Category Archives: morality

Dan Fincke responds to me, claiming morality is objective

I previously wrote about Dan Fincke’s talk at the Pittsburgh Atheist and Humanist meetings, in which he claimed that there is indeed an objective morality: one based on “human flourishing.” It was only a 20-minute talk, as were all of them, so he couldn’t lay out his thesis in detail, and I had to respond […]

Dawkins decries taboos in discussions about society

If you pay any attention to internet atheist sites, or to reporting about atheist brouhahas by the likes of the Independent and the Guardian (for whom Dawkins is a favorite whipping boy), you can hardly be unaware about the fracas surrounding Dawkins’s latest tweets. I suppose he was fed up by a segment of the atheist […]

The bonobo and the atheist-basher, part 2

I’ve now finished Frans de Waal’s book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, and my final evalution is what I said yesterday: it’s a decent disquisition on the evolutionary “roots” of human morality–roots discerned in behaviors like empathy, altruism, and concern for equity in our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. The book is useful reading for its eye-opening tales of […]

The bonobo and the atheist-basher: Frans de Waal disses atheism

I’m not sure I want to provide a full, free-standing review of Frans de Waal’s The Bonobo and the Atheist, but I can give some excerpts and thoughts, especially because I’m four-fifths of the way through the book. But unless it changes drastically in the last 40 pages, I think I’m on pretty good ground in […]

The best argument for God? Really?

Either a reader called my attention to the articles discussed below, or I found them on my own; I am aged and forgetful. If someone pointed them out to me, my belated thanks. Both articles deal with what is claimed to be the best argument for God’s existence—one based on the existence of moral agents, i.e., us. […]

Cat adopts baby squirrel, proves existence of God

The Dodo reports a mother cat, with kittens, who happens to have adopted (and suckled) a baby squirrel.  I have a feeling that I posted this before, but I realized that it bears on one of the arguments for God: the Argument from Altruism. This has been made by many, most prominently by Francis Collins, […]

My New Republic piece on bungled executions (and a related radio interview)

My piece on Oklahoma’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett has been heavily rewritten, combined with some other stuff, and published by The New Republic as “The three-drug death penalty cocktail is a mess.” (It takes about 2.5 hours to rewrite a website post for a column.) If you love Professor Ceiling Cat, who has hearts on […]

Damon Linker fails to spot the nightjar; says human altruism proves Jesus

I’m not really sure who Damon Linker is, but this recommendation on his website doesn’t give me a lot of confidence: Damon Linker is one of the most arresting and honest writers of his generation  on the subjects of faith and politics.—Andrew Sullivan And if you Google “Damon Linker”, the second hit you get, after his […]

Must you be religious to be moral?: A worldwide survey, and its lesson

A post by C. J. Werleman at Alternet called my attention to a new study by the Pew Research “Global Attitudes Project” that polls people on the perennial (and already answered) question, “Do you need God to be moral”? Pew’s answer, however, is a general “yes,” but that answer is far more common in poorer than richer countries. […]

Paul Bloom claims that we’re not biochemical puppets because we can reason. He’s wrong.

Paul Bloom is a noted psychologist at Yale, specializing in morality and its development in young children (see an earlier post on that topic here). Now, in the new Atlantic, Bloom has published a longish piece, “The war on reason,” that describes a purported war on rationality incited by the findings of neuroscientists, determinists, and […]

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