Brockman and Katinka Matson. Although this was written by Dawkins for his then ten year-old daughter, it serves as an excellent "critical thinking starter kit" for the Beginner.

June 13, 2003

Added "The Missing Night of Matthew 12:40" by David Lee to the Agora.

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Jesus, Matthew 12:40). But if Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday morning, how is this three days AND three nights? Internet apologist Glenn Miller explains, but is his "explanation" really that--or is it just typical apologetic smoke and mirrors?

June 11, 2003

Added "The Wall of Separation Stands" by J. E. Hill to the Agora.

Somewhere along the line, our founding fathers dumped hundreds of years of religious influence and went secular. How do we know? Historical documents prove the case. Aside from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution there were numerous other state and federal documents that support the principle of separation of church and state.

June 10, 2003

Added "President or Preacher?" by G J Gaudia to the Agora.

It is a sickening fact that in today's fundamentalist-dominated America, expressions of atheism are tantamount to revealing one's disloyalty, subversion and even criminal involvement. How could it be any other way when the President sounds more like a Baptist preacher than the leader of a country founded on ideals of individual freedom?

Camp Quest, The Secular Summer Camp for boy and girl campers 8-13, Counselors in Training 14-15, and Assistant Counselors 16-18, now in its eighth year, has a few openings yet available for the camping season beginning June 20th.

June 9, 2003

Updated the David Hume author index page in the Historical Documents section of the Secular Web Library to fix broken links and to add links to offsite articles.

"[Hume] questioned common notions of personal identity, and argued that there is no permanent 'self' that continues over time. He dismissed standard accounts of causality and argued that our conceptions of cause/effect relations are grounded in habits of thinking, rather than in the perception of causal forces in the external world itself. He argued that it is unreasonable to believe testimonies of alleged miraculous events, and, accordingly, hints that we should reject religions that are founded on miracle testimonies. Against the common belief of the time that God's existence could be proven through a design or causal argument, Hume offered compelling criticisms of standard theistic proofs. Also, against the common view that God plays an important role in the creation and reinforcement of moral values, Hume offered one of the first purely secular moral theories, which grounded morality in the pleasing and useful consequences that result from our actions." - The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

June 7, 2003

Added "On Two Reviews of Atheism, Morality and Meaning" by Michael Martin to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Michael Martin responds to reviews by Taner Edis and Jeffery Jay Lowder of his book Atheism, Morality and Meaning, answering specific criticisms which, according to Martin, are inaccurate and/or based, at least in part, on "serious misunderstandings."

June 6, 2003

Added "The Cultural Left: Making the World Safe for Fundamentalism" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora.

One of the biggest threats to secularism in the world today is something that, for lack of a better term can be called "the Cultural Left."

June 5, 2003

Added "The Public Prayer Challenge" by J. E. Hill to the Agora.

Are your really being persecuted for being a Christian in the public square? Lets put that notion to the test.

June 4, 2003

Added "Kerfuffle in Winneconne" by James A. Bartlett to the Agora.

What would high-school graduation time be without another controversy over religious expression at the ceremony? This year's model has it all, including music.

June 1, 2003

"Knowledge, Expert Opinion and the Public Sphere: Why We Teach the Science We Do " by Michael Drake continues as the current Feature article through June 14th.

"There are good reasons why we rely on expert opinion when it comes to scientific claims ... and 'fairness' has nothing to do with it."

Book-of-the-Month for June: Spirituality for the Skeptic: The Thoughtful Love of Life by Robert C. Solomon.

A radical approach to spirituality that blends emotion, intellect, science and common sense, and that urges a passionate enthusiasm for the world.

Video-of-the-Month for June: The Matrix.

In the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves), a software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, sits alone at his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know. One night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), a messiah of sorts who presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long. Ultimately, Morpheus introduces Neo to the Matrix, a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, thus marking the beginning of an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Much more than an out-and-out action yarn, this is a thinking person's journey into futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike.

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