Category: Foundation

The Winter Olympics have come to a close, and one can’t help but wonder: What if there were an Olympics for science? Could there be a gold medal in experiment replication? Record times achieved in exoplanet discovery? What kind of events could there be in a Scientific Olympics?

Our favorite answer will win a copy of Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins.

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“Can Civilization Survive Without god?” was the sensationalized title given by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life to a 2010 conversation/debate between Christopher Hitchens and his brother, Peter Hitchens. That the Pew Forum, a project of the nonpartisan and respected Pew Research Center, would hold a conversation on this topic is by itself revealing. No respectable organization would hold a symposium on the topic “Can Civilization Survive Christianity?” or “Can Civilization Survive Islam?” At least no organization could do so without engendering severe and immediate public criticism. Atheism, though, not only threatens many people, but it is still considered acceptable among some to label it as a threat. Even if it is conceded that the individual atheist may be a good person, there is an abiding concern that the spread of atheism bodes ill for civilization. The spread of atheism is regarded like the spread of the plague – or perhaps the invasion of the body snatchers. ”

–Ron Lindsay, The Necessity of Secularism, pg 148


“Why does life have to have a point? If there were a point, then whatever makes the point would itself need a point. If whatever makes the point has a point, then whatever makes that point would have no point in itself. And so on. Eventually, we have to come to a place where we stop asking, “What is the point?” and just start accepting life for what it is. If there is a god, he (she/it) would be in the same situation. He would have to say something like, “My life is my life, and that is that,” with no further explanation, no ultimate meaning. Why can’t we do the same thing, simply accepting the good fortune of being alive? Life is not only beside the point, it is above and beyond the point. It is precisely when we realize that there is no point, that we should not want there to be a point, that we can smile and say: ‘Life is life.’”

–Dan Barker, Life Driven Purpose, pg 168


“I think “religious morality” is an oxymoron. Morality is morality, and qualifying it with the word “religious” does no strengthen it. It weakens it. (The same is true with the phrase “alternative medicine.” Medicine is medicine. Sometimes “alternative medicine” actually works, and when it does we call it “medicine.”) As I mentioned in the previous chapter, “religious morality” reduces human behavior to a monochromatic one-size-fits-all orthodoxy that is actually more dangerous than the broader humanistic principle of reducing harm. I think religion actually compromises moral judgment.”

–Dan Barker, Life Driven Purpose, pg 118