Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
This is a republish from Yahoo, which I am a contributor of.
I am a middle-class American. I am red, I am blue, and I am purple. I live in the suburbs, I live in the city, I live in the country and I live by the sea.
I believe in God and I don’t believe in God. I am white, I am black, I am brown and I am yellow.
I am Christian and I am Muslim, I am Jewish and I am Hindu, I am Buddhist, and I am Atheist.
I work two jobs and I want the best for my children. I am concerned about my health and that of my family. I vote and I don’t vote. I am a Democrat and I am a Republican Read more
Once there was a serial killer. His name was William Hickman.
He was rather famous back in the 1920s. The son of a paranoid schizophrenic mother and grandmother he would torture and kill cats as kid. Anyone who knew him thought he was growing up to be a maniac. Like every good sociopath he stayed on his best behavior so as not to attract unwanted attention from strangers or the law.
After strangling a woman in Milwaukee and killing an old man for his wallet and throwing his body off of a bridge, he murdered a 12 year old girl in 1927, Marion Parker - because he wanted to. He was 19 years old.
He kidnaped her and sent a ransom note to her doctor father. After her father delivered the money to Hickman in his car, our psychopath drove away and tossed the little girl's head and torso out of the car for her dad. He had dismembered her and proceeded to throw parts of her all over the highway.
Hickman was arrested and eventually hanged.
But Hickman had a groupie. Our groupie kept a journal filled with gushing praise for this killer of little girls. She loved his sociopathic qualities. Read more
In the course of a generally favorable review of Among the Creationists over at The Panda’s Thumb blog, Matt Young wrote the following: Read more
Throughout my life I have always been faced with God. Unlike maybe someone like Bill Maher, I can’t become an atheist or even an agnostic; God is in my blood and I believe in Him. Even in those times in my life when I was living just for me, God was still there being a part of my life.
I give God the credit for so much for whom I am, or at least who I want to be and strive to be. I am also a liberal, or at least that’s where my political views stand. Being a liberal is also part of my relationship with God. Unlike many conservatives, my passion falls toward compassion – compassion for hungry children and those on the edge of life, trying to just survive. Read more
Back in December, 2010 a Gallup Poll revealed that approximately 40% of Americans believe that god created man exactly as we are now about 10,000 years ago. Literally. Not as a fable. Not as allegory. Literally.
Another 38% accept that man evolved from lower organisms but that god guided the process.
Only 16% accepted evolution as having occurred without divine intervention - an increase from 9% in a previous poll. The rest had no opinion.
The belief in "creationism" is strongly tied to educational levels. Among those with college degrees (!) The level of creationist belief fell to a mere 37% while those holding unabashed secular evolution beliefs rose to 21%. Read more
I *love* living in the internet era.
Someone can give a talk in OKC on April 28th, and someone in Thailand can watch that talk while theyre doing the dishes on May 7th. LOVE IT! All the more reason skeptic/atheist/pro-science/pro-church-state-separation groups should be highlighting, encouraging, and supporting their local talent:
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I recently had a conversation with Greg Gorey of Think Atheist Radio about my book Among the Creationists. We discussed the history and cultures of creationism, the problem of evil, methodological naturalism, my experiences socializing with creationists and several other things besides. From my end I can honestly say it was one of the most interesting conversations I have had on these topics, so I hope you enjoy it. The discussion is fifty minutes long. So go have a listen and let me know what you think! Read more
Hypocrisy is running rampant in the GOP when Ayn Rand becomes their idle while they’re still trying to proclaim the Christian mantle. Ayn Rand’s vision for the world was about individualism and satisfying oneself over the needs of the many. Her philosophy was what you might say was the exact opposite of Jesus Christ’s philosophy which was about selflessness and compassion for the poor.
To me, the GOP and Ayn Rand belong together – their policies for the last several decades has been anything but Christian when it comes to their views about the poor and the social programs that provide a safety net for those in need. It’s as if suddenly they woke up to the fact of this is who they are; selfish and self-centered and caught up in this dance with the devil. Read more
As you have probably guessed from the blog drought around here, it's the end of the semester. That means tons of grading, office hours, meetings with students, deadlines to meet, and all around not much time for blogging. Final exams are this week. Once those are graded I reach the promised land of summer break. So regular blogging will resume shortly.
In the meantime, here's a guest post I wrote for the Oxford University Press blog. I offer a few thoughts about my two recent experiences with atheist gatherings: The Reason Rally and the American Atheists Convention. I enjoyed both events immensely, but I also offer a few gentle criticisms. So go read the post and let me know what you think. Read more
Here's the latest from Michael Ruse, over at the blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is discussing the anti-evolution“academic freedom” bill that just passed in Tennessee: Read more
Even eight years ago, the very idea of gay marriage on the Democratic National Convention’s platform was something made up of pipe dreams by gay people like me. But there is serious talk among DNC heavyweights which sounds like it’s a done deal.
This year’s DNC chairman, Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa spoke clearly that he supports it. When asked by Politico’s Mike Allen “Do you think that the Democratic national platform should have a marriage equality plank?” Read more
It was cold, and it was pouring rain for much of the afternoon, but the rally was a huge success nevertheless. The official estimate from the Park's Department was 20,000, which seems about right to me. I'm not generally a real social person, and I'm not much of a joiner. But given that I live in a culturally conservative part of the country, and spend so much time reading and thinking about religious right propaganda, it was with a sense of physical relief that I spent the afternoon standing in solidarity with my fellow atheists.
And make no mistake, this was an atheist rally. A New Atheist rally in fact. Condemning religion was certainly high on the priority list for most of the speakers. The general attitude was well summed up by rally host Paul Provenza: Read more
Truly my career has reached the next phase of its evolution. I have been published at The Huffington Post. Go have a look and let me know what you think!
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Apparently there's a rally coming up in Washington DC:
The Reason Rally is an event sponsored by many of the country's largest and most influential secular organizations. It will be free to attend and will take place in Washington, D.C. on March 24th, 2012 from 10:00AM - 6:00PM at the National Mall. There will be music, comedy, speakers, and so much more. We hope you can join us!
I'm so there!
But it gets even better. You see, the following day the American Atheists will be holding their annual convention: Read more