Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Theistic Arguments Series: Leibniz’s Cosmological Argument

In my previous post, I made several points about deductive arguments, briefly summarized here, with some additional discussion:

    1.  The argument should be stated precisely, using clearly defined terms. 
Imprecisely defined terms are the cause of endless debate over whether an argument succeeds.  They lead to equivocation.  Often, people will disagree about whether a particular statement is true because they don't interpret the statement in the same way.  I find that this situation can go unrecognized, and the parties to the debate end up talking past each other, without realizing that a statement means something different to each of them, and this can affect their view of the logical validity of the argument.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Theistic Arguments Series: On Philosophical Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a mechanical process.  Logical processes consist of following a well-defined set of rules.  It doesn't take human intelligence to perform a series of logical operations to arrive at some conclusion.  There are machines that perform these processes without ever thinking about what they are doing.  They simply start with some known propositional conditions (which may be regarded as premises), apply the rules of logic, and arrive at the inevitable result that is entailed by the starting conditions.  For example,
    (proposition) Socrates is a man.
    (proposition) All men are mortal.
Then, by performing a series of operations that follow established rules of logic,
    (conclusion) Socrates is a mortal.
A computer is quite capable of performing these logical operations.  Once the conditions are established, the conclusion is a necessary consequence, regardless of the means used to perform those operations.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Theists' Attitudes Toward Atheism

Ed Feser describes what he sees as the kinds of attitudes atheists hold toward religious beliefs and practices, and in the process, reveals a bit of his own attitude toward atheists.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quentin Smith is Wrong

Smith, an atheist philosopher of religion, makes a curious statement regarding hypothetical match-ups between naturalists who are not philosophers of religion (or specialists in the philosophy of religion, which I will call SPR for brevity) and theists who are.  Even if judged by a naturalist who is also an SPR, he says, "I expect the most probable outcome is that the naturalist, wanting to be a fair and objective referee, would have to conclude that the theists definitely had the upper hand in every single argument or debate."  It seems to me that this is a bit of bad philosophical reasoning.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

On Anti-Intellectualism

Victor Reppert has lashed out against the 'gnus' with his emotional response(*) to an article by James Lindsay that advocates eliminating theistic philosophy as a serious academic pursuit.  In the process, he has revealed himself as an anti-intellectual.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Apostasy as an Insult

I have seen the term 'apostasy' or 'apostate' used as an epithet on several occasions recently.  To me, the term has no pejorative connotation.  It simply means one who has abandoned his religious belief.  Yet, in the conversations where it appeared, it seems to be more than that.  It is meant to be an insult.