Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trumpism as Religion


I am not the first to have the idea that followers of Donald Trump exhibit a religious devotion to the man, or that Trumpism really might be a religion.  As I read the news, and hear the daily stories about Trump's corruption, incompetence, and stupidity, I can't help but marvel at the irrational devotion of his followers.  He has a sufficient level of popular support that Republicans in congress don't feel the need to put an end to this horrific administration.  In fact, they fear they would risk their own seats in the halls of government if they should attempt to do so.  This is due in large part to constitutional restrictions on democracy that tend to give disproportional strength to the rural minority where much of Trump's political base comes from, and the increasing political fanaticism of that minority.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Christians Have No Concept of Religious Freedom


In a recent Senate confirmation hearing for one of Trump's political appointees, Bernie Sanders questioned the nominee about his vocal support for religious-based discrimination against non-Christians.  After receiving no assurances from the nominee that he would leave his hateful opinions behind while serving in an influential position in the federal government, Sanders said that he wouldn't support the nominee's appointment because he was "really not someone who this country is supposed to be about".  Queue the predictable Christian outrage against Sanders for his suppression of religious freedom.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Who Follows the Evidence, And Who Doesn't?


Victor Reppert thinks that if materialism is true, there can be no logic and no "laws of evidence".  And therefore, the claims of materialistic atheists - that they base their beliefs on logic and evidence - are self-refuting.

In my previous post, I agreed with John Loftus that people like Victor Reppert are ignorant of the arguments or philosophical stances of naturalists.  Victor is fond of pointing out what he thinks are logical inconsistencies in the beliefs of atheists and naturalists.  His argument typically takes this form:
1. Naturalists believe A, and they believe B.
2. But A is logically incompatible with B.
3. Therefore, naturalists belief in both A and B is illogical or incoherent.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reppert on Culpable Ignorance


In a recent piece at his blog, Victor Reppert takes issue with John Loftus for saying that he was ignorant regarding the question of what it takes to convince atheists of God's existence.  This is a topic that I have already commented about here.  A few days later, Loftus also responded to Reppert in a somewhat different manner.  The thrust of his argument was that he had already answered the question in detail, but Reppert refuses to read it.  So, like other defenders of the faith, Victor is arguing from a position of ignorance.  If only they understood atheists' claims about evidence and skepticism, they would surely realize that their complaints about atheists' unwillingness to accept evidence for belief in God are unfounded.  And I must say, I agree with Loftus on this.  Victor simply doesn't listen to what we have to say.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Soteriological Drama


It is interesting to see the stories people make up about why their supposedly maximally good and loving God would allow so much evil, pain, and suffering in the world.  These stories, known as "theodicies", are an attempt to explain away our observations of the world in the face of apparently contradictory assumptions about the qualities of God.  Most of them try to make the case that it's all for our own good - that we need all these bad things in our lives in order to build or prove our character, so that we God can know we are worthy of spending eternity basking in his presence.  But every theodicy I have ever heard sounds like a just-so story   It provides an unlikely explanation that might be fascinating to a child, but doesn't stand up to any serious scrutiny, either from an evidential or logical perspective.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Reppert Responds to My Challenge


A while back, I wrote an article titled Heads I Lose, Tails You Win, in which I complained that theists try to paint naturalists as being unreasonable because they would never accept any evidence of a supernatural being or event as a genuine indication that something supernatural actually exists.  Naturalists have offered many examples of things that, if they were actually able to witness such a thing, would be convincing to them.    But no matter what they say, the theists' response is always to deny that the naturalist would really be convinced by it.  For the naturalist who is attempting to be reasonable and provide an honest answer to the question "What would it take to convince you?", the situation amounts to "Heads I Lose, Tails You Win".  There is absolutely nothing he can say that would be taken as a reasonable answer by theists like Reppert.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Reppert Still Denying Science


Victor Reppert has made yet another attempt on his blog to justify his thinking in support of his defense of the Argument From Reason (AFR).  It follows basically the same line of reasoning that he has used again and again, this time put into a fairly concise summary.  The thing is, his argument and particularly this line of reasoning has been rebutted, and a number of people have offered their sage advice to Victor: learn some science before you state what can or can't happen in a naturalistic world.  That advice has gone unheeded.

Monday, July 3, 2017

I Am a Fundamentalist


We often hear religionists accusing atheists of having religious fervor for their naturalist metaphysical views and the attendant empiricist epistemology.  Of course, religionists don't ever criticize these philosophical views directly.  You don't ever hear them say "You are militant naturalist", or "You adhere religiously to your empiricism, despite all the evidence."  But they do say those things about atheism, which seems a little silly to me, because atheism is a direct consequence of those philosophical views.  But religionists are apparently less inclined to criticize legitimate philosophical views, perhaps because they understand that their own philosophical underpinnings are on no more solid footing than those of the atheists.  But atheism, in its own right, is not a philosophy, although it is, in some sense, on a par with religion.  You believe in God or you don't.  If atheists can mock religious beliefs, then why shouldn't religionists mock atheism?