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Atheism February 2012 Archive

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Atheist Activism: Write Letters to the Editor & Reach Out to People

Wednesday February 29, 2012
One of the few remaining forums for public opinion, accessible to nearly anyone and read by so many, is the letters to the editors page in newspapers. Most papers have ... Read More

Studying Altruism Mathematically

Wednesday February 29, 2012
Christian apologists frequently try to argue that morality and altruism can't be explained by science or evolution and hence require a supernatural explanation -- their god, naturally. But what if ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Prove the Existence of a Historical Figure

Wednesday February 29, 2012
When atheists express doubt over the existence of Jesus, a common rejoinder from Christians is to ask if atheists can prove the existence of any famous person from ancient history. ... Read More

Defense of Godless Liberalism: Godless Liberalism, Godless Liberals, and America

Tuesday February 28, 2012
Godless liberalism might be defined as a liberal or progressive political perspective which doesn't rely on gods, divine revelation, or religion for its values, ideas, or policies. Because liberalism is ... Read More

HIV & Islam

Tuesday February 28, 2012
There is a growing epidemic of HIV in Islamic nations and the reason is largely Islam itself. The taboo against homosexuality and gay sex is so strong that political and ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Secular Holidays for Atheists

Tuesday February 28, 2012
There's regularly discussion about creating secular holidays for atheists -- holidays that aren't based on religion or superstition. But perhaps there are already plenty of secular holidays out there? One ... Read More

Does God Exist? Debating God: Foundations for Atheists and Theists Debating the Existence of God

Monday February 27, 2012
Debates between atheists and theists over the existence of God are common, but really good and productive debates are rare. I'm not talking about the formal, professional debates between trained ... Read More

Evolution Occurs Faster Than You Think

Monday February 27, 2012
Traditionally scientists have thought that evolution occurs very gradually with perhaps some occasional (relatively) rapid changes. The fossil evidence certainly suggests a gradual process and it makes intuitive sense because ... Read More

Book of the Week: Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing

Monday February 27, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com Questions about sexuality are fundamental to the health and welfare of Christian communities - the problem is, few Christians seem to realize this. Sexuality has become a proverbial elephant ... Read More

Baalbek Temple of Jupiter Baal (Heliopolitan Zeus)

Sunday February 26, 2012
Left Photo Source: Jupiter Images Right Photo Source: Wikipedia It is fitting that for the largest temple complex in the Roman Empire, Caesar would have the largest temples constructed. The Temple of ... Read More

Evangelicals as Witch Burners, Demanding Human Sacrifices

Sunday February 26, 2012
Conservative and evangelical Christians around the world are obsessed with homosexuality -- and with sex in general, it seems. These Christians are convinced that biblical injunctions against gay sex or ... Read More

Mailbag: Meaning and Purpose in Life, Part 2

Sunday February 26, 2012
From: "Mike" Subject: a question Look at it this way: if all you're living for is what is here and now, how can you ever be truly, deep down satisfied in the ... Read More

Undermining Abortion: How the Christian Right Undermines the Right to Abortion

Saturday February 25, 2012
The most important issue for the Christian Right is criminalizing abortion. There is disagreement on the penalties for abortion (few want to treat it as murder, despite the rhetoric) and ... Read More

Distinguishing Evolution from Intelligent Design

Saturday February 25, 2012
People in biology don't typically take "Intelligent" Design very seriously - at least, not as a science and not in their day-to-day job. When it comes to their work, evolution ... Read More

Introduction to the Book of Joshua

Saturday February 25, 2012
The Book of Joshua may be one of the most violent books of the Bible, even given Old Testament standards. The Book of Joshua is about the Israelite invasion of ... Read More

C.S. Lewis and Naturalism

Friday February 24, 2012
C.S. Lewis wanted to explain nature on the basis of his supernatural god; as a consequence, naturalistic explanations for nature represented a major threat - just as it does for ... Read More

Pro-Life Doctors Can Kill

Friday February 24, 2012
If anti-abortion activists really were "pro-life" as they try to bill themselves, then they would absolutely support abortions in cases where the procedure would save the lives of women. And ... Read More

What is an Infidel? What Does it Mean to be an Infidel?

Friday February 24, 2012
The label 'infidel' is defined literally as 'one without faith.' Today it is technically an archaic label for those who doubt or deny the tenets of some religion. An infidel ... Read More

On Diversity, and the Lack Thereof...

Thursday February 23, 2012
It's been brought to my attention, publicly and privately, that the finalists for the various categories in the Agnosticism / Atheism Readers' Choice Awards are lacking in diversity (mostly). All ... Read More

Christianism & Christian Nationalism: Extreme Nationalism, Extreme Christianity

Thursday February 23, 2012
Christianism is the Christian analogue to Islamism, a doctrine about using Islam as the basis for government. Also known as Christian Nationalism, it is a blend of extremist religion and ... Read More

Baby-sitting as a Force of Human Evolution

Thursday February 23, 2012
Humans have a lot in common with chimpanzees but one thing we do not share is our level of social cooperation. Chimpanzees just don't care for each other like we ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Conflict Between Science and Religion

Thursday February 23, 2012

Atheism Basics: Definition of Atheism from Theologians

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Although misunderstandings about the definition of atheism have tended to come from theists, it is also true that many theists have recognized that atheism has a broader sense than simply ... Read More

Imitation as a Source of Human Cultural Tradition

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Culture is usually defined as some set of traditions that has to be learned as novel behaviors (rather than instinctual behaviors) that must then be transmitted to young members of ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Ban Contraceptives for Catholics

Wednesday February 22, 2012
There's a growing conflict in America over Catholic objections to contraception. The Catholic Church is free to condemn contraception all it wants, but that condemnation is affecting many people's ability ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Book of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Every year the number of really good books for atheist, agnostic, and skeptical readers seems to be growing. That may be because the audience for such books is growing, too! ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist to Follow on Twitter of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Twitter is an awfully busy place with lots of real gems and lots of.... well, not gems. Twitter is so busy, in fact, that it's hard to figure out which ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Website of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Some atheist websites are narrowly focused on just one thing, like a blog or a forum. Others, though, strive to provide a lot of different things to visitors in order ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Podcast of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
There's a lot of great information being passed around on podcasts today and it's a shame that there isn't enough time to listen to them all! So help out your ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Blog of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
It wouldn't be the internet anymore if we didn't have blogs, would it? There are a lot of great atheist and agnostic blogs out there exploring all facets of religion, ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Facebook Page of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
It seems that everyone uses Facebook these days, doesn't it? You can't get away from it, but some people have done a nice job using Facebook to promote their causes, ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Ad of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
Yes, atheist ads are still in the news and they are still getting a lot of attention. I think they might also be getting better, too, as more organizations are ... Read More

Readers' Choice Awards - Favorite Agnostic / Atheist Community of 2011

Wednesday February 22, 2012
One of the best things about the internet is the ability to create virtual communities made up from people all around this world. This is especially valuable for atheists who ... Read More

Why You Really Believe in God: Real Reasons Behind Religion, Theism

Tuesday February 21, 2012
Some religious theists think it is appropriate to presume to inform atheists about why they really don't believe in any gods rather than simply listen to atheists in order to ... Read More

Impact of Neuroscience on Morality & Responsibility

Tuesday February 21, 2012
Can our traditional intuitions about morality and responsibility survive in the face of knowledge gained through modern neuroscience? That's an open question right now because there is still a lot ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Belief vs. Behavior; Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy

Tuesday February 21, 2012
Belief and behavior are inseparable because what you believe determines how you behave. Nevertheless, there are significant differences between ideologies that emphasize "right beliefs" (orthodoxy) and those that emphasize "right ... Read More

Anti-Lent: Test Drive a Bad Habit, New Sin or Guilty Pleasure for a Few Weeks

Monday February 20, 2012
Lent is the penitential period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter when Christians fast and do penance in preparation for Easter and to spiritually "join" Jesus with the ... Read More

Fruits of Anti-Science Ideology in the 20th Century

Monday February 20, 2012
The impact of anti-science ideology on conservative American politics is unavoidable and many wonder what sort of impact it may have on American society over the coming decades. Well, some ... Read More

Book of the Week: The Vatican Exposed: Money, Murder, and the Mafia

Monday February 20, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com There is no disputing the fact that the Vatican, the clerical bureaucracy which controls and leads the Roman Catholic Church, is a very powerful and secretive organization. There is ... Read More

Skepticism & Astrology: Is There a Mechanism for Astrology?

Sunday February 19, 2012
One of the problems with astrology is the general lack of a sound mechanism by which celestial objects might exert an "influence" over our lives. This is particularly important because, ... Read More

Variation Creates Life

Sunday February 19, 2012
It is said that variety is the spice of life, but as it turns out variety may be the foundation of life -- that is to say, the foundation that ... Read More

Mailbag: Meaning and Purpose in Life, Part 1

Sunday February 19, 2012
From: "Mike" Subject: a question Just wondering: if you don't believe in God, what do you believe in? Lights out? Reincarnation? Just curious. I believe lots of things, but I take it that ... Read More

Emergency Contraception & Conscience: Christian Right Attacks on Contraceptives

Saturday February 18, 2012
There is a growing movement of pharmacists who want the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control pills, especially for the purpose of emergency contraception (also known as ... Read More

Attractiveness of Apocalyptic Beliefs

Saturday February 18, 2012
We might normally associate apocalyptic beliefs with religion, but the fact is that apocalyptic beliefs are not the exclusive domain of religion. There are plenty of secular apocalyptic beliefs as ... Read More

Introduction to the Books of Kings

Saturday February 18, 2012
In the Old Testament, the Books of Kings pick up where the Books of Samuel ended and describe the descent of the kings of Israel and Judah into apostasy and ... Read More

Atheist Activism in Opposing Solicitations to Religious Charities at Work

Friday February 17, 2012
It's not unusual in America for people to solicit colleagues at work for money for charities. Sometimes this takes the form of fund raisers (like Girl Scout cookies) and sometimes ... Read More

Fighting Evolution Denial & Climate Change Denial

Friday February 17, 2012
The National Center for Science Education is usually involved with combating Evolution Denial in America's classrooms, but now it's turning to help teachers deal with Climate Change Denial as well. ... Read More

Fallacy of Accent

Friday February 17, 2012
The fallacy of accent occurs when the meaning of a word or sentence is ambiguous and depends on where one places the the spoken stress. It's not easy to find ... Read More

Catholicism and Healthcare: Reproductive Services in Catholic Hospitals

Thursday February 16, 2012
Obviously, women and their reproductive choices face the most immediate problems when their hospital is governed by Vatican rules. In ostensibly or formerly secular institutions which have merger agreements with ... Read More

Going Nuclear to Protect Intellectual Black Holes

Thursday February 16, 2012
Have you ever encountered someone who was so caught up in a self-referential ideology that there seemed to be no way to get them to escape from it? A person ... Read More

Daily Poll: Should Prisoners Receive Organ Transplants?

Thursday February 16, 2012
As the prison population in America grows in numbers and increases in age, questions and debates about the allocation of medical resources to prisoners will grow in urgency. One issue ... Read More

Agnosticism Basics: What is Agnosticism? A Short Explanation of the Agnostic Position

Wednesday February 15, 2012
So, what is the definition of agnosticism? Some imagine that agnosticism represents an alternative to atheism, but those people have typically bought into the mistaken notion of the single, narrow ... Read More

Monogamy & Social Cooperation

Wednesday February 15, 2012
Supernaturalists frequently insist that social cooperation, like morality, cannot possibly have any natural cause and thus couldn't have evolved naturally. Of course, social cooperation exists in many other animals aside ... Read More

Forum Discussion: Have You Come Out to Your Families?

Wednesday February 15, 2012
For atheists, coming out about their atheism can be just as hard as it is for gays to come out about their homosexuality. Friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers often adopt ... Read More

Christian Identity: White Supremacy, Christian Supremacy, Christian Nationalism

Tuesday February 14, 2012
The Christian Identity movement, which preaches that America is the True Israel and that its followers are on a mission from God, is perhaps one of the most dangerous theological ... Read More

Grief & Death in Humans and Dolphins

Tuesday February 14, 2012
We all know that humans grieve when someone close to them dies, but what about other animals? What about dolphins? This is a difficult question to answer because it's so ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Losing Faith vs. Gaining Reason

Tuesday February 14, 2012
It's common hear about atheists "losing" their faith. The language of "loss" is used by both atheists and theists, but is it perhaps language we should avoid? Well, some people ... Read More

Why Must Non-Christians Use Christian Churches to Vote in Civil Elections?

Monday February 13, 2012
Voters at Cedar Hill Lutheran ChurchCedar Hill, Missouri, 2004Photo: Elsa / Getty Images Many communities in America put polling stations in churches instead of fire halls, town halls, libraries, schools, or ... Read More

Magnets May Force the Truth Out of You

Monday February 13, 2012
Everyone lies now and again, there's no avoiding that. But what if a magnet helmet (or similar device) could impair your ability to deceive? It seems possible -- recent research ... Read More

Book of the Week: Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt

Monday February 13, 2012
Image courtesyPriceGrabber.com What is the American "Bible Belt" and how did it originate? Why did the most conservative strains of Christianity moved from New England down to the South? Much has ... Read More

From Jehovah's Witness to Atheist: Life Outside The Watchtower Society

Sunday February 12, 2012
Many Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that life outside the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is filled with wickedness and pointless misery. But what happens when one of them becomes an ... Read More

There's Not Enough Self-Righteous, Religious Hate in the World

Sunday February 12, 2012
Many people believe that one of the root causes of all the problems in the world is hatred - especially hatred that is motivated by religion. Others, however, disagree and ... Read More

Mailbag: Agnostics Are Wrong

Sunday February 12, 2012
From: "Mr" Subject: Agnostics Are Wrong Agnostics are just as wrong as theist (ok mabye not quite). There is no proof of God, so why not take the position of not believing ... Read More

Defining Marriage: Definition & Nature of Marriage Has Changed Dramatically

Saturday February 11, 2012
Defining MarriageAnti-Prop 8 Protest in PittsburghPhoto Bonnie Cline, 2008 Some argue that marriage is defined narrowly as only being between a man and a woman, so gays can't possibly marry. ... Read More

Brain Chemistry Existed Before Brains... Or Animals

Saturday February 11, 2012
People with supernatural beliefs typically deny that our brains can be explained naturalistically, but the more scientists study biology and the brain, the more they understand. Recently it was discovered ... Read More

Why Do Some Atheists Think the Bible is the Word of God?

Saturday February 11, 2012
Is there some way for a person to be an atheist or an agnostic and still believe that the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Torah, the Koran, or the ... Read More

Does God Exist? Pascal's Wager

Friday February 10, 2012
Someone who offers Pascal's Wager is arguing that to believe in God is a better bet than not believing in God. If you believe and God exists, you'll go to ... Read More

Randolph Boyer: Atheism Will Cause Society, Morals to Crumble

Friday February 10, 2012
It's not that unusual to find religious theists accusing atheists of being at the root of everything bad in the world. Randolph Boyer fits in quite well with this phenomenon. ... Read More

Fallacy of Amphiboly - Ambiguity Fallacy Due to Grammar Defects

Friday February 10, 2012
The fallacy of amphiboly occurs when a sentence is ambiguous because the grammar allows for multiple interpretations. Usually this is due to defects in how the sentence is structured. Amphiboly ... Read More

Marriage: What is Marriage? What Does the Bible Say About Monogamy, Polygamy?

Thursday February 9, 2012
Marriage is an institution which can be found in every human culture. Although the forms and rules differ, marriages always involve some form of legally legitimized sexual relationship. Traditionally, marriages ... Read More

Something from Nothing?

Thursday February 9, 2012
It's common for religious theists to ask "how can something come from nothing?" This question is typically part of an argument designed to show that "something" can only come from ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Religion in American Politics

Thursday February 9, 2012

Saints & Sainthood: Origin and Nature of Saints in Christianity

Wednesday February 8, 2012
The label saint is given to any person who is regarded as being 'holy.' Early in the history of the Christian Church, the term saint was applied only to those ... Read More

Cognition Depends on Brain Chemistry

Wednesday February 8, 2012
Who we are as individuals is defined by our memories and personality. Supernaturalists insist that all of this derives somehow from some sort of supernatural soul or spirit. Science, however, ... Read More

Discussion: Buddhism Anyone?

Wednesday February 8, 2012
A forum member writes: Is anyone a Buddhist here? I try to align my thinking along there. I think its a really great religion, even though it's more of a ... Read More

Roman Catholic Papacy 101: Who is the Pope? How Many Popes Have Existed?

Tuesday February 7, 2012
Doctrinally, the pope is regarded as the successor of St. Peter, leader of the apostles after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is an important factor in the ... Read More

Assumptions about Good and Bad Influenced by... Gloves?

Tuesday February 7, 2012
I'll bet you think that your attitudes towards "good" and "bad" are primarily influenced by your values, your upbringing, your culture, or maybe even a religion. But there are far ... Read More

Comment of the Week: Christianity and Health Care

Tuesday February 7, 2012
It's been interesting to watch conservative Christians complain loudly about regulations that would protect people's access to health insurance. It's difficult to see in these Christians' attitudes anything other than ... Read More

Matthew Carlos: Atheism is an Ideology

Monday February 6, 2012
It's rare to find someone who can come up with a new take on the old canard about atheism being an ideology. Unfortunately, being "new" isn't also the same as ... Read More

Book of the Week: How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

Monday February 6, 2012
Image courtesy PriceGrabber.com Belief in paranormal, supernatural and mysterious claims have always been very popular, so how can skeptics best approach such claims to evaluate their credibility and offer a critical ... Read More

Sidon: Golden Age of Sidon Ended by Artaxerxes III

Sunday February 5, 2012
Image Source:Jupiter Images Sidon's real golden age seems to have started in the 6th century BCE. Around this time, Sidon began providing Persia with both ships and sailors to help the ... Read More

Did Cooking Really Help Produce Big-Brained Humans?

Sunday February 5, 2012
It's become widely accepted that a major (if not primary) force behind the development of big, complex brains in humans was the development of controlled fires for cooking. Cooked food ... Read More

Mailbag: Families are Happier when Wives Submit

Sunday February 5, 2012
From: Ramli Subject: Equality and inequality There are two genders found on Earth. Either you were a male or a female. Universally in all application forms, you are asked to tick for ... Read More

Gay Marriage & Freedom: Protecting Marriage is No Reason for Discrimination

Saturday February 4, 2012
Freedom 2 RingAnti-Prop 8 Protest in PittsburghPhoto Bonnie Cline, 2008 Supporters of legalized gay marriage insist that there is no threat to marriage and, hence, that the arguments of opponents ... Read More

Are You Being Fooled Online?

Saturday February 4, 2012
Most atheists today seem to spend a lot of time online. This makes sense because there are so many active and engaging atheist communities online. But did you ever stop ... Read More

Why are Atheists & Agnostics Less Interested in Making a Difference?

Saturday February 4, 2012
Atheists and agnostics seem to be less likely than the national average to want to make a difference in the world. But why? Are there good reasons for this difference ... Read More

Nicholas Pfab: Atheists Should Kill Themselves, Save Air for Others

Friday February 3, 2012
Nicholas Pfab: Atheists Should Kill Themselves, Save Air for Others What would you think of a person who said to you that you should just kill yourself and save the air ... Read More

Agnostic & Atheist Demographics America

Friday February 3, 2012
Atheists and agnostics are increasing in numbers in America, especially among the youth. The result is the percentage of atheists and agnostics increases in every successive generation in America. Surveys ... Read More

Out of the Closet: From Professional Theologian to Freethinking Atheist

Thursday February 2, 2012
My name is Ron Tavalin, and it is no accident that I am quoting from the Rolling Stones' classic Sympathy for the Devil, although it must be admitted that it ... Read More

Brad Pitt: Agnostic / Atheist

Thursday February 2, 2012
Brad Pitt has revealed in interviews both atheist and agnostic perspectives. There aren't many famous people willing to come out as an atheist or an agnostic, though it's probably easier ... Read More

Weekly Poll: Are Systems like Buddhism Religion or Philosophies?

Thursday February 2, 2012

Online Anonymity - Can You Really Count On It?

Wednesday February 1, 2012
Many atheists are still in the closet about their atheism when it comes to friends, family, and coworkers. They benefit greatly from online interaction where they can be themselves -- ... Read More

Forum Discussion: God On Our Side?

Wednesday February 1, 2012
How many wars have been fought where one or both sides haven't firmly believed that God was aligned with them? How many militaries in the world don't teach, overtly or ... Read More

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