Scott McGreal's Blog (13)

"Zeus might be Real!" And We Might Live in a Magical Fantasy World Too!

A few months ago, The New York Times published a bizarre opinion piece by philosopher Gary Gutting called Did Zeus Exist? With apparent earnestness, Gutting argues that not only did the ancient Greeks have good reason to believe in the existence of Zeus (and presumably their other gods) but that we should take seriously the possibility that they might just have been right. Not that they were right, but that…

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Added by Scott McGreal on October 10, 2013 at 2:53am — 5 Comments

Who are the true "Islamophobes"?

To be "phobic" of something is normally taken to mean to be frightened of it. The Greek word phobos actually means fear or terror, so it would make sense to think that people who are "Islamophobic" are those who are frightened of Islam. However, in recent times, the term "islamophobic" has been used to describe those who publicly criticise Islam such as Richard Dawkins and other "new atheists" e.g. in a …

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Added by Scott McGreal on May 28, 2013 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Genocide is OK if the True God commands it – but how to know which God is the right one?

Richard Dawkins in recent writings has referred a number of times to a charming fellow named William Lane Craig, also known as "the Genocide Preacher". For those who have not heard of him he has a webpage with the preposterous title of "Reasonable Faith". In a recent Q & A page he explains why it was perfectly…

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Added by Scott McGreal on December 23, 2012 at 2:50am — 4 Comments

Whitewashing Hell: or why belief in Hell is still not very nice

There has been some discussion about the topic of Hell over at Psychology Today recently. (I have a blog there by the way in case anyone's interested!) You might even say it's a hot topic! (Sorry.) Psychologist Nathan Heflick wrote about the psychological aspects of the subject…

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Added by Scott McGreal on December 23, 2012 at 2:30am — 3 Comments

Never having to say you're wrong?

I found this cute cartoon recently, thought it was a clever way to turn the smugness of some believers on its head.

Added by Scott McGreal on October 12, 2012 at 6:00am — 7 Comments

Extreme views on what is "extremism"

According to some commentators, the recent riot in Libya in which an embassy was burned and four Americans killed  may be viewed as an extreme response to "extremism". Huffington Post blogger Ahmed Shihab-Eldin argues that:…

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Added by Scott McGreal on September 13, 2012 at 5:00am — 4 Comments

Reason versus faith? The interplay of intuition and rationality in supernatural belief

Recent papers (Gervais & Norenzayan, 2012Pennycook, Cheyne, Seli,…

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Added by Scott McGreal on September 12, 2012 at 8:00pm — 3 Comments

Hatred of Atheists plummets to new depths of stupidity

This post is of a more personal nature than usual for me. I was browsing through Reddit recently and came across a link to a bizarre article claiming that research has linked "overt atheism" and mental illness. The story cites no references and contains no links confirming that the study is real. Funnily enough, "Damien", the owner of this website says on his homepage that…

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 27, 2012 at 1:30am — 6 Comments

Is there something wrong with people who do not use Facebook? Hardly!

Recent news stories have suggested that employers may be reluctant to hire people without a Facebook profile on the grounds that Facebook usage has become so common that not having an account is seen as somehow abnormal. This concern appears to have been compounded by a lurid report in a German…

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 11, 2012 at 9:30am — 7 Comments

Mormons in the space age

Recently Richard Dawkins tweeted about the Mars Rover landing:

Yes, America STILL manages to reach Mars, despite half the country preparing to elect a man who believes he'll get a planet when he dies

For anyone not sure of what he meant by getting a planet when you die, he was referring to the Mormon belief in "exaltation". I was unaware of this myself until fairly…

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 8, 2012 at 9:00pm — 6 Comments

Some clever demotivational posters

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 6, 2012 at 4:42am — 3 Comments

The unknown purpose of the universe

Some philosophers, such as Richard Swinburne have argued that there is evidence from fine tuning that the specific laws of physics that allow intelligent life forms to exist are so improbable that it is plausible that these laws were fine tuned by god in order that intelligent life forms could exist (Leslie, 1990). Swinburne argued that a good god would have particular reason to will that beings such as humans could come to exist, e.g. so that we could develop…

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 2, 2012 at 10:30pm — 3 Comments

Explaining the universe with the unexplainable

Religious philosopher Richard Swinburne contends that the fact that the universe is actually explicable to human reason ‘points to the existence of a deity’.

As a thought experiment, imagine a universe that was not explicable to its inhabitants, where the reasons why things happened were completely opaque and not open to human understanding. People there might say that ‘God works in…

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Added by Scott McGreal on August 2, 2012 at 10:00pm — No Comments

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