What's New Archive ● 2008 ● June
What's New on the Secular Web?
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June 28, 2008
New in the Kiosk: Be Ye Therefore Perfect: Perfection as a Moral Standard (2008) by Daniel June
"As atheists and humanists we must question the term 'perfection,' and ask it what it is doing for us. Is it damning us? Is it limiting us? Is it some impossibly high standard meant to keep us humble? Or can we say, 'Perfection is honestly doing one's best'"?
June 24, 2008
You've probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain's elegant design in reverent tones. To which this book says: Pure nonsense. A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history.
June 19, 2008
Jeremiah's prediction of the New Covenant is a double embarrassment to Christians. The author of Hebrews erred in reading this passage as a prediction of the Christian Gospel. And Jeremiah erred in writing this passage as a prediction of Israel's eternal blessings after the Babylonian Exile. Jeremiah's prophecy has been misused by New Testament authors, and falsified by subsequent history. These twin problems impeach the claims of the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible to be the inerrant, inspired Word of God
June 1, 2008
New in the Library: Review of Totality Beliefs and the Religious Imagination (2008) by Taner Edis to the Faith and Reason page in the Modern Documents section.
Anthony Campbell's short and accessible Totality Beliefs and the Religious Imagination illustrates a temperament rather than providing exhaustive arguments against religious beliefs. Campbell thinks that the supernatural is not real, but there is no rancor in his view of religion. He does not treat supernatural convictions as a straightforward mistake curable by a steady application of common sense. Nor does he think that religion is invariably an evil. And even though he has come to think that religions involve too many false beliefs, he thinks that there are too many important questions entangled with our religious traditions to just cast them aside.
On a secluded ranch deep in the rural expanse of western Texas, over five hundred people have lived for years in an environment choked by ideological indoctrination and autocratic control of access to the outside world. The blinkered worldview which ranch leaders imposed upon their subjects, and the sexual crimes which they apparently inflicted, are not--according to the owners of the ranch--merely the caprices of depraved human beings. On the contrary: they were commanded by God Himself.
From the Bookstore: Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine (2008) by Richard P. Sloan.
Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. Surgeons who pray in the operating room. Pro-life clinics and end-of-life interventions, intelligent-design activists and stem-cell-research opponents--is this the state of modern medicine in America? In Blind Faith, Sloan examines the fragile balance and dangerous alliance between religion and medicine