New Essay (Free Will, Determinism, and Culpability)

I finished my essay at a more reasonable hour this week, so I’m hoping to have less of a headache tomorrow than I did last week.

At any rate, this week’s topic is “Free Will, Determinism, and Culpability.” In it I address the reasonability of society holding people responsible for their actions, and contrast the results with the reasonability of God holding people responsible for their actions.

I’m a bit surprised that last week’s page didn’t result in any reader comments. I suppose I scared everyone away.

Well, I hope at least some of you are back, because I value any comments and criticisms.

New Post: The Angry Atheists

So it’s still Tuesday somewhere, right? So I guess I’m officially on time. Somewhere near the International Date Line. If you squint.

This week’s essay changed character dramatically as I wrote it. It started out as a relatively rational discussion of atheist anger. It was spawned by a variety of discussions I have seen over the years, but most recently by some quotes by Kevin Sorbo expressing his bafflement about atheist anger. As I was writing, however, trying to explain what I as an atheist am not angry about, and then what I actually am angry about, I, perhaps not surprisingly, started to get angry. And that anger started to bleed through into my composition, first in a more liberal usage of visual memes than I usually allow myself, and later in the actual writing. 

My first instinct was to delete the post. After all, such anger isn’t conducive to the type of even-handed, rational dialog that I am hoping to encourage with this blog. But I then decided that posting it was the right thing to do. Humans are only partially rational beings; our emotional side is key to our character as well. Like it or not, whether it is comfortable for me or not, my emotional responses to important issues are a real aspect of my positions. And, for anyone engaged in dialog with me about theism and atheism, those emotional responses are important to both acknowledge and address. So, with this post, I am laying myself a bit more bare than normal, and the result is likely to be jarring, particularly for theists. It may very well come across as an attack, though the essay is not meant to be one. It is meant to be an explanation, which I hope will provide you with some useful insights into my thinking.

As always, I welcome comments and criticism.

Back in the saddle

So I’ve missed the last few weeks of posting. As I mentioned, my family and I have moved to a new state, and so I have been quite busy with real life rather than with online forums. But I am trying to get back into the swing of things, and have been working on an essay that I promised some time ago, discussing how it is possible to live a life entirely without faith. That essay is now done and posted. It is probably a bit more rambling that I would like, but I figured it better to get a draft out than to keep working on it. After all, I am fully intending to revise all of these documents based on comments that come in as I can.

My next essay is going to be my response to Pascal’s Wager. (Edited to add: Essay on Pascal’s Wager now added.)