Archives for September, 2009

Blogging Dawkins, Chapter Two

Dawkins begins his case for evolution in the same place as Darwin himself: by discussing the myriad successes of plant and animal breeders. Whereas Darwin was very taken with pigeons, however, Dawkins prefers dogs, cabbages and cattle. The chapter opens with a brief discussion of essentialism in biology, and how evolution shows it to be…

Who Rejects Evolution?

Here’s Kevin Padian, paleontologist and President of the National Center for Science Education, commenting on the science/religion issue: The two kinds people who believe that religion and evolution can not coexist are extreme atheists and extreme religious fundamentalists. Everyone else doesn’t really have a problem. [A majority] of Americans believe that a belief in god…

Blogging Dawkins, Chapter One

The other day I sallied forth to the local Barnes and Noble to pick up my copy of Richard Dawkins’s new book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. As I walked into the store I noticed a person stacking books on the main kiosk. She asked me if I was looking for…

Sullivan Tries Again

Andrew Sullivan takes another stab at the theodicy question. His new gambit plays off of this heartbreaking report of a young child with CIPA (Congential Insensitivity to Pain). As a result of not being able to feel pain, the child is constantly hurting herself without realizing it. Sullivan’s take:

Sullivan on Theodicy

There is bloggery afoot on ye olde problem of evil. Russell Blackford got the ball rolling with this post, an admirably succinct essay on why evil and suffering pose serious problems to tradtional notions of Christian theism. Andrew Sullivan demurred here, and then elaborated here. Jerry Coyne was unimpressed with both posts. Coyne weighed in…

That Combination I Mentioned

In yesterday’s post I mentioned a chess combination that arose during a tournament game I played a while back. For the benefit of my chess-playing readers I thought I would conclude the week by showing it to you. This was played at the World Open a number of years ago. I was black. I had…

Another Excerpt From Roose’s Book

The other day I mentioned the book The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose, about a Brown Univeristy student who transfers to Liberty University for a semester. The book has all sorts of quotable nuggets, but I especially got a kick out of the following one. I should mention that Roose changed all the names of…

Ways of Knowing

Spend any time immersing yourself in science/religion disputes and you will quickly encounter the idea that “science is not the only way of knowing.” Nearly always this is intended as a way of carving out intellectual space for religion. For atheists like me this claim raises a red flag. I want to know what ways…

Judge Jones in Bridgewater

For my Virginia readers, I have just learned that Judge John Jones, of Dover trial fame, will be speaking at Bridgewater College on Thursday, September 17. Bridgewater College? That’s about twenty minutes from Harrisonburg! Looks like I have plans tomorrow night…

Professors and Indoctrination

I’m currently reading the book The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose. Roose was a student at Brown University (my alma mater!) when he decided he wanted to learn more about the culture of evangelical Christianity. So he transferred to Liberty University for a semester. I am only about…

Dawkins vs. Armstrong

The Wall Street Journal recently hosted an exchange of essays on the subject of evolution and God. The participants: Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong. Here’s your first question: Which of them wrote this: Evolution has indeed dealt a blow to the idea of a benign creator, literally conceived. It tells us that there is no…

The main reason I haven’t been blogging lately is that I have been seriously under the weather for the past week or so. These days people are seeing swine flu in every case of the sniffles, but I am unconvinced. My symptoms: fever, cough, general achiness, fatigue, sore throat are certainly consistent with swine flu,…

Joe Wilson is a Triple Jerk

By now I assume everyone has heard that South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson heckled President Obama during the latter’s big health care speech on Wednesday. When Obama claimed that there was nothing in his bill that would extend health insurance to illegal aliens, the congressman yelled out “You lie!” By doing so Wilson showed that…