Monthly Archive: October 2007

Oct 16 2007

Harry Potter and the supernatural

The release of each new Harry Potter book or film bring out of the woodwork those religious people who are disturbed by them and decide they need to spam everyone and try to make money from it as well. I received a spam email following the release of Deathly Hallows that recycled old warnings about …

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Oct 15 2007

In praise of parodies

I like comedies. And within that genre of films, I particularly like parodies. The best ones are those that are based on clich├ęs of particular genres or specific stories that are well known, since a successful parody depends crucially on the ability of the audience to immediately recognize allusions to the original A parody idea …

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Oct 12 2007

The case against religion

In the previous post. I argued that more education did not necessarily lead to less religion and that if one thought that its net effect on humanity was negative, one needed to more actively campaign against it. But others disagree. Even those who accept that religion has done some truly evil things might argue that …

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Oct 11 2007

The effect of education on religion

Voltaire was stinging in his criticisms of religion in general and Christianity in particular. He provided his own definition of a Christian as follows: “A good-natured, simple fellow; a true lamb of the fold, who, in the innocence of his heart, persuades himself that he firmly believes unbelievable things that his priests have told him …

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Oct 10 2007

Why can’t science and religion get along?

Much of the recent attacks on religion have come from those with a scientific background. But there are many atheist scientists (such as the late Steven Jay Gould) who have not wanted to criticize religion the way the current crop of atheists are doing. They have tried to find a way for science and religion …

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Oct 09 2007

Does religion play a uniquely useful role?

The recent appearance of best-selling books by atheists strongly criticizing religion has given rise to this secondary debate (reflected in this blog and the comments) as to what attitude atheists should take towards religion. Some critics of these authors (including fellow atheists) have taken them to task for being too harsh on religion and thus …

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Oct 08 2007

Atheist/theist or naturalist/religious?

If one tries to categorize people by their beliefs about god, then there are many categories into which people fall (all definitions in quotes are from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary): the religious believe in the existence of a god who can and does intervene in the events of the universe; the deist is part of …

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Oct 05 2007

Atheism and meaning

People often think that atheists do not have a life affirming philosophy. They have sometimes taken the quote by prominent atheist Richard Dawkins (Scientific American November 1995, p. 85) that “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, …

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Oct 04 2007

More religious needles in scientific haystacks

The arguments that I gave before against taking anthropic arguments seriously apply with even greater force when it comes to the whole intelligent design creationism (IDC) movement, whose advocates argue that a very few biochemical processes could not have come into being except by the actions of god and thus this is evidence of god. …

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Oct 03 2007

Fine-tuning arguments for god

Religious people sometimes complain that scientists do not take their arguments for god seriously. I think that the opposite is true, and that scientists have gone out of their way to argue within the narrow framework set up by religious believers, when it is the whole premise that should be rejected. Take, for example, the …

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