Thursday, December 31, 2015

Playing the Theist Game


A dishonest (but typical) theist once said:
If the universe is too big, the atheist will say it proves God couldn't possibly be interested in our tiny planet. If it's too small, he'll say that just shows there's no God because He should have created something bigger.

If we're the only intelligent life out there, the atheist will say that shows there's no God, else why all that wasted space. And if the universe is crammed full of intelligent life, then once again, we're claimed to be beneath any self respecting deity's interest.

I could continue, but you get the drift. I have no interest in playing. - Prokop
Oh but he is playing a game.  He's playing the same game that theists always play.  It's called projection.  This is something I have discussed before.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reason to Believe


Christians usually claim that the evidence for the gospel stories is very good, and that's why they are justified in believing them.  If a skeptic tries to tell them that the evidence really isn't that good, they never, ever listen to the reasons offered by the skeptic.  Instead, they tend to double down with one excuse after another to convince themselves that their belief is based on rock-solid evidence.  At the same time, they often try to minimize the value of historical evidence for other events that are generally accepted as having occurred in the course of history.  So on the one hand, they insist that their evidence is solid as any evidence can be.  On the other hand, if they are forced to admit that it's not so solid after all, they have the backup position that accepted history is based on equally bad evidence, and therefore, we should accept the gospel stories lest we be seen as using a double standard.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hail Saint Teresa


It's time for the Catholic Church to pay Mother Teresa back for her lifetime of devotion to the interests of the church.  She is on the fast track for canonization, having been approved for the process years before the it would have been allowed by the official policy of the church, had that policy not been waived by Pope John Paul II.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Christian Blind Spot


There's something about religion that renders its adherents utterly unable to see logical laws in matters that relate to their deeply held beliefs.  We're talking about people who may be, by all accounts, quite intelligent.  People who, when shown a logical argument that would support some other religion's God for example, will astutely tear that argument apart, attacking every flaw and weakness.  But when shown a similar argument for their own God, they can't see or won't accept those very same flaws and weaknesses.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Evidence On Both Sides


Victor Reppert knocks down the supposed assertion of atheists that there is no evidence for the existence of God.
A lot depends on what exactly one means by evidence. My own view of evidence, in the context of the discussion of God, is something that is more likely to be there if God exists than if God does not exist. Evidence against God would be something that is more likely to exist if there is no God than if there is a God. With that understanding, I think the fine-tuning of the universe is a clear case of something that is more likely to exist if there is a God than if there is no God, so it's evidence for God. The degree and kind of pain and suffering that exists in the world does seem to be something that is more likely without God than with God, so that's evidence against God.  Whether the positive evidence outweighs the negative evidence, to me, is the interesting issue. The no-evidence claim looks like a non-starter. - Reppert
Trouble is, the "no-evidence claim" is not the assertion that any reasonable atheist would make.  Generally, they hold that there isn't empirical evidence to support the existence of God.  Some may use the word 'evidence' when they mean 'empirical evidence' or 'objective evidence', but that is not to deny that theists have some kind of evidence for their beliefs.  It may be, however, a denial that they have good evidence for those beliefs.  Good evidence is objective and factual.  That's something theists lack.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Politics of Division


The responses of the Republican presidential candidates and right-wing pundits to recent terrorist attacks in our country have been instructive.  There is a clear distinction between what they say about the San Bernardino attack and what they say about Planned Parenthood attack.  Rupert Murdoch's New York Post came out with a large headline that said "Muslim Murder" after San Bernardino.  Donald Trump touted his proposal to institute racial profiling targeting the Muslim community, and going after the families of Islamic attackers.  Ted Cruz was quick to declare that the attack should be considered "radical Islamic terrorism" before the facts of the case were in, and investigators at that time were still considering the possibility that it was a case of workplace violence.

What did Cruz have to say about Robert Dear after the Planned  Parenthood attack?  He castigated the media for trying to "blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there's very little evidence to indicate that".  Cruz went on to repeat unsubstantiated rumors from right-wing internet sources that called Dear a "transgendered leftist activist".  Donald trump has refused to blame the Planned parenthood attack on the anti-abortion movement, but instead attributes it to mental illness.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Failure of Christian Ethics


Christians wonder what there is in an atheistic worldview that prevents us from doing whatever we please if we think we can get away with it.  That question illustrates the fundamental issue with Christian ethics.  It is the fact that for them, ethics are not the product of their own intellect or any naturally evolved sense of altruism - they do not come from within - they derive from and are imposed by an external source.  Thus, Christians are not responsible for their own morality, or to decide for themselves what is right in a particular situation.  Right and wrong are dictated to them, or "revealed", as they call it.  They are simply required to obey.