nothing is mere

Category Archives: atheism

Listen and judge: An interview with Marwa Berro

I recently participated in a meeting of ex-Muslims in Washington, D.C., attended by Richard Dawkins, Ron Lindsay, and a number of other leaders of the secular movement. One of the most eloquent and passionate speakers there — rivaling Dawkins — was Marwa Berro, a writer, activist, and philosopher who blogs at Between A Veil And A Dark …

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God is no libertarian

So the world was made by a perfectly benevolent, compassionate, loving God. Yet suffering exists. Why would a nice guy like God make a world filled with so much nastiness? All these wars, diseases, ichneumon wasps—what possible good purpose could they all serve? We want God to make our lives meaningful, purpose-driven. Yet we don’t …

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Fact-checking the Craig/Rosenberg debate

This 2/18 post first appeared on the IU Secular Alliance and Philosophical Society blogs. On February 1, Christian apologist William Lane Craig and philosopher of science Alex Rosenberg debated the relationship between theology and ethics, cosmology, metaphysics, and a range of other topics at Purdue University. And, good golly, they covered a lot. In the interest …

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When dialogues become duels

Why did the recent blow-up between Sam Harris and Glenn Greenwald happen? Why was my subsequent discussion with Murtaza Hussain so unproductive? More, why are squanderous squabbles like this so common? Even among intelligent, educated people with similar moral sensibilities? To a first approximation, the answer is simple: Hussain wrote a sloppy, under-researched hit piece. …

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Harris’ heresies: The Hussain-Bensinger dialogue, part two

This is the continuation of Robby Bensinger and Murtaza Hussain’s discussion of Sam Harris and Islam. Click here for part one. 3. Science and Politics In response to another of Robby’s points, the United States is not propping up a “benign dictatorship” in North Korea but is certainly doing so in Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia …

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How to be a god

What are gods? In some ways, the question is more important for atheists than for theists. If I’m a theist, after all, I don’t need to understand what it takes to be a ‘god’ in general; I just need to know that my pick of the litter is a bona fide god. It’s the atheists who must speak in …

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Should secularists have man-free events?

This is a shorter version of a Center for Inquiry blog post. Inspired by UNIFI and other campus groups’ activities, the Secular Alliance at Indiana University has been debating the advantages and the risks of hosting women-only events. I think some of the arguments raised by both sides will be useful and relevant to other groups seeking to reach out …

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Is “Islamophobia” real?

This is a shorter version of an April 8 Secular Alliance at Indiana University blog post. My previous post on the Sam Harris / Glenn Greenwald clusterfuffle was mostly procedural. I restricted myself to assessing the authenticity of Murtaza Hussain’s citations, barely touching on the deeper issues of substance he and Greenwald raised. But now that we’re on the topic, this …

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Greenwald and Hussain on Sam Harris and racism

This April 3 post first appeared on the Secular Alliance at Indiana University blog. I know of no living public intellectual whose views get caricatured and misrepresented quite as routinely as do Sam Harris‘. What’s disheartening isn’t that people disagree with Harris. It’s that they haven’t taken the time to understand what’s there to disagree with! I don’t know whether Harris …

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What can we reasonably concede to unreason?

This post first appeared on the Secular Alliance at Indiana University blog. In October, SAIU members headed up to Indianapolis for the Center for Inquiry‘s “Defending Science: Challenges and Strategies” workshop. Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef, co-hosts of the podcast Rationally Speaking, spoke about natural deficits in reasoning, while Jason Rodriguez and John Shook focused on deliberate attempts to …

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