Monthly Archive: April 2007

Apr 30 2007

The new atheism-3: What the new atheists are saying

(See part 1 and part 2.) The peaceful coexistence model that has long been used to maintain peace between elite science and elite religion was reinforced by the National Academy of Sciences when the science-religion issue became heated during the heyday of the intelligent design creationism movement. In a 1998 statement titled Teaching about Evolution …

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Apr 27 2007

The new atheism-2: Breaking down the wall

In the post-Galileo world, elite religion and elite science have tended to get along pretty well. Opposing the heliocentric model of the solar system has been roundly criticized as a stupid thing for the Catholic church to do and, since then elite science and elite religion have seemed to find a modus vivendi that enables …

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Apr 26 2007

The new atheism-1: The times they are a-changing

The year 2006 may have seen the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between religious people and atheists. As I emphasized in my 2000 book Quest for Truth: Scientific Progress and Religious Beliefs (from which I am excerpting certain passages here), the relationship between science and religion is very complex because the words …

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Apr 25 2007

When good people do bad things

Amongst Catholics, it had long been thought that “children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, but the church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians have long taught, however, that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but …

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Apr 24 2007

Political tone-deafness

You would think that experienced career politicians would have some sense of how to avoid saying things that gratuitously insult people. And then you read things like this: Former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tommy Thompson told Jewish activists Monday that making money is “part of the Jewish tradition,” and something that he applauded. …

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Apr 23 2007

The serious business of comics

I don’t know what it says about me but the section of the paper I read most carefully is the funny pages. While I can zip through the rest of the paper quickly, gleaning the gist of articles by quickly scanning and skipping, I slow down and read carefully every word in the comics, even …

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Apr 20 2007

Reacting to other people’s tragedies

Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with is how to respond when tragedy strikes other people. When tragedy strikes you personally, then any response by you is fine and no one else has the right to tell you how you should feel and what is appropriate behavior. I find it strange when others …

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Apr 19 2007

The Virginia Tech tragedy

What was your reaction when you first heard the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech? When someone in my office told me around noon on Monday that about twenty people had been shot dead on that campus, my first reaction was that this was probably another case of someone snapping under the pressure of …

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Apr 18 2007

False symmetry

In recent posts, I have been pointing out that while it is impossible to disprove god’s existence, that did not mean that it was rational to believe in god. The reason for those posts was to address a false symmetry that is sometimes posed between atheism and religious belief. That symmetry takes roughly the following …

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Apr 17 2007

This is supposed to be funny?

When I was in my early teens, I was the proverbial ‘good’ boy. I was religious, didn’t swear, didn’t smoke or drink surreptitiously, and drugs were simply out of the question. But I had a neighbor of the same age who was much more worldly than I. And this youth used to tell coarse jokes. …

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