Category Archives: morality

Michael Ruse: Proud to be an accommodationist

It’s been a while since we discussed the philosopher Michael Ruse, but he’s suddenly surfaced in the pages of Zygon, “The Journal of Religion and Science,” with a very strange article called “Why I am an accommodationist and proud of it” (reference and possible free link below). I found this article because Jason Rosenhouse sent it […]

Morality proves God, take #197

I’ve written before about National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins’s claim that “the Moral Law”—that is, the instinctive feelings of right and wrong we experience when, say, we see a drowning child or a cheater—are evidence for God. For, claims Collins, there’s no way to explain such instinctive feelings by evolution or other naturalistic processes. […]

Once more with feeling: final thoughts on Ireland’s Marriage Equality referendum #MarRef

by Grania Spingies Terry Pratchett once wrote: “Words have power, and one of the things they are able to do is get out of someone’s mouth before the speaker has the chance to stop them.” Pratchett was right, of course. I don’t think the Vatican can help it much, for Terminal Foot-In-Mouth Disease seems to […]

Australian Jehovah’s Witness (and her fetus) die after mother refuses blood transfusion

Now here’s a conundrum: at what stage of life does a fetus acquire the “right” to be free from having its health controlled by the religious beliefs of its parents? According to yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, a 28-year-old woman in Australia was discovered to have leukemia when she was seven months pregnant. She was also a […]

Dennett tries to save free will, fails

I’ve long been puzzled by the many writings of “compatibilists”: those philosophers and laypeople who accept physical determinism of our choices and behaviors, but still maintain that we have a kind of “free will.” Such people reject the classical form of free will that’s been so important to many people (especially religious ones)—the kind of “libertarian” free will that […]

Brain-damaged man executed for murder—but all criminals are “brain damaged”

Last night the state of Missouri executed by lethal injection the convicted murderer Cecil Clayton. Clayton, however, was brain-damaged, and in a way that probably contributed to his crime. The situation is described by The Guardian: The state of Missouri executed its oldest death row inmate on Tuesday – a man who was mentally impaired from a […]

Is ISIS full of “true believers”?

You’ve probably seen or heard about the discussion between Sam Harris and Graeme Wood over at Sam’s website, a discussion called “The true believers.” Wood, of course, has become famous—and notorious—for his analysis of ISIS’s theological background in a piece that appeared in The Atlantic (see my post for the link). Wood’s thesis, which he supported […]

A philosopher asserts that there are “moral facts”, and we’re messing up our kids’ education by not telling them that

One thing that disturbs me about naturalism is the increasingly frequent contention that there are objective moral “facts” or “truths,” which can somehow be discerned scientifically. I don’t agree with that, since at bottom I think that what one sees as “right” or “wrong” ultimately rests on a set of subjective preferences that can’t be […]

“Do the right thing”: changing morality and the Friendship Nine

If you are too young to have lived through the civil rights era in the U.S., you probably haven’t heard of the “Friendship Nine.” They were a group of black men who, in 1961, decided to commit an illegal but nonviolent act of resistance to the odious segregation laws in South Carolina. (The name of the group […]

“The dark side of free will”

Gregg Caruso is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Corning Community College, as well as chief editor of the journal Science, Religion, and Culture.  In this ten-minute TEDx talk, he discusses what he calls the “dark side of free will”. Note that the “free will” he’s speaking of is contracausal (libertarian) free will (the idea that at any […]

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