Absolute Trust in Our Senses: How to Build a System of Principles Without Religion

What would it take to create a system of principles that guide our behavior without a religious grounding?

What would it take to create a system of principles that guide our behavior without a religious grounding? Lex Bayer, a non-profit organizer, and John Figdor, a chaplain, who both serve the Stanford University community, boldly attempt to find out in their book Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart. The two begin by establishing the assumptions such a system would require since, as they adroitly argue, overcoming philosohpical skepticism is not a realistic goal. 

Bayer and Figdor take a cue from fourteenth-century philosopher and theologian William of Ockham, whose Ockham's razor holds that the explanation requiring the fewest assumptions while explaining all of the facts is most likely to be correct.

From this position they arrive at three core assumptions:

1. An external reality exists.

2. Our senses perceive this external reality.

3. Language and thought are tools for describing and understanding what our senses perceive.

After some argumentation, the authors arrive at these more developed assumptions which they hold absolutely true:

1. An external reality exists, and "truth" signifies an accurate description of that reality.

2. Our five senses are our only means for perceiving this reality.

3. Language and thought offer ways to analyze, communicate about, and contemplate the nature of reality.

Here, author and journalist Robert Wright addresses the question of whether or not humans must abandon religion to achieve true moral progress:

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon mission 2.0: What humanity will learn by going back to the Moon

Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.

  • July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
  • Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
  • NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.

Top vets urge dog lovers to stop buying pugs and bulldogs

Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds. 

Photo by terriermandotcom.blogspot.com
  • Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
  • Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
  • These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. Air Force warns UFO enthusiasts against storming Area 51

Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
  • The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
  • If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.
Keep reading Show less