Death By Trolley: Why many professors are atheists: Academe as a secular religious community

Atheists. Agnostics. Freethinkers. Nonbelievers. Nontheists. Humanists.Whatever you want to call them and whatever they Famous atheists, including many career academics. want to call themselves. People who do not believe in God. I describe myself as an agnostic atheist and a secular humanist. For the sake of this article, I will use the term “atheist” (i.e., ...

Death By Trolley: Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought

I am currently reading Philosophy in the Flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. Authored by Cognitive Scientists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, this book asks 1) What do major lines of Western philosophical thought assume about the mind? 2) What has cognitive science learned about the mind through rigorous research? 3) ...

Death By Trolley: Is belief in God a choice?

The following satirical video, “Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene”, pokes fun at the concept of a “gay gene” and religious opposition to homosexuality. The proportion of people who believe that homosexuality is chosen is decreasing. That’s not to imply that homosexuality is the phenotype expressed by a “gay gene”. Just that whatever makes one gay ...

Death By Trolley: What issue do you wish you cared more about?

There are a lot of important moral/political/pragmatic issues. Far too many for one person to even be aware of, let alone be informed on and/or personally active in addressing. I believe that you cannot choose your interests or your passions. You can decide to try to get into something -e.g., by talking to people who ...

Death By Trolley: The Etymology of “Death By Trolley”: Explaining The Name

Death By Trolley gets its name from The Trolley Problem, a philosophical thought experiment within the domain of morality and ethics. There are multiple formulations of The Trolley Problem. One of the most well-known versions invites the hearer to imagine that a trolley is on its way to running over five people. There is a ...

Death By Trolley: Buddhism for Skeptics of Religion

I’m not a Buddhist. I subscribe to no traditional religion (though as I argue here, like everyone else I am religious). I am an agnostic atheist who values secularism, science, reason, mindfulness, and the pursuit of individual and collective wisdom and wellness. As an expression of these values, I would like to highlight key aspects ...

Death By Trolley: Atheists are Differently Religious – and No, Atheism is not the/a Religion

A main focus of this blog is to consider and compare different political and ethical philosophies so as to promote better understanding of one’s own worldview and those of others. I frequently focus on progressivism/liberalism and libertarian conservativism, arguing that these incompletely overlapping moral/political philosophies each have their own internal logic and validity, but that ...

Death By Trolley: Mental Health Risks For Political Activists

We’ve heard of mental health risks for trauma victims, models, high-performance athletes, people in the public eye, soldiers, executives, people living in poverty, and many other social demographics. As a political activist who studies and works in healthcare, is currently on a placement in a mental health unit, and has had personal struggles with mental ...

Death By Trolley: Where do Observant Jews and Conservative Christians get their Morals, Theologically Speaking?

Bill Maher pointed out the irony of American Right Wing Christianity when he said that if Jesus were a Presidential candidate, the Christian Right would NEVER elect him because he’s a long-haired, sandal-wearing liberal hippie Jew. The issue of how a Conservative Christianity that demonizes nearly all government social programming directed at helping the less ...

Death By Trolley: How homosexuality is destroying the English-speaking world

Cultural anthropologists have observed that a language and culture are keenly intertwined – language being a centrepiece and primary medium of culture – and that as one decays, so too does the other. With this in mind, I come with a warning: ***homosexuality is eroding English-speaking civilizations*** Marcus Bachmann was right for calling them "gay ...

Death By Trolley: The David Pakman Show on “The Trolley Problem”

The name of this blog, Death By Trolley, is a reference to the philosophical thought experiment, The Trolley Problem, which was a subject of discussion recently on The David Pakman Show. I discovered David Pakman in his appearances on The Top Vlog, a progressive political video-blogging project launched by The Young Turks. I’ve found him ...

Death By Trolley: In Defense of Abortion

In this month’s Canadian federal election, abortion was not an issue. However, whenever election time roles around in North America, the issue of abortion tends to garner at least a little bit more conversation than normal, even if it is not a specific policy issue. Social conservatives will want to elect politicians who may one ...