Pope Francis snubs Trump’s attempt to exploit him

No doubt in an effort to woo Catholic voters by trying to appear as if Pope Francis was friendly with the Trump administration, secretary of state Mike Pompeo attended a conference on religious freedom organized by the US embassy to the Vatican. But Vatican officials not only declined to take part in the event held on its very doorstep, the pope declined to even meet with Pompeo.
[Read more…]

A nice survey of research into the origin of life

The theory of natural selection provides a way of understanding how life, starting from one or a few microorganisms, has evolved over time to give us the immense variety and complexity we see all around us now. But it does not, at least directly, tell us how the very first thing that we can call a living organism came about. Natalie Elliot provides a nice survey into what current research says about the origin of life and she says that this research has also resulted in significant changes in what we mean by ‘life’.
[Read more…]

Book Review: The Unnecessary Science by Gunther Laird

Some readers may recall that a couple of years ago, I made fun of a press release issued by the publishers of a book by Edward Feser that had the title Five Proofs of the Existence of God and claimed that “the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments” (my italics). The point of my brief post was that life was too short to read yet another book claiming to prove the existence of any god since there have been so many failed past attempts. I said that if someone had actually come up with an irrefutable proof, that would be be earth-shattering news and reported all over the media and so I would wait and see if that a happened before wading through yet another theological treatise.
[Read more…]

Jerry Falwell’s fall becomes literal

Jerry Falwell, Jr., who had to resign as president of Liberty University after revelations about the swinging sexual lifestyle of him and his wife Becki, turns out to have even more hypocrisies. Falwell’s father, the founder of the university, had instituted extremely harsh restrictions on the student body when it came to dress, behavior, and alcohol, with a strict no-use policy for the last item. His son vigorously implemented these policies when he took over as president. But it now appears that Falwell is an alcoholic.
[Read more…]

Michele Bachmann resurfaces and hilarity ensues

Were you wondering what the nutty former Minnesota congresswoman and onetime contender for the Republican presidential nomination was up to these days? Me neither. After deciding not to seek re-election in 2018 where she faced a good chance of losing, she faded away. Or so I hoped. But there she is in the news again spouting one of her trademark nutty theories, and this one is a real doozy.
[Read more…]

The Falwells come out swinging, just not in the way you think

I said in an earlier post three weeks ago, after Jerry Falwell posted a photograph of him holding a drink with his pants unzipped and his arm around the waist of a woman who also had her pants unzipped, that I suspected that such reckless behavior by someone who publicly professed a highly puritanical code and demanded that students at Liberty University live by it under threat of strict punishment, may be a sign that he and his wife were secretly ‘swingers’, people who lived a libertine sexual lifestyle.

That indeed turns out that is the case as Falwell’s wife Becki’s lover reveals more and more details that what went on was more than your run-of-the-mill clandestine affair.
[Read more…]

Overcoming the fear of death the Epicurean way

Many people fear death and it has been argued that one major appeal of religion is that it enables people to think that they are immortal, that even if they physically die they will still live on in some spirit form.

Sam Dresser discusses how taking the approach of the Epicurean school of philosophers can reduce the fear of death without invoking an afterlife.
[Read more…]

Another shoe drops in the Falwell saga

In October of last year I wrote about the puzzling case involving the then-head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr, his wife, and their strange business dealings with some people, and said that there was clearly something going on behind the scenes. Today comes news that clarifies what was going on and it involves sex and blackmail.

Powerful evangelical leader and close Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr has said that his wife’s ex-lover tried to blackmail them by contacting the media with “false claims” about their relationship.

Falwell’s statement to the Washington Examiner took place amid his indefinite suspension as head of the conservative evangelical Liberty University, which came several days after he shared a photo of himself with his pants unzipped while aboard a yacht.
[Read more…]

What was Jerry Falwell, Jr. thinking?

The head of the evangelical Liberty University has agreed to take the “indefinite leave of absence” asked for by the university’s Board of trustees after a suggestive photo appeared on the internet of him with his arms around the waist of a Peg Bundy lookalike on a yacht, with both of them showing their midriffs ,and he with his pants unzipped and holding a glass with dark liquid in it.

[Read more…]