Month: June 2010

Opera on science and religion

The Metropolitan Opera has reportedly commissioned a new opera from Osvaldo Golijov, a composer whose work I usually like. Apparently it’s going to be about the “relationship between science and religion.” That could be interesting. On the other hand, I suspect it’s most likely to to resolve into some pap about ultimate harmony. It won’t Opera on science and religion

What are they thinking?

I was looking over reports of a “Quran and Scientific Truths” conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. (I can find only this in English; there’s a lot more in Turkish.) There’s nothing all that new in it—mostly the usual science-in-the-Quran nonsense. But, as always, the conference included a host of Turkish academics in engineering and science What are they thinking?

Rational policy?

The political versions of religious nonbelief usually include affirmations of rationality in public policy. The recent Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life has “We submit that public policy should be informed by evidence and reason, not by dogma.” All this assumes that there is a single agreed upon form of rationality. Maybe it also Rational policy?

Gray’s Anatomy

I’ve just finished a collection of John Gray’s essays, Gray’s Anatomy. Gray is perhaps my favorite conservative thinker—conservative in the European tradition, which has some intellectual depth, rather than the mindless combination of Jesus and market-worship that is American movement conservatism. I’m not conservative myself, since my temperament inclines me not toward “if it’s not Gray’s Anatomy

Methodological naturalism

Let me put in a plug for Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman’s paper in Foundations of Science, “How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism.” Here’s the abstract: In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this Methodological naturalism

The Sentence “God exists” Part 2

This is the Logical Positivist skeptical argument, as understood by Richard Swinburne: (1) If the sentence “God exists” expresses a coherent statement, then the sentence “God exists” expresses either an analytic proposition or else it expresses a synthetic proposition.(2) The sentence “God exists” does not express an analytic proposition.(3) The sentence “God exists” does not The Sentence “God exists” Part 2

Jesus: Struck by Lightning

The insurance company is bound to claim this was an act of God.

The Sentence “God Exists” Part 1

In The Coherence of Theism (original:1977, revised ed.:1993), Richard Swinburne argues that the sentence “God exists” is a meaningful indicative sentence that expresses a coherent proposition. He does this by raising objections to arguments that have been given against this view, and by also making a detailed positive case. For the negative or defensive case, The Sentence “God Exists” Part 1

Why Defend Atheism?

The main reason I think that atheism is worth defending stems from my conviction that truth and rational belief are very important goods that are worth defending. In fact, they are both intrinsically and instrumentally valuable goods; ones that people in general have a fundamental drive to assert and defend. Whether this drive amounts to Why Defend Atheism?

Martin Gardner 1914–2010

Martin Gardner died at age 95 on Saturday, May 22nd. “This past weekend the world darkened with the loss of one of its brightest lights: Martin Gardner, polymath extraordinaire, founding father of the modern skeptical movement, and a friend. R.I.P. Martin.” – Michael Shermer Interview of Martin Gardner by Michael Shermer: NY Times Obituary:;=Martin%20Gardner&st;=cse