I expect discussions between christians and atheists to get edgy at times. We are talking about important matters and the two ‘sides’ are poles apart. But some responses seem extreme, even to people on the same side.
Why do you believe what you do – about religion, politics, ethics or life itself?
Many sceptics about religion are evidentialists, that is, they believe we should proportion our belief according to the evidence. Different disciplines (e.g. law, science, history, journalism and everyday life) require different types of evidence, but the principle seems reasonable.
But what if the sceptics are ignoring their own creed?
The Daily Telegraph in Sydney has been mounting an extensive disinformation campaign on climate change for years now. The tactic is simple, and apparently effective, if not truthful – latch onto any isolated “fact” that seems to show some evidence of a cool world, ignore all the facts, evidence and reports to the contrary, and sneer rather than argue logically. And make sure all your columnists, cartoonists and featured letter writers are ‘on message’.
So now that 2013 is over, what does the data tell us in Australia?
Recently I was following a debate between a christian and a non-believer, and the non-believer said that he (I presume it was “he”) would require “irrefutable evidence” to consider changing his mind about God. It seemed like a rather stringent requirement to me, so I started thinking ….
What things could we reasonably say we have “irrefutable evidence” for?
Benjamin Corey’s Formerly Fundie blog is one I read regularly. Benjamin mostly writes, from a slightly radical perspective, about christianity and church in America. But his latest blog (Why I Just Couldn’t Be An Atheist, Even If I Wanted To) discussed how he and an atheist friend sometimes discuss their respective beliefs.
Previously I wrote about recent research on Ways we can try to find happiness, but in the end they don’t seem to work. So psychologists have found that pleasure seeking and materialism may provide short term pleasure but they don’t make for a happy or satisfied life. So what does?
Initial note This is unfortunately a sometimes negative post, and slightly longer than usual. I’m sorry about that. I have tried to be fair and positive, but I think it was important to address this issue. Both christians and non-believers seem to want to prove that their belief makes for a better society and the(…)
I’ve long been interested in the science of what makes people happy, and what doesn’t, and have written about it often on this blog and website. It’s a subject of important research, and new studies and reports are appearing all the time. Here’s the results of some significant studies that have been reported in the(…)
The christian religion has lost numbers in most western countries over the past half century, but there are still people becoming christians too. But what leads them to believe in Jesus? Do they just believe what they were brought up to believe? Do they sift the evidence? Or do they experience God in some way?(…)
When considering a contentious question, it can be helpful to see how much thoughtful protagonists concede to the other side, for this is an indicator of the range of reasonable views. For example, if a thoughtful and knowledgable christian concedes an area of doubt about Jesus, there is a fair chance that doubt has some(…)
“The moon rose over an open field.” Teen angst. Most of us experienced it at one time. The teenage years, and into our early 20s are a time of new experiences that can often lead to feelings of extreme helplessness, alienation, even suicide. Most of us get over it in time – most of the(…)