Is P.Z. Myers Attending a Conference on Eugenics?

Re: P.Z. Myers’ recent post: I’ll be spending my day at this symposium, “Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin”, most of today. It’s about to start, so I’m not going to say much before I focus on the lectures, but it is open to the public, so if you’re in the Penn neighborhood, come on down to Claudia Cohen hall, room G17 (which we have since learned is the famous old surgical demonstration auditorium), and listen in. I’ll report later on the contents of the talks. I’m having trouble finding the program Myers is referring to (why wasn’t I invited!?), but Claudia Cohen Hall is on the medical campus at Penn, so I surmise that the presentations will be on Read More ›

The Battle for Your Mind

P.Z. Myers and Steven Novella have recent posts on a new front in the war between materialism and reality. Having convinced only a small fraction of Americans that chance and tautology — i.e. Darwinism — adequately explains life (despite a court-ordered monopoly on public education for the last half-century), materialists are moving on to your mind. Materialism posits that your mind is meat. No soul, no spirit, just chemicals, congealed by natural selection to dupe you into believing that you’re more than an evanescent meat-robot. It’s a hard sell, but that’s not to say that materialists haven’t tried. In the first half of the 20th century, behaviorists (e.g. B.F. Skinner) proposed that internal mental states were irrelevant or didn’t exist Read More ›

Bigfoot Evolved

“Skeptical” atheist Steven Novella has a blog post on “Mande Barung,” an Indian version of the Himalayan Yeti and the North American Bigfoot. Novella ruminates on the credulity of one Dipu Marak, a local passionate believer in the shy mythical creature. Debunking Yeti sightings is low-hanging fruit for skeptics like Novella, whose skepticism knows no limits — except for his own materialist ideology, about which he is credulous to the bone. One wonders why atheist “skeptics” need to explain to their readership — presumably compliant atheist skeptics all — that Yeti probably don’t exist. Logan Gage explains why. Gage has a superb essay entitled, “Which Secular Superstition do you Believe?” Gage asks: …[Who] is more likely to believe wild eyed Read More ›

Desecration of the Eucharist, Conscience, and P.Z. Myers’ Hypocrisy

Danio, guest blogger at Pharyngula, has a post advocating the denial of legal protection for health care workers who, because of religious beliefs or other moral objections, refuse to provide services such as abortions or contraception. It’s hard to believe that any person with even a modicum of respect for individual rights would support taking legal sanction against physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who, because of genuine deeply held religious belief or other moral principles, believe that such acts as abortion or contraception are immoral. From the standpoint of traditional medical ethics, healthcare professionals are only under legal compulsion to provide care in a life-saving emergency. The controversial “treatments” in dispute are not emergencies, and are certainly not life-saving. That abortion Read More ›

Terri Schiavo and the Persistent Vegetative State

This is the first in a series of posts in which I will discuss the medical and ethical aspects of persistent vegetative state (PVS). As I noted in an earlier post, I believe that the emergence of PVS as an accepted medical diagnosis is in part a consequence of the emergence of strict materialistic theories of the mind in the late 20th century, especially the theory called “functionalism,” which is the theory that the mind is what the brain does, in the same way that running a program is what a computer does. If the mind is entirely caused by the brain, in a way analogous to the running of a software program on a computer’s hardware, it stands to Read More ›