Free speech or intellectual honesty?

As some of my readers — and/or my Youtube subscribers — may have noticed, I have recently been uploading many videos my Youtube account. Don’t worry, though! I will continue to frequently write here. After all, I have been actively authoring posts concerning controversy surrounding the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s holiday freethought banner which I had placed in Wilkes-Barre.

Earlier today, I uploaded a Youtube video titled “Free speech or intellectual honesty” (see below) in which I discuss the benefits of an open marketplace of ideas, light comment moderation, and engaging with detractors.

Some speak of high moderation of comments as a free speech issue, but I don’t believe it is. I believe the issue in contention is intellectual honesty. Rather than engaging in high moderation and assuming bad faith concerning commenters, skeptics should allow for an open atmosphere so that many can benefit and engage in discussion.


Interview with Dan Barker – Podcast #22

Episode 22 of the NEPA Freethought Society Podcast is now available! I interviewed Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, shortly after the 2012 PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference at which both of us had spoken. This podcast episode is also accompanied by a Youtube video which is a live recording of the interview – thanks to the podcast’s producer Jason Gogola.

What contributions have freethinkers made to the history of music? Can atheists properly enjoy music with religious themes? What, exactly, is a ‘botched faith healing?’ What does the FFRF do to guard the principle of church/state separation? What are effective ways to engage religious believers? Find these answers and more by listening to and/or watching the Youtube video.

Visit the NEPA Freethought Society’s podcast page for the downloadable/streamable podcast, the Youtube video, a link to the podcast on iTunes, and much more. ‘Like’ the podcast on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed.

God’s plan and the Republican National Convention

This weekend has contained various news reports concerning the possibility of Hurricane Issac touching Florida and disrupting the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. While hurricanes may seem to be no laughing matter, many secular individuals have wondered how the Republican Party — often thought to have the favor, according to some Republicans, of God — would respond to their national convention being interrupted by a natural disaster which was the work of God and/or something God could prevent. Read More

Soul-building and the mystery card

Earlier today, prior to the NEPA Freethought Society‘s August meeting, I had a conversation with a member of Libertas Ministries — Allen — who believes, according to his business card and my discussion with him, that “the power of Jesus Christ” can “fight the epidemic of addictions.” Allen agreed to have a short recorded discussion with me while his ministry was preparing to leave. The discussion, embedded below, lasted a short 15 minutes. This post will focus on two elements of the discussion — common Christian apologetics — in regards to belief in God in respect to natural suffering which I will later explain in this post: soul-building and the mystery card.

During this discussion, Allen responded to a question that I posed which was inspired by the character Prince Prospero in the horror film “The Masque of the Red Death.” I asked, “How can you look around this world and believe in the goodness of a god who rules it?” This question is a formulation of a classic argument against belief in the Christian god known as the evidential problem of natural evil – namely that the evidence of egregious suffering resulting from natural causes provides a reason to not believe the Christian god exists. Read More