Friday, August 27, 2010

New Vid and Podcast

Quick report on a new video and podcast of me some of you might be interested in.

Video: a decent video of the second Carrier-Licona debate on the Resurrection of Jesus (more a conversation really, a completely different and in many ways more illuminating format than our formal debate on this same topic at UCLA years back) is available for free viewing online. This took place at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, this year (2010), with almost double the audience of the UCLA debate. Luke Muehlhauser gives a good recap of this new debate, and he and I ended up in an interesting exchange there about the Bayesian epistemology of witness testimony (on his blog Common Sense Atheism).

Podcast: Luke also runs a podcast Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot, and his first interview of me is available here. The topic is my chapter in The Christian Delusion on Christianity and ancient science. Nice companion piece to that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

How to Be a Philosopher

In Sense and Goodness without God I open with an impassioned plea that everyone be a philosopher, that they replace all the devotion and time they spend (or are told to spend) on religion, all to doing philosophy instead. To which I'm often asked "How?" Indeed, someone on FaceBook just asked me that the other day.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Agora Review

This is an update to a series of blogs I've run on the film Agora, about the murder of the scientist Hypatia in the 5th century A.D. (see Killings Hypatia and Weisz Is Hypatia). Until now I was responding to what other people said who saw it. But then I discovered Agora was playing at a theater in Berkeley, so Jen and I went to see it. I can now give it my own first-person review...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Killings Hypatia

A while ago I blogged about a coming film on Hypatia of Alexandria (Weisz Is Hypatia). I've heard reviews from people who've seen it (still hasn't come to where I am, and might never), and they've reassured me it isn't as loose with historical facts as it at first sounded. It does engage in fictional "what ifs" apparently, but that's fine.

One review of note is by a medievalist who posted at the website of Skeptic magazine (Was Hypatia of Alexandria a Scientist? by S. James Killings). His area of expertise is not Late Antiquity, or ancient science, so he gets a lot wrong. Nevertheless, he's right about a lot, so in case you'd like to benefit from reading his brief commentary but not get misled by the errors in it, I've composed the following corrective, which is also informative and educational in its own right. You won't likely have known a lot of this stuff.

The Christian Delusion: Why Faith FailsThis blog entry adds to the running series I've had going for a while now addressing misrepresentations of ancient science in the media (the latest being Flynn's Pile of Boners). An extensive bibliography of references are already provided in my chapter on ancient science in The Christian Delusion (TCD). I'll start with the minor errors (in Killings' blog, not the movie) and progress to the more serious.