Your Brain Lies To You, What To Do?

The evidence is in, your brain lies to you. LINK. What's the solution? Train your brain to think better. It can be done. Be willing to question everything. Make doubt a habit. Where there is scholarly disagreement between peers then suspend judgment. Accept only sufficient objective evidence concerning matters of fact. Think exclusively in terms of the probabilities. Think like a scientist.

What ISIS Really Wants

An excellent essay with the above title was written by Graeme Wood for The Atlantic. In addition to it read What The Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According To Their Own Expert. Both essays are very instructive. The advice is to let ISIS slowly bleed itself to death. See what that means.

Jerry Coyne Reports This Was Banned by Facebook


Sam Harris On Evidence and Logic


Bruce Gerencser's Deconversion Story

As a former Pastor, Bruce mentioned some authors that helped him deconvert (as it's called). Just today Jerry Coyne wrote about his story and stressed the value of published books, which apparently is my specialty. We're making a difference!

It’s None of Your Damn Business! Financial Corruption in Modern Christianity

The Grahams: Three Generations of  Wealth and Greed

"Share Jesus with your friends." (Then have them share their wallets with us!)

I can’t count the number of times have I've heard stated (while pointing out the rich life styles of big time evangelists such as Benny Hinn,  Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Myers and Jesse Duplantis (to name but a few)); that while there are some Televangelist who exploit their position for monetary gain, Billy Graham has been the poster evangelist for truth and honesty . . . one of the truly great Christian preachers who is only here to preach Christ.

Responding to Christian Casuistry: Theodicy and the Fallen World

There are two principal ways that Christian believers dodge legitimate questions about their deity’s inadequate management of the universe—In fact one Benedict Arnold strategy of throwing one’s fellow human under the bus. First, there is free will, which God is powerless to abrogate unless it’s to get that really cute guy on Christian Mingle to fall in love with you. God wants us to love him freely, and we prefer to love orgasms; therefore, tornadoes.

Getting Outside Ourselves

I recently responded to a rather nice blog post by Herb Silverman as follows:

The average lifespan of a Drosophila fruit fly is about 30 days. Imagine what it observes from its perspective: young humans, old humans, middle-aged humans, wandering through the world. No single fruit fly observes a human of one sort turning into another. From its "pre-theoretic" point of view, it only sees "types" of humans that are more or less "fixed" across time (the 30 days of its life). There's no direct evidence of human aging in any single fruit fly generation. Then a particularly clever fruit fly comes along and claims that -- all intuitions to the contrary -- one type of human can actually turn into another: little children can get taller, become adults, and then become gray and wizened. I understand how this might be difficult for fruit flies to accept. And yet it's true: people do age! We're in the exact same position with respect not to development, but to evolution. I understand why evolution (speciation, transmutation) is hard to believe. But a lack of imagination and openness to the evidence is no excuse in 2015. ...

Tristan Vick's New Book Exposes Randal Rauser As a Rhetorician Without Much Substance

Tristan Vick is the Advocatus Atheist and has interacted with Randal Rauser for a few years. This past weekend Vick released a new book dealing with the rhetoric of Rauser, titled The Swedish Fish, Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbit's Foot, which Edward Babinski and Robert M. Price helped him on.I've seen an advanced copy and I recommended it in these words:
Randal Rauser prides himself on reaching out to atheists. But if Tristan Vick’s book is any indication, he’s failing. He’s failing precisely because he’s not really interested in searching for truth but in defending what he already believes is truth. Although Vick doesn’t have the credentials Rauser has, it doesn’t take much to find fault with the rhetoric that Rauser substitutes in place of good arguments. Tristan Vick effectively demonstrates he will say just about anything in defense of his faith. Well done Tristan!

I'm going recap how Rauser has done so far, and give my predictions of upcoming projects.

The Hijab Is Still A Hate Symbol

August 15, 2012. A gun wielding man named Floyd Lee Corkins attacks the offices of the homophobic Christian group Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, DC, intending to kill "as many people as possible", yet is stopped from killing anyone by a man who gets seriously injured in the process. Even though he later pleads guilty and is now serving a long prison sentence, in the opinion of FRC chair Tony Perkins, he is not the only one responsible for the attack.

The True Religion Trap

The Des Moines Register has published my comments on The True Religion Trap, which is one of the most dangerous ideas permeating our society—from the average citizen to our world leaders.

Refuting the "Fine Tuning" Argument for God (Sean Carroll)


Physicist Sean Carroll lays some of the problems with the popular "fine tuning" arguments for a god. 

You can check out Carroll's post-debate reflections on his blog here:

Reading the Bible Without The Veil of Dogma: The Father Sickens, Jesus Heals

If there is an omnipotent being, is it really that marvelous that he can cure blindness?

Quote of the Day On Ridicule, By G.W. Foote

British atheist and Freethinker George William Foote (1850-1915) wrote:
Goldsmith said there are two classes of people who dread ridicule–priests and fools. They cry out that it is no argument, but they know it is. It has been found the most potent form of argument. Euclid used it in his immortal Geometry; for what else is the reductio ad absurdum which he sometimes employs? Elijah used it against the priests of Baal. The Christian fathers found it effective against the Pagan superstitions, and in turn it was adopted as the best weapon of attack on them by Lucian and Celsus. Ridicule has been used by Bruno, Erasmus, Luther, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire, by nearly all the great emancipators of the human mind. ["On Ridicule" Seasons of Freethought, 2013, page 260. See the tag "Ridicule" below for others who embrace it.]

A Video Expressing the Outsider Test for Faith

Sometimes I think people are using my material without giving me credit. Nonetheless, this is a very good video and I'm happy my ideas are getting out there. I may have linked to it before. Keep in mind I don't endorse every specific thing said. The only person I agree with 100% is me, but even then there are times I disagree later. ;-)

Dr. Graham Oppy's New Book "Describing Gods" is Available!

Check it out: Describing Gods: An Investigation of Divine Attributes.It's sure to be important and it's sure to present a devastating case against God belief.

Could This Be My Conversation Stopper?

On Facebook I listed a few criteria for accepting friend requests. One person quoted one of them (in yellow) and responded in a comment. This will be my standard response to such efforts. Since belief springs from a blinded ignorance and since as a non-believer I have read extensively, then I have much more to teach most believers than they could possibly teach me.

Bob Jones University: Using Science to Prove the Bible

Bob Jones University Seal
While many conservative Christian schools require a affirmation of faith in the Bible, Bob Jones University carries this process one step further by having two of their science professors offer an apologetic defense of the Bible . . . something one would expect of their mentally programmed Bible Faculty (one cannot teach religion at BJU with a degree in Christian studies from another institution.  If you want proof, then checkout their Faculty – Division of Bible and Seminary and Graduate School of Religion.)    

 In order to teach in the Science Department at BJU, all professors are required to sign a yearly statement of faith which includes affirming the following dogmas.

An Affirmation of Biblical Creation at Bob Jones University

Blaspheme or Else...

Dr. Hector Avalos has written a newspaper column on the necessity of blasphemy in a secular and religiously pluralistic society.

John Loftus On "The Outsider Test for Faith" for the Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference


Ridicule and Shaming Work, So Let's Use Them. The Arguments Behind This Are Solid and Factual

Who says ridicule, and now shaming, doesn't work? No one, probably, but it does, most emphatically, as I've written in several posts to date. Now there is a call to ridicule and shame the anti-vaccine movement, just as we do to the KKK. Now, let's consider the impact of ridicule and shame on religions like Christianity and Islam. No wonder Muslims don't like being ridiculed. They know where it can lead.

Iceland Is Building a Temple to Its Pagan Gods

The God Thor
"The God of Thunder is making a triumphant return to Iceland. After 1,000 years without a temple of worship to the Norse gods, Iceland is resurrecting its pagan roots."

You can read the full article here:  Why Iceland Is Building a Temple to Its Pagan Gods

Two Important Upcoming Atheist Books

One is by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning, due in April. I wrote a blurb for this book.

The other one is by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, due in May. I hope to review it, which I'm sure I'll love it!He tells me that he highly recommends my book The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is Truein it.

Order both of these books now. It helps create some buzz. Here they are again, along with some other important recent atheist books I recommend:

"True Islam" and violent extremism

Now the dust has settled on the Charlie Hebdo affair (though, of course, there is no respite in the Middle East, or in Nigeria or Somalia), I thought it might be a good time to post this article here (it was originally at my blog here). The idea is not to demonise Islam unnecessarily - that helps no one - but to give credit (!) where credit is due. I am interested in truth. I want to look, with this piece, at whether Islam has causal responsibility in some important part, in its core ideals and motifs, for such violence. Buckle up.

You have a Personal Experience of God? That Tells Me Jack About Reality

The problem with theism is not only that it is false, but encourages cosmic myopia. In the face of countless competing claims, the believer insists that it is his story that answers the world's important questions.

My Chapter On Slavery Is a "Faith-Destroyer"?

Someone named Bryan on Twitter said this to me: "Your chapter in your new anthology on slavery is a faith-destroyer. Well done." Music to my ears of course, since, well, I agree. ;-) Go get it, now! Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails.

John Loftus vs David Marshall: "Does Christianity Pass the Outsider Test for Faith?" Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my discussion/debate with David Marshall on the Unbelievable? podcast. LINK. Part 1 can be found here. Since Part 1 was aired last week I've written a three part review of David Marshall's book to be read here, seen in reverse chronological order. There the listener can see exactly why my last comment in Part 2 of this program was that Marshall's book is "entirely irrelevant to the evidence demanded for testing one's faith. And I find that even though Randal Rauser has switched sides apparently, by recommending this book...Marshall doesn't even understand the problem." Now aside from what I've written earlier about Marshall's book, there are three more important things to say about it.

When All's Said And Done About Petitionary Prayer...


Why Are So Many Philosophers of Religion Theists?

Why? I'll tell you why. Because theists gravitate to that field, that's why. In fact, given that they do gravitate to that field, the fact that there aren't MORE theists working in it tells us something interesting about the philosophy of religion (PoR) itself. I've been arguing that the PoR should end in the secular universities. A new study confirms what I'm saying since the discipline isn't even able to keep those believers who enter it! That's the take away from a recent study of the figures.

Stephen Fry On God the Monster


Hat tip, Jerry Coyne.

Picture of the Day. A New Definition of Faith. And Needing a Little Help From My Friends


Christian intellectuals chide me when I say faith is irrational. "No it's not" they say. "You're so ignorant Loftus." Really? Seriously? Okay then, please explain why I saw this picture on Facebook just now. Anyone else find some good ones on faith for the faithful? And the new definition of mine?

"Faith is trusting in a god whom we know is trustworthy because we have faith that he's trustworthy." --You can quote me on this! ;-)

Dr. Tarico: 10 Reasons Why the Heavenly World is Actually a Helluva World

Valerie just keeps zinging them out. A few of her reasons that a heavenly world is instead a helluva world will seem quite astounding for believers I think. But they're all reasonable. Heaven ain't so heavenly even on Christian grounds. Christan, seriously, you want to go there? Immediately go read her essay: 10 Reasons Popular Versions of Christian Heaven Would be Hell.

Contrast what Tarico writes with what Randal Rauser wrote in his book, What on Earth Do We Know about Heaven?. Care to investigate it? A-Unicornist did, and he reviewed Rauser's book right here. He shows that at times Rauser engaged in "pretty standard-issue making shit up." Not so with Tarico. She's examined 10 popular Christian beliefs about heaven and shows why we wouldn't want to be there. I know I wouldn't and I doubt any thoughtful person would too. Many Christians think heaven is like that but wouldn't like being there! This would be belly on the floor laughable, if it wasn't so sad and so dangerous.

Good! Kurt Willems Challenges Christians to Give Up On Hell For One Year

Kurt Willems, who writes for the Pangea blog at the Progressive Christian Channel for Patheos, challenges Christians to give up believing in hell for one year (however conceived).
What do I mean exactly? I want to invite readers to contemplate giving up hell for a year. For one year of your life, become a practical universalist. Live as though hell doesn’t exist. I dare you. LINK.
Ryan Bell did a year's time without God and became an atheist. Maybe Kurt Willems will do likewise with hell (he's already there with his conditional immortality view)?

I think these types of challenges are what the cool kids do. So if you want to be a cool kid do likewise. This year follow the example of Kurt Willems. He suggests "our relationships with nonChristians would be revolutionized" if Christians did this. Why? Because for most Christians hell dictates "how we relate to others." So, "With less reason for agenda, these friendships would become mutually beneficial." Right that!

Here's my question based on Kurt's challenge. What does hell have to do with anything? Tell me, I implore you. If you gave hell up for a year what, if anything, would change? If something does change then explain why. I'm constantly told that Christians believe and live the Christian life because God loves them, not because they are afraid of hell. When I get a chance to speak I say hell is indeed a major factor, it's just that Christians don't realize it until AFTER they reject their faith. Well Christians, here's your chance to show us. See what you would believe and how you would live if there was no hell. Go ahead. What do you have to lose?

Here's an unintended consequence of Kurt's challenge that he may not have thought about. Never fear though. I'll tell him. If hell doesn't exist Christians should have no fear of attending Freethought and atheist meetings, nor any fear of reading atheist literature. They would have no fear of meeting my three Debunking Christianity Challenges if hell doesn't exist. Why? Because believers who are not in deathly fear of hell can dispassionately examine their faith for the first time in their lives. Go on. Try it this year. I dare you!