Discussion Techniques: “Why?” and “How do you know?”

Jul 21, 2012 Comments Off by

When you’re locked in vigorous discussion with someone on the topic of religion or related subjects, I find the temptation is to try and present counter-arguments which describe what you think is correct. However, I don’t think this is the easiest or most effective way to do it. In most arguments, it seems the easiest [...]

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A Business in Charity Clothing

Jun 21, 2012 1 Comment by

It has been frequently remarked that churches show strong similarities to businesses. The evolution of such schemes is obvious: the church is set up so that people can gain better lines of communication to the core of their religion, but the church must be built and renovated, and its many services maintained, so it must [...]

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Monopoly on Marriage

Apr 03, 2012 Comments Off by

Sometimes people wonder why atheists, homosexual or not, take an interest in the equal marriage debate. The response is simple: the opposition to equal marriage frequently originates from religious beliefs. The argument which presently seems to dominate the debate is over who has the right to define marriage. This word ‘define’ is not one we [...]

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The Next Confusing Word: Fundamentalism

Mar 14, 2012 Comments Off by

Recently there was another religion-based debate on The Big Questions which discussed one question: whether fundamentalism undermines faith. The show itself was thoroughly interesting, as it often is, even if this episode was an exercise in how many mad people you can get into one room; it was more interesting to simply marvel at the ridiculousness of [...]

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Why Doesn’t Personal Experience Count As Evidence?

Jan 10, 2012 Comments Off

I dislike categorising people into only two groups, but the conclusions I will draw in this article I find to be independent of this particular distinction, hence let us consider the assuredly religious and the decidedly non-religious. Of the many traits that separate the two groups, one which appears to be crucial, and which arises [...]

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The Bible Is Not The World’s Best-Selling Book

Dec 20, 2011 4 Comments

Whenever religious debates near the topic of the bible, often when considering it as a piece of literature, some advocates are quick to announce that the bible is the best-selling book in the world, of all time. Whilst it is not explicitly said, the insinuation with this is that because so many people have purchased [...]

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Science Is Not The New Religion

Dec 19, 2011 Comments Off

There have been two significant potential discoveries in the world of physics in recent months. Firstly that neutrinos, a type of subatomic particle, seem to have been observed travelling faster than the speed of light, the universal speed limit. And secondly that the Higg’s Boson, another subatomic particle, which is responsible for the mass property [...]

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The Dangers of the Word “Belief”

Nov 20, 2011 Comments Off

The more one delves into the discussions around religion, the more one gets used to certain items of terminology being thrown around. Over time, all words take on a very specific, and often subtle meaning, depending on who uses them and how. This seems to be the case for the word “belief”, which since the [...]

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The Evolution of Religion

Oct 19, 2011 Comments Off

It is becoming blindingly apparent that if the senior members of the older religions do not move to modernise their institutions’ standpoints, their institutions, and possibly religions, will die out. The major world religions are increasingly under siege from the fair-minded secular who dislike the conservative and sometimes tyrannical views. Religions are expected to keep [...]

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Tradition Is Not A Valid Argument

Sep 23, 2011 Comments Off

This is one of the rarer arguments that emerges in debates. The general idea is that because a certain country has always been tied to a particular religion, or was founded on certain religious principles, that its people should therefore continue to do things according to that religion. There are two obvious examples of when [...]

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Atheism and Science

Sep 20, 2011 Comments Off

Even the religious are starting to notice that one of the natural philosophical partners to science, is atheism. Bizarrely, this seems to confuse some religious people, as though they weren’t expecting it. Any atheist will tell you, that atheism is the only logically valid philosophy with regards to the existence of gods. It is the [...]

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“I Used To Be An Atheist …”

Sep 17, 2011 Comments Off

This is a common opening line used in arguments by the supposedly newly religious. It’s nonsense and here’s why. Firstly, there’s no reason why it is true. It could easily be just a persuasive technique aimed at bullying the other person into submission by suggesting they are behind in their thinking. Religious people like to [...]

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What Is Generalisation? When Is It Relevant?

Sep 12, 2011 Comments Off

Generalisation is a method used a lot in logic. The easiest to understand definition is when a concept is applied to a broader range of situations. We hear the principle of generalisation in debates most often with regards to extremism. One person might suggest that the views of the extremist reveal a flaw present in [...]

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Why Don’t Personal Experiences Count As Evidence?

Sep 02, 2011 Comments Off

When citing the evidence they have for the existence of a god, many religious people will give examples of their own personal experience. On every such occasion, these references are discarded. The reason is simple. In science, all measurable effects are measured several times, often in several different ways by different scientists. The methods are [...]

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Do You Have The Right To Be Respected?

Aug 30, 2011 Comments Off

No. Here’s why. The first thing we must do is define respect. This is quite tricky; it’s common usage gives it quite a loose definition. Generally people would say that it is to not arbitrarily criticise or insult someone, or to be unjustifiably condescending. One might also consider respect to be conversational equality. Clearly it [...]

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Religious Symbols At Work: What Are The Limits?

Aug 27, 2011 Comments Off

Some of the most controversial cases to have come about in recent years on the subject of religion are those involving people who were banned from wearing certain items of religious symbolism at work. But in each case, nobody knows what the result will be, because nobody is sure how to resolve such cases. Initially [...]

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Philosophy Is For Everyone

Aug 26, 2011 Comments Off

There is a small number of theist promoters, who can be found lurking in the low-viewer-count videos on the internet, who seem to be suggesting philosophy requires years of professional training before competency can be achieved. The most blatant statement of this kind can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAS0Gcq8Mvo William Lane Craig is attempting to discredit Professor [...]

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Can You Think Evolution Is True And Believe In God?

Aug 22, 2011 1 Comment

This question partially depends on one’s definition of a god, but is more effected by other beliefs and doctrine that one holds. Let’s consider a single god, who is simply a god of the gaps, whose purpose is to create the universe and possibly have some interaction with it as well. With this definition, the [...]

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The Ongoing War

Aug 06, 2011 Comments Off

Atheism has been around for a long time. Depending on how particular one is, and one’s definition of atheism, it could be said that atheism has been around forever, since before human beings, there was no religion to speak of. But there is clearly an atheist movement, recently fuelled by the rise of new atheism. [...]

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Why So Patronising?

Aug 05, 2011 Comments Off

On many videos of debates, discussions, question and answer sessions and so on, it can sometimes be seen that a religious person will descend to the level of insults and offensive commands to try and enforce their point. A small number of people seem to like pressuring other people into agreement with fear or amateur [...]

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