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Can you tell me why you believe?

May 8th, 2019

I sometimes get asked for the reasons why I believe. Sometimes it is curiosity, sometimes people are desperate to know why they should believe. Occasionally people ask what sort of reasons are good, with the implication that some reasons are somehow inappropriate. So here’s the results of many years of thought and reading …..

Susan Blackmore: there’s no ‘me’!

April 29th, 2019

Have you ever wondered: if the cells in our bodies change every 10 years or so, am I still the same person I was 40 years ago?

Can we be human without free will?

April 2nd, 2019

Do human beings have free will? Can we choose among different possible actions and beliefs? Or are we controlled by our genetics, or by blind physical processes in our brains? And if we couldn’t make genuine choices, would that diminish us? Would we be any different from animals, except a little smarter … perhaps? And […]

Is science the best way to know everything?

March 22nd, 2019

I’ve often heard it said, especially by non-believers in discussion with believers. Science is the best, perhaps the only reliable way to know things. Everything else is subjective. Is this true? The question raises some interesting issues. These musings are a response to a post, A big weekend in Boston by Connor Wood, and a […]

Claim a fallacy and win the argument?

March 12th, 2019

The internet sure has opened up space for people to argue. We’ve got plenty of quantity but not always so much quality! Often an argument is met with the claim that the proponent has committed a fallacy. Sometimes the accusation is true, but not always. Here are three alleged fallacies I have come across recently. […]

Did the universe have a beginning? Did it arise from nothing?

February 24th, 2019

I suppose it is quite natural to look at the night sky, especially away from city lights, and be in awe. When we learn that the universe apparently contains something like 100 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars, our amazement and awe increase. It is also natural to ask where it all came […]

Chinese New Year, modern Buddhism and modern Christianity

February 5th, 2019

It is Chinese New Year, and last Saturday we visited the celebrations at Hurstville, the suburb where we both grew up and now home to a large Chinese community. We watched the parade and checked out the stalls, and found plenty to interest us.

The evolution of hell

January 20th, 2019

This scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead (c 1275 BCE), shows the dead scribe Hunefer’s heart being weighed by the canine-headed Anubis on the scale of Maat. The ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result. If his heart is lighter than the feather of truth, Hunefer is allowed to pass into […]

An ultimate explanation for everything?

January 10th, 2019

Humans are a curious species, and we like to answer the question “Why?” Some of the really big questions concern why does the universe exist and what is the purpose of life? Some say God is the answer to those questions. Others say there is no answer to the questions. Still others say that science […]

The Exodus (book review)

December 29th, 2018

What should we make of the story of the Exodus in the Old Testament? Two million people escape slavery in Egypt after a series of savage plagues, with God leading the way. They escape the pursuing Egyptian army by walking through the waters of the Red Sea, which God miraculously parts, then closes on the […]