As a child, I found myself preoccupied with topics such as archeology, paleontology, and astronomy. One of the most influential of all perhaps, was Egyptian history and culture. Fascinated with everything Egypt from its architecture to its polytheistic belief system, it quickly became an obsession. My family was never very religious to begin with, but the notion of more than one deity, especially to a child growing up in suburban southern California, intrigued me. I remember telling myself that the existence of more than one supreme being was complete nonsense. Continue reading
As a requirement for my honors philosophy course a few semesters back, I was given the task of examining arguments presented by Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz, and Baruch Spinoza both of whom asserted that god must necessarily exist. While their conclusions were in agreement, the premises for both arguments were very different. Leibniz favored teleological reasoning, asserting that nothing may exist as a brute fact, rather that the existence of a thing is entirely dependent upon its reason for being. Spinoza argues from a more mechanistic approach to the universe. Continue reading
This past Tuesday, February 4 2013, I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the long-anticipated conversation between Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and Answers In Genesis founder Ken Ham, in which each man presented his case for evolution and creationism respectively. More specifically, it was a platform upon which both men argued the for the validity of each discipline as a viable scientific model describing our world. While many secularists and religious people have argued that this conversation was long past due, I am inclined to side with Dan Arel, contributing writer for Richard Dawkins’ website, when he suggested that Nye should not debate with Ham because it lends a level of credence to the argument that creationism qualifies as science. As expected, Nye outlined his argument with scientific evidence, while Ham attempted to discredit it through the written word of the bible and distortion of fact. In every sense of the word, the exchange was nauseating. Not only did Ham fail to formulate a valid argument for creationism as a science, he contradicted his own claims and failed to substantiate his claim that students were being misinformed by learning evolution.
“I don’t plan on giving up my religious beliefs. I don’t feel that I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I’m participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for.” As quoted in the Huffington Post, this statement was made to Fox and Friends by the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, in response to a court ruling requiring him to provide wedding cakes to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. This ruling came about as a response to a suit filed against him by the ACLU. He is one of several business owners who have come under scrutiny for refusing services to same-sex weddings and receptions recently. Similar cases involving florists and wedding photographers continue to spring up around the country, and they all maintain the same argument; their religious freedom grants them liberty to turn same-sex couples away. Because the religious doctrine to which they subscribe deems homosexuality a sin, they contend that being mandated to provide his services for a gay wedding undermines those views. While it is commendable that business owners wish to maintain the integrity of their convictions, the use of religion as a justification for denying a same-sex couple is seriously flawed, and, at its heart, insincere.
Image Courtesy of: Smashing Magazine
If you stay apprised of current events, then you are no doubt familiar with the audacious rhetoric frequently voiced by Fox News personalities. On Fox, all topics are up for debate and Christmas is one that makes the cut year after year. The conventional wisdom among the folks at Fox is that America has declared “War on Christmas.” This alleged war assumes many forms, be it the non-Christians who express their right to have their own religious iconography displayed in public venues, the muti-racial versions of Santa Claus, or customer service employees mandated by their companies to use the phrase “Happy Holidays,” and not “Merry Christmas.” In short, according to Fox, Christians are having their freedom of religious expression suppressed. Sorry to say that not only is there no “War on Christmas,” but Fox’s reaction to the fictional fight paradoxically engenders the very dissonance it endeavors to alleviate.