Month: October 2009

50 Voices of Disbelief

50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schüklenk, is now available. It turned out to be very good book. I contributed one of the chapters, so I didn’t want to say anything about the book before I read it all through. But now that I’ve done so, I’m 50 Voices of Disbelief

Fairness doesn’t enter into it

Saturday we adopted three kittens from the local animal shelter. But one died overnight. The other two got an emergency vet visit. We were worried about the other two for the next few days, but they seemed fine. Then, yesterday, another one suddenly collapsed without much warning. We rushed her to the vet, but in Fairness doesn’t enter into it

Unknown offensive cartoon

I ran into this cartoon in a Turkish news story about a court case. Apparently it inspired some Islamists to bomb (or attempt to bomb; it wasn’t clear) the secularist newspaper that originally ran it: The offensive bit is the pig dressed in hijab. “AB” stands for the EU; it’s in the context of the Unknown offensive cartoon

Argument from diversity

There is a common argument against religious belief that points out the diversity of religious beliefs available. People everywhere almost invariably have supernatural beliefs, but they also believe in all sorts of different religions. Most people follow the faith they were born into. And even though such an accidental circumstance largely determines their faith, they Argument from diversity


Religious texts are meaningless. That is why they are deeply meaningful. Religious truths are ever-changing, endlessly adaptable. That is why they are timeless and immutable. Religions promise Everything. That is why they do not have to deliver. Religious insights are inexpressible. That is why believers never stop talking. The gods are absurd. That is why Inversions

All you need is love?

I had an odd experience last week, when I was part of a panel discussion on Islam and Evolution at Hampshire College. As part of my presentation, I argued that Darwinian evolution counts against the notion of a supernatural designer, even though it does not strictly imply that there is no theistic God. And I All you need is love?

Supernatural Agents

Ilkka Pyysiäinen’s new book, Supernatural Agents: Why We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas is a very nice addition to the recent literature on cognitive science-based explanations of religious and supernatural beliefs. Pyysiäinen provides a useful update on what is happening in this fast-changing field, though this is an academic book and some previous acquaintance Supernatural Agents