Sticky Posts: Old Ones Resurrected

Interview with Tom Clark of the Center For Naturalism

Tom Clark is the Director for the Center for Naturalism (CFN), an organisation which harbours the excellent resource Naturalism.Org. The Mission for CFN is stated as follows:

The Center for Naturalism (CFN) is an educational and advocacy organization devoted to increasing public awareness of naturalism and its implications for social and personal well-being. The CFN seeks to foster the understanding that human beings and their behavior are fully caused, entirely natural phenomena, and that human flourishing is best achieved in the light of such understanding.

Do the Bible and Qu’ran need commentaries?

Over on a recent thread about the challenges I have met in my claims of Islam, a Catholic commentator asked this question:

I agree with you that Islam has problems. I have a quick question: do you read commentaries and theology books written by Muslims to offset your bias?

To which I said:

On Islam and answering my critics

I have had many discussions concerning Islam and my views pertaining to it. I would like to flesh out here some of the criticisms I have had and answer them properly, also offering this as a post that I can point people to when this undoubtedly pops up again.

Tourism in Islamic countries: my prediction

Tunisia’s second attack in recent times has left the country reeling, and British tour operators pulling out for the next week, at least. This has been the biggest attack on and death of British people in a terrorist attack since the 7/7 bombings in London and the country has been rocked. But not as much as Tunisia itself will be rocked.

My “Understanding Islam” talk went very well

I had a debate of sorts in my last talk to the Dorset Humanists on Thursday night. It was really interesting, and I am thankful to DH for inviting me and providing a thoroughly stimulating environment to discuss these things. As mentioned in previous posts, my talk was based roughly on my blog post about”True Islam” and violence, and I spoke first with DH’s David Warden following me and countering my view with a more liberal and accepting approach to Islam.

Which Qu’ran, Mecca or Medina?

This is an excellent succinct synopsis of the issue of contradictions and abrogation in the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran can be broadly split into two based on when and where the revelations took place. This article is reblogged with kind permission from Beyond the Cusp – thanks! This is a quick synopsis for those of you who are unaware of things Qu’ranic:

The Quran as we know it today is in reality two quite different books. The older Quran was written in Mecca while the later Quran was written in Medina. This lead some scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to refer to the Quran by its two parts, the Mecca Quran and the Medina Quran.

Medical Miracle Anecdote

This came into our mailbox here at SIN. It is a medical miracle anecdote, in the same strain as a post from the other day:

I have just returned from a surgical mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Although I am an atheist my schedule was such that it was most convenient for me to travel and work with XXX Ministry XXX, a frankly Christian evangelical organization operating out of Texas.

Hiram Crespo: The Epicurean Revival

As the annals of history have it, in the sixth century Emperor Justinian had all the schools of philosophy that competed with Christianity finally closed. This was the last we heard of the Epicurean School, whose tradition had remained culturally vibrant for seven centuries. Epicurus had been among the first to propose the atom—2,300 years ago—the social contract as a foundation for the rule of law, and the possibility of an empirical process of pursuit of happiness: a science of happiness. These progressive schools were oases of tranquility, reason and pleasure known as Gardens, where the ideals of civilized friendship flourished and men, women and even slaves engaged in philosophical discourse as equals.

“Faith” as a redundant term

Faith is a term which is bandied about with carefree abandon, but what does it really mean? As I wrote to Christian apologist David Marshall some years back:

Part of the problem is that you are extracting these issues from their real world application and in a sense making them irrelevant. Let’s apply the faith vs reason to real life instances:

Moral Facts and Opinions – Ron Murphy

An occasional commenter here, Ron Murphy (ronmurp), linked to one of his pieces in another thread. It’s a really good piece, with some thought-provoking stuff on the is/ought issue in moral philosophy. See what you think and comment as usual below:

Yet another moral philosopher (another religious one) makes a hash of morality. So I wanted to get this down as a summary of my position on how morality is nothing more than opinion elevated to nobility; a common man made special by simply calling him a lord or a bishop.

The power of prayer…

I received this email today from an old friend:

Hi mate,

Hope you’re well.

I’m reading your little book of unholy questions at the moment and thought I’d share a prayer story with you. When XXXX was pregnant with YYYY and we had the 12 week scan, the physical measurements and blood factors indicated that YYYY had a strong likelihood (60%+) of having a chromosomal disorder (Down’s syndrome or worse).