Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where Does Logic Come From?

It is one of the axioms of theistic thinking that logic, or more specifically, the rules and axioms of logic, come from God.  This is the underlying assumption in certain theistic arguments, and it was the basis of the Lord of Non-Contradiction theistic argument that I discussed in a recent post.  In fact, the notion that rational thought can only be the product of a divine thinker who somehow endows the human soul with his rational faculty is pervasive in theistic philosophy.  But this idea has no justification.  It is merely a presumption that theists make.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's The Evidence, Stupid

Oh, brother.  Victor Reppert has done it again.  Yet another post that seems to expose a profound ignorance of the epistemological basis for rejecting belief in God.  This man is a PhD philosopher, for Christ's sake, and he apparently has no clue why a reasonable person should not be a believer.  Instead, he echoes the mindless religionism of Dr. Andy Bannister, who makes this ridiculous straw man:
You think that my denial of Sweden is an actual claim of some kind, that it's a belief. But it isn't. It's a non-belief. There's nothing I need to explain–rather, I'm talking about something I lack, namely a belief in Sweden, so I don't need to give any evidence for it.

I don't have to provide evidence for my non-belief in Atlantis, El Dorado, Shangri-La, or the Customer Support Department at American Airlines, and nor need I for my non-belief in Sweden. I'm not making a claim of any kind–in fact, just the opposite: I'm claiming nothing. I'm merely rejecting one your  beliefs, your belief in Sweden.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Butchering of Jean-Paul Sartre

I was browsing the articles at Christian Cadre, and saw the latest from Joe Hinman, which purports to answer the objection that atheists sometimes raise to the Teleological Argument for God: if the complexity of the universe requires an intelligent and purposeful creator, then why shouldn't God?  And who is that creator?  His answer is the usual theistic pablum: God is love, and that explains everything.  Well, it really doesn't, but this is the kind of meaningless starry-eyed theistic drivel we have come to expect from people like Hinman.  I was about to move on to other articles that might prove to be more worthy of my time, but then I came to the end of Hinman's piece, where he wraps up by quoting from the SEP on Jean-Paul Sartre to drive his point home.  Hinman was using Sartre's ontological duality of in-itself/for-itself as an example of the difference between things that exist apart from God, and God's loving and purposeful act of creation.  What?  That can't be what Sartre meant, can it?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why Philosophy of Religion Should End

Victor Reppert recently pointed out an argument for the existence of God that strikes me as nothing more than insipid.  It appears to be a variant of the Argument From Reason, which Victor himself has championed, and made the centerpiece of his career.  This variant is described as an Argument From the Laws of Logic, and it uses essentially the same fundamental reasoning the AFR uses.  It was published by James Anderson and Greg Welty with the title The Lord of Non-Contradiction: An Argument for God from Logic.  And like the AFR, it is based on unsubstantiated assumptions.  It may serve to rationalize a priori beliefs of the faithful, but from the perspective of a non-believer, it is utterly worthless as a rational argument.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dawkins' Argument from Simplicity???

I was amazed to see this stunning post by Victor Reppert:
What Dawkins argues is that a real explanation explains that which is more complex in terms of that which is simpler. Explanations of anything in terms of God necessarily explains things in terms of that which is still more complex, and so such explanations are nonstarters, since they fail to explain the more complex in terms of the less complex.

The logic of this position is that evidence for God is impossible, for if there were evidence of God, it would provide us with an explanation of the more complex in terms of the less complex. But this is impossible by definition. The search for such evidence is doomed at the start. - Reppert
First, a little background.  Dawkins was commenting on the theistic teleological arguments for the existence of God.  These arguments generally state that the universe or things within it exhibit a complexity or functionality that couldn't possibly be achieved by any accident of nature, and therefore must be the result of an intelligent designer.  This kind of argument is supposedly empirically based.  If we observe that human designers create things that have complexity or functionality that nature doesn't produce on its own, we might then reason that there must be a God who has designed many of the things we see in our world, including human beings, who possess the most complex thing known to us - our brain, which is responsible for our own intelligence.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Reppert and the Principle of Charity

What would you think if a child brought home a report card with a B grade on it, and his father told him that he was stupid and he would never amount to anything?  I think many people would agree with me that the parent is being abusive, and that his behavior could potentially be damaging to the child, especially if that was part of a pattern that persisted throughout the son's childhood years.  What should we do about this parent?  Take the child away from him?  Lock him up in prison?  I don't think so.  The parent has broken no laws.  Some of us may not like the way he treats his child, but he is within his rights as a parent.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Responding to Hinman (Again)

Joe has written a new article, this time specifically about me.  This is actually the second article he has written in response to one that I wrote, but this one comes six weeks later, and I thought the issue was forgotten.  Apparently, Joe has been seething all this time, but he has completely ignored what I actually said, and instead imagined that I was attacking his book.  And that's what he's pissed off about.  But it isn't true.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Decline of the New Atheist Movement

There has been much ballyhoo among strident religionists about the decline and fall of the so-called New Atheist movement.  This has been going on for at least six years now.  Nearly four years ago, the Catholic Herald announced that "New Atheism is Dead".  Many others have been talking about the decline of the movement, as evidenced in this Conservapedia article, or the ongoing pronouncements of Shadow To Light, where these claims form a steady drumbeat, culminating, perhaps, in an obituary for the movement. Nevertheless, I don't expect to see Mikey stop beating a dead horse anytime soon.