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What's New Archive2005May

What's New on the Secular Web?

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May 28, 2005

Added Review of Massimo Pigliucci's Tales of the Rational: Skeptical Essays About Nature and Science (2000) by Amanda Chesworth to the Modern Library.

Engaging, compelling, witty essays that put in perspective some of the most fascinating scientific and pseudoscientific claims of the 20th century. Includes discussions of: atheism, straw-man arguments, creationism, debating creationists and theists, evolutionary biology, Christian apologetics, critiques of modern science, the search for extraterrestrial life, the search for the origins of life, chaos theory, and much more.

May 13, 2005

Revised and added "Introduction to" descriptions to numerous Modern Library subject pages:

   Under Evidential Arguments for Atheism:
      Argument from Physical Minds
      Evidential Arguments from Evil

   Under Life after Death:

   Under Nontheism:

Descriptions were also added to several other Modern Library subject pages:

   Under Arguments for the Existence of a God:
      Argument to Design
      Cosmological Arguments
      Ontological Arguments
   As well as:
      Argument from Religious Experience
      Divine Command Theory
      Moral Arguments
      Pascal's wager

May 12, 2005

Added Atheist Law Center and The Humanist Society to the listing of National Organizations Around the World under "United States."

The Atheist Law Center is an advocate for Atheist civil rights and the absolute separation between religion and government. The Humanist Society applies Humanism to daily life through a unique celebrant program, education, and community involvement.

May 10, 2005

Added "Sermon on the Pope's Homily" by Daniel Hong to the Agora section of the Kiosk.

We're faced today--not with a good German shepherd--but with a German tank, "Der Panzer Kardinal." The tank, Pope Benedict XVI, is equipped with the two symbols of papal authority as well as with the old palavers: the same previous ideology of a medieval, anti-Reformation, antimodern paradigm of the papacy.

May 5, 2005

Added Review of Michael J. Murray's Reason for the Hope Within (2005) by Graham Oppy to the Book Reviews page of Oppy's author page, as well as to the Christian Worldview, and Christian Apologetics and Apologists index pages in the Modern Library.

The anthology Reason for the Hope Within aims to mount a broad defense of the Christian faith, in part by explaining how it can be reasonable for Christians to accept puzzling or paradoxical Christian doctrines, and in part by persuading nonbelievers that all of the core claims of Christianity are true. Oppy explains why he thinks that the book utterly fails to accomplish one of these aims, and thus fails to do much to advance the standing of Christian apologetics.

May 3, 2005

Added The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Possibility of an Actually Infinite Future (1999) by Eric Sotnak to the Theism : Arguments for the Existence of a God : Cosmological Arguments index page in the Modern Library

Sotnak primarily critiques William Lane Craig's version of the Kalam cosmological argument, which relies on maintaining that an actual infinite collection of things cannot exist (and hence that an actually infinite regress of past events is impossible). Craig uses the claim that an actual infinite is impossible, in turn, to support a crucial premise of his Kalam argument--that the universe began to exist. Sotnak focuses his criticism on showing that, contra Craig, an actual infinite can exist.

May 1, 2005

Added Review of Michael Martin and Ricci Monier (eds.), The Impossibility of God (2005) by Julian Baggini to his author page and to the Book Reviews subject index in the Atheism section of the Modern Library

"All infidels ... have several reasons to welcome the publication of this definitive anthology of arguments from the past fifty years for the impossibility of God.... That said, I still found the book faintly dispiriting, futile even. Rather than finding myself standing on the metaphorical touchline cheering my team as it chalked up point after point, it seemed to me that everyone on the pitch was engaged in a useless game that no one was ever going to win. This was a bravura performance, but who was it for?" Julian Baggini is the author of Atheism: A Very Short Introduction.

Current Feature: A Thought Experiment: On The Problem of Unjustifiable Suffering, (2000), by Dale W. Proctor

Although the problem of suffering has been written about for millennia, with great detail and sophistication, and by some of our world's greatest minds, Dale Proctor addresses the issue with a simplicity that makes it easy to grasp the insurmountable difficulty it continues to pose to the believer.

Book-of-the-Month: God Matters: Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, (2002), Raymond Martin and Christopher Bernard (Eds.)

God Matters is a state-of-the-art, accessible anthology of the major issues in philosophy of religion. Its accessibility is due to its mix of classic readings and brand new readings about contemporary issues which make the difficult concepts of contemporary philosophy of religion easy to understand. The result is an engaging, comprehensive reader that introduces the most important ideas in classical and contemporary philosophy of religion from the most important thinkers, including excerpts from the key texts in which these thinkers presented their groundbreaking theories.

Special Feature: Why Doesn't God Intervene to Prevent Evil? (1996), by Bruce Russell

If we have reason to believe that there is pointless suffering, then we have reason to believe God does not exist, for God would not allow pointless suffering. Russell considers three different principles concerning when failure to see something gives us reason to believe it is not there. He criticizes the first two principles and defends the third. He then uses it to argue that our failure to see a good whose realization would justify God in allowing all the suffering we see can give us reason to believe there is no such good and so reason to believe there is pointless suffering and that God does not exist.


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