01/21/04 - Groundhog Day: Religious Origins and Background
Most residents of North America are surely familiar with Groundhog Day, celebrated every year on February 2. What people may not be so familiar with is the fact that there are important religious origins that lie behind that celebration, even if those origins are no longer recognizable. Today, Groundhog Day is treated as a purely secular, if perhaps a bit superstitious, holiday - but that was not always the case.
01/14/04 - Timelines of Philosophy
When did Nietzsche publish The Antichrist? When was Bertrand Russell born? When did Baruch Spinoza die? If you are interested in these and other dates in the history of philosophy, you've come to the right place. Presented here is a compendium of important people and events in the history of philosophy, all organized by date.
01/14/04 - Democratic Candidates on Church & State
For many people, an important issue when it comes to the presidential election is the candidates' position on the separation of church and state. It's not the only issue, that is true, but it is very important. Read more about what the various Democratic candidates have said on the relationship between religion and government.
01/07/04 - Astrology and Psychology
Why do people believe in astrology? The answer to the question lies very much in the same realm as why people believe in just about any superstition. Astrology offers a number of things which many people find very desirable: information and assurance about the future, a way to be absolved of their current situation and future decisions, and a way to feel connected to the entire cosmos.
01/01/04 - Top Ten News Stories of 2003
Selected here are ten of the biggest stories from the year 2003. The reasoning behind some choices will be obvious, but not in other cases. In general, I chose not simply those with the largest impact around the world, but rather those which generated a great deal of attention and discussion both on this site and elsewhere.
12/25/03 - Who Made God?
The question "Who made God" is commonly used to argue against the existence of the sort of god traditionally believed in by Christians, Jews, Muslims, and many other monotheists. Strictly speaking, this isn't an independent argument because it is not offered on its own. Instead, it is used as a rebuttal to the claim that our universe is too complex and intricate not to have been designed.
12/18/03 - Unskilled and Unaware
Sometimes, when a person is seriously unskilled in a task, that lack of skill not only prevents them from doing the task well, but also prevents them from realizing that they aren't doing well. As a consequence, they think they are doing just fine and never know it. Reasoning is just such a skill: people who reason poorly don't understand what good reasoning is and, therefore, think that they reason just fine. What can be done about this?
12/04/03 - Fallacies: Correlation vs. Causation
Determining the nature of causation is very difficult. Sometimes a cause and effect are closely related - spatially, temporally or both - but sometimes they are not. However, humans seem to be inclined to assume that events which are closely connected either spatially or temporally are also connected causally - even though that isn't always the case.
11/26/03 - Joe Sabia: More Church, Less State
"The problem in our country is not that there is too much religion in the public arena, but rather too little. ... The atheist left is on a rampage and their goal is clear -- to ban God from the public square." That's what Joe Sabia thinks about America and atheists - but does he have a leg to stand on? No, and I'll show just how absurd and factually incorrect his claims are.
11/21/03 - The Irrational Atheist?
Vox Day, a "Christian libertarian" and Southern Baptist, recently wrote an article for World Net Daily where he claimed (or implied)that atheists are "moral parasites," are necessarily "irrational," are intellectual cowards, only follow morals when it is convenient, and that the logical consequence of atheism lead to "Hell, by way of the guillotine, the gulag and the gas chamber."
11/14/03 - Corporations, Churches, and Free Speech
Should corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals, or is their status a "fictional" people such that they can be more tightly regulated as happens with corporations? Both choices have advantages and disadvantages - there doesn't appear to be any good or easy solution, but we should at least understand why we are making the choices that we do.
11/07/03 - Evangelical Christianity & Homosexuality
Evangelical and conservative Christians can be counted upon to exhibit outrage and dismay over just about any attempts to treat gays like equal citizens. I'm not talking about gay marriage here, an arguably difficult and controversial issue. I'm talking about something much more basic: whether or not gays should be protected from discrimination when it comes to things like hiring, firing, housing, and financial transactions.
11/07/03 - GPS Tracking & Privacy
More and more today people are making use of GPS systems, small electronic devices that allow you to tap into a satellite network and locate your position on the globe to within a couple of yards. Many privacy advocates are worried, however, because the police are making of them, too - for tracking suspects. Should there be any restrictions on the government's ability to precisely track your every move?
10/31/03 - Many Religions, One God?
Do adherents of the major Western monotheistic religions all believe in the same God? When Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship on their different holy days, are they worshipping the same divinity? Some say that they are while others say that they are not - and there are good arguments on both sides.
10/31/03 - Ethics of Nationalism
Nationalism has been a relatively popular position throughout most of the modern era. Indeed, much of what passes for modernity can be closely associated with the pursuit of nationalist aspirations, nationalist goals, or nationalist principles. Is nationalism, however, really the sort of ideology we should be promoting and encouraging?
10/24/03 - Introduction to Bioethics
Bioethics is an especially difficult field because it regularly concerns some of the most troubling topics: the nature of life, the nature of death, what sort of life is worth living, what constitutes murder, how we should treat people who are in especially vulnerable and painful circumstances, just what sort of responsibilities any of has to other human beings, and so on. Bioethics is not a wholly independent field - it must, obviously, draw a great deal from other ethical discussions.
10/15/03 - Atheism and Religious Ceremonies
There are a lot of questions people have regarding the relationship between atheism and ceremonies. They are often difficult questions to answer because of the various functions which ceremonies have. Some ceremonies are important rituals, integral to religious tradition and doctrine. Others, however, are mere social customs which people observe out of courtesy and without any intention or purpose beyond that.
10/09/03 - Understanding Humanism: Definitions and Concepts
There are different ways to approach the concept of humanism. One focuses upon the Renaissance philosophical movement and another focuses upon modern world view which is largely known for its opposition to traditional religious and supernatural beliefs. Both of these principal meanings of "humanism" have a lot in common.
10/02/03 - God or god? Capitalization Issues
One issue which seems to cause some consternation between atheists and theists involves a disagreement over how to spell the word "god" - should it be capitalized or not? Which is correct, god or God? Many atheists frequently spell it with a lowercase 'g' while theists, particularly those who come from a monotheistic religious tradition like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Sikhism, always capitalize the 'G'. Who is right?
9/28/03 - Oversimplification and Exaggeration
The causation fallacies known as oversimplification and exaggeration occur whenever the series of actual causes for an event are either reduced or multiplied to the point where there is no longer a genuine, causal connection between the alleged causes and the actual effect. In other words, multiple causes are reduced to just one or a few (oversimplification) or a couple of causes are multiplied into many (exaggeration).
9/28/03 - Forgive and Forget?
The principle of forgiveness is commonly taught in both traditional religions and secular philosophies as being an important virtue. We are supposed to forgive others because that makes us better people, while failing or refusing to forgive supposedly means that we are giving in to baser and more violent instincts. Is this true? Why and in what sense is forgiveness something we should value and strive for?
9/21/03 - Electing the Next Pope
Every human is mortal, and that includes popes. Some may live and reign for extraordinarily long times while others may only serve for a few days, but in the end all die and a new pope must be elected. But how are popes elected? It's a process that seems shrouded in secrecy and history; the details of any particular election are supposed to be kept hidden, but general information about the typical process is indeed known.
9/14/03 - Arrogance and the Ten Commandments
Scattered across the nation are numerous monuments displaying the Ten Commandments. Most were donated to various local governments by private organizations like the Fraternal Order of Eagles during the 1960s and 70s. Recently many have been challenged as a violation of the separation of church and state, but such challenges are met with passionate reactions in defense of the monuments. Why are people so eager to keep the Ten Commandments displayed on public land?
9/07/03 - Christian Identity
The Christian Identity movement is perhaps one of the most dangerous theological doctrines in America today. It is made all the more dangerous by the fact that so few people even realize that it exists, much less what exactly it represents. Christian Identity is the dominant theology of many active right-wing Christian groups, including many if not most Ku Klux Klan organizations
8/30/03 - James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance
Presented here, along with some introductory background material, is Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance - his most decisive and important explanation of his feelings on religious freedom. His Remonstrance is particularly relevant in today's generally pro-voucher climate, because it was aimed precisely at the collecting of taxes for the purposes of underwriting teachers of "Christian education." Madison, as shall be seen, was against even one cent being collected for such purposes.
8/30/03 - Religion's Place in the Public Square
Quite often, debates about the appropriate relationship between religion and government involved the appropriate place of religion in the so-called "Public Square." This public square might be meant literally, as in a public location open to all citizens, or it might be meant metaphorically, referencing the public spaces, events, and occasions where we all come together. Sadly, those who favor greater intermingling of religion and government fail to understand the nature of the public square.
8/30/03 - Judge Roy Moore's Anti-Catholicism
Recently a number of conservative Republicans complained that Democratic Senators had been using religious tests which effectively prohibited devout Catholics from being appointed as federal judges. It was suggested that the Democrats were engaged in anti-Catholic discrimination. Why haven't we heard similar complaints bout Judge Roy Moore in Alabama?
8/23/03 - What is Secularism?
Secularism is one of the most important movements of the modern West. Its influence and power serve to differentiate it not only from the Middle Ages and more ancient eras, but also to differentiate the West from other cultural regions around the world. The modern West is what it is largely because of secularism; for some, that is a reason to cheer secularism on, but for others it is a reason to mourn.
8/16/03 - Agnosticism 101
An expanded and updated introduction to agnosticism: standard definitions of agnosticism, the difference between strong and weak agnosticism, the difference between atheism and agnosticism, the origins of agnosticism, the philosophic forerunners of agnosticism, and more.
8/16/03 - Bioethics: Pregancy, Abortion, and the Fetus
Some of the most rancorous and divisive debates in modern science either touch upon or are tied up with these issues. A better understanding of them can be aided by a detailed examination of some specific moral dilemmas that have arisen.
8/04/03 - Religion vs. Religious
The terms religion and religious obviously come from the same root, which would normally lead us to conclude that they also refer to basically the same thing: one as a noun and the other as an adjective. But perhaps that isn't always true - perhaps the adjective religious has a broader usage than the noun religion.
8/04/03 - Legalizing Gay Marriage
More and more it is looking like legal marriage between members of the same sex may become a reality - but if so, it won't occur with a great deal of difficult social, political, and legal fighting. Those who oppose gay marriage do so with a vehemence: it's not simply that they would rather not see it exist, but rather that they regard it as perhaps the greatest moral and social evil to occur since the legalization of abortion. Let's take a look at some of the major arguments against gay marriage to see how they stand up.
7/20/03 - Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments
When a person's argument or ideas are flawed, usually those flaws can be traced back to identifiable fallacies, whether formal or informal. Not all flaws, however, can be technically labeled as fallacies. Some of these flaws might represent very specific errors in the reasoning process while others are better described as flaws in a person's attitude or how they approach the subject matter generally.
7/30/03 - Mercy vs. Justice: A Clash of Virtues
True virtues are not supposed to conflict - but mercy and justice apparently do. Both are certainly virtues, but both also typically demand differents sorts of actions. How do we navigate our way between the different obligations while remaining true to ourselves and truly moral?
7/24/03 - Costs of the Ten Commandments
When displays and plaques of the Ten Commandments are challenged, the government usually defends them - and when they lose, they not only pay their own legal costs, but also the costs of the lawyers of the challengers. This can get quite expensive - but how expensive? Is it just that governments spend money defending the indefensible instead of on schools and roads?
7/17/03 - Pat Robertson & Charles Taylor
In 1989, Charles Taylor seized power in Liberia. In 1997, he was elected president, but many observers said that the elections were fraudulent. Taylor is wanted in Sierra Leone as a war criminal, and most everyone agrees that he is the main impediment to peace in his own nation. So why is his biggest defender American religious leader Pat Robertson?
7/17/03 - RFID Tags: The End of Privacy?
Imagine this: you walk into a local store and within seconds the people on duty know your pants size (and how much it fluctuates), that you prefer chocolate ice cream, that you buy a new tube of hemorrhoid cream every three months or so, which stores you usually shop in, your credit rating, and the number of miles currently on all four of your tires - and that's just for starters. Science fiction? No, science fact: the technology is already here. It's just a matter of deploying it.
7/10/03 - Ad Hoc Explanations
Although not normally a fallacy, technically speaking, ad hoc explanations and rationalizations occur whenever someone comes up with some unreasonable explanation or cause that is designed to save a favored theory and cannot be applied broadly.
7/10/03 - Ethics: Why Be Civil?
Incivility and rudeness are common in society - and even more common on the internet. Some are disturbed by this but many others don't seem to care - or even believe that honest rudeness is preferable. It is arguable, however, that civility is very much an ethical issue and that we have a moral obligation to exhibit some basic civility towards others.
6/26/03 - Atheism in the Workplace
People spend more time at their jobs than they spend in many other social situations - as a result, they also tend up spending more time with their coworkers than they might with friends and family. This means avoiding topics like belief in god and religion may be very difficult; if you are or seem to be the only atheist around, problems can result.
6/26/03 - Ethics: Brain Privacy
Our privacy seems to be under siege on all fronts: the government, corporations, our employers, and of course even our neighbors seek to obtain more and more information about our lives, our preferences, our habits, and so on. Sometimes it seems as though our last refuge of privacy and security may be our own minds - but maybe not for long.
6/19/03 - Theism 101
A primary purpose of this site is to provide material and resources necessary to understand atheism and the issues which concern atheists. Understanding atheism, however, requires some understanding of theism. Learning about what types of theism exist, how people define their gods, and why people become theists will enable you to get a better grasp of how and why people can become atheists.
6/19/03 - Ethics: Quarantines - Public Health vs. Personal Liberty
When an outbreak of a deadly, communicable disease threatens to overwhelm public health services, one of the tools available to government officials is a quarantine: segregating the afflicted or even possibly affected people, restricting their movements, and preventing them from having contact with healthy people in order to limit the continuing spread of the disease. Obviously this involves a serious infringement on a number of basic civil liberties - but is it justified? And, if so, when and how?
6/12/03 - Questions about Atheism and Religion
There are a lot of questions about the relationship between atheism and religion. Is atheism a religion? Are atheists anti-religious? Can atheists be religious or spiritual? Not even all atheists are readily able to answer questions such as these, much less theists who are unfamiliar with atheism and atheists.
6/12/03 - Ethics: Can our genetic code tell us who we are?
The question how a person establishes and maintains an identity is a thorny one. Everyone seems to feel the need for some way to identify themselves in a complex and variable world; the problem is, it's not exactly clear just what "identity" should entail. Is it more about who you are as a person, right now, or is more about "what" you are, in the sense of your heritage and cultural background?
6/05/03 - What is God?
Because of the importance of this issue to discussions between atheists and theists, it is critical to have a better understanding of just what it is they are talking about and why. What's the point of debating the possible existence of "God" if no one has tried to come to some sort of agreement as to what they mean by "God"?
6/05/03 - Ethics: Public Research, Private Profits
The American public finances a great deal of scientific research through tax dollars - but then private companies and universities claim patents over those technologies and charge the public in order to use the fruits of the public research. Is this ethical?
5/30/03 - The Matrix, Philosophy, and Religion
The Matrix, a wildly popular film that has been followed by an equally popular sequel, is often regarded as a very "deep" film, tackling difficult subjects not commonly the subject of Hollywood's efforts. Is it, however, also a religious film - a film embodying religious subjects and transcendental values?
5/30/03 - Ethics: Pregnancy & Privacy
For the most part, people believe that their medical issues are and should remain private. The status of your health is not something that should be made public record or revealed to anyone not involved in your health care (like doctors, nurses, and insurance companies). But does pregnancy qualify as a health matter that should be kept private? Perhaps it should, but there are many who have argued that it does not.
5/23/03 - Atheism & Marriage
Marriage is a very important and intimate relationship - but can marriages between atheists and theists work? What problems face atheists when married to religoius spouses? How about when your in-laws are devoutly religious as well? What happens when your spouse grows more religious over time, or you more atheistic?
5/23/03 - Ethics: Slavery & Happiness
Most people will agree that they are opposed to slavery - they find slavery to be immoral, inhumane, and perhaps even one of the most evil institutions ever devised by human beings. But what if someone wants to be a slave and is happy being a slave? Is slavery really so wrong that we should intervene and disrupt a person's happiness because we object so strongly to it, or is that just being paternalistic?
5/16/03 - Religion 101
How should religion be defined - if it even can be defined? What different types of religion are there? How does religion differ from theism, philosophy, or superstition? What is the philosophy of religion and how does it help us better understand religious beliefs?
5/16/03 - Ethics: Patient Autonomy vs. Medical Values
If a patient asks a doctor to perform a procedure that is within her expertise, but that she finds unethical, should she do it? If she refuses, is she imposing her values on the patient? What if the doctor knows that such a denial will mean that the patient will find less sanitary and safe means for achieving the same goal, thus putting the patient at much greater risk? Does the doctor have an ethical obligation to ensure that the patient is kept as safe as possible, even if that means performing an otherwise unethical procedure?
5/9/03 - Atheism & Meaning
One of the most common complaints about atheism is that it must result in meaninglessness - specifically, in the meaninglessness of life. According to believers, there cannot be any meaning or purpose in life unless it is provided by God and/or religion. Atheists, lacking belief in any gods and generally lacking any religion, must therefore necessarily lack meaning in their lives. But is any of that true?
5/9/03 - Ethics of Affirmative Action
Are Affirmative Action programs unethical? Some argue that they designed to rectify racism and reverse the effects of both past and present discrimination; others say that it as another form of discrimination, giving one group extra advantages based upon nothing but their skin color. Review some of the major arguments against Affirmative Action and how successful they are.
5/2/03 - Evolution & Law
Evolution is perhaps the only area of science which has been transformed into a legal issue on which courts around the country have had to render decisions. No one initiates lawsuits over the teaching of gravity, physics, chemistry, or any other part of the science curriculum. It's also highly unlikely to find heated legislative debates over the status of such topics in publics schools, and that makes evolution relatively unusual.
5/2/03 - Prozac as Pancea
The benefits of antidepressants have been receiving more and more press coverage during recent years. This is justified because they can do quite a lot of good for people suffering from chemical imbalances in the brain, allowing them to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. But, if they are so great at improving a person's mood, why don't we all take them?
4/25/03 - Atheism & Weddings
Atheists are human too, and so of course atheists are just as likely as anyone else to participate in many of the common social experiences which mark a society. One of them is, of course, weddings - both their own and the weddings of friends and relatives. Unfortunately, wedding ceremonies are commonly religious in nature - what is an irreligious atheist to do?
4/25/03 - Sexual Autonomy
Prostitution has long been called the oldest profession in the world, and there is probably good justification for that. It seems likely that humans have always traded whatever they had in exchange for something they needed - and the one thing that a human always has is his or her own body. Everyone trades something about their body for the necessities of living, so why not sexual activity as well?
4/18/03 - Astrology & Pseudoscience
If astrology is not really a science, then is it possible to classify it as a form of pseudoscience? Most skeptics will readily agree with that classification, but only by examining astrology in light of some basic characteristics of science can we decide if such a judgment is warranted.
4/18/03 - Homosexuality & Libel
It is possible to falsely accuse people of things like pedophilia or theft and be found guilty of slander or libel. According to the law, you aren't permitted "defame" someone by claiming without basis that they do or have done something generally considered repugnant or illegal - especially when those accusations can damage a person's reputation.
4/12/03 - Attitudes of Atheists
Very often, believers object to atheism based upon the attitudes they ascribe to atheists. Believers commonly regard atheists to have a generally negative attitude about life, about the universe, about religion, and even about themselves. These attitudes, in turn, are believed to be the source for atheism itself - people who have bad feelings in life aren't likely to be open to the positive message that religion is thought to offer.
4/12/03 - Baths for Baptisms: Bribing Soldiers
An Army chaplain in Iraq has used a supply of clean water to bribe soldiers into being baptized. Soldiers interested in a bath must attend an hour-and-a-half sermos and receive a baptism which involves an hour of quoting from the Bible. Is this moral? Is it constitutional? Does it reflect Christian charity and ethics?
4/4/03 - Easter, Good Friday, and Government Holidays
Can the government take a religious holiday and make an official state holiday out of it? Is it an establishment of religion when a religious holy day becomes an official state holiday? Good Friday is a Christian Holy Day which many Christians would surely like to have off from work or school, but does that mean that governments should grant it official recognition over and above the holy days of other religions?
4/4/03 - Drug Use & Fetal Abuse
Should women who abuse drugs while they are pregnant be charged with delivery of drugs to a minor and child abuse after their baby is born? There is an increasing movement among prosecutors and conservative politicians to do exactly that, leading to growing numbers of women who are charged and convicted of child abuse which occurred before their child was even a part of society.
3/28/03 - Atheism & Children
Of all of the problems that atheists might experience with their families, those involving their own children are perhaps among the most emotional and difficult to resolve. Many people honestly believe that children require religion and God in order to be raised morally and properly - so if atheist parents don't offer that, they will feel compelled to intervene and replace what they believe the parents are failing provide.
3/28/03 - Unpatriotic Protests
Should protesters support our troops? Some say that protests during war are unethical and unpatriotic. Are protesters really ungrateful, or are their critics acting unethically and unpatriotically by trying to squelch dissent?
3/21/03 - Appeal to Flattery
The fallacy known as Appeal to Flattery occurs whenever a person attempts to compliment or flatter another in order to get her to accept the truth of a proposition. In some instances, it may be implied that the person deserves the flattery because they accept the position in question.
3/21/03 - Copyrights & Copywrongs: Ethical Considerations
Copyrights exist so that a person who creates a new work can derive some profit from it. After a period of time, the rights to the work are supposed to go to the public so that everyone can benefit from it and to encourage people to produce new works. Have current laws undermined this relationship?
3/14/03 - Atheism & Families
Most people and most families are religious to one degree or another. As a result, most atheists will at some point have to contend with close family members who are religious and don't share that atheism. Sometimes, family members can be very devoutly religious and object to atheism and atheists, especially within the family. How should atheists deal with these difficulties?
3/14/03 - Paternity Fraud: Fatherhood, Child Support, and Biology
It is a fact of biology that while it is relatively difficult for a woman to mistakenly believe that a child is hers, such errors aren't too difficult for men. A man has to trust that the woman he is with is bearing his child when that is what she tells him; unfortunately, not all women are entirely trustworthy, and those who are can honestly identify the wrong man as the father of her children. What happens then?
2/28/03 - Evolution & Religion
Very often, it seems as though evolution and religion must be locked in a desperate struggle of life and death - and, for some religious beliefs, perhaps that impression is reasonably accurate. However, the fact that some religions and some religious dogmas are not entirely compatible with evolutionary biology does not mean that the same must be true for all religions or religion generally.
2/28/03 - Keeping Armageddon Secret: Do you want to know when the end is near?
Would you want to be informed about an approaching cataclysmic event, like an asteroid or comet, even if nothing could be done about it? Or would you rather be kept in the dark? Would you want everyone else to know, too?
2/21/03 - Atheism 101
It seems strange that atheism would be so difficult to understand, but it must be - otherwise, there wouldn't be so many arguments over what it means, what it entails, and what significance it has for society. Because the same questions and same arguments keep coming up over and over again, it's important to have a central resource where people can inform themselves or to which they can refer others.
2/21/03 - Artificial Wombs: End of Natural Motherhood?
Some day - probably later rather than sooner, but you never really know - medical science will advance to the point where we can create artificial wombs. This would allow us to grow a fetus outside of the mother's body - but should we?
2/14/03 - Judge Roy Moore
Roy Moore is a genuine celebrity for the Religious Right in America - his perpetual court cases over his various displays of the Ten Commandment have become a popular cause for fundamentalists around the country. It is, therefore, important to have a better understanding of who Roy Moore is, what he believes, and the history of his various court cases and legal battles.
2/14/03 - Prescriptions & Kickbacks
Most people have gotten a doctor's prescription at some point in their lives for a medicine they have needed. Some people need prescription medication on a regular basis due to their medical problems. The question is, to what degree can you trust that your doctor writes a prescription based only on your best interests as a patient?
2/7/03 - Questions About Atheism
What do atheists believe - do they believe in anything at all? Are atheists just rebels? Are they going through a phase? There are lots of questions about atheism and atheists regarding the beliefs which go along with atheism.
2/7/03 - Ethics of Reality TV: Should We Watch?
Media both in America and around the world seem to have "discovered" that so-called "reality" shows are very profitable, resulting in a growing string of such shows in recent years. Although not all are successful, many do achieve significant popularity and cultural prominence. That does not mean, however, that they are good for society or that they should be aired.
2/1/03 - Defending Peace
For every war, there are those who argue against it - either for reasons unique to that conflict or because they object to every war on principle. What is pacifist philosophy and why is it treated with suspicion by so many? What are some chief arguments against war and how successful are they?
1/28/03 - Defending War
Although it may seem strange at first, there have been many arguments offered in defense of war. Some are deontological, defending war either as a positive value itself or as an expression of positive values. Others are teleological and defend war as a justified means towards some important and valuable end. Finally, some are virtue-based in that they defend war as something which helps produce good character and positive virtues in people.
1/21/03 - War and Morality
War seems to be the most destructive and horrific type of human interaction. No other venue allows people to kill each other in such massive numbers or to cause such incredible and widespread suffering. How do we evaluate the morality of wars? Is war even within the realm of moral debate? What is a Just War?
1/21/03 - What are Ethics and Morality?
What are normative and analytic ethics? Are there problems with judging actions based upon effects rather than motives? These are all important questions and addressing moral problems is easier when you understand basic concepts.
1/14/03 - Myths about Atheists & Christianity
Because atheists who debate the merits of theism tend to be debating Christianity and tend to focus upon the specific claims of Christianity, quite a few misunderstandings about atheists' attitudes towards Christianity can develop. Hopefully, a few of them will be dispelled here.
1/7/03 - Gay Priests in the Catholic Church
The recent scandals involving priests who have sexually abused children have been a source of many problems for the Roman Catholic Church. One of those problems has been the situation of gay priests. How will the Church respond? How should the Church respond?
1/1/03 - Questions About Atheism
People have a lot of questions about atheism and atheists - but such questions don't just come from theists. Atheists themselves have a lot of questions - not only about the nature of atheism and what other atheists think, but about how they should deal with theists, how to deal with telling others about their atheism, etc.