Author: Bill Flavell

How myths challenge gods

It is uncontroversial that the Sumerians invented their pantheon of gods and their elegant myth explaining the creation of the world. They believed the goddess Nammu gave birth to her husband Anki. They had a son, Enlil, who made the world from his own parents. It is uncontroversial that the Aztecs invented their pantheon of gods and their rather more bellicose creation myth. In their myth, the go...

Jesus’ final miracle

If the Bible is to be believed, Jesus performed many miracles during his brief ministry, from walking on water to raising the dead. Things that are impossible for humans, Jesus could do without breaking sweat. But apparently he was killed by three humble blacksmith’s nails. What happened to his miracles? Could he perform miracles for others, but not for himself? All we are left with is stori...

Why God is too clever to exist

By all accounts God is a very smart and extraordinarily capable dude. He can make miraculous things happen just by thinking about them. He can design immensely complex things, such as life, in a heartbeat. He is so capable that, if he wanted me to believe in him, I would. Absolutely no doubt. But I don’t believe in him so he either doesn’t want me to or doesn’t care. It’s n...

The hardest truth of all

If you are an evangelizing Muslim, with complete certainty in your faith, there is a simple question you should ask yourself. If you were born to a devout Hindu family in Mumbai India, or to a pious Christian family in Atlanta Georgia, would you be a convinced Muslim today? Of course, you cannot answer that question for certain but, statistically there is an extremely high probability that you wou...

Is the moon made of cheese?

There are hundreds of ways to decide if claims you hear are true. For example, if you hear the claim that Omo detergent washes whiter than Daz. You may decide to believe the claim is true if: Most people you know believe it, or if A lot of advertisements say it’s true, or if Your favourite politician says it’s true, or if You’ve never heard of Daz, or if You’ve never seen a...

How much did our ancestors know?

The natural world is hard to understand. It took thousands of years for humans to discover how to investigate it. The process requires rigor, diligence and constant checking to avoid making mistakes. All conclusions are tentative and we never stop trying to refine and improve them. Now, after almost 1,000 years, we have plucked much of the low hanging fruit from the tree of knowledge. New fundamen...

Test how delusional you are

Delusion is not an oddity—it’s the norm. Almost all of us can slip into delusional thinking and it’s easy to see why. We all have a tendency to be confounded by cognitive biases. These are thinking errors that seem to be hard-wired into us. An example is the bandwagon effect which makes us feel an opinion that is widely held is probably true. Another example is the gambler’s fall...

God and the brain of man

I am an atheist, so you may think I would oppose teaching religion to children, but you would be wrong. I think we should teach children about religions—as many as possible. The more children learn about religions the more clearly they will see the fingerprints of our distant ancestors asking questions no sentient beings had ever asked before. These questions were so novel and so imponderable that...

Is DNA atheism’s fatal flaw?

An approach to challenging atheism that has been popularised recently by Ray Comfort, is to show the atheist a book and ask if they believe the book had an author. When the atheist says “Yes, obviously” they are pressed to agree that the book of life (DNA) must have had an author too. One of my Facebook friends used this same argument recently. He said, “You would be stupid to su...

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