Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

Against “Against Intellectual Property”

In which I find N. Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property generally wanting, due to the skewed nature of his libertarian ethical presuppositions, and the problem he has in grounding any kinds of rights whatsoever.

Fisking the chieftain of the atheist village

An exchange with an atheist whose confidence is inversely proportional to his competence.

Should I save a zygote over a baby?

If I don’t, then obviously it’s not murder to kill a zygote, lol.

I am not an “anti-vaxxer”

But I didn’t vaccinate my children.

If God is real, why does the world suck?

Or a question to similar effect—with similar answers.

How pro-gay atheists “argue”

An illustration of what to expect from “freethinkers” if you dare to buck political correctness.

Why God can’t be evil

An exceptionally tardy response to Stephen Law’s inept challenge.

“Who is my neighbor?”

Pro-choice Christians like to criticize people like me by suggesting that atheists are good Samaritans to women with unwanted pregnancies. To deny them abortion, is to be the uncompassionate priest or Levite who crosses on the other side of the road. The tragic irony is that they have utterly missed the precise point of the parable.

Do we have a duty to re-ensoul vampires?

Or, why people should stop treating Joss Whedon as smarter than he is.

Why shouldn’t we bomb abortion clinics?

I’m not arguing that we should. But it’s hard to find a principled reason not to.

Nepotism

Is nepotism always as bad as many people assume?

Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape, challenged

A refutation of Sam Harris’ book, The Moral Landscape, in 956 words.

Thorny problems with karma #5: the sustainability paradox

Even assuming karma can get started in the first place, how does it keep going while still letting off enough steam to allow everyone to eventually escape?

Why do atheists proselytize?

Evangelical atheism seems to be on the rise. Which is odd, when you think about it.

3 reasons atheists should treat morality as superstitious nonsense

Atheists have been complacently borrowing Christian ideas about morality for too long. It’s time for that to end, along with Christianity itself.

Freedom & virtue: coping mechanisms for atheists

Are atheists two-faced for criticizing religious belief as a “crutch”, when they themselves believe in a purely physical universe that includes freedom and virtue?

What is blasphemy?

What does it mean to take God’s name in vain…and why does it matter?

Thorny problems with karma #3: charity is selfish and inconsiderate

Why should we take karmic worldviews seriously when they encourage cruelty and indifference over charity and mercy, and have produced the most backward, poverty-stricken cultures in the world?

Thorny problems with karma #2: who sets the rules?

If karma is basically a system for balancing your morally bad choices, who exactly is it that makes the moral rules you must follow?

Atheist ethicists: not as ethical as you might think

Some thoughts in response to a desire utilitarian’s defense of abortion.

Why don’t religious people mind their own business?

Why do Christians “stick their noses in” about women getting abortions? Isn’t it nobody’s business but the woman’s?

Useful thoughts for debating abortionists

A scattering of helpful ideas for anyone who has to debate the issue of abortion.

6 very strange reasons to send your child to school

Six exceedingly odd and equally common arguments for sending your child to a public school (instead of homeschooling). Refuted, obviously.

4 reasons the consent argument for abortion is sociopathic

The consent argument is the most popular and vigorously-defended way for pro-abortionists to show that abortion is ethically justified—and that the abolitionist position is unreasonable. But what if their argument trades on hidden ethical concessions that, in any other situation, we’d think were psychopathic?

Why abortion is irrefutably equivalent to murder

A simple 3-step argument that anyone can understand, showing that abortion is morally identical to murder.

Why won’t Randal Rouser answer some simple questions?

Calling Randal Rauser: why won’t you answer some simple questions?

A bit of proof that men are not basically good

A simple demonstration, through the use of some eye-opening studies on rape, that Christianity is correct to claim that men are inherently evil.

“No one is righteous”…metaphorically speaking

A polemic against the argument that, in light of the apparently contradicting evidence of our moral intuitions, total depravity should be interpreted metaphorically.

Whence Cometh Value?

An argument undercutting non-theistic attempts to defend their value systems, by demonstrating that value itself is incoherent in a universe without God.

An atheistic greater good argument

A brief interaction with an atheistic argument that the existence of evil, under Christianity’s own presuppositions, disproves the existence of God by contradicting his desire for the greatest good. This argument was forwarded by Stan (and also John Loftus) on Debunking Christianity.

Education and child abuse

A critical response to the accusation that teaching children beliefs which contradict secular science is a form of child abuse. This post is a reply to Ken Perrott’s article ‘”Biblically correct” child abuse?’

God and goodness: a new question from Victor Reppert

Continuing the discussion of God and goodness, Victor extends a request to Calvinists for clarification: “in virtue of what is the “God” of Scripture, as understood by Calvinists, thought of as good”? As always, I invite you to read the full article; but let me summarize:

If we reject the view that things are good simply because God has the power to say that they are, then in virtue of what do we say that they are good? To appeal to Scripture is to beg the question, because God wrote Scripture; so if he is in fact an omniscient fiend, then his saying that he is good is no guarantee that he is. If we reject the notion that God is good merely on the basis of his own fiat; and that we can know it based only on our own moral intuitions; then how can we know it? Since Victor has posed this question as a request rather than a refutation, let me respond in kind.

God and goodness: a second reply to Victor Reppert

Victor has posted a further response in our ongoing discussion regarding the nature of good as presented in the Bible, and how it compares to our moral intuitions. I invite you to read it in full; it is not very long. I will quote only pertinent segments here. The gist is that (I) Scripture only indirectly addresses the question in which we are interested (is predestination good?); (II) it is only authoritative once we already believe in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God, so a preexisting conception of goodness is logically necessary to belief in the Christian God; and (III) it is unclear the extent to which we can get precise meaning out of Scripture via historical-grammatical analysis.

God and goodness: a reply to Victor Reppert

A couple of weeks ago, Victor Reppert posted an argument against compatibilism, and invited a general critique. This argument looks as follows (I’m paraphrasing since Victor’s original formulation had some typos):

1. If compatibilism is true, then God could have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
2. If God is omnipotent and perfectly good, then, were it possible, he would have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
3. But God did not create the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
4. Therefore, compatiblism is false.

On Freedom, Responsibility, and Meaning

In the coffee shop today I happened to cast my eye over a National Geographic, and noticed an interview with Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project. The interview was conducted by John Horgan, who no doubt has some claim to fame of which I am quite unaware. Collins is described as a […]