Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Baseball and sharing your religious beliefs online

Yes, these two are related, according to Warner Wallace.

"If you’ve ever interacted with hostile atheists online, you’ve probably been frustrated at times and wondered if your efforts were worthwhile at all. At times like this I try to remind myself of the three reasons anyone “shuns” a truth claim; many of us are committed to our position for other than rational evidential reasons (that’s true for everyone, including Christians). It’s important to see your efforts to reach the opposed as a baseball game rather than a tennis match. The goal isn’t points, it’s advancing people around the bases. You’re not alone on the court, you’ve got help on the field. I’m not always trying to hit home runs with people who disagree with me. Instead, I am simply trying to be faithful to my Master, reflect his image, and leave people with something to think about."

The Last Post by Thomist Blogger Doug Benscoter

Who passed away last May at 30. Sad, I still remember when my good friend and Thomist Joe Sheffer passed away at 36, in 1989.  This is his argument.

Among other arguments I've defended in favor of classical theism, I have also defended a Thomistic modal argument inspired by Robert Maydole.  Let's first define two terms:

Something necessary is something that exists and cannot possibly-not exist.

Something contingent is something that possibly exists and possibly does not exist.  Contingency should not be conflated with "dependency."

Here is the argument:

1. Something presently exists. (Premise)
2. Something cannot come from nothing. (Premise)
3. Either everything that exists is contingent, or else there exists at least one necessary entity N. (Definition)
4. Necessarily, there was never a past time at which nothing existed. (From 1 and 2)
5. Possibly, there was a past time at which nothing contingent existed. (Premise)
6. Therefore, a necessary entity N exists. (From 4 and 5)

Consider this reductio ad absurdum (reduction to the absurd):

7. N does not exist. (Assumption)
8. Possibly, there was a past time at which nothing existed. (From 3, 5, and 7)
9. (8) contradicts (4).
10. Therefore, (7) is false. (From 8 and the law of non-contradiction)

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Video on The Ontological Argument

I have never thought well of the OA, and I remember writing a comment on an Ontological Argument paper called "How to be an atheist" outlining several rebuttals. Nonetheless, here. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Earth to Lawrence Krauss

From Manuel Alfonseca, here. 

Second: out of nothing one can create nothing.Nothing does not exist, as we know since the time of Parmenides. As usual, nothing is confused with the vacuum. A vacuum is not nothing, because it has several qualities (space, time, energy, existence) that nothing does not have.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The literal meaning of the text

Defending Scripture Literally.

All these years later, I'm learning that understanding the literal meaning of the Bible is a more nuanced adventure than my college friends and I imagined. We'd been blithely unaware that there is more than one genre in the Bible, or that literary context profoundly matters to meaning. We didn't understand that when we read ancient Hebrew prose poems (like Genesis 1), wisdom literature (like Proverbs), or apocalyptic literature (like Revelation) as if they were science textbooks, we were actually obscuring their meaning.

If we say God is our father, does even the most fundy of fundies mean that God literally fathered us? 

The utilitarian argument for religious persecution

Some people think that getting religion wrong will result in more people going to hell. We want to save people from hell, and killing their body is not as bad as letting them teach religious beliefs that will get people damned. So, in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number, religious killing is justified.

What is the best rebuttal to this argument?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Is political candor a vice?

I am half expecting a politician to come out and say that political candor is a vice, not a virtue, and that we should vote for him because while he is a liar, at least he is going to be honest about it.

Could such a candidate be elected?

Is a literal Adam and Eve credible?


An English file can be downloaded from here.

Politifact Truthfulness Charts for Clinton and Trump