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.’

“True Islam” and violent extremism – redux

I am reposting this in response to the terror attacks in France last night, resulting in the deaths of over one hundred people. As ever, the internet is awash with right-wing shouts to “kill all Muslims” and refugees, to the left-wing shouts that it is the Imperial West to blame and not Islam or Muslims. Neither of these positions are correct. It is obviously thoroughly complex, indeed involving international politics. However, to deny the Qu’ran, Muhammad and the Hadith causal responsibility in these atrocities is to deny the self-determination of those very terrorists who claim that they are doing these actions in the name of Islam and their god.

Everybody Is Wrong About God

James A. Lindsay is author of Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly which is a book I edited and released on Onus Books. He has recently written a book due for imminent publishing called Everybody Is Wrong About God. I was lucky enough to see a draft version of the manuscript which I worked on with James. It’s great.

Scientists Observe Wasps Evolving Into New Species

I don’t really bother with Creationists any more as they aren’t worth my effort. I’ll leave it to scientists… This is from the Wall Street Journal:

Scientists have documented three species of wasps turning into three new species, an unusual close-up view of rapid evolution in action.

Liberty University and the evangelical logic-hammock

From the very beginning, I was primed to be a Liberty University student. My upbringing as a dissatisfied fundamentalist Christian had built an aching for a more accepting, understanding religion that focussed less on the semantics and more on the sincerity. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who defined their faith as the drinks they avoided and the movies they skipped, and I longed to find a community that emphasized their personal relationship with Christ over their public acts of piety.

Philosophy 101 (philpapers induced) #8: Belief in God: theism or atheism?

Having posted the Philpapers survey results, the biggest ever survey of philosophers conducted in 2009, several readers were not aware of it (the reason for re-communicating it) and were unsure as to what some of the questions meant. I offered to do a series on them, so here it is – Philosophy 101 (Philpapers induced). I will go down the questions in order. I will explain the terms and the question, whilst also giving some context within the discipline of Philosophy of Religion.

Heroin and guns

I have a friend who often takes heroin. She’s responsible. She’ll often go out and do it in the woods, where she owns a little farmstead. She’ll shoot up and really enjoy herself. It makes her feel good; empowered. Gets those endorphins flowing.

Atheist killers; correlation not causation.

This is a topic which I have covered in other ways before, both in the piece “Have I killed someone?” and “A Great Myth about Atheism: Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot = Atheism = Atrocity – REDUX”. This idea that atheism causes people to do X or Y has reared its ugly head. Why am I mentioning this now? Anton Lundin-Pettersson went into a school in Sweden with a mask and helmet, looking pretty dark, and a sword, and killed two people. And it looks like he was an atheist.

PZ Myers has written about it. He did not say that Anton Lundin-Pettersson was an atheist and that this caused his killing spree, but that atheists don’t like admitting when one of their own is a bad person, that atheists pull the No True Scotsman fallacy and skew the stats on atheist atrocities.

Bob Jones University and the death of ideas

My first impression of Bob Jones University was a glowing one. Every year, hundreds of high school students are bussed onto the campus from conservative churches and schools (half-jokingly referred to as “feeder schools” by students and faculty at BJU) to visit for a week. This year, I was one of those lucky kids. Getting my first glimpse at real college life was a moment I’d long anticipated, and for the week I was there it was everything I wanted.

Burden of Proof

I was asked by a fellow blogger to write something on the burden of proof. We often hear the maxim “the burden of proof falls upon the person making the claim” or something like that. Why is this the case? Does it stand?

Saudi Arabia, Human Rights and Sir Gerald Howarth’s Nonsense

This is a really important topic and piece which I think needs to be understood by many, not least the politicians working on the world stage. In fact, politicians seem these days to lack in philosophical rigour and understanding. Let me show you one such example here. The topic of Saudi Arabia, its history of human rights abuses, and it sitting so ironically on the UN Human Rights Council is one which is hitting the media outlets in the UK presently.