Sticky Posts: Old Ones Resurrected

Top down or bottom up?

‘Rationality is useless if it is not sound. This is what Martin Luther meant when he called reason a “whore”. Pick the wrong premises, and rationality is utterly screwed. Therefore, merely that someone is “rational” means absolutely nothing about whether that person is well-connected to reality.’

Free Will and the Leap of Faith

I have been engaged in an ongoing discussion with several friends about the concept of human Free Will, a cornerstone of all Abrahamic religions. If humans do not have Free Will, the whole scheme of sin and salvation collapses.

Christmas Busybodies

Busybody: noun; a person who mixes into other people’s affairs; meddler; gossip

Every year at this time, as predictable as snow in Saskatchewan or icicles in Idaho, it happens. The bleating about the “oppression” of Christians starts anew. Usually, it is triggered by some evangelist group that wants to place a nativity crèche on a courthouse lawn or a public park.

Where I stand with Islam and violence now

I have been quite outspoken in recent times about what I believe to be a necessary and inescapable connection between Islam, as properly understood (yes, that notion is wrought with issue) and violence (and intolerance). I have even debated this publicly and given a public talk on the topic (at the University of Exeter).

The Star of Bethlehem: Lecture by Aaron Adair at Merrimack College

I was lucky enough to edit Aaron Adair’s superb book The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View which looks at the claims within the Gospel of Matthew concerning the Star of Bethlehem. Over the many hundreds of years, various people have advanced theories to explain the apparent phenomenon, to triple conjunctions of planets and stars to comets, from hypernovae to UFOs. Yes, UFOs. Aaron has started getting on the speaking circuit to talk about his favoured subject, and may even be compiling a book looking into the Bible and astronomy

An announcement: a fond farewell

It comes with much sadness, in many ways, that I say goodbye to SIN (though I will no doubt continue to sin) over the next few days. I have been offered a place at Patheos and have accepted. Patheos is a big old network, and I am flattered to have been offered a place. The decision was based purely on needs, and the fact that, one way or another, there will be changes to my life that require me to make certain decisions (yes, that is cryptic, but that’s the way it has to be right now).

My letter to Goldsmiths in support of Maryam Namazie

For what it’s worth, I wrote a letter to the Goldsmiths Student Union and University Communications team in support of Maryam Namazie. If you are unaware of what has recently been going on, Namazie, an atheist ex-Muslim secularist was asked to speak to the Goldsmiths Uni Atheists and Humanists. However, she was hounded at the talk by members of ISOC, the Islamic Society. Amazingly, and this is pretty shocking, ISOC’s actions and stance was then supported by Goldsmiths Feminist Society and the LGBTQ Society!

Parenting – why it might not much matter. Nature vs nurture!

I want you to consider the possibility that your parents did not shape you as a person. Despite how it feels, your mother and father (or whoever raised you) likely imprinted almost nothing on your personality that has persisted into adulthood. Pause for a minute and let that heresy wash across your synapses. It flies in the face of common sense, does it not? In fact, it’s the type of claim that is unwise to make unless you have some compelling evidence to back it up. Even then it will elicit the ire of many.


Most religions are based on stories of miracles. Those miracles are always performed by a supernatural deity. The Bible is absolutely chock-full of miracles, from the immaculate conception and resurrection, to the water-into-wine trick. But the clincher is that huge bunch of miracles listed in the book of Genesis…about the creation of Heaven and Earth and all the living things on it. I can’t even count all the miracles in Genesis. I haven’t checked Guinness, but it must be a world record.

US Politicians’ “thoughts and prayers” after massacres: Igor Volsky and gun control

What looks to be a result of terrorist activity is still another mass shooting eased in its execution by some of the most lax gun rules in the world, and certainly in the developed world. In reaction to the San Bernardino shootings, there has been a marked difference between the political statements made by politicians in the US. On the Democratic side, there have been renewed calls for action, for tangible changes to be made to gun legislation. The Republicans, on the other hand, offer mere “thoughts and prayers”.

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Value of Life

Life has value, we would intuitively claim. But what is it about life which gives it its value? Does life have value in and of itself, or is the value derived by things which life can give us, that we can do with it? The first is intrinsic value, that life is inherently meaningful and valuable in and of itself. The second is extrinsic value, where the value is derived from other things which life facilitates.