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Where Does Morality Come From?

Some things I’ve been reading recently have led me to look again at my previous posts about morality (here and here) and attempt to clarify some of the ideas presented there. “Morality” is a confusing topic, debated for centuries by philosophers and theologians, (and not seriously thought about by me for the last thirty years)

Revelation – Who Can You Believe?

All religious claims to be authoritative in some important sense rely on the concept of revelation. By its very nature, religion assumes it is dealing with phenomena that are essentially different from “ordinary” experience. As I have pointed out in previous posts, this claim that religious experience cannot be dealt with the way we deal

The Authority of Scripture

In a world where we increasingly rely on scientific investigation to answer important questions about the world around us, the use of special documents called “scripture” by religious leaders and their billions of followers is puzzling. Religious people just assume scriptures have some special (dare I say, magical) powers that ordinary writings don’t have. But

Sources of Religious Authority

If you’ve ever had a discussion about religion with a zealous believer you will invariably be told religious beliefs are supported by some sort of “revelation”. The favorite among Christians is “It’s in the Bible”. For Moslems it’s the Koran. For Mormons it’s the Book of Mormon, and on it goes. Every religion has it’s

“Feel Good” Reasons for Believing in God

Even a casual viewing of a television show like 100 Huntley Street gives the impression that religion (or belief in god) is almost all about feeling good. People sit around telling each other about their personal experiences. There’s a tremendous amount of smiling, punctuated with earnest empathizing. Often these experiences involve some personal crisis –

Absolute and Relative Moral Principles

Morality is the set of behaviour-regulating principles that guide our activities within our communities. We can think of these communities as a web of relationships. For most of us the focus is on the immediate community, but this local web is inevitably part of other, larger webs, and it is the interaction with other parts

Is Religion a Reliable Basis for Morality

It is surprising how many people believe that without a god to offer an objective basis for morality, there can simply be no trustworthy right or wrong. This has both a positive side and a negative one, and both are confused and confusing. On the positive side is the assumption that god’s existence somehow legitimizes

Proving That God Exists

Not surprisingly, many believers think there are convincing “proofs” of the existence of god. These are almost without exception versions of arguments that have been advanced by theologians and philosophers for at least 2000 years. It is unlikely that even religious believers are actually convinced by these arguments. They are much more influenced by moral

Is Religious Experience Really That Unique?

In my previous post we briefly looked at David Wolpe’s claim that a some aspects of experience cannot be properly captured in a “scientific” analysis of the sort most skeptics are talking about when they say religious claims lack “evidence”. According to Wolpe, and others who share his opinion, looking for evidence of God’s existence

The Role of Religious Experience?

There is an interesting debate on Youtube between Sam Harris and David Wolpe where they discuss the importance of religion and the role of religious experience as it bears on faith, morality and politics. Sam Harris is a well known anti-religious speaker and author whose fairly simple message is that religious discourse should be subjected

The Problem of Coming Out as a Non-Believer

Author’s note: “This is the beginning of a series of posts about religious non-belief. I don’t like the term ‘atheist’ because it sounds so certain. So I use the term ‘skeptic regarding religious belief’ to denote the position of non-belief. The skeptical position that I take is that there is no good reason to believe

Meet John Chen, interim CEO of Blackberry

There’s an interview with John Chen, Blackberry’s new interim CEO on that is quite interesting for those of us who are Blackberry watchers. Chen is known in the business world as a “turnaround specialist” having been at the helm of the company formerly known as Sybase. His team and the shakespeare comms marketing strategy

Local 15 year old, Kaitlyn Leis pilots No. 9 engine of the Waterloo Central Railway

Kaitlyn Leis from Mathew McCarthy on Vimeo. I was digging around in the Waterloo Region Record blogs today and stumbled upon this nice video of Kaitlyn Leis and the steam powered locomotive of the Waterloo Central Railway that runs from Waterloo to St. Jacobs. The video is from Mathew McCarthy’s blog A Reason for Being.

Microsoft to power San Antonio, Texas data centre with wind power

The 470,000 sq. ft. Microsoft data center in San Antonio, Texas. Microsoft has signed a 20 year deal to buy electricity from a 55 wind turbine wind project being built just outside of Fort Worth, Texas. The wind power will be about 430,000 megawatt hours – enough to power about 45,000 homes. The energy is

Twitter set to go public, but doubts linger as to its profit potential

Twitter is set to go public this week. Some facts about Twitter: – total Twitter losses since 2006: $500 million – total profitable years since inception: none – number of registered users: 232 million – maximum number of characters in a tweet: 140 – revenue to be generated from ads in 2013: $650 million –

Governor General helps launch volunteerism campaign

Governor-General David Johnston has recently kicked off the “My Giving Moment” campaign to encourage young people to volunteer. A new campaign to encourage volunteerism, especially by younger people, has been kicked off by Governor General David Johnston. The campaign consists of print, TV and radio ads as well as a website Recent statistics show

‘Degenerate’ Art Valued at Over $1 Billion found in Munich Apartment

Adolph Hitler ordered the seizure of thousands of pieces of art during World War II. More than 1500 paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and Chagall (among many others) were found in the Munich apartment. These had been seized during the war by the Nazis and deemed “degenerate”. They were thought to have been destroyed many

Blackberry Scraps Plans to Go Private – Watsa Invests $1 Billion and Takes Over

John Chen is the new interim CEO of Blackberry. Today was the day the Fairfax Financial (Prem Watsa) deal was supposed to go to the next phase. Watsa had signed a deal some months ago to buy the company for $4.7 billion and take it private. But when he couldn’t arrange the financing the way

Stephen Harper joins band at Conservative Convention

Prime Minister Stephen Harper once again showed off his musical talents at the Conservative convention this weekend. Harper sang and played the keyboard with the band, Herringbone for a 5 song, half hour set while a few Conservatives took to the dance floor. Pretty soon people will start thinking the guy is a real musician.

Waterloo Post Office Building Still Has Historic Significance

The old Waterloo Post Office building was built in 1912 and has undergone many renovations over the years. The original corner clock was removed in 1956, because it had fallen into disrepair. A modern clock was added in 1969, but itwas replaced in 1987 with one based on the original drawings and specifications. This restored