Category Archives: morality

Another criterion for judging whether to “cancel” someone

Although I don’t spend a lot of time calling for people to be unpersoned, canceled, or have their statues toppled or namesakes changed, I do try to discern whether “cancellation” calls are justified or unwarranted. Clearly there’s no good criteria that will work all the time, so it usually comes down to a judgment call.  […]

Baptist leader tells us that God doesn’t want us to sacrifice the old

Here we have the New York Times once again pandering to religion, publishing an article that says we should help save lives, including the lives of the elderly, not because of humanistic values, but because God says so.  The author, Russell Moore, is described as “the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern […]

More mishigas about free will, this time in the TLS

The Times Literary Supplement, which I used to write for, doesn’t often make its articles free online, but this one was (click on screenshot below to see it). And it’s about free will: a review of three books on the topic (The Limits of Free Will: Selected essays by Paul Russell, Aspects of Agency: Decisions, […]

My newest piece in Quillette: Another response to John Staddon

My contretemps in the pages of Quillette continues with the psychobiologist John Staddon. I hope this is the end of it, as it’s no fun to write what I’ve written many times before to criticize a man who’s repeating old and tedious arguments that have been rebutted many times before. But so great is Staddon’s […]

Once again, John Staddon maintains that religious morality is superior to secular morality

John Staddon and I have been having “words” in Quillette. It began with Staddon’s piece “Is Secular Humanism a Religion?“, a question he answered in the affirmative, even though secular humanism violated two of Staddon’s three defining traits of religion. I thus responded both here and then in a rebuttal in Quillette, “Secular Humanism is not a […]

Kate Cohen: Don’t mix religion, morality, and politics

There are two things that most of us have learned about religion and morality: 1.) People don’t really get their morality from religion—or at least most of it. That is, people don’t judge what is moral versus immoral behavior solely from the dictates of their faith, but rather from extra-Biblical sources that are antecedent to […]

The worst article ever to appear in Quillette: Psychologist declares secular humanism a “religion”

In general I like the articles in Quillette: they’re generally left-wing but also critical of the Left’s excesses—a theme that has led some misguided ideologues to call the site “alt-right.” But this time the editors screwed up by accepting a piece that makes very little sense, and arrives at its conclusion by some risibly tortuous […]

Why is Pinker demonized?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a new and longish article by Tom Bartlett about the character, achievements, and demonization of Steve Pinker. Click on the screenshot below to read it. Let me give my own take on Pinker first. It’s no secret that I consider him a friend and admire him hugely. Among all […]

More email from evolution-haters

Well, maybe “evolution hater” is too strong a term for this woman from Virginia, who wrote me an email this morning. She said “there is no need to respond,” but given that she sent me an unsolicited email, I’ll send her the link to this post, along with the comments. Feel free to respond, but […]

Are some truths not worth knowing?

I was listening for the first time to the famous “Four Horseman” video discussion with Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, and noted that, near the end, they discuss the possibility that some scientific facts might not be worth knowing, or even be dangerous to know. (Dan mentions determinism, though he doesn’t […]