Atheist Morality

I don't cheat on my tax forms. That doesn't make me a person of high moral standing; it could just mean I don't want to get penalized for breaking the law. So, do I have an atheist morality? I have been criticized for being a goody two-shoes for declining to enter false information on official forms. I have many reasons for trying to comply with the requirements. Not getting caught in a felony is one, of course. Lack of any substantial benefit is another. Think about it. If I am going to commit Read more [...]
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Ark Encounter

If you have been following the adventures of the Ark Encounter, you know that it is a profit-making venture of Answers in Genesis (AIG), organized to build and operate a construction (I can't bring myself to say "reconstruction") of what Noah's ark is supposed to have been like, according to the account in the Old Testament. I would guess this is intended as a kind of educational tourist attraction. “See, this is how the LORD fit those dinosaurs into the Ark.” I think it's a great idea. In Read more [...]
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Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

I posted this in 2009, back when I still considered myself a Christian. My views on this subject are pretty much the same now. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." Jeremiah 1:5. I am pro-life. Of course I am, everyone is pro-life. Who do you know who is pro-death? Specifically, I am pro-life because I do not know when human life begins. I know it does not begin at the moment of conception, because I believe in God. Why would God start all those lives at conception, then flush Read more [...]
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Ghost Story

I like a good ghost story. I like the idea of an eternal “life force” that can survive after a person physically dies. It makes a good story to imagine that the life force can disconnect from a living person and be held prisoner in a bottle, or that it can move through time and space to encounter other insubstantial beings. It is a useful literary device that complicates the plot while maintaining continuity. Without that life force to pull things together, it might become apparent that the author Read more [...]
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Meta Writing

Meta writing is writing about writing, so this sentence is meta meta writing. The rest of this article will not be writing about writing about writing, just writing about writing. If your brain doesn't hurt, you may continue reading. They say that if you can do anything other than write, then don't write; to be a writer you must be compelled, you must have no choice but to express the ideas that well up in you like a fountain. That has been said of other professions as well. It may be a useful Read more [...]
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Creation Paradox

Let us leave aside, for the moment, the question of benevolence, and whether it is a quality of whatever creator god may exist. We can focus on just two of this purported god's qualities, omnipotence and omniscience. If he, she, or it* created the universe, and has all power that can be had and knows everything that can be known, then we run into a problem, the creation paradox. If God were a conscious being who decided to create the universe, then prior to deciding that, he must have been in Read more [...]
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Global Warming Alarmist

Though I have been called an "alarmist", I am not. I am more of a Pollyanna; I tend to be overly optimistic about coming events. I am usually the one to say, "It'll be fine; don't worry." Yet in the case of climate change, I am concerned that we are behaving badly, and it is generating some nasty karma.* So I try to convince everyone to start taking action based on the best available scientific evidence. My position is clear, as can be determined by a quick scan of my posts on the environment. Read more [...]
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Mocking Religion

What is the difference between criticizing religious ideas and mocking religion? It is not possible for an atheist to mock God, or for anyone to insult a religion. To an atheist, "God" is only a concept held by followers of a particular religion. It is certainly possible to mock a concept, but it is not possible to mock the being that concept represents, if that being doesn't exist. It is possible to mock religious teachings, but one can't really insult a religion. Only a living (or once living) being Read more [...]
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Why Pray?

Chuck Smith said, "I am convinced that prayers do not and cannot change the purposes of God ...." Assume, for the sake of argument, that God, as conceptualized by the average Christian or Muslim, exists. If God knows all and everything is proceeding according to plan, then why pray? What is the point of informing God of that which he already knows? Why expect God to change the plan in order to accommodate the wishes of the one praying? Yet beseeching the gods to change course seems to be at Read more [...]
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Arctic Sea Ice Update

In 2012, Arctic sea ice reached record lows in area, extent, and volume, continuing the trend that has been apparent since the 1980s. Although ice volume in 2013 did not reach the lows of the previous three years, it was still lower than the previous record low reached in September 2007. Arctic Sea Ice Dwindling The chart below, based on data from PIOMAS, clearly shows the trend of Arctic sea ice volume. You can see that the minimum volume, which occurs in mid to late September each year, is Read more [...]
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