What's New Archive ● 2006 ● February
What's New on the Secular Web?
See also: Events & The News Wire
February 23, 2006
Added Evolutionary Naturalism, Theism, and Skepticism about the External World (2000) by J. Wesley Robbins to the Naturalism page and Christian Apologetics and Apologists page for Alvin Plantinga in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In the closing chapter of Warrant and Proper Function Alvin Plantinga claims that the combination of naturalism and evolutionary theory is epistemologically self-defeating. As Robbins points out, however, Plantinga's argument only applies those who hold a "generically Cartesian" picture of the mind, not to those who hold a "generically pragmatist" view of mind. What Plantinga has shown to be self-defeating, if anything, is the generically Cartesian view of our minds. While generic Cartesianism generates the problem of knowledge of the external world, the generically pragmatist view of mind dissolves it.
Added Severus Is Not Quoting Tacitus: A Rebuttal to Eric Laupot (2006) by Richard Carrier to the Christianity page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In "Tacitus' Fragment 2: The Anti-Roman Movement of the Christiani and the Nazoreans," Eric Laupot argues that a passage in Sulpicius Severus actually comes from the lost section of the Histories by Tacitus, and is therefore a very early testimony that the original "Christians" represented a major Jewish rebel movement that participated in the War of 66-70 A.D. and used the Temple as its base of operations. Carrier points out several flaws in Laupot's argument, noting that alternative explanations of the facts are far more probable than Laupot's account given current historical knowledge.
February 16, 2006
This is a brief paper outlining some of the problems with creationism, and defending evolution from a few creationist criticisms.
February 15, 2006
Updated in light of the recent publication of Richard Carrier's "The Argument from Biogenesis: Probabilities against a Natural Origin of Life," Biology & Philosophy 19.5 (November, 2004), pp. 739-64. An important clarification to that article regarding the definition of "self-replicating" is now included.
The first rebuttals in the Carrier-Wanchick debate on Naturalism vs. Theism have been posted.
Richard Carrier's first rebuttal, Wanchick's Case Is Insufficient, criticizes 9 arguments offered in Tom Wanchick's opening statement. Tom Wanchick's first rebuttal criticizes 7 arguments for naturalism Richard Carrier offers in his opening statement. Per the rules set forth prior to the debate, both debaters now have 2 weeks to submit their second rebuttals for publication on the Secular Web.
February 13, 2006
Announcing The Secular Outpost, a blog (with RSS feed) for the Secular Web.
Created for commenting on various items of interest to metaphysical naturalists, The Secular Outpost is maintained by a select group of Secular Web authors, including:
• Taner Edis
• Jim Lippard
• Jeffery Jay Lowder
• James Still
• Andrea Weisberger
February 7, 2006
This index has been expanded from the original four subject pages addressing the relationship between morality and atheism to the following nine areas: (1) On average, are atheists as moral as theists? (2) On naturalism, why do we have particular moral sentiments or dispositions? (3) Does atheism entail a certain view on specific moral questions? (4) How should atheists live? (5) Why should atheists be moral? (6) Without God, how do we determine what's right and wrong? (7) Without God, what grounds right and wrong? (8) On naturalism, are we free and morally responsible for our actions? And (9) Can life have meaning without God? Some previous content has been removed or moved, and new content has been added to new categories, in this reorganization.
February 3, 2006
The Activists' Corner has been extensively updated and expanded.
The Activists' Corner includes listings of "Church-State Separation and Secularist Organizations," major "Secular Student Organizations," and other groups and secular causes.
February 2, 2006
Where did the book of Mormon come from? In "Prophecy and Palimpsest" Robert M. Price outlines the case for a human rather than divine origin of the book, arguing that it is "a modern pseudepigraph, the work of Joseph Smith himself," the founder of the Latter-day Saints. "The Book of Mormon never existed as a set of golden plates in a foreign language" handed down by the angel Moroni, but was Smith's way of presenting America's frontier heritage in biblical language. His portrayal of American Christianity was really just a reflection of what he thought Christianity ought to become, and his fictionalized image of the biblical past was a mirror of the way he thought things ought to be.
In this follow-up piece to "Prophecy and Palimpsest," Robert M. Price defends his position that the Book of Mormon is a pseudepigraph crafted by Joseph Smith. Various points are addressed in response to William Hamblin's objections to "Prophecy and Palimpsest."
February 1, 2006
Current Feature: ID, Gaps, and Vats (2006), by Don Baker
A tongue-in-cheek look at the intelligent design movement and the logical consequences of intelligent design theory.
Book-of-the-Month: Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism (2000), by Robert T. Pennock
The leading proponents of "intelligent design theory" have left the ranting flat-earth types behind and found respected positions in the academic world from which to launch attacks on mainstream science. Tower of Babel examines the new directions antievolutionists have taken and proposes a new avenue of counterattack: linguistics.
A brief paper outlining some of the problems with creationism, and defending evolution from a few creationist criticisms.