Agnostic or Atheist?

I've been told that I may be more agnostic than atheist. It's been suggested a few times, by different people, and each time it's in the same helpful, conciliatory tone. While these people may mean well, I'm more comfortable defining myself as an atheist. It's more accurate, and I don't see any shame in it.

Aachoo! Alternatives to Saying, "Bless You!"

For many people, saying "Bless you!" after someone sneezes is a knee-jerk reaction. What does it mean? Most avid blessers couldn't tell you. If it's a wish for good health, why doesn't the same custom apply to coughing fits? In our society, saying "Bless you!" is often considered proper behavior, but are sneezing benedictions really necessary?

Ricky Gervais and Piers Morgan Discuss the Golden Globes and More

Between his holiday message about being an atheist and his recent controversial hosting of the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais has been making a lot of headlines lately. Of course, most of those headlines are provocative, but they are rarely backed up by substance.

Do Cleverbots Dream of Electric Sheep?

If you haven't heard of Cleverbot.com, you may want to check it out. What is the Cleverbot? Created by Rollo Carpenter, Cleverbot is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) chat engine, which means you can carry on an Internet chat with an AI interface. Though calling your chat an intelligent conversation may be up for debate.

Book Review: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Religion and spirituality lie at the heart of Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. This is no surprise as the Author's Note at the beginning of the book claims that this is a story that will make you believe in god. The immediate question then becomes, how does a story about a shipwrecked boy trapped on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger attempt to make the reader believe in god?

*Warning: This review contains spoilers. 

The Imaginary Friend

One day, when I was a very little girl, I decided to have an imaginary friend. I'd heard about them from other people, and saw them on TV shows and cartoons. The trouble was I didn't know where to get an imaginary friend. Did I have to go to an imaginary playground and befriend an imaginary girl sitting on an imaginary swing? If I wished for one bad enough, would an imaginary friend magically show up at my side?

Oh Those Mysterious Tides

I, like many other reasonable people, did a double-take during Bill O'Reilly's recent interview with President of American Atheists, David Silverman. O'Reilly brought Silverman on his show to ask him why atheists are "provoking people of faith." Yet, he rarely let Silverman finish a sentence, barely listened to what Silverman did say, and announced that there must be a god because "Tide goes in, tide goes out . . . You can't explain that."

Why People Believe in Superstitions

Many superstitions originated at a time when little was known about how the physical world functions.  They were an early attempt at making sense of the world through legends and anecdotal tales of cause and effect. In today's more scientific world, superstitions persist for the same basic reason they began: A belief in superstitions gives people an illusion of control in an uncertain world.