What Should the Sceptic Say to Believers?
November 21, 2018


The following essay was first published in Spencer’s essay collection Facts and Comments (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1902), pp. 280–87. It appeared in the November/December 2011 edition of The American Rationalist. To one who has relinquished the creed of his fathers there comes from time to time the question—What shall I say to those who believe …

Who Can We Call a Humanist?
November 7, 2018


The following article originally appeared in the November/December 2011 edition of The American Rationalist. Mel Gibson claims that the pope is not a Catholic. The pope claims that he is a Catholic. Supporters of Ian Paisley’s Protestant sect claim that the pope is not a Christian. The pope claims that he is a Christian. The late president …

God Has Too Many Attributes to Exist
October 31, 2018


The following article originally appeared in the July/August 2011 edition of The American Rationalist. At the beginning of any discussion of the (non) existence of God, one might do well to dismiss Stephen Jay Gould’s notion of “non-overlapping magisteria,” that is, the idea that those things with which science concerns itself and those things with which religion …

The Stupidity of the Intelligent
September 27, 2018


The following article originally appeared in the May/June 2013 edition of The American Rationalist. Does intelligence have anything to do with rationality? Intelligent people are good at reasoning, so we expect them to think things through and reach reasonable conclusions based on evidence and logic. On the other hand, we associate low intelligence with gullibility. Why do …

The Question of Human Immortality
August 22, 2018


The following essay is a fusion of two articles, “Immortality and Reincarnation” (San Francisco Examiner, August 20, 1899) and “Ambrose Bierce Says: Not All Men Desire Immortality” (New York Journal, 25 April 1901). In its current form it was first printed in Bierce’s The Shadow on the Dial (1909) and reprinted in Volume 11 of …