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Stephen Law

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Stephen Law is Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK, and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He regularly speaks and debates on religion and humanism (many examples online). Stephen is also author of many popular philosophy books, including The Philosophy Gym – 25 Short Adventures in Thinking (Thomas Dunne 2003), Believing Bullshit: How Not Top Fall Into An Intellectual Black Hole (Prometheus 2011), and Humanism – a Very Short Introduction (OUP 2011). He has also written books for children, including The Complete Philosophy Files (Orion 2011). Stephen currently lives in Oxford, UK.

ICYMI Here is me talking about whether atheism is a faith position

Free Thinking (
January 31, 2016
ICYMI Here is me talking about whether atheism is a faith position

In case you missed it, here is an interview with me on whether atheism is a faith position. On Closer to Truth.

Scientism, The Limits of Science, And Religion - Part 2.

Free Thinking (
January 30, 2016

The last part of the preceding post.

Scientism, the limits of science, and religion

Free Thinking (
January 30, 2016

Here’s a penultimate draft of a forthcoming book chapter. Alister McGrath is one of my various targets. Dawkins is discussed too.This includes and extends a previous post.

Milbank vs Law on God: Blood on the Carpet

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January 18, 2016
Milbank vs Law on God: Blood on the Carpet

Prof John Milbank and I exchange blows on God. We did not pull our punches.

The Tapescrew Letters (part 2)

Free Thinking (
January 8, 2016

Continuing from the previous blog post.

The Tapescrew Letters (inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters)

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January 8, 2016

Here’s something from a while back, in case you missed it (been posted elsewhere before). Letters from a senior to a junior Guru in a new religious movement. I aim to expose the methods by which people become ensared by cults.

Short podcast on god and science that will be basis of a CFI animated short

Free Thinking (
January 2, 2016

Audio recording of myself that will form the basis of a short video for CFI animated by Steph Hope.

John Gray’s awful review of Dawkins’s “An Appetite for Wonder”

Free Thinking (
December 29, 2015

John Gray has a review of Richard Dawkins’s An Appetite For
at New Republic here. I review Gray’s review here.

Animation script - for comments please

Free Thinking (
December 17, 2015

Here’s a short animation script - for comments please.

suppose reality is divided by a veil. On this side of the veil is the
natural, observable world. Beyond the veil lies another realm - of
ghosts and spirits, angels and demons, and of course gods. These beings
are supposed to inhabit an unobservable, supernatural realm that science
can’t touch…

How should the religious and atheists approach each other in discussion? Five morals.

Free Thinking (
December 14, 2015

Conclusion of a forthcoming chapter in a book (editor by others) on this theme.




Many God beliefs are empirically confirmable and refutable

Free Thinking (
December 7, 2015

The theologian John Milbank will be responding in a sort of back-and-forth over at the IAI website in January. This is a preview of my first post.

Just why can’t we atheists see that religious belief is reasonable? Some religious answers

Free Thinking (
November 29, 2015

Why do we atheists reject religious belief, and consider it irrational? Here is a survey of some of the explanations that have been offered by the religious. They’re not good. This is part of a forthcoming book chapter - it’s long article length.

Is Philosophy a Grand Waste of Time?

Free Thinking (
November 5, 2015

What is philosophy? Is it largely a grand waste of time, as some scientists (like Peter Atkins and Stephen Hawking) suppose?

Why we are entitled to point a finger at Islam on oppression and bigotry

Free Thinking (
October 19, 2015

If we can say that the Christian religion was a root cause of much European anti-semitic bigotry and oppression for many hundreds of years, which it was, then there is no principled reason for supposing Islam can’t similarly be a root cause of much contemporary bigotry and oppression.

What’s so bad about religious schools?

Free Thinking (
October 6, 2015

Why shouldn’t parents be free to send their kids to a religious school if they so wish? Even many non-religious folk seem to think, ‘Where’s the harm?’

‘But…but…I JUST KNOW!’

Free Thinking (
September 27, 2015

Can we ‘just know’ fairies exist or god exists, without hard, publcily available supporting evidence?


Humanism and naturalism

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September 4, 2015

Here’s a few thoughts on whether we should actually define humaism in such a way that it requires naturalism.

Could a Machine Think?

Free Thinking (
July 31, 2015

Here’s a (long) animation script I wrote that introduces the philosophical puzzles of whether machines could think. The idea is it would be one of a series on the ‘Big Questions’. Anyone interested in producing it, let me know…

Might it be pretty obvious there’s no Judeo-Christian God?

Free Thinking (
July 6, 2015

Er, yes it might be pretty obvious. In fact, it is pretty obvious, And we shouldn’t shy away from saying so.

The God of the Ethians - a cautionary tale

Free Thinking (
May 10, 2015

On the far side of our Galaxy live the Ethians, many of whom believe in God. Only a God with a twist… (This is adapted from my The God of Eth, for the HTLGI Festival at which I am appearing this month).

Skeptical theism - quick primer for the uninitiated

Free Thinking (
May 8, 2015

Heard of skeptical theism? Perhaps not. But it’s all the rage in certain religious circles. So, to get you up to speed, here’s a quick primer.


For those who regularly engage theists in discussion: There’s a good chance your religious opponent will be familiar with skeptical theism and will use it against you in arguments about the existence of God.  So it’s wise to be prepared.


Is Feeling Good Always What Motivates Us?

Free Thinking (
April 14, 2015

Here’s an introduction to some of the most fascinating philosophical issues about happiness. We look at three key questions:


Is happiness just about feeling good, or is there more to it than that?


Is feeling good always what motivates us? And:


Is increasing happiness always morally the right thing to do?


Has Science Buried God? My opening statement from today’s debate

Free Thinking (
March 10, 2015
Has Science Buried God? My opening statement from today’s debate

Here’s my opening statement from today’s debate with Christian evangelist and debater Peter Payne in Trondheim, Norway today.

In one of his online resources Peter Payne says, and I quote:

“The net of scientific method, namely the net of hypothesis and experimental/observational test, is unable to demonstrate either the truth or falsity of the Christian faith, for it is simply the wrong kind of net to capture what is relevant.”


Baudrillard - J’accuse! (again)

Free Thinking (
February 26, 2015

The Radio 3 The Verb
programme, in which I discuss pseudo-profundity (with some analytic vs
continental philosophy discussion), is repeated tomorrow night at 10pm
GMT on BBC Radio 3. It will be available for a week on bbc radio iplayer.
Below is my old post concerning that programme. Link to programme
website here.

Enlightened citizens vs. moral sheep

Free Thinking (
February 16, 2015

Here’s the text from my talk at the British Academy in London tonight (I am one of six panellists that also include Rebecca Goldstein. I wonder what she’ll say? The even is called “What’s the point of philosophy?)

The ‘no punching down’ case against satirising Islam

Free Thinking (
February 8, 2015

After the Charlie Hebdo affair, there was a lot
of ‘I am for free speech but…’ talk and finger wagging directed at those who
would continue to satirise Islam. It was suggested satire should always ‘punch up not punch down’. But is that true?

William Lane Craig and ruling out an evil God by observation

Free Thinking (
January 18, 2015

Here is a post for the philosophers of religion amongst you. Can we rule out an evil god or creator on the grounds that the world is not nearly good enough? Of course we can. But then why can’t we similarly rule out a good god on the grounds that the world isn’t nearly evil enough?

Podcast of me discussing ‘Does Humanism Need God?” with Angus Ritchie is now available

Free Thinking (
January 17, 2015

Atheists ‘saw off the branch on which Humanism sits’, argue the authors of a report by Theos, Britain’s leading religious think tank. The Case for Christian Humanism argues we atheist humanists should be Christians.

Podcast of me discussing this report with author Angus Ritchie now available on itunes: Unbelievable? (Premier Christian Radio) ‘Does Humanism Need God?’ presented by Justin Brierley. It will also be up here later today.

THEOS respond directly to my post below here.

Charlie Hebdo and avoiding offence - two popular liberal arguments refuted

Free Thinking (
January 10, 2015

In the gallery of satirical art there’s a largely blank space where the work satirizing Islam should be. Here I argue that, where satirical work has been removed out of fear, it should be put back. I also deal with a couple of objections against doing so.

What’s the point of lampooning religion? To upset the religious?

Free Thinking (
January 8, 2015

In the wake of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, attention is focussed on the causing of offence to religious people. Is that the point of lampooning religion? Is causing offence to Muslims the aim of someone who draws a cartoon of Mohammad? No, usually it’s not (though this point is usually lost on the offended).

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