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Espinoza v. Montana: Rhetoric and Precedent

In the short time since it was released, a great deal has been said about the Supreme Court's decision in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case. A great of column inches perhaps, or words, but very little in terms of critical analysis. Chief Justice Roberts himself set the standard for misunderstanding the ruling when he described it as: A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious. The New York Times runs with this interpretation: Religious schools should have the same access to scholarships and funds as other private schools, the justices ruled, in a victory for conservatives. and The Washington Post reports the decision as saying: [ States ] that subsidize private education must include religious schools which is repeated by CNBC: Supreme Court says Constitution protects Montana scholarship program that indirectly funds religious schools The Na…

The Tulsa Race Massacre

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Reposted for the third time, for the benefit of our Traitor in Chief.


By June 1st, 1921, the violence had abated. Bodies smoldered in the streets beside the smoking ruins of an affluent black community, and many of those who survived the atrocity were imprisoned, where they remained. It was the first bombing by aircraft on US soil, committed by Americans against Americans. It would not be the last. "I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top," wrote Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960)..."Lurid flames roared and belched and licked their forked tongues into the air. Smoke ascended the sky in thick, black volumes and amid it all, the planes — now a dozen or more in number — still hummed and darted…

President Trump Has Violated The First Amendment Rights of St. John's Episcopal Church

Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves. ~ James Madison, the second section of Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessm…

Scientific Anti-Atheism Is A Lie...

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...but so is the so-called presumption of atheism in science...

Cross-posted from Hemant Mehta's The Friendly Atheist conversation. Here's his Youtube video to which the following is addressed:



Morris is, of course, exactly right about the meaning of "atheist", which is literally "not" + "god" + "beleiver". It does not mean "without" or "lacking", though these are logical consequences of the prefix ~a, which is a privative, an affix which has the logical property of negating the root to which it is attached. Logically it is not NIL or NULL, it is NOT.

Now here's the thing: the word "god" ]is meaningless. There is no physical object to which the word "god" points. If there was, "god" would be as real as Pastor Morris, or the Prince of Denmark. No, not that Prince of Denmark - but Frederick, the actual human prince. The other prince, Hamlet, also has the characteristic of not having …

Necessary Being and Creation

This is a post from our own Dcleve who, like many others, deserves the ability to post his own OPs here.  That's something I'll take care of shortly, but for now I think his comment deserves its own conversation.  Sorry it took me so long to get to it, D.

I would like to discuss an analysis of a Necessary Being and Creation. I will be summarizing an argument from Paul Davies, a physicist, and Deist, and one of the early advocates of both Fine Tuning and Emergent Organized Complexity. Davis presented this argument in The Mind of God. I have a full review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/r... The book is from 92, but the argument is as current now as it was then.

The central question Davies addresses is whether the universe can create itself, or requires a creator. He notes that whether the universe had an origin in time or not, its EXISTENCE still needs an explanation -- WHY is it here at all instead of nothing, or something else. With this point, he effectively dismisses t…

Atheists as Christians in Disguise

Over at Everyday Ethics, Jeremy Neill raises the critique of atheism offered by Nietzsche, in which he argues that atheists claim to have rejected "God" but nevertheless subscribe to Christian ethics.  Ostensibly the questions raised have to do with whether or not atheists are hypocritical as a consequence, and whether they are, in the words of Neill, parasites on Christian culture.  In Neill's words:

Now here’s where Nietzsche strikes and criticizes atheists. He says that atheists, who pride themselves on their belief that God does not exist, in fact are hypocrites because they are still drinking the Christian Kool-Aid. Take the value of equality as an example of what Nietzsche is saying. Virtually all atheists in America are going to tell you that they believe in the value of equality. But at bottom, according to Nietzsche, the value of equality is fundamentally a Christian value. It is Christian because it comes out of the Christian teaching that the weak should be pri…

The Morality of God: A Fable ( FtA )

My atheist brothers and sisters will not find this fable particularly challenging, but perhaps rhetorically useful.  Originally posted at the RC, it only got 99 comments.  Strange, I thought at the time, that so few theists were willing to engage it.

One day for no obvious reason god creates little Johnny and Susan. Susan is made bright and kind and eats veggies, of which there is enough for her to last her lifetime. Johnny has claws and fangs and eats meat, of which Susan is the only kind around. God says to little Johnny "be good, and don't eat little Susan, or you shall surely suffer by me!" But little Johnny kills Susan and eats her all up.
God says to little Johnny: "You are a very bad boy, Johnny, for you have disobeyed me. I will therefore cause you incessant pain and hunger, and the longer you do not eat of the other children, the stronger the pain and hunger." So Johnny eats his fill of other children, and he is free of the pain of hunger.

So god says …