Sunday, June 28, 2015

Are scientists more valuable than people in the humanities?

D. H. Mellor says no.

Does Same-Sex Marriage Leave Marriage Intact?

The picture many of us have of same-sex marriage is that homosexual couples will be doing the same thing as heterosexuals, but with the same-sex partner to which they are attracted, as opposed to an opposite-sex partner. For at least many gay activists, this is perceived as stifling and limiting. At one point I had the idea that same-sex marriage might be a good thing because it would push gay people in the direction of lifelong faithfulness and discourage promiscuity. Many in the gay community don't want to be pushed in that direction, however.

This is an admittedly pro-family site, but the question still arises.

But I wonder if people in the gay Christian community react this way.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What is the characteristic blindness of our age?

When we read the writings coming from previous centuries, we say "Typical Victorian. Typical Medieval. Typical eighteenth-century." But then we have to start wondering what the characteristic blindness of our age is. We can see the problems with other ages because we aren't in them and we haven't absorbed the typical prejudices of that time. We have, however, absorbed the typical prejudices of our time, and those are hard to see. How much of what we say is going to be read by people in the future as "sooo early twenty-first century?" That's what C. S. Lewis talks about in his introduction to a fourth-century theological treatise:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

From diversity to accepting racism: a paradox

If you accept diversity, shouldn't you accept the racist, too? Being a racist is one more way of being diverse?

What does it mean to judge someone?

A redated post.

What does it mean to judge someone? Is it to form an opinion concerning the rightness of an act that someone performed? Or is it to form an opinion regraded the character of the person who performed that act?

If we are talking about the first concept, then if we have a moral standard that proscribes actions that other frequently perform, then we end up often judging others. But I don't see anything wrong with "judging" in that sense. The idea that we have to dumb down all standards of morality for fear of being guilty of judging others seems to me to be ridiculous (though popular). It is more difficult to draw inferences concerning the character of others, however, and so there is a reason to refrain from making these sorts of judgments. But very often we are told we ought not to judge, which ends up meaning we ought not to hold moral standards that would result in our disapproving of the conduct of others.

Larry Gilman objects to my argument


Lewis’s “Argument from Reason” gives me that fishy feeling I have whenever someone tries to get the jump on science by the power of pure reason.  As I learned from reading Lewis himself, logic only tells you that if you have one penny in a drawer and put another in, there must be two pennies in the drawer; it doesn’t and can’t tell you whether there is a penny in the drawer.  To know that, you must look.  Logic alone, no matter how pure, no matter how apparently compelling, can never tell us what is physically real, in a bureau, in a brain, or anywhere else.  We must look, and that looking we call “science.”  Lewis and Reppert, in effect, rule on what science can find before science has looked — whereupon I cry Foul.  Lewis even thought he could exclude a purely naturalistic, evolutionary origin for the human brain on the strength of the Argument from Reason (Ch. 3 of Miracles).  That’s an awful lot of biological history to settle without leaving one’s easy chair.  But despite my gripes, I think that the Argument from Reason draws attention to a fascinating and knotty class of problems.  If it were reclassified as the Problem of Reason, I would have no quarrel with it.

But my argument does not directly conclude that naturalism is false. What it concludes is that it cannot both be the case that the world is naturalistic AND that we make the rational inferences that constitute the scientific enterprise. There are two possible worlds, one with scientists in it which is not naturalistic, and a world without scientists which is naturalistic. Science is not a presupposition-free enterprise, it presuppose that there are scientists and that scientists do infer conclusions based on evidence. 

And, many people think that science is only allowed to appeal to materialistic explanations, otherwise it isn't science. That seems also to be deciding scientific questions without actually doing the science. 

Mavrodes' moral argument

Mavrodes' argument from the queerness of morality.