Author Jonathan MS Pearce

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.

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.

Kalam Cosmological Argument Book Update

I wrote my dissertation for my Masters in Philosophy on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. It was a firm favourite topic of mine for some time. As a result, I was always planning on converting my dissertation into a book. Well, over the last few days, I have resurrected the idea and am happily thundering my way through my paper.