Monday, February 28, 2022

LSD and AR-15s don't mix

 Ted Nugent, a rock and roll singer, began his career with the Amboy Dukes, who recorded a hit song called "Journey to the Center of the Mind," clearly to be accomplished through the use of psychedelic drugs. More recently, he has been an advocate of exercising your second amendment rights. But I hope he doesn't think we ought to journey to the center of the mind and exercise our second amendment rights at the same time. As they say in A Christmas Story, "You'll shoot your eye out."

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

No problem

 Is insisting in human rights forcing our values on people in foreign countries? If so, I'm all for forcing my values on people in foreign countries. No problem.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Calvinism and the worship-worthiness of Yahweh

 Imagine the following person, call him Smith. Smith is convinced, based on various arguments (presuppositional or evidential) that an infinite being, called Yahweh, exists. Yahweh, Smith believes, raised Yeshua from the dead, and the Yeshua is Yahweh's son, the second Person of a Trinity.  He believes, further, that the Old and New Testaments are factually inerrant. Based on an exegetical analysis of Scripture, (Rom 9, John 6:44, et al.) that the Reformed Doctrine that Yahweh predestines some to receive saving grace, while predestining others to suffer the punishment of hell, to be an accurate account. He's a good Calvinist, except for one thing. Given the fact that, for millions of people, Yahweh could have given them saving grace but did not, and instead inflicts everlasting punishment upon them, he concludes that Yahweh is unworthy of worship. With respect to those we care about, we are inclined to give up anything of ourselves, even our own life, to prevent them from suffering disaster. And eternal punishment is surely a fate worse than death, or prison, or being tortured on earth, or being publicly shamed, etc. If goodness is definable in terms of lovingness, then a deity who exemplified perfect goodness would do everything possible to keep people from suffering eternal torment, and on this score, Smith reasons, Yahweh falls short. 

A good Calvinist could, it seems to me, give a prudential argument for why Smith should worship Yahweh. God, ex hypothesi, has either condemned Smith to hell or elected him for heaven, but his choosing to worship Yahweh no doubt renders it more probably that Smith is among the elect. But what I can't find here is a moral argument as to why Smith ought to worship Yahweh. That Yahweh is Smith's creator seems insufficient, because that would mean that someone created by Lucifer ought to worship Lucifer. So, if there is a moral argument, what is it? 

(Notice that I don't use the word God for Yahweh, because the concept of God seems to entail moral goodness, and that is what is at issue in this discussion). 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

C. S. Lewis on Total Depravity


Though it's actually about the argument from total depravity to the conclusion that our concept of good and evil are worth simply nothing applied to God. 

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Reformed schools

 When I was a fellow at Notre Dame I went out to dinner with Al Plantinga. He was telling us how he liked the Catholic school his daughter attended. So I asked him "So, you couldn't find a Reformed school for her?" Only, I deliberately failed to enunciate the "d" in Reformed, prompting a disquisition by AP on the difference between a Reformed school and a reform school.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Burning and banning books.

 Burning or banning books always seems like a self-defeating enterprise-- it calls attention to the very books you are banning or burning.

But some people still do it. 


On Wittgenstein

 My dissertation advisor was Hugh Chandler, who did his own dissertation under Wittgenstein student Norman Malcolm. (Chandler admired Wittgenstein but as no disciple) I also took a Wittgenstein course from Wittgenstein disciple Peter Winch. But for a defender on naturalism, Wittgenstein is a double-edged sword. Winch applied the Wittgensteinian idea of language games to argue (and I think this really is consistent Wittgensteinianism) that the Genesis story and the Darwinian theory of evolution are not in conflict because they occur in different language games. Imagine what Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett would say about that! Naturalists invariably claim that while religious people are playing language games, we in science are nailing down reality, and that is precisely what Wittgenstein's position, taken to its logical conclusion, prevents you from doing. In fact, it's hard to see how far Anscombe could follow Wittgenstein. If she were to explain Catholic Eucharistic doctrine to Wittgenstein he would say "Yes, in the Catholic language game, the elements really are the Body and Blood of Christ, though that is not part of the Protestant language game." Anscombe would never be satisfied with that!

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Is the Holocaust strong evidence against theism?

Jeff Lowder thinks so. 

C. S. Lewis as wartime apologist.

 The evidence suggests that he saw apologetics as a wartime duty, and his workload at Oxford was smaller when so many British men were fighting the Nazis. Lewis loved debate and believed in the rationality of his faith (and this didn't at all waver), and he continued his Presidency of the Oxford Socratic Club until he went to Cambridge. But he never envisioned himself as the go-to guy for Christian apologietics. Even John Beversluis, the arch-critic of Lewis's apologetics, recognized that the Anscombe exchange had nothing like the kind of impact that Humphrey Carpenter, George Sayer, and A. N. Wilson claimed that it did. It is weird that none of these authors so much as mention Lewis's revised chapter, which makes their accounts of the Anscombe incident rather like an account of the Kennedy assassination that omits the fact that Jack Ruby killed Oswald.

Miracles was published in 1947, but was written during wartime.

What if Anscombe had never replied to C. S. Lewis?

74 years ago yesterday on Feb 2, Elizabeth Anscombe read her paper replying to Lewis on his argument against naturalism. But Ludwig Wittgenstein, her mentor. did not approve of her attending the Oxford Socratic Club and did not think C. S. Lewis to be worth refuting. What if Anscombe had listened to Wittgenstein. How would Lewis's apologetic and literary output have been different?

My view is "not much." (Though there would have been no revised chapter). What do you think?