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Sexpelled!

Ha! Richard Dawkins just put out an awesom parody of Expelled called Sexpelled.

Also, SciAm has a very brief but perfect article on the Six Things in Expelled That Ben Stein Doesn’t Want You to Know.

My favorite is Expelled quotes Charles Darwin selectively to connect his ideas to eugenics and the Holocaust. Read the article because you have no idea how badly they selectively quoted Darwin, to the point of actually making Darwin say the exact opposite of what he wrote. If Darwin were alive today I would think he would have a basis for a lawsuit.

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Filed under: Science, , , , ,

Christopher Hedges doesn’t believe in atheists

Somehow I missed this really good interview with Christopher Hedges the author of American Fascists, a scathing attack on the Religious Right in America, about his new work I Don’t Believe in Atheists.

Christopher Hedges has debated by Dawkins and Hitchens,

I haven’t read the new book but it’s now on my evergrowing and seemingly never shrinking list of books to read. In his debates, watch the youtube video to see an example of this, his primary criticism is that there is this belief among the New Atheists, or Secular Fundamentalists as he calls them, is that once you remove religion the world will be great and that Religion was holding us back. And I have to agree that that criticism is legitimate in the sense that that does seem to be the way many of the New Atheists arguments seemed to get boiled down to. In addition, if you simply replace Religion with Atheism as the new set of “moral” standards you have essentially replaced something (religion) with a nothing (atheism) and therefore that criticism stands as well.

What I think perhaps Christopher Hedges best illustrates is that many of the New Atheists arguments are “against” religion but not specifically “for” anything and therefore leave a whole that must be filled. I personally think that is a legitimate criticism. There is a basis for morality or at least a basis for how we determine that morality.

What I anticipate happening in the coming years is a flood of books by authors whole we be dubbed as the New Moralists or New Philosphers. These books will actually put forward in laymen’s terms the basis for a new morality which anybody who reads this stuff will recognize as simply Humanism or some variant of it. These books will also come under attack as well but for different reasons. These new books will actually make “positive statements of belief” that can be directly attacked as opposed to the current batch of books whose “negative statements of belief” are really just attacks themselves. Of course, you will also have these new beliefs attacked as being morally relativistic however the current books by the New Atheists do a pretty good job of showing religions, particularly Christianity, are morally relativistic as well, although the phrase “subject to interpretation” is more appropriate, such as the rights of women, slavery and racism.

I think Hedges makes some great arguments that I hope some of the New Atheists and others will take to heart and  move the debate forward away from the irrational basis of religion and towards this so called “New Enlightenment”.

Filed under: Atheism, Internet, Politics, , , , , , ,

Atheism: The Case Against God

I have FINALLY finished reading George Smith’s seminal work Atheism: The Case Against God. I say finally because this book is a very substantial work and I don’t recommend you read it while you are sleepy because I could barely get 3 pages into it before nodding off.

When you read this you will clearly see that a lot of the ideas captured in this book have found there way into the books of the “New Atheists”. What isn’t touched on in this book is fundamentalist Islam (I think that might be redundant). Clearly this book is a product of it’s time 1978 I believe. Christianity is clearly the default theistic religion that George Smith atheistic beliefs attempt to counter.

I have spent several weeks chewing through this book which is unusual for anyone who knows me since I am a very fast reader. It took so long becuase I had to reread several sections to really understand what he was trying to say or how he was attempting to connect several different concepts together. The book is clearly written by a philosopher and I think he does a good job of writing this to the lay person but there’s only so much you can do with the subject matter.

If you are looking for the philosophical underpinnings of Sam Harris’ book End of Faith or a more in-depth treatise on atheism that Dawkins or Hitchens’ books don’t go then this is your book.

Filed under: Atheism, Religion, Reviews, , , , , , ,

Humanism 101

The Continuum of Humanist Education is offering free courses on humanism, very cool. I’d be curious what religious believers would have to say after taking this course.

I found this link via the FriendlyAtheist. He always gets to these before I do, damn you Hemant!!! Ok fine you provide a valuable service and I’m just slow…

… and now I see he’s already posted about Richard Dawkins review of god is not great plus Nicca Lalli’s thoughts on Mother Teresa’s doubt…. sigh… I guess it’s not a contest is it.

Filed under: Atheism, Reviews, , , ,

Dawkins reviews Hitchens

Richard Dawkins reviews Christopher Hitchens’ book god is not great

Filed under: Atheism, Reviews, ,

Top 5 Atheist Books

ChristianityToday.com contributor, John Wilson, proposes his Top 5 Books on Atheism, some of which I have never heard of. Damn, my reading list gets longer all the time.

I don’t normally ask for comments since I am content with disseminating information and letting those who stumble upon my blog wander off through the various links.

Having said that I am curious of what other books on atheism or even humanism (for or against, or simply about) you would recommend.

Here are the obvious big ones but what other more “obscure” ones would someone suggest. If I get enough responses I might start a new page for atheism/humanism reading suggestions.

Richard Dawkins [RichardDawkins.net]
The God Delusion

Daniel Dennett [website?]
Breaking the Spell

Sam Harris [SamHarris.org]
Letter to a Christian Nation
The End of Faith

Christopher Hitchens [HitchensWeb.com (Not sure if this official)]
god is not great

Eric Hoffer [EricHoffer.net]
True Believer

Joan Konner [AtheistBible.net (not sure if this correct, seems outdated)]
The Atheist’s Bible

Nicca Lalli [NicaLalli.com]
Nothing

Hemant Mehta [FriendlyAtheist.com]
I sold my soul on eBay

Technorati Atheism

Filed under: Atheism, Religion, Reviews, , , , , , , , ,

Half right

The Herald has a brief editorial, God and the cosmic Big Bang, that rightly criticizes some comments that Richard Dawkins has made against Stephen Jay Gould.  I have to agree with the author since nothing bothers me more than this kind of selective belief.  In question is the comment by Dawkins of Gould, “I simply do not believe that Gould could possibly have meant much of what he wrote in Rock of Ages.” This bothers me as much as Hitchens claiming that Martin Luther King, Jr. was some kind of secular humanist cloaked as a pastor. No Hitchens, MLK Jr. was a Christian pastor whose beliefs (while certainly humanist) were informed by his religion (at least his interpretation of his religion). Claiming MLK Jr. is a humanist first and second only consequentially Christian is a bit disingenious, IMO.

Of course, the author continues his critique by his complete lack of understanding of scientific method by stating that one of Thomas Aquinas’s proofs of God’s existence is proved by the theory of the Big Bang. Not only is this a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo proctor hoc, but makes a number of very basic non-scientific assumptions, specifically that time is a constant (or at least always present) .

Technorati Atheism Skeptic

Filed under: Atheism, Internet, , , , , , ,

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