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Monthly Archive: February 2009

Feb 27 2009

Telling your religious loved ones that you are an atheist

One of the questions that came up at the Ask an Atheist forum was how to break the news that one has become an atheist to those religious people close to you, especially family members, whom you think might be upset. I get this question quite a lot and usually counsel people that there is …

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Feb 26 2009

Holding god to a lower standard

If I fall in a public place, I know from past experience that the strangers around me will try and help me up and ask if I am ok. As far as I know, no law can compel someone to go to the aid of someone else in distress, especially if the action might put …

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Feb 25 2009

Macs and the Devil

The second annual Ask an Atheist forum on February 5 was quite well attended. There were four of us on the panel answering questions. One question dealt with how it came to be that each of us did not believe in god’s existence, and the answers were pretty much the same, that although we had …

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Feb 24 2009

Making excuses for god

One of the negative consequences of not pointing out the irrationality of religious beliefs out of a misplaced desire to not give offense is that it allows them to make absurd statements that in any other context would be greeted with incredulity. Over time, they may not even realize that they are saying things that …

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Feb 23 2009

Portrayals of the developing world

So Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture, Best Director, and a slew of other awards at the Academy Awards last night. I have not seen the film, but have been thinking recently about the way that the developing world is portrayed in western culture. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the much-hailed book Things Fall …

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Feb 20 2009

The ‘bad atheist’ strikes again

My post last week on religious faith versus scientific commitment to certainty generated some interesting comments that I started to respond to in the comments section but it got too long (my usual vice) and I decided to do a separate post on the topic. In the comments, I was accused of wanting to ‘banish’ …

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Feb 19 2009

The politics of food-9: Sustainable farming

(This series of posts looks in detail at some of the fascinating aspects of food production identified by Michael Pollan in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006). All page numbers refer to that book, unless otherwise noted. Other related posts can be found here.) For me, the most interesting part of the book (p. 190-237) …

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Feb 18 2009

The politics of food-8: The cost to animals and our health

(This series of posts looks in detail at some of the fascinating aspects of food production identified by Michael Pollan in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006). All page numbers refer to that book, unless otherwise noted. Other related posts can be found here.) In the previous post, it was pointed out that the reason …

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Feb 17 2009

The politics of food-7: The energy equation

(This series of posts looks in detail at some of the fascinating aspects of food production identified by Michael Pollan in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006). All page numbers refer to that book, unless otherwise noted. Other related posts can be found here.) One of the disturbing things about the industrial food chain system …

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Feb 16 2009

Religion as a gateway drug

In the February 2009 issue of Harper’s magazine, Mark Slouka wrote: One out of every four of us believes we’ve been reincarnated; 44 percent of us believe in ghosts; 71 percent, in angels. Forty percent of us believe God created all things in their present form sometime during the last 10,000 years. Nearly the same …

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