Monday, October 29, 2007

Is this an atheist parody?

Mike Darus found something else when he put "help from God" into google. I found this.

Beckwith's latest defense of the pro-life position

If I only had a brain--how do you materialists explain this one

Oh I know. The report comes from Fox News, so it must have been made up.

Social Darwinism

This is the Wikipedia entry on Social Darwinism. Darwin's philosophy has given rise to social and ethical ideas which strike me as extremely dubious morally, and I would like to see evolutionists argue successfully that these conclusions are misguded applications of Darwinian philosophy.

Does Islam condone wife-beating?

Can this feature of Islamic teaching be modified?

Is there a good naturalistic argument for racial equality?

Gosh I hope so. But James Watson seems to think otherwise.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is the Chalmers review of Kim

The "counterfactual title" is just plain hilarious. I think there is a book like that coming out (pun intended). Its author is Larry Craig.

Did C. S. Lewis teach anything like the Mormon doctrine of deification

As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become. Lewis certainly didn't teach the first of these. But some present-day Mormon apologists are suggesting that Lewis accept the second half of this infamous couplet. This essay, by Gretchen Passantino, shows that this is simply ridiculous. We're creatures of God forever according to Lewis, not God's equal. To think otherwise is to quote selectively in a way that is patently dishonest.

HT: Jeff Downs

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Here's something that looks good to me

Now here's something I like. Someone taking Dawkins to task for not reading my book. If he ever does, though, I'll know for sure that hell has frozen over at last. His conversion will then no doubt be nigh.

Do ID-sympathetic freshmen deserve to be in college?

Larry Moran doesn't think so. Sometimes I think ID opponents make the same mistake that Bush made in Iraq. If their goal is to win the support of the general public for Darwinian biology, they're going about it in the wrong way. All I can say as a philosopher is that ID asks legitimate philosophical questions, ones that scientists need to address if science is to retain its prestige with the community at large. Chanting "We'll hang William Dembski from a sour apple tree" (or the equivalent sorts of things that we see on pro-Darwin sites) makes me think that these people accept that old-time religion, with a different deity.

Against universalism

A biblical defense of universalism

Monday, October 22, 2007

On Talbott criticism

In creating the link to the Talbott essay, I link to the Nivlac section of a longer piece entitled "On False Prophets and the Abuse of Revelation." The parable is entertaining in and of itself, but its proper argumentative role is to be seen in the context of the larger paper. I'm sure those in the Reformed tradition understand the importance of context in interpreting sacred texts. The same applies, however, to texts not so sacred, including those written by Tom Talbott.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Morg and Nivlac

(Not Morg and Mindy). This, by Tom Talbott, should be challenging to Calvinists.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some very similar quotes

Has anyone noticed the similarity between these two quotes from C. S. Lewis and Alvin Plantinga?

Lewis: "Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the
whole thing looks improbable: but when I was an atheist I
had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable."
Mere Christianity

Plantinga: For me, as, I suppose, for most others, spiritual life is
an up and down proposition, with what one hopes are the
consolidation of small but genuine gains. Sometimes I wake
in the wee hours of the morning and find myself wondering:
can all this really be true? Can this whole wonderful
Christian story really be more than a wonderful fairy
tale? At other times I find myself as convinced of its
main lineaments as that I live in South Bend.--
Spiritual Autobiography

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's all over

This is the end of my annoying Diamondbacks posts. Its remarkable what our guys did with a team that almost had more rookies than veterans. Whoever it is from that other league is probably toast as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Down they go Rockies 4 Diamondbacks 1

I will root for these guys in the Series in the very likely circumstance that they win this. Some are asking whether the Rockies will lose another game in 2007. The power of momentum is incredible.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Abortion and health insurance

I must say I don't understand the abortion controversy. Or rather, I don't understand how it is playing out in the political arena. There seem to be three groups on this issue.

1) Pro-lifers. Abortion sucks. It is wrong, and in fact is every bit as wrong as choking a 3-year-old to death. We ought to prevent abortions in any way possible, including the use of the long arm of the criminal law.

2) Abortion sucks. But it may not be as wrong as choking a 3-year-old to death. The loss of a fetus is a tragic loss, but not on the scale of the loss of a born baby. However, we should keep the long arm of the criminal law out of it, since this would involve an inappropriate interference in the doctor-patient relationship.

3) Abortion doesn't suck at all. It's like removing a blob of tissue.

Now in my life I have gone back and forth between 1 and 2. But it seems odd. Surely the 1s and the 2s outnumber the 3s. Shouldn't these two sides work together to find public policies that will discourage abortion? Do pro-lifer political leaders prefer passing ideological litmus tests to preventing real abortions.

Now consider two possible futures.

1) Roe v. Wade is overturned, but we never achieve universal health insurance coverage for all children.

2) Roe is never overturned, but universal health insurance is assured for every child.

In which world, do you think, there will be fewer abortions? Remember that overturning Roe will not make any abortions illegal. It may prevent two abortions in Mississippi, but that is about all. Since abortions are far less expensive than taking care of children, isn't it likely that universal health care for children will result in fewer abortions than overturning Roe?

The Christian Progressive Movement

This is the website for the Christian Progressive Movement. HT: Jarrod Cochran.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 1

It's all over. Now, probably the Rockies and a tougher challenge.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 1

Game 1 of the division series. We can't let the Cubs stop selling those 1908 World Champion t-shirts. I mean if the Cubs keep winning I'll have to stop using the irrational beliefs of die-hard Cub fans at the beginning of every season that this will be the year they win the Series as an example of an unjustified belief that might turn out to be true. We can't have that. But if tonight's game is any indication, there's nothing to worry about.

The canon within the canon, ethical relativism, and ther problem of evil

Yes, for me the sacrificial love of Christ is the canon within the canon. If that's cherry picking, so be it!
Ron: It appears to me that debate about moral realism (or objectivism) vs. moral relativism to be fruitless. I think everyone at heart knows that moral values really exist and aren't just subjective constructions. Otherwise, atheists wouldn't point out all the bad events in Christian history. Why would Dawkins point out the moral evils of Christians if he didn't believe that morality was something absolute and not just a cultural or biological product?
VR: Precisely. And if relativism is where naturalism leads, it lets the air out of the argument from evil. I've often wondered why the argument from evil is often thought to be somehow stronger than your average argument. It points to an explanatory gap in the theist's understanding of the world, but there are plenty of arguments that point out explanatory gaps for naturalism.
What I come up with is that, on the face of things, it allows the atheist to hang on to his or her moral purity. It presumably lets you call evil evil, and not have to fit it into some broader pattern in which it is good in some sense. But if this comes from a naturalist, and if Lewis is right that naturalism is going to lead logically to some kind of moral subjectivism, then it seems to me that that advantage disappears. You can't say of the Amalekite massacre that it is really, truly, honest to goodness evil.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Reply to Ron on the problem of evil

Ron wrote: The AFE is a 'defeater' argument designed to show that there are internal contradictions in the theistic position. So while Lewis is correct technically, he misses the point that the AFE is concerned only with the rationality of the theistic position. The position of the atheist (or anyone else who uses the AFE) is not relevant. I think this is a mistake I've seen Christian apologists make.

VR: It is quite true that you can advance the argument from evil as a reductio against one's Christian opponent. What that entails is showing that as a Christian one must accept the moral premise of the argument (typically, a perfectly good being will prevent unnecessary suffering if possible, unless that suffering is necessary for a greater good), even though the atheist objector considers it subjective. But can you count on the Christian theist to accept that premise? Even if the theist accepts that premise in human contexts (and even that's not clear) it doesn't follow that the theist is inconsistent in not applying it to God.

In his debate with Keith Parsons William Lane Craig says that God is justified in ordering the Amalekites to be slaughtered down to the last man, woman and child, because God is the author and giver of life and therefore can take life as he chooses. Of course, Parsons found this shocking, and I personally find it counterintuitive. But I don;'t find Craig's position inconsistent. I don't see how an atheist can object to Craig's position without appealing to an objective standard that both the atheist and the theist share.

I've covered and discussed this point on here quite a bit, as the link should show.