I will NOT be keeping this pace up…

Well, two days back and two new pages! Clearly, that’s an unsustainable rate, but hey, it feels good to be posting again. Today I have added another page on evolution, addressing selected specific creationist claims. Any claims that you would like me to add to the page, just let me know in the comments!

Oh, and apparently WordPress has changed something about the comments… they aren’t on by default on new pages. I have fixed that for yesterday’s page as well.

Thanks for reading, and as always, I welcome any questions, comments, or corrections!

It’s been a long time!

I have had a number of real-life issues that have kept me from being able to blog, but hopefully I will be able to return to blogging sometime in the near future. In the meantime, I thought I would add a page where I have collected some of the work I have done under another of my alter egos, Dr. Countermeme. Enjoy!

New Post: Pragmatic Ethics

In my continuing series on an atheistic ethical system, I have added a new essay concerning Pragmatic Ethics. In many ways this is a culmination of a series of essays exploring the middle ground between absolute morality and moral relativism. I expect there will be at least one further essay in the series, but that one will be more of an application example of Pragmatic Ethics (to the case study of abortion) rather than a development of new ideas.

As always, I welcome any feedback, positive, negative, or neutral. Thank you for reading!

And… I’m done

I have completed my project of summarizing and reorganizing Richard Carrier’s book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. I very much hope that some of you find it useful or interesting. Any of you that do, I hope that you will purchase the book to explore the arguments and evidence in greater detail.

If any of the arguments that I outline aren’t clear, please let me know in the comments and I will try to revise my summaries. I, as always, welcome any and all comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms, and so on.

You can find my summaries here.

There Was No Historical Jesus

Several weeks ago, I finished reading Richard Carrier’s book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. This book has completely flipped my evaluation of the subject, and now instead of considering it more likely than not that there was a historical figure based on whom the Jesus mythology developed, I have now come to agree with Carrier that Jesus probably originated as a celestial deity that was later falsely placed in history.

Unfortunately, Carrier’s book is a very difficult and lengthy read, so I fear that many people that are interested in its subject matter will not read it. That, plus wanting to be able to answer my wife’s question, “So what was his argument that convinced you?” I have begun the daunting project of condensing and slightly reorganizing his work into a more digestible form. I am not done yet, but I have worked my way up through Chapter 8 of the book, which was the chapter that more than any other shifted my opinion. I therefore have now posted my series of essays on this book, which should be viewed as a work-in-progress. Even my summary is long, for which I apologize. But I think it is worth the read. As always, I welcome any and all feedback, be it positive, negative, curious, or whatever. Enjoy!

The Pages, They Are A-Changin’

It’s a busy day today, including a website redesign and two new (short) essays.

The website redesign is a result of me noticing that I by now have a lot of pages, and the page menu to the left was quite disorganized. I therefore have grouped the various essays I have written into themes, and only the top theme pages are listed in the main menu to the right. I would love some feedback on whether this approach works, or if there is a better way to handle it.

For the last two years I have participated in National Ask an Atheist Day, an opportunity for secular people to invite questions about any topic that people might be curious about. Both years I have received some exceptional questions. This year, I have adapted some of my responses into short essays that I think will be of general interest. They are:

As always, I welcome any and all comments, questions, and suggestions.

That said, I am somewhat disappointed that my last essay received nary a comment, particularly since it was deliberately provocative. I very much would like some feedback on the argument, so I am once again going to link to it here. It is I Don’t Believe in Heaven, and Neither do You.

Back in the Saddle

Well, it has been a while, hasn’t it?

I apologize for the long pause in updates. I found myself in an online debate several months ago which started to go in circles. I lost interest in continuing the debate, but nonetheless was feeling an obligation to do so, and thus wasn’t able to convince myself to either end it or to shift my attention back to the blog. Eventually I realized that this was unsustainable, and so bowed out of the debate. And here I am, two days later, trying to regain some momentum on ConvertTheAtheist.

I have just posted a new, short essay titled, “I Don’t Believe in Heaven, and Neither Do You.” I hope that it provides some food for thought, and as always I welcome any feedback. Enjoy!

Edit: Originally I had mistakenly posted the essay as a blog post rather than a page. I have fixed this mistake. Sorry for the confusion, if there was any.

New Post: Fine-Tuning Part I

I have just posted part one in a planned two-part series of essays on the so-called Fine-Tuning Argument. As I was writing my response to this argument, I realized that the supposedly fine-tuned parameters that are part of this argument really fall into two broad categories: those that are so obviously not fine-tuned that claiming they are should be embarrassing, and those about which there is legitimate, interesting debate about. Since the response was getting quite long as I wrote it up, I decided to split the essay in half based on these two broad categories. So I now present, The Fine-Tuning Argument, Part I: Parameters that Make You Say, “Really?”

As always, I welcome questions, comments, suggestions, and rebuttals.

New Essay (Social Evolution: The Origins of Ethics)

While I am not making this a New Years resolution, I am planning to post more frequently this year than I did over the last couple of months. Today, I am continuing my exploration of ethics by posting an essay concerning social evolution. This is part of an ongoing series that explores ethics from an atheistic perspective. In this essay I develop some thought experiments concerning killing others and explore the implications of various possible rules for when one should kill as a case study in how ethics develop at a societal level.

Moreso than many of my other essays, I expect that readers of mine who are atheists will likely find no new ideas here. I plead patience from such readers, because the clear bafflement of theists who try to understand how an atheist could have ethics at all demands that these obvious-to-us ideas be explicitly stated.

As always, I welcome all comments, suggestions, questions, and challenges about these ideas. Thank you for reading!

New Essay (Origins of the Ethical Imperative)

It has been a long time since my last essay. Real life end-of-year obligations are part of the explanation. Another part is that my planned next topic was a comprehensive essay on the development of a workable atheistic ethical system, and that was turning into a behemoth of an essay. I was struggling constantly with balancing comprehensiveness against tl;dr. Frankly, writing it for public consumption was intimidating me.

So, I’ve decided to break it down into multiple posts, each tackling a portion of the argument. This is therefore going to be a series of posts that together make a larger argument, the first of which I posted back in October (dealing with morality vs. ethics and the failure of divine absolute morality). Today I have posted the second essay in the series, dealing with the origins of an atheistic imperative for behaving ethically. Once complete, this series of posts will constitute not only a description of how atheists (at least some of us) view ethics, but also a rebuttal to the moral arguments for the existence of God.

As always, I am posting these essays in an effort to spawn dialog. In order for me to improve, or ultimately reject, my positions, I need to have them challenged. I therefore welcome any comments, questions, and critiques.