An extended, book-length essay investigating claims that Adolf Hitler's political views were directly influenced by Charles Darwin's scientific findings. Using numerous primary source historical documents it is shown that this was not the case. Rather, the evidence points to strong commonality between Hitler's political philosophy and some historical and contemporary influential schools of thought within fundamentalist Christianity.
The Blood Of The Lads, It Falls Like Rain: Portraits Of The Slain From The Rural Welsh Parish Of Llanfrothen In The First World War
An extended historical essay discussing the impact of the First World War on the small, predominantly Welsh-speaking parish of Llanfrothen in North-West Wales, with biographical details of each of the 17 men who died, and the roles they played in the conflict.
Photo-Essay: Christian Imagery, Atheist Interpretation
Light and dark are concepts that play important an role in both photography and Christianity. Despite being an atheist, as a photographer I find myself visually drawn toward some types of Christian imagery and symbolism, especially scenes that invite a dark, morbid or macabre interpretation. Here are some examples of this work.
You Cannot Count Back From Infinity: An Infinitesimal Argument Against a Past Eternal Universe
A comprehensive discussion concerning the claim, popular in both Christian and Islamic apologetics, that ‘you cannot count back from infinity’, thus negating a past eternal universe. The claim is shown to be spurious, being predicated on misrepresentations and misunderstandings of physics, philosophy and mathematics. Particularly so the latter.
The North African nation of Tunisia is sometimes considered one of the more secular-friendly Islamic countries and in some ways, this is so. However, a dark undercurrent of fundamentalist Islam is also noticeable. This travelogue describes a visit to the Tunisian towns of Sfax, Madhia and Sousse in 2011, soon after the 'Sidi Bouzid Revolt' or 'Jasmine Revolution'.
First, a short essay outlining my philosophy toward the genre of street photography, followed by images of some of the people I've had the honour to photograph on the streets of the world in Australia, Wales, Croatia, Morocco, Algeria, France, Spain, Tunisia, USA, Romania, Oman, Malta, Portugal and the Canary Islands.
The St. Fagans Pterodactyl: Lies, Damned Lies & Christian Fundamentalism
On their American TV show, fundamentalist Christian hosts Eric Hovind and Paul Taylor made the ludicrous claim that eyewitnesses reported pterodactyls swooping on a battlefield in 17th century Wales. Unsurprisingly, no historical documents or even local folklore verify this. Yet similar untruths are regularly found in Christian fundamentalist school textbooks, as well as in Kent (Dr Dino) Hovind's hilarious, diploma mill 'PhD thesis'.
Brief comment on the obviously milder winters experienced in the Snowdonia region of Wales today, compared with years past, and the attitudes of those who readily acknowledge this yet still consider the notion of climate change to be a hoax.
The formerly wealthy, now poverty-stricken inner city neighbouring suburbs of Balat (once the Jewish area) and Fener (once the Greek area) are my favourite places to photograph in Istanbul, Turkey. These images were captured over two days in November 2015.
A cogent argument exists that there is at least a modest probability that the universe is an artificial simulation. Furthermore, the very nature of a simulated universe suggests we may have no viable way of discerning whether this is the case or not. Whether this is the case, or is even acknowledged as plausible, however, leaves profound and unpleasant consequences for classical theology.
Opposition to Same-Sex Unions is Mathematically Wrong
Using mathematical set theory, conservative Christian activist Andrew Schlafly speciously attempted to demonstrate that opposite-sex unions are morally superior to same-sex unions. In rebuttal, two mathematical formulae are presented demonstrating that opposition to same-sex unions has no mathematical-logical basis unless the a-priori assumption is made that one biological sex possesses a greater degree of moral and personal autonomous value than the other.
The Fictitious Influence Of Darwin On Marx And Engels
It is claimed by some authors that Darwinian evolutionary theory acted as the necessary precursor for Marx and Engels to formulate their political philosophy. This extended essay presents evidence from primary source documents that strongly refutes this claim. First, the timeline would need to be reversed. Second, Marx and Engels consistently showed little respect for Darwin or for those trying to meld Darwinism with socialism. Third, proponents of a Darwin-Marx ideological link depend heavily on both misrepresenting Darwin’s scientific findings and ignoring Marx and Engels' misunderstandings of Darwin's work, particularly concerning Malthusian theory.
Destined to Fail: The Ministry of William Meirion Evans
Biographical essay concerned with the life of William Meirion Evans, an idealistic 19th century Welsh Calvinistic Methodist preacher from North Wales who played an important role in colonial Australia, establishing churches and supporting Welsh language and culture in the colonies of South Australia and Victoria.
A satirical, though ultimately quite serious, look at what could ensue if members of an extra-terrestrial civilisation visited Earth and encountered the kind of moral arguments expounded by Christian fundamentalists like Ken Ham.
Probabilities, Deductive Arguments & Theology Don't Add Up
In recent years there has been a rise in the number of p-inductive arguments for God’s existence (which require only that each premise in an argument has a >.5 probability of being true). This is problematic for theists for two primary reasons. First, when prior probabilities are unknown, estimates are too easily weighted by belief. Second, even in cases where premises are known to have a >.5 probability of being true, conclusions do not necessarily yield a probability >.5. Examples are given.
This essay tracks the history of land ownership in Assynt, a region of the north-west Scottish Highlands, through the 20th century, from a feudal-style system and attitude, which largely ignored the needs and wishes of the people living on the land, to a more democratic system which better considers these inhabitants.
Images captured in April 2017 at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first on-air episode of the British surreal cult TV series 'The Prisoner'. The event took place in the village of Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales, where the bulk of the series was filmed, and included a re-enactment of the second episode.
A comparison of the Buddhist attitude to human desires and quest for psychological permanence with those of Christianity and Islam. Buddhism, though not entirely convincing as a psychologically-based approach, appears nevertheless to be the more reasoned approach.
A brief history of the now redundant ancient Church of St. Cynhaearn in Gwynedd, North-West Wales is followed by biographies of four of the people buried in its churchyard; the composer and harpist Dafydd y Garreg Wen; the railway pioneer James Spooner; chemist, writer and publisher Robert Isaac Jones (aka Alltud Eifion), and the reluctant West African emigré Jack Ystumllyn.
Rev. Paley Finds A Watch: A Poorly Designed Argument For Design
Discussion of the reasons we have to doubt Rev. Paley's notion of design in the natural world and its modern equivalent in the intelligent design movement. There remains no viable methodology in which to identify purposeful design in biology because natural mechanisms are observed to regularly and effectively mimic the claimed designed characteristics of organisms without recourse to supernatural explanations.
Free will theodicies are often touted by theists as incontrovertible responses to the 'problem of evil'. This comprehensive discussion outlines numerous philosophical, logical, theological and demographic shortcomings with the notion. Finally, a review of the experimental neuroscience literature reveals no physiological or behavioural evidence for human contra-causal free will.
Primary source historical documents show that Nietzsche neither admired nor was influenced by Darwin. This extended essay demonstrates that claims of a Darwin-Nietzsche ideological link depend heavily on misrepresenting Darwin’s scientific findings and ignoring Nietzsche’s profound misunderstandings of evolution.
An Honest Look At Flood Mythology Leaves Biblical Literalists All At Sea
Close examination of the mythology of diverse cultures reveals that tales involving floods similar to the Noachian story are not nearly as globally prevalent as young earth creationists claim. Examples are given in which accepted methods of investigation have been ignored and/or evidence is knowingly presented dishonestly. The essay concludes with a general discussion of the psychology of mythology and how it negatively impacts on creationist claims.
The Generation Game: No Prizes For Young Earth Creationists
According to Biblical literalists, Homo sapiens suffered a population bottleneck of eight people (five of whom were closely genetically related), around 2348 BCE. If this is true, then no more than about 200 generations of humans can have lived since the purported Noachian flood. Current genetic and historical demographic evidence demonstrates that this is a physically impossible scenario.
Missing Universe Museum: The Monty Python School of Evolution
The now defunct website 'Missing Universe Museum' purported to demonstrate to high school students that evolutionary theory was nonsensical and so biblical creationism must be correct. However, their knowledge of modern evolutionary theory was highly inaccurate and fatuous to the level of an absurdist, Pythonesque comedy.
Once A Not So Jolly Swagman: The Story Of Joseph Jenkins
A biographical essay of the 19th century Welsh farmer, poet and diarist Joseph Jenkins who, without giving any warning to family or friends, left his farm and family to become a swagman and labourer in the Australian colony of Victoria for 27 years, with his experiences and thoughts meticulously recorded in his diary.
This slightly edited piece was originally published in 2013 as one of a series of essays titled 'Why I Am An Atheist' on the well-known 'Pharyngula' blog. It subsequently received over 700 comments, though I took little further part. Many comments were either complimentary or added something useful to the discussion but unfortunately some responses were personally vitriolic both toward myself as the author, and some of the atheist commenters. And yes, I actually did have the dream, it's not a literary device.
A Fallacy Of Gamblers: The Collective Noun For Creationists
Analysis of the likelihood that, if discovered, the mechanism underlying abiogenesis will demonstrate physical causation rather than some supernatural 'miracle'. Creationist misunderstandings regarding the concept of randomness, how probability calculations are made, and the distinction between concurrent and consecutive events are discussed.
A collection of images captured in 2012 at the famous shingle beach in Kent, England, dotted with decaying fishing boats. The rate of deterioration has increased markedly in recent years and the place no longer looks as it did in these photographs.
I confess to being a Praktica geek. My first serious camera was a Praktica SLR and it proved to be the cause of a bad dose of gear acquisition syndrome. I started collecting them. Eventually I had every mass-produced SLR Praktica ever made. I'm cured now but still harbour an attachment, hence this brief homage to the marque.
It's commonplace in many developing countries to be approached by children for a photograph in return for some small change. But by doing so, some photographers think we open an ethical can of worms. Here is why I don't (necessarily) agree.