Links and News — 19-Nov-11

Moment of Zen:

Best Statistics Question Ever” (be sure to read not only the question but at least some of the 700+ comments posted so far)

Exchanges Involving Secular Outpost Contributors:

Defending the Argument from Consciousness

Stephen Law and Ed Feser have an ongoing exchange regarding Law’s evil God challenge (EGC): see here, here, here, here, here.

Julian Baggini and Keith Ward exchange on religion and science: here, here,

Morality and Atheism

Good With God?“– This ad compares the charitable contributions of nontheists Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to Pat Robertson, accusing Robertson of donating virtually nothing to charity.

  • [Editor’s note (Lowder): in my opinion, the ad should have focused on the positive accomplishments of nontheists, without the attack on Robertson. Even if the criticism of Robertson is accurate, it is unnecessary to make the point that nontheists can be good without God. Since it is far from obvious that Robertson’s behavior is representative of theistic behavior in general, critics may wind up focusing on this incidental issue while missing the main point.]

New Research Says Anti-Atheist Prejudice Stems from Distrust” by Will Gervais, Ara Norenzayan, and Azim F. Shariff: an academic study into the sources of anti-atheist prejudice. The study itself is only available with a subscription to journal, but a decent summary is available at Hermant Mehta’s blog.

  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): The fact that anti-atheist prejudice stems from distrust seems rather obvious to me, but this study is noteworthy for the fact that it is the first empirical confirmation of this suspicion. As the abstract states, it is “the first to systematically explore the social psychological underpinnings of anti-atheist prejudice” and “indicate the centrality of distrust in this phenomenon.”]
  • Cf. recent Secular Outpost article: “Republicans Unite Against Atheists

Miscellaneous Links:

When the Saints Go Marching In“: audio of Michael Licona speaking at the conference of the EPS

  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): At around 22:30 in the recording, Licona comments on how Craig Blomberg and William Lane Craig share Licona’s interpretation of Matthew 27. He also mentions that several Evangelical scholars have privately expressed their support to Licona, but are afraid of speaking out publicly for fear of the consequences. And at 33:00, Licona reports that Paul Copan and Gary Habermas have been uninvited from previously established speaking engagements because Copan and Habermas had opined that Licona had not abandoned inerrancy. Copan goes on to talk about the risks to Evangelical scholarship when “theological bullying” goes unanswered.]

Quote of the Day” at Ex-Apologist (from Wes Morriston’s opening statement in his debate with William Lane Craig)

Recent research on why former Christians left the faith identified the following top 4 reasons: relationship between faith and science, Hell, the argument from evil, the reliability of the Bible.

Bart Ehrman defends the historicity of Jesus: see here

Two Gems from Fallen From Grace

Dear Christian, Your Blog Comments Say Volumes About Your God“: some of the comments hurled at Stephen Hawking in response to his nonbelief

Why Would I Want to be Your Friend?”: Bruce Gerencser, a former Evangelical pastor turned atheist, questions the desirability of friendship between an Evangelical Christian and an atheist, from the atheist’s point of view.

Church-State Separation and the U.S. Military

Military Nearly Pulls Atheist from Graduation Ceremony After He Refuses to Bow Head and Clasp Hands in Prayer (HT: Friendly Atheist)

Christian fighter pilot bullies non-Christian subordinates: see here.

  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): If the allegations are true, Air Force Major Jonathan Dowty’s conduct is unbecoming of an Officer of the United States Air Force. It’s unfortunate that too many Officers in the USAF act as if they are serving in the United States Christian Air Force, disregarding the oath they took to defend the Consitution. The result is that religious minorities feel unwelcome and leave the Air Force, with the Air Force losing valuable, highly-skilled airmen.]

Evangelicalism and Freethought: Are They Compatible?

J.P. Holding laments the fact that Norman Geisler’s behavior towards Michael Licona has given “low-rent intellectual atheists” the opportunity to make legitimate criticisms of the situation, including the suppression of freedom of thought. (See here and here.)

Dealing with Doubt? On William Lane Craig’s rather bad advice” by Randall Rauser: Rauser is an evangelical Christian philosopher who takes issue with Craig’s advice.

Book Announcements and Reviews

All of our announcements this time are regarding books by theists.


1248-page major new defense of miracles has just been published: Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts by Craig Keener.

  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): I haven’t read the book, but based on the endorsements it has received, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is considered the go-to book for a long time for a sophisticated defense of miracles.]

Alvin Plantinga’s new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, & Naturalism (Oxford University Press, 2011) is now available in hardcover and on Kindle.

Tennis Without a Net: The Emptiness of the Supernatural Hypothesis” by Tom Clark: a review of J.P. Moreland, The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism.

  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): As an aside, I used Amazon’s “search inside the book” feature–maxed out the feature would be a better description–to preview Moreland’s book and it looks extremely interesting. In fact, I’ve ordered a copy.]

Michael Licona reviews Daniel A. Smith’s, Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter. (link): video of J.P. Moreland speaking at the conference of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) reading a paper recently published in the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, in which Moreland defends the argument against Graham Oppy.