Quantcast

Monthly Archive: August 2007

Aug 31 2007

The history of western atheism-3: The first published atheist

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In his BBC4 TV series A Rough History of Atheism Jonathan Miller awards the honor of being the first published atheist to France’s Paul Henri Thiery, Baron D’Holbach (1723-1789). As the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on him says: His most popular book, Système de la nature (1770) (“The …

Continue reading »

Aug 30 2007

Charles Darwin in his own words

I have written a lot about the theory of evolution and in the process have quoted short excerpts from various authors, Charles Darwin included. (Please see here for previous posts in this series.) But in going back and reading the first edition of On the Origin of Species (1859), I am struck by how prescient …

Continue reading »

Aug 29 2007

The history of western atheism-2: The beginnings of modern atheism

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) may have unwittingly been the trigger for the revival of freethinking during the Enlightenment. Although he always asserted his own fidelity to the teachings of the church, the clarity of his thinking about the mind-body relationship exposed some of the fundamental problems …

Continue reading »

Aug 28 2007

Reflections on the working poor

(Text of the talk given by me to the first year class at the Share the Vision program, Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH on Friday, August 24, 2007 at 1:00 pm. The common reading for the incoming class was David Shipler’s book The Working Poor: Invisible in America.) Welcome to Case Western Reserve University! The people …

Continue reading »

Aug 27 2007

The history of western atheism-1: The ancient origins

In the BBC4 TV program Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, host Jonathan Miller states flatly right at the beginning, “This series is about the disappearance of something – religious faith. . . The history of the growing conviction that god does not exist.” (The full three hour, three-part series can be seen starting at …

Continue reading »

Aug 24 2007

The journey to atheism

(I am taking a short vacation from new blog posts. I will begin posting new entries again, on August 27, 2007. Until then, I will repost some early ones. Today’s one is from August 8, 2005, edited and updated.) In a comment to a previous post, Jim Eastman said something that struck me as very …

Continue reading »

Aug 23 2007

Waiting for the Rapture

(I am taking a short vacation from new blog posts. I will begin posting new entries again, on August 27, 2007. Until then, I will repost some early ones. Today’s one is from May 9, 2005, edited and updated.) I am a huge fan of the English comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, especially of his …

Continue reading »

Aug 22 2007

What makes us change our minds?

(I am taking a short vacation from new blog posts. I will begin posting new entries again, on August 27, 2007. Until then, I will repost some early ones. Today’s one is from March 28, 2005, edited and updated.) In an earlier post, I described the three kinds of challenges teachers face. Today I want …

Continue reading »

Aug 21 2007

The purpose of teaching

(I am taking a short vacation from new blog posts. I will begin posting new entries again, on August 27, 2007. Until then, I will repost some early ones. Today’s one is from March 24, 2005, edited and updated.) I have been teaching for many years and encountered many wonderful students. I remember in particular …

Continue reading »

Aug 20 2007

“I know this is politically incorrect but . . .”

(I am taking a short vacation from new blog posts. I will begin posting new entries again, on August 27, 2007. Until then, I will repost some early ones. Today’s one is from August 14, 2006, edited and updated.) One of the advantages of being older is that sometimes you can personally witness how language …

Continue reading »

Older posts «