Archive for May 31st, 2012

May 31st, 2012

Free Will vs. Determinism PPT

by Max Andrews

Here is an old lecture PPT defining the differences between soft/hard libertarian freedom and soft/hard determinism.  There are a lot of discussion points in the notes section.  I ususally have a great discussion with the class when I teach this.  So, for you teachers out there, feel free to use this material as you wish and, if anything, I hope it helps grow your knowledge on the subject.  Feel free to follow the sources cited.

Determinism:  Choices are caused by prior decisions
Hard Determinism:  Free will is an illusion
Soft Determinism:  Free will is compatible with determinism
Libertarianism:  Choices originate within persons
Hard Libertarianism:  Persons always have free will
Soft Libertarianism:  Persons have free will at significant times
May 31st, 2012

Are There Objective Morals? Lecture PowerPoint

by Max Andrews

Alas, here is another PPT I’ve used in some of my lectures concerning axiology and the objectivity of moral values.  In this lecture I briefly discuss the deductive form of the moral argument for the existence of God, the distinctions between different ethical theories, and the Euthyphro dilemma.  I hope you find the material beneficial and edifying.  Please follow through on some of the sources cited in the pages and in the notes for further information.

Definitions and distinctions:

Objective:  To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.
Subjective:  Personal taste or feelings [which may be of an individual, group, or society].
Good/Bad:  Correlated with moral values
Right/Wrong:  Correlated with moral duties
read more »

May 31st, 2012

Understanding Bayesian Analysis, the Evolution Skeptic’s Friend

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from Stephen A. Batzer and Evolution News and Views

If you’ve followed the ID vs. Darwinism debate at all, you’ve probably come across the term “Bayesian analysis.” This technique is the skeptic’s friend and it can actually be very simple if informally used. Englishman Thomas Bayes was an 18th-Century Presbyterian minister and mathematician. He asserted that it is rational to analyze new data based upon prior knowledge.

This is subjective probability analysis, the opposite of data analysis “in a vacuum.” Here’s a handy example. Many of us recall being asked by our parents, “If everyone were jumping off a bridge, would you do that too?” I don’t think my mother asked me again after I told her, “Almost certainly. There must be a solid reason that everyone is jumping off the bridge. You probably would, too.”

This down-and-dirty analysis isn’t absolutely reliable, but it is cogent and we all use it every day. People commonly make choices in what they believe and do for experiential reasons. Here’s another example; a bad choice is superior to an intolerable choice. In 2001, intelligent, well-educated adults jumped out of skyscrapers to certain death. Why would did they do such a thing? Because jumping was better than burning to death. When they jumped, fuel-fed flames were working inexorably up through the World Trade Center.

May 31st, 2012

Theology Thursday: Kant Part 2

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) on the Person of Christ

More on his theology: The ideal of the perfect human is in one sense innate in all humans.  By living in the cat-imp, the moral reason (faith), we become Sons of God and attain perfection.  Even though never named, Jesus is alluded to and made the obvious choice and is the example we are to live by as he lived the cat-imp perfectly, by adopting moral principles as your own and striving toward perfection.  Jesus is the historical exemplar of the ideal that God has in his mind and is the example of attaining moral perfection.  By regarding as our archetype the Son of God who assumed “sorrows in fullest measure in order to further the world’s good.”  Jesus is the ultimate example of salvation.