Cat Stevens

I will never perform a Cat Stevens song. First, converting to Islam? That’s just stupid and that’s bad enough. But then he endorsed the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Think about that. He agreed that a man should die because he wrote a book. A book! There is no excuse, there is no justification. Such a man has no morality. Fuck him.

On Sam Harris on the Chapel Hill murders

In the audio post linked above, Sam Harris addresses the accusation that he and other ”new atheists” are somehow responsible for the Chapel Hill murders.  He points out some of the same things that I have but perhaps more eloquently.  There is nothing inherent in atheism that should lead anyone to commit such atrocities.  There are no atheist “holy books” at all and nothing in the works of any well-known “new atheist” thinkers that should reasonably be seen as promoting murder.  Atheism differs significantly from the major monotheistic religions in that respect.

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It’s values, not intellligence.

I often see my fellow atheists saying or implying that Christian apologists are all necessarily morons, idiots, etc..  No.  That’s stupid.  People like Michael Behe, William Lane Craig – and, yes, even Ken Ham – are obviously very intelligent human beings.  The mistake you’re making is that you think it’s about intelligence.  It’s not.  It’s about values.  A fairly dim-witted person can understand that religious claims are without rational basis and a very intelligent person can choose to ignore that fact.  Some people value reason and evidence above tradition, comfort, and dogma.  Some don’t.

The Bible and Slavery

Dan Savage - the Bible and Slavery
Dan Savage – the Bible and Slavery

The fact is that the various authors of the Bible could have simply stated that it is wrong for one human being to claim another human being as property. They didn’t. They were products of their culture and time, as are their writings. If they were truly inspired by a god and if that god truly wanted people to think that slavery was wrong, he could have inspired them to say so. However, what we have is exactly what would one should expect of purely human books written by humans who were of that time and of that culture, nothing more.

Now, it’s true that some parts of the New Testament are somewhat progressive (eg. Galations 3:28) but those passages are counter-balanced by others that prescribe an inferior place for women and which instruct slave owners on how to treat their slaves rather than telling them outright that owning people is wrong.


Sam Harris – Morality and the Christian God

Sam Harris challenges the notion that religion – specifically, Christianity – provides a decent basis for morality.

It’s pretty good. One quibble would be that it could be argued that the Bible doesn’t actually support the doctrine of Hell as a place of eternal, tortuous punishment and that that doctrine is actually a post-biblical invention of the Roman Catholic Church and later adopted by most other denominations.

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This is my response to those who complain about so-called “scientism”. Science has quite clearly been demonstrated to be the most powerful method yet devised for distinguishing between that which is or isn’t most probably true. I don’t see any evidence to suggest that religion (or “spirituality” or “faith” or which ever other euphemism one might employ to avoid admitting to being religious) has ever had anything useful to contribute to the conversation.