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March 8 2008 Atheist / Agnostic Newsletter


The Atheist/ Agnostic Newsletter

Friday - 29 February  2008

Currently at BellaOnline

I grew up reading science fiction during the last of the so-called Golden Age, when giants like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, and Arthur Clark still defined the genre. I also lived through the dark days of the "New Wave", when technology and science took a back seat to so-called "literary" values, producing stories of stupefying banality. Fortunately that trend died of its own inertia and a new generation of "hard" science fiction writers appeared.

I don't have the time to devour a dozen books a week, as I once did, so it's handy to have a good source of information about current SF. Laura Lehman, the SF/Fantasy Books Editor knows her stuff and features a nice variety of book reviews. On my first visit I found a couple of fantasies by a writer named Jim Butcher that I'd like to read. The site will be a regular stop on my browsing schedule. If you're a fan, it ought to be on yours too.

On the Internet

Massimo Pigliucci is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Trained in Italy and the United States (He has dual PhDs, one in genetics, the other in botany.) he's received numerous awards for his achievements in biological research. He's also a regular columnist in a number of publications, including Free Inquiry and The Skeptical Inquirer.

Dr. Pigliucci maintains a website called Rationally Speaking, where he posts cogent essays on a variety of topics, including science, reason, and humanist philosophy. I recommend it highly.

In the A/A Forum

I guess a Forum is hitting its stride, when it's difficult to keep up with all the posts. Thanks to all of you who've contributed to some interesting threads!

This Week's A/A Article

Conservative Christian author, Dinesh D'Souza , is a publishing house phenomenon, churning out one non-fiction best-seller after another.He's equally prolific in the realm of electronic journalism. Google just about any contentious topic involving religion and an essay by D'Souza is likely to turn up.

Having posted one article already in response to D'Souza (Christian Science?) I didn't expect to write about him again soon; but, as you'll see, he has a flair for the provocative.  In particular, he seems to believe that one of the best ways to support the Christian faith is to derogate atheists and atheism. Combine this with his carefree disregard for factual accuracy and his habitual air of smug condescension and you have a nearly irresistable target.

In an October, 2006 op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled "God Knows Why Faith is Thriving " D'Souza illustrates his usual take-no-prisoners approach. Rather than simply present data to support his contention that Christianity is thriving, he spends most of the piece trying to depict atheism as a dead-end philosophy doomed (believe it or not!) by reproductive inadequacy!

You can read my response in this week's article:

"License to Thrive "

A.J. Hill

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