Why ‘Faith’ and ‘Hope’ Are Vastly Overrated

June 23, 2016

'Faith' and 'hope' are feel-good words with a built-in rosy glow. People who have faith and hope are held up for our admiration and emulation. We are encouraged to be like them - to believe that, ultimately, all will be well. But don't place faith and hope at the top of your list of virtues, and be very wary of those who say you should.

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‘That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me!’ - chapter from my book, “The Philosophy Gym”

June 21, 2016

According to the relativist, people who speak simply of what’s ‘true’ are naïve. ‘Whose truth?’ asks the relativist. ‘No claim is ever true, period. What’s true is always true for someone. It’s true relative to a particular person or culture. There’s no such thing as the absolute truth on any issue.

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Are safe spaces a threat to free speech?

May 30, 2016

Safe spaces are receiving a lot of discussion lately. Universities, for example, are encouraged to be, or to have, 'safe spaces' for students - places where students - particularly LGBT students - can feel safe from being persecuted, harassed, and so on.

However, 'safe spaces' are increasingly being a seen as a threat to free speech. For example, when Maryam Namazie, an ex-Muslim critic of Islam, spoke at Goldsmith's College University of London, her event was disrupted by some Muslim students who shouted 'Safe space!' - they believed that their University should protect them from such speech. Many, myself included, thought this was a ridiculous abuse of the concept of safe space.

So where does acceptable safe space end and unacceptable  threats to freedom of speech begin? Here are a few useful key distinctions:

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Islamophobia and antisemitism: What is, and what isn’t, bigoted?

April 27, 2016

Where lies the boundary between criticism of Islam and Islamophobia? Where lies the boundary between criticism of Israel and antisemitism?

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How Believers Try to Defend Their Faith by ‘Going Wittgensteinian’

April 14, 2016

Among supposedly 'sophisticated' religious folk, Wittgensteinian defences of religious belief are all the rage. They are also infuriating (often little more than semantic sleight-of-hand). I have a paper coming out in European Journal of Philosophy that demolishes the leading examples. Here is a brief introduction to Wittgensteinian defences of religious belief, and a link to my paper.

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James Bloodworth, Islamism, and a fallacy to watch out for

March 30, 2016

James Bloodworth says the West is not to blame for jihadist attacks. I question his logic.

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AUDIOBOOK: The Tapescrew Letters: Letters from a senior to a junior guru

March 10, 2016

A free audiobook by Stephen Law. Narrated by Michael Larkin, this hour long recording presents The Tapescrew Letters, a paordy of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters.

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The Witch Hunters: how shaming accusations of bigotry are used to shut down legitimate debate

March 04, 2016

It's increasingly common to level  charges of bigotry and prejudice on very flimsy or even non-existent grounds in order to stifle legitimate debate.

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Scientism - for comments

February 29, 2016

Here is an updated final section for my chapter on Scientism, and how religious apologists use the label confusedly to try to protect their beliefs from scientific refutation.Comments welcome.

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ICYMI Here is me talking about whether atheism is a faith position

January 31, 2016

In case you missed it, here is an interview with me on whether atheism is a faith position. On Closer to Truth.

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