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Reengineering Human Nature: Violence

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Problem: Many religions, including Christianity, teach that unjustified anger and violence are sins that risk the offender’s eternal soul. The Ten Commandments order people not to murder – usually a crime committed in the throes of anger – while Jesus says that even a momentary outburst of anger can lead to damnation: “But I […]

Posted inGeneral

Reengineering Human Nature: Lust

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Problem: According to the commandments of the major religions, God expects humans to have only a single lifelong romantic partner and to remain sexually faithful to them: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Yet, as any given week of tabloid headlines will tell you, humans aren’t naturally wired for monogamy. Even after we’re […]

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Reengineering Human Nature

Reading Time: 4 minutes “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” —Galatians 5:17 “In order to cure most of the ills of human life, I require not that man should have the wings of […]

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Reading Time: 4 minutes Last month, in “Dreams of a Better World“, I considered some of the immediate problems humanity could solve if we had the collective will to do so. I want to continue that theme in this post, but from a longer perspective. Historically, humanity’s knowledge has exceeded its wisdom. As soon as we invent a new […]

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Dreams of a Better World

Reading Time: 3 minutes As I’ve written in the past, I’m an optimist when it comes to human progress: I’m confident that we can overcome the problems that beset us. This isn’t to say that I think our triumph is inevitable, or even that optimism is the only possible position for a rational person to take. There are plenty […]

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What I Want For Christmas

Reading Time: 3 minutes In 1897, Robert Ingersoll wrote “What I Want for Christmas“. This short essay was a holiday wish list for humankind in the coming year, one that showcased both the great freethinker’s wit and his compassion. All well and good, but we can now look back at this piece from a century later and see how […]

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Improving on God's Handiwork

Reading Time: 5 minutes “With every advance in our thought the unity of the creative act, and the impossibility of tinkering with the creation as though this or that element of it could have been removed, will become more apparent.” —C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain In the above quote, C.S. Lewis argued that even an infinitely powerful deity […]

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No Heavens

Reading Time: 4 minutes Since time immemorial, believers in a loving and just god have looked around at the world we live in, filled with toil, strife and suffering, and have pondered how to reconcile their belief with the facts at hand. The solution which most religions have adopted is to assert the existence of another world, beyond this […]

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