Archive for January, 2012

January 17th, 2012

Mark Nowacki’s “Assessing the Kalam Cosmological Argument”–A Review

by Max Andrews

Review of Mark Nowacki’s “Assessing the Kalam Cosmological Argument,” Philosophia Christi 12 (2010):  201-212.

Mark Nowacki’s article is in response to an ongoing dialogue between himself and Arnold Guminski.  Guminski had recently written critiques of Nowacki’s version of the kalam cosmological argument and Nowacki responds by clarifying misconceptions and elaborating on key premises to the argument.  Nowacki’s argument is based on the impossibility of an actual infinite magnitude [not multitude] with respects to temporal marks.

Nowacki begins by developing an account of modality called substantial modality with respects to substances that obtain in the actual universe.  Substantial possibility is a more restricted domain than logical possibility.  Substantial possibility is the domain of possibility that tracks what is causally open to substances as a function of the particular natures that those substances possess.  Anything that is substantially possible is logically possible, but the converse does not hold:  something maybe logically possible without being substantially possible.[1]  One substantially necessary feature for any physical body is that it possesses a definite shape.

January 16th, 2012

William Lane Craig’s “Reflections on ‘Uncaused Beginnings’”–A Review

by Max Andrews

Review of William Lane Craig’s “Reflections on ‘Uncaused Beginnings,’” Faith and Philosophy 27 (2010):  72-78.

In William Lane Craig’s reflections on Graham Oppy’s recent critiques of the cosmological argument[1], particularly kalam, Craig finds his arguments to lack serious considerations of a temporal order of causation and that the metaphysical theorizing of modality and causation are ambiguous and lack rigor.  Oppy’s argument is based on what an “initial state” of the universe is and its essential properties.  His initial state is ambiguous but Craig explicates Oppy later in his critique.

January 12th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Paul Tillich

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: Paul Tillich (1886-1965)

General summary of his theology: Tillich’s reasoning tends to reflect the romanticism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is intuitive rather than excursive.  He expressed a theme of the relationship between the infinite and the finite.  The infinite is known as the infinite only in relation to the finite.  Tillich also incorporated symbolism.  Any finite thing may have the double capacity to be both what it is and to participate in and point beyond itself to the infinite.  This is not to say that he didn’t think systematically as well.

According to Tillich, religion comes by means of a systematic use of paradox.  Religion is the state of being ultimately concerned or that which concerns us ultimately our being or not being at all.  Religion must always be translated  into political action.  This is not being who I am or where I am, but, being or not being at all.  This has to do with the absolute abyss of negativity and nothingness.

January 11th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday 1/11/12

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Quantum-Logic

Definition:  An interpretation of quantum mechanics developed by John von Neumann in the late 1930′s.  Quantum logic says that everyday logic cannot be applied to the quantum world.  Contrary to Boolean logic, quantum logic says that and and either do not have the same meaning in the quantum world.

More about the term:  This interpretation isn’t known to be deterministic or indeterministic.  That is still up for debate.  However, there is no collapse of the wave function.  Also, local causation is uncertain as well.  There is little debate on the issue but the majority understanding of this is that it has a unique history (contrary to other non-collapse interpretations like Many Worlds).  When using Boolean logic to assess quantum logic it may seem that quantum logic is self-contradictory; however, if quantum logic is assessed internally it is indeed consistent.  The major problem for this system is extrapolating applied logic.  Boolean logic is certainly valid in everyday life but is invalid in the quantum world.  One way or another it seems that contradictions may arise somewhere along the way.  For more information see John Gribbin’s Q is for Quantum.

Example of use:  Consider the double slit experiment where a photon is shot at a wall with two slits and the photon goes through either one (or both).  So, because there is no wave collapse the photon actually goes through both slits.  There’s a different logical significance in this experiment.

January 4th, 2012

Evolution, the Bible, and the 3.5 Million Dollar Violin

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest blog post by Jeff G. Jeff is a 24-year-old student studying biblical theology at North Park University in Chicago. He hopes to go on to grad school and get a Ph.D. in the field of biblical theology, if that is where God wants him. 

__________

It was 7th grade biology class, and we began to learn the theory of evolution. The evidence seemed absolutely clear to me—evolution was an undeniable fact. I picked up my bible and compared what I read to what I learned in my biology class. The accounts seemed clearly contradictory. It didn’t take much time for me to conclude that all of Christianity was a sham. I will come back to this in a bit, but first, do me a favor and let me tell you another story…

In January of 2007, world-renowned violin virtuoso Joshua Bell took his 3.5 million dollar violin to the Washington D.C. metro station to play some songs as a street musician.  Dressing modestly in a baseball cap, jeans, and a long-sleeved t-shirt, Bell left his violin case open for tips as he played 6 classical songs, one of which has been called the most difficult song on any instrument—J.S. Bach’s Chaconne. Of this song, the great composer Johannes Brahms said, “if I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”