Month: August 2009

More on Naturalism and Consciousness

Dianelos Georgoudis replied at length to my earlier posting on metaphysical naturalism and consciousness, and I would like to continue the conversation. I characterize metaphysical naturalists as committed to the causal closure of the natural universe, i.e., to the claim that natural phenomena, to the extent that they are caused (and not, say, random or More on Naturalism and Consciousness

Liberals for religion

Reading Liberalism for a New Century (Jumonville and Mattson, eds.) recently, I was struck by the backward-looking nature of allegedly cutting-edge liberal thought. I’ll admit a certain bias: I keep a distance to American liberalism, though I invariably end up grudgingly voting Democratic. Liberals are far too conservative for my taste. And in this book Liberals for religion

Religion in College

Inside Higher Ed reported on a study looking at how different major choices in college affect attendance at religious services. There is little in it that is surprising. Business and education majors show an increase in religiosity. Humanities and social science majors show a decrease. None of these effects are large. Science majors remain more Religion in College


In disputes between supernaturalists and naturalists, one of the minor themes has to do with uniqueness and identity. Naturalists inclined toward functionalism usually think that the mind, for example, is what the brain does, while religious people tend to believe in souls and spirits. But functionalists then also have to think that copies of minds Uniqueness

Against community

I just finished another book that’s an example of postmodern Muslim blather, Anouar Majid’s Unveiling Traditions. Typical of the genre, it’s full of moral posturing against colonialism, capitalism, Orientalism, secularism, and the modern world in general. It presents itself as politically leftist, but it’s the sort of anti-Enlightenment left that traffics in romantic nostalgia about Against community

Theistic Evolutionists

I often suggest that there are at least cynical reasons to encourage those scientists who proclaim the compatibility of modern science and traditional faiths. The need for such a protective coloration to present to the public is especially plausible when trying to keep creationists out of the hair of scientific interests. Still, I admit that Theistic Evolutionists

Rabbis against swine flu

According to Haaretz, recently Dozens of rabbis and Kabbalah mystics armed with ceremonial trumpets took to the skies over Israel on Monday to battle the swine flu virus. . . About 50 Jewish holy men chanted prayers and blew shofars (ritual rams’ horns) in an aircraft circling over the country in the hope of stopping Rabbis against swine flu

Separate spheres

In educated, liberal circles today, the conventional wisdom about science and religion is that they are compatible. Each belongs to a different sphere. In one popular formulation, natural science produces naturalistic explanations of natural phenomena, while the sphere of religion is knowledge about an entirely different realm, the supernatural. Or, possibly, science is about a Separate spheres

Soldiers for Christ

Hey, check out Liberty University’s on-line theology and apologetics program! It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools!

Unscientific America

Chris Mooney, journalist and author of the eye-opening The Republican War on Science, teamed up with Sheril Kirshenbaum, a scientist involved in science policy, to write Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future. It has its good parts. But possibly because I expected more from Mooney, my overall impression is one of faint disappointment. Unscientific America