Saturday, February 25, 2023

I'm right, and everyone else is wrong. Awfully arrogant of me to say that????

 Presumably you should try to pick a religion where there is good reason to believe that its claims are true. If you think you religion is true, then you think that, to the extent that others differ from you, they are mistaken. But you don't get away from that by rejecting religion. If you think religious nonbelief is true, then you think that, say, atheism is true and that theists are wrong, and so with that you can use that as a basis for thinking yourself better than others. So everyone, believer and unbeliever, thinks that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

From my facebook feed--just for fun


Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Godelian argument against mechanism


Which Godel himself seems to have endorsed. 


Monday, February 13, 2023

Elections and the Burden of Proof

  I think the innocent until proven guilty rule has to apply to elections as well as to criminal cases. If, in order to be elected, you have to prove that there was no fraud, you could never elect anybody. Besides, stealing an election is a criminal offense. The expedient of locking someone up requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I think the expedient of overturning an election result requires a similar degree of proof. Trump and those like him think that it's OK to overturn elections because partisan officials assert, or even believe there was fraud. It doesn't work that way, and it shouldn't. None of the evidence provided in the case of the Arizona governor's race, or in the 2020 Presidential election, rises even to the level of a preponderance of the evidence (what is needed in a civil case), much less beyond reasonable doubt. You can't just scream FRAUD at the top of your lungs and float theories about Venezuelan voting machine software in order to get an election overturned. If that were true, then all Hillary would have needed to do would have been to make claims about Russian interference and she could get the 2016 election overturned. Without a high burden of proof for election fraud claims, chaos would result.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Are religious motives for good conduct mercenary?

 But religious motives for good conduct are not all mercenary.

“We are afraid that Heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that the mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man's love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Was C. S. Lewis a chicken atheist?


Christopher Hitchens on Liar, Lunatic or Lord

 The atheist writer Christopher Hitchens, on the other hand, argues that Lewis's contention is right but offers a different interpretation: in contrast to Christian moralists like Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Renan, he writes, "I am bound to say that Lewis is more honest here. Absent a direct line to the Almighty and a conviction that the last days are upon us, how is it 'moral' [...] to claim a monopoly on access to heaven, or to threaten waverers with everlasting fire, let alone to condemn fig trees and persuade devils to infest the bodies of pigs? Such a person if not divine would be a sorcerer and a fanatic."[37

  1. Hitchens, Christopher (9 July 2010). "In the Name of the Father, the Sons...". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 

Thursday, February 02, 2023

75th Anniversary of Lewis's exchange with Anscombe

 This is the 75th anniversary of Anscombe's famous paper presentation. Clearly Lewis believed 1) That Anscombe's criticism showed a serious problem with his presentation of the argument in Miracles, and 2) her criticisms did not show, as she claimed, that the naturalist is off the hook from objections to the effect that it naturalism is inconsistent the validity of reasoning. I think this is clear from Lewis's comment in his reply to Pittenger and his the short reply in the Socratuc Digest, not to mention his revision of the chapter for Fontana which appeared in 1960, twelve full years after the original exchange. The issue here isn't the popular nonsense about giving up apologetics and writing Narnia instead. The question is why, being critiqued in this way by Anscombe, and believing that the core of the argument holds nonetheless, why he didn't present a paper to the Socratic subsequently called "A Reply to Miss Anscombe's Argument that Naturalism is Not Self-Refuting." That's what I would have done, and have done in response to my critics over the years.

See the appendices here.