I don’t exist!

David Klinghoffer has outdone himself. For a guy who thinks the discovery of an extrasolar planet is a challenge to materialism, the bar for the dumbest thing he’s ever said is already high, but he has cleared it with room to spare:

In a sense, there are no atheists.

He’s right, in a sense. In the sense that we can arbitrarily redefine words to mean whatever the hell we want them to mean. Let’s look at some equally valid examples:

In a sense, all mammals are descended from snakes.

This is true, in a sense, because I define snakes as small Triassic insectivores.

In a sense, there are no dump trucks.

This is true, in a sense, because I define dump trucks as wine bottles that magically refill themselves.

In a sense, David Klinghoffer is a ghost.

This is true, in a sense, because I define ghosts as human beings who occasionally say monumentally stupid things.

A Ghost Story

David Klinghoffer, in a sense. Image from A Ghost Story, downloaded from IMDB.

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I guess I’m spiritual

Ethics for the New Millenium

I checked out Ethics for the New Millennium for my post on secular ethics, and as long as I’ve got it I figured I might as well read it. One thing that’s usually poorly defined is spirituality, as in “I’m spiritual but not religious”. I’ve never been clear exactly what that means, but I usually take it as something like “I don’t go to church, but I have some fuzzy idea that there’s something out there that cares about humans.”

In one of the few explicit definitions I’ve ever seen, the Dalai Lama makes it clear that that’s not what he means by spirituality (p. 22):

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Redefining secular ethics…or not

LAMP Symposium

Last month, I attended the Fourth Annual LAMP Symposium, “Religious and Scientific Perspectives on the Future of Life” at Emory University (LAMP is the Georgia Tech/Emory Leadership and Multifaith Program). The talks were an interesting mix, including some straight-up science, some thoughtful discussions of the interactions between science and religion, and a bit of absolute pseudo-profound bullshit.

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In which I agree with Michael Egnor

Can you be good without God? Of the various questions raised in the theist/atheist debate, this question has, I believe, occasioned more witless commentary than any other.

–Michael Egnor, Evolution News & Views 2017-09-05

I couldn’t agree more. And you’ll find no better example of that witless commentary than Egnor’s article itself.

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