What's New Archive ● 2007 ● July
What's New on the Secular Web?
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July 24, 2007
"Since leaving the LDS religion, my eyes have been opened to the horrific effect Mormonism has had on Utah's culture. Brigham Young University is a case-study of how pervasive this religion's effect has been, even in what should be an institution of higher learning." - Jon Adams
July 22, 2007
Evan Fales has updated this paper by expanding his discussion of reasons to doubt the moral acceptability of another person (such as Jesus) absolving individuals of responsibility for their sins (or wrongdoings) through sacrifice, substitution, or by serving as a moral exemplar.
July 15, 2007
The Carrier-Licona Debate DVD is once again available.
This debate, which took place at the University of California, Los Angeles, on April 19, 2004, and was moderated by S. Scott Bartchy, Professor of History at UCLA and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, examined the rational evidence for faith in Jesus' resurrection.
July 8, 2007
Added Reason in Politics: A Review of Al Gore's The Assault on Reason (2007) by Chris Hallquist to the Secular Web Kiosk.
"I picked up Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason, with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Excitement, because it was a case of a prominent public figure delivering a much-needed defense of reason in the public square. Anxiety, because the figure was, well... a politician."
July 4, 2007
"In this profoundly affecting memoir, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West" (book description).
"It is quite interesting. It makes a useful addition to the growing literature critiquing Islam, and emphasizing the need to reform its narrow and restrictive approach to life" (Mohammad Gill).
July 1, 2007
ANNOUNCING "THE GREAT DEBATE": Added God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence (2007) edited by Paul Draper to the Debates, Naturalism, and Theistic Arguments: Debates pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Does the universe provide evidence of design? What is the nature of the mind or soul, and what is its relation to the brain? Why is there so much seemingly needless evil or suffering in the world? What bearing does the evolution of life have on the existence of God? Why does God appear to be hidden from vast numbers of human beings, if he exists? These and other questions are debated by nine prominent philosophers in a series of four ongoing debates we are calling "The Great Debate."
The first debate, "Mind and Will," concerns the nature of the human mind and free will as it relates to the truth of naturalism and theism. Readers are encouraged to submit questions to the three contributors participating in this debate, but there is only a small window of opportunity in which to submit questions: about a month from publication. (So all questions concerning "Mind and Will" should be submitted by early August at the latest.) The ability of readers to engage authors directly is a rare opportunity made possible by electronic publishing, so please take advantage of this opportunity while you can.
For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why--and how--it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion's evolution from "wild" folk belief to "domesticated" dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.
"I often find myself humbly suggesting that it is possible to raise children every bit as ethical, caring, loving, humane, inspired and well-adjusted without religion as with it. I don't believe parenting without religion is merely "as good" as parenting with it--I think it is immeasurably better. I think it blows the doors off religious parenting in every respect--powerful inquiry, reasoned ethics, ecstatic inspiration, cosmic humility and profound humanity. No need to waste time raining reason on the deaf ears of the faithful. Let the baby have his bottle. Our time is better spent clearing a space for the rest of us to dance with our children."