Confidence in science: Faith, fact, or something else?

A discussion in the New York Times starting with an article published on December 21, 2011 titled “On Flu Strains, Folkies and Faith in Science” prompted readers to ponder whether scientific inquiry and discovery will lead humanity down a smoother road, whether scientific inquiry will produce more good than harm (or vice-versa), whether there should be limits on scientific inquiry, and whether ‘faith’ in science is the same kind of faith as, say, religious faith. Read More

Recorded Video – Debate: Does the Christian god exist? Rev. Marcelle Dotson vs. Justin Vacula

I debated Rev. Marcelle Dotson of Field of Grace United Methodist Church in Wilkes-Barre on the topic of “Does the Christian god exist?” on December 19, 2011.

The debate was recorded live from “Jason International Studios” in Mountain Top, PA.

The debate is now available as a recorded version for your viewing pleasure. A audio-only podcast is also available. Visit the NEPA Freethought Society’s Podcast page here.

Feel free to comment below, send me e-mail, etc. I’d love to hear from you.

Rev. Dotson’s e-mail is


Justin Vacula — co-organizer, spokesperson, and board member of the NEPA Freethought Society — graduated from King’s College with degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a distinguished award in Philosophy, and a minor in Professional Writing. He regularly publishes articles for as the ‘Scranton Atheism Examiner,’ writes for American Atheists’ “No God Blog,” and publishes posts about “atheism, theism, philosophy, and much more” on his blog at The NEPA Freethought Society’s website can be found at

Rev. Marcelle Dotson, pastor of Field of Grace Community of Faith United Methodist Church holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Smith College, a Master’s of Divinity degree in Theology from Drew University, and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons School of Management. She served as an associate pastor in Manchester and had served the United Methodist Church in Maine. She came to Wilkes-Barre in 2009 to start Field of Grace. United Methodist Church. The website for her church can be found at

Local reader argues naturalistic worldview is inadequate

I authored a letter to the editor titled “Natural Explanation for Flood Prevention” which was a response to a published article in which a local reverend claimed that prayer had something to do with stopping the September flooding in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I argued, in less than 250 words, that naturalistic explanations are better than supernatural explanations and, when we have a perfectly reasonable naturalistic explanation, we ought to reject a supernatural explanation. I quoted Theodore Shick in the letter who said, among other things, “You shouldn’t assume the existence of anything that’s not needed to explain the phenomena.” Read More