Sunday, February 26, 2017

Best Thing to Happen Since Trump Inauguration

It may be rather dated story by now, but I received the news of the firing of Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn with great delight.  It isn't because I take pleasure in seeing the failures of Trump's new administration.  Rather, it is because I think that Flynn was one of the most dangerous people ever to hold such a position of power and influence in the West Wing.  It is the National Security Advisor's responsibility to serve as the chief advisor to the president on national security matters, member of the National Security Council, and chair of the Principals Committee in the absence of the president.  This should be a non-political and non-ideological position. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hard Determinism is Immaterialist Woo

Back on the topic of free will again.  As you may be aware, I call myself a determinist who also believes that we are responsible for our own actions.  The idea of free will, as conceived by religionists, is logically incoherent under theistic assumptions about God as the "unmoved mover".  This is a topic I have discussed previously.  But my compatibilist view also doesn't sit well with many materialists.  It is the view of many "hard determinists" that we can be no more responsible for our actions than a billiard ball is for its failure to fall into the pocket after being struck incorrectly.  Human actions are purely the result of a brain that acts in a deterministic manner, subject to the laws of physics, they say, and to think that we can do otherwise is just nonsense.  I explored the topic of compatibilism versus hard determinism in this article.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Dishonesty of Atheists

Those darned atheists.  One of them says one thing, and another says something somewhat different from that.  There is no consistency, and more importantly, no honesty among them.  Or so thinks militant religionist Mikey at Shadow To Light.  In one of his customary tirades against atheists, Mikey has outdone himself with another showpiece of incoherent, mindless raging against the atheist beasts.  Why would I call it mindless?  Because it is difficult to discern exactly why he is so outraged, and why his complaints shouldn't apply equally to religionists, or all of humanity, for that matter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Problem of Divine Hiddenness

I just read a strange argument from BK, over at Christian Cadre.  In praising Tom Gilson's review of John Loftus' forthcoming book How To Defend the Christian Faith, BK inadvertently undermines Gilson's argument.  But BK's thought process is thoroughly irrational.  He doesn't even recognize that he has abandoned all logical argument in favor of an emotional knee-jerk reaction against the atheist Loftus. 

Before we get to any discussion of divine hiddenness, BK starts out by expressing his dislike of Loftus.  He says:
I don’t like to give the aforementioned Mr. Loftus any recognition on this blog because he is remarkably uninformed about Christian thought even by atheist standards. - BK
Apparently, BK is completely unaware that Loftus was raised as a Christian, and was a fervent believer for more than half of his life.  He holds a Bachelor of Religious Education degree, a Masters of Divinity, and a Masters of Theology.  He was an ordained minister.  He studied under William Lane Craig, and taught apologetics.  In BK's view all this amounts to being "remarkably uninformed".  He then goes on to make the childish proclamation:
For the remainder of this post, I will treat him like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter by referencing him as “he-who-shall-not-be-named”. - BK
And this sets the tone for the intellectual content of the remainder of his post.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Religion As Child Abuse

Richard Dawkins famously argued that religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse.  Militant theists have used that in an effort to make Dawkins and like-minded atheists seem unreasonable, typically by distorting the meaning of the atheists' words, and trying to make a nuanced position seem much more extreme or outrageous than it really is.  At Shadow to Light, Mikey thinks he has scored a devastating blow against New Atheists who argue that religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse.  He summarizes his main argument in this way:
Atheist activists commonly argue that religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse and thus religious parents have a moral obligation to refrain from instilling their religious views in their children.  This position is fatally flawed.  It ignores the findings of social science that demonstrate a healthy bond between parent and child is essential for the development of a person’s emotional and psychological well-being.  By trying to thwart religious socialization in families headed by religious parents, the atheists are advocating that harm be done to the children.  What makes this even worse is that the atheist position is grounded in hypocrisy, given that the arguments against religious socialization apply equally to political socialization.  That is, while atheists argue that religious indoctrination is child abuse, they have no problem “abusing” their own children with political indoctrination.   The atheist position is essentially nothing more than disguised bigotry that has the potential to do great harm.   Reasonable and ethical people should oppose it. - Mikey

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Anthropomorphizing Nature

Victor Reppert has a new source of arguments that support his theistic beliefs, with which he seems to be quite enamored.  It is the book God's Undertaker, by John Lennox.  I haven't read this book, but from what I have been able to learn about it, it offers a fairly standard array of arguments in support of God-as-designer, and against naturalistic science and the scientists who pose a threat to this theistic world-view.  Here is a well-written review of the book from the perspective of a creationist, and here is a rather brief review from an atheist's perspective.  The creationist reader will find what he wants to hear that will confirm what he already believes, and the atheist reader will find nothing convincing to change his mind.