Aug 27 2010

Slip Slidin’ Away

In an episode of Seinfeld, the title character befriends Keith Hernandez, the famous major league first baseman. Hernandez promptly invites Seinfeld to help him move. Kramer and George are stunned at the man’s audacity. “The next thing you know,” they warn their old friend, “he’ll have you driving him to the airport.”

This is a classic application of the slippery slope argument: It is wrong for Seinfeld to take this (seemingly) innocent first step because it will slide uncontrollably into a morally undesirable situation.

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Jun 1 2010

An Insane Simplicity

The ever-quotable Chesterton once credited the materialist’s explanation of the world with having “a sort of insane simplicity.”[1] Materialists derive inordinate pleasure from the physical stuff of the universe while demeaning everything that truly matters to everyone else, namely, beauty, purpose, morality, mind and, of course, God.

It is important to realize that metaphysical materialism provides the overarching framework for Darwinian evolution. We are so used to seeing evolution invoked to “explain” everything from rape to gossip that it is tempting to treat evolution as a self-contained worldview. But evolution is in fact a core doctrine of materialism.

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Nov 30 2009

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Along with attacks on Christianity that are timed to coincide with Easter and Christmas, we must also endure attacks on love in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. As a dense, clumsy male, February 14th is not a day on which I tend to excel. Frankly, it is hard being romantic and a curmudgeon at the same time. Knowing that Valentine’s Day is largely a creation of the greeting card industry does nothing to curtail my curmudgeonly inclinations.

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Aug 25 2009

From One Man

Maybe it was a lack of caffeine. Maybe it was low blood sugar. No one really knows why, but at the dawn of the so-called Enlightenment, Isaac La Peyrère totally flubbed his reading of Romans 5:12-14. This momentary lapse of reason added fuel to the smoldering embers of two seemingly unrelated ideas: higher criticism and colonial racism.[1]

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Jul 18 2009

Can Humanists Offer the Good Life?

[tab:Introduction]

Though we consider the religious forms and ideas of our fathers no longer adequate, the quest for the good life is still the central task for mankind. Humanist Manifesto I, 1933 [1]

Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now. Humanist Manifesto II, 1973 [2]

Remy, the star of Ratatouille, is in love with food. His rat family is in love with food, too, but in a very different sense. Remy loves food for its smell, texture, taste and color. He loves food as an end in itself. He loves food as a medium of art. He loves food for the experiences it creates in others. For his brother rats, food is nothing more than a means to an end. Food satisfies their basic needs. Food relieves the pain of an empty stomach. Clearly, Remy stands out from the pack. He is inspired by the great Chef Gusteau who is spreading a bold and surprising message: “Anyone can cook.” If ‘anyone’ includes rats, Remy reasons, then there is nothing to stop him becoming a cook as well, and so the adventure begins.

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