A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly one of the—if not the—best-known science books of the twentieth century. Its 2005 follow-up work, A Briefer History of Time, starts its foreword with a note on the original 1988 bestseller’s sales: “A Brief History of Time was on the London Sunday Times best-seller list for 237 weeks and has sold about one copy for every 750 men, women, and children on earth.” From the perspective of today’s reluctance to ponder the greater questions posed to us by science (and the even greater unlikeliness that one is willing to pick up a science book at all), I’m astounded that that many people sat down and read a work like A Brief History of Time.Read more
Since I first read the story of the groundbreaking 1974 discovery of possible human ancestor Lucy, I have been captivated by the study of human origins. I felt as if during my atheistic indignation at the fantastical creation stories in the bible, paleoanthropology took my hand and showed me that there is an entire field of study that strives to learn where humans really came from. I’ve been baffled that more people weren’t devouring the findings of fossil hunters. I’m afraid that that might be partly because creationist teachings have been normalized, at least in the United States, and I want to help break down, clearly and understandably, why creationism holds no answers about human origins whatsoever.Read more
Back in April, I had the pleasure of meeting Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Dan Barker. It was a fun evening consisting of a lecture on his newest book, Mere Morality, and a following book signing. At the event, there was a table where you could buy one of Barker’s books or pick up a copy of the FFRF’s periodical, Freethought Today. Also on the table were several “nontracts,” courtesy of the FFRF. Dan explained that if you’re familiar with the tracts that religious people tend to hand out, these are the same idea except… the opposite.Read more
Let me tell you a story.
I was twenty years old, and a junior in college. I was in one of Grove City’s required classes called Civilization and the Speculative Mind, a class about worldviews, philosophy, and Christian theology. I wrote my term paper for this class on why naturalism does not inevitably lead to nihilism. It was a response to the claims made by James W. Sire in the class textbook The Universe Next Door. He had made three “bridges” between naturalism and nihilism which I had set out to debunk. They were:Read more
This week, I had the pleasure of taking a little break from Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, and I read a short book by Francisco Ayala called Am I a Monkey?: Six Big Questions about Evolution. It’s a cute little book in which the author explains evolution as simply as he can to the layperson. I think these explanations benefit not only those who don’t believe in evolution because they don’t understand it, but also those like me, for whom a refresher could never hurt.Read more
“The universe just seems to be so finely tuned.” “How can you look around at this world we live in and not believe that it was designed?” “Do you really believe that this all came about by chance?”
Whether you’re a theist or an atheist, it’s likely that you’ve either said or heard these things more times than you can remember. The argument for the fine-tuning of our universe is one of the most popular among apologists and counter-apologists, and for good reason. Not only can it include an appeal to emotion and experience, but the science of it all has fascinated great minds for centuries, including that of the late Stephen Hawking. So what really is the fine-tuning argument?Read more
There are a handful of famous arguments for the existence of a god. Some have been around for centuries, and new arguments are popping up every day. One such argument is the kalam cosmological argument. A classic which has recently been re-polished and re-popularized, it has withstood the test of time in its field.
The kalam cosmological argument sounds a lot more complex than it really is. There’s not much more to it than a simple, yet flawed, syllogism of three steps. They are: Read more
If you’re familiar with the online atheist superpower Atheist Republic, then you’ve probably heard of their book Why There Is No God, written by their founder Armin Navabi. I’ve had this book for a while, and I decided this weekend to finally read it and give my opinion here on my blog! Read more
When people find out that someone is an atheist, they usually have a lot of questions. I’ve seen, in my experience, that most of these questions take the offensive stance and are often accusatory. Atheists are used to hearing things like, “Where do you get your morals from?” and “Why do you hate God?” One of the most common of these quips is “How do you know for sure that there is no god?” which also takes the form of “Well, you can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, so disbelief is illogical.” These statements are the embodiment of the theist’s attempt to flip the burden of proof. Read more
A couple of weeks ago, my fiance and I spent a day driving around to different bookstores. When I explore bookstores, I usually spend most of my time divided between the science section (specifically biology and evolution) and the religion section (there are sometimes atheism-related books on a shelf labeled “comparative religion”). As one might guess, I found James S. Spiegel’s little book, The Making of an Atheist, among the other atheist books. I picked it up thinking it might be Spiegel’s deconversion story only to see the other half of the title, How Immorality Leads to Unbelief. I was immediately intrigued. It’s common to hear people say, “you’re only an atheist because you want to sin!” but this was the first time I’d seen someone write a 130-page book on the idea.Read more