Sunday, March 27, 2016

Theistic Argument from Aesthetic Experience

It's a beautiful Easter morning, with fresh snow in the trees and a bright, sunny sky.  I watched a woodpecker outside my window and thought, what magnificent coloration this bird has.  It's a joy to look at.  At times like this, people get a sense of wonder and awe.  They feel connected to nature and happy to be alive.  Many of them think this could only be the work of God.

Likewise, when we hear a masterful musical composition played well, we get a similar kind of feeling.  Kreeft and Tacelli have formulated a simple but elegant argument from aesthetic experience for the existence of God: "There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Therefore there must be a God."  Of course, they recognize that God is not the author of the music itself, but they believe that without God, there could be no experience of its sublime beauty, because God is the author of objective beauty.  This is similar to many other versions of aesthetic arguments for God.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cornelius Hunter, Science Denier

On many occasions, I've discussed the relationship between theism and science.  I've argued that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible.  I've also agreed that there have been many scientists who are Christians, but to be a good scientist, one must set aside his religious faith, at least insofar as it relates to his scientific investigations.  Any failure to do so will inevitably lead to unscientific results, as theistic presuppositions find their way into a biased interpretation of evidence, and consequently biased conclusions.  It is particularly disappointing to see someone with a PhD in science wasting his talent and intellect on a pursuit of theistic pseudo-science, under the deluded belief that the broader scientific community has got it all wrong, and that he sees the truth that eludes them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Incoherency of Theistic Evolution

Mikey, at Shadow To Light, has defended the concept of theistic evolution against charges made by Jerry Coyne that theistic evolution smacks of special pleading.  Coyne argues that nature is wasteful in terms of the creation of billions of planets where creatures might evolve, and millions of species on this planet that only end up becoming extinct, and it involves the unnecessary suffering of countless billions of creatures.  All this, in the view of Christian evolutionists, has the goal of producing one special species on one special planet that is said to be made in the image of God, and can worship him.  Why would God go to all this trouble, instead of just taking a more direct path to creating the end product that he wants? 

Mikey, of course, takes issue with the notion that any of this is unnecessary. 
The first thing to note about his argument is that it is deeply subjective. We have no way of scientifically determining whether a “poofed” reality would be, on balance, better than the reality we experience. If all the “immense amounts of suffering via natural selection, as well as the extinction” was removed from our history, what would the world look like? Why are we supposed to flippantly, and automatically, assume it would be better? If God is supposed to “poof” beings into existence such that there is no suffering, and has never been any suffering, it would seem what the atheists demand is a Teletubbie world. And it’s not clear to me that a Teletubbie world would be better than the world we inhabit.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Undercover Creationist

I was involved in a conversation with JBsptfn regarding a site called Science Against Evolution.  The stated objective of this site is "to make the general public aware that the theory of evolution is not consistent with physical evidence and is no longer a respectable theory describing the origin and diversity of life."  It is run by R. David Pogge, also known as Do-While Jones, who is a creationist.  By creationist, I mean someone who believes that life has supernatural origins.  But Pogge avoids using the word 'creationist' in his site.  He also avoids using the word 'God'.  In fact, JBsptfn told me that Pogge is not a creationist.  I think this is based on what Pogge himself has said.
Anyone who has read our newsletters knows that we don’t promote any religious views.  Please search all the back issues of this newsletter and see if you can find any example of us promoting a religious view. - Pogge
His site claims to be strictly about science.  Based on what I see on his site and others, there is no question that Pogge is a member in good standing of the creation science community.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Atheist Quotes Misunderstood

When I was at the Atheism Analyzed blog discussing my previous post, one of the commenters there, named Phoenix, was chiding me for suggesting that creationists should read and learn about science, in lieu of spoon-feeding them a full college curriculum right there in the combox.  I decided to check out his blog to see if he had anything of substance to say.  He has mad two posts there.  The first is about ten common atheist lies, and the second is about ten atheist quotes.  Both of these posts were made in 2014.  In both cases, Phoenix believes he has thoroughly debunked the atheists.  The first one received a number of comments, but the second one has remained unchallenged all this time.  So without further ado, here is my response to Phoenix on his post 10 Atheist Quotes Demolished .