January 1st, 2015

Evidence Against Moral Relativism [Only]

by Max Andrews

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman are psychologists who’ve done research concerning the underlying virtues of societies and cultures. Their conclusion was that there are several key virtues that every culture recognizes. The problem that many observers will notice is that the cultures’ attempt to display or act out these virtues may be misplaced, which often results in the ethical relativist’s denial of objective ethics.

Character Strengths and Virtues

December 31st, 2014

Why Darwin and Nietzsche Are Correlated

by Max Andrews

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE AND NIHILISM

To attribute nihilism to Friedrich Nietzsche’s works would be a complete misunderstanding of his teleology.  Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra is a calling and desire for the übermensch to create a transvaluation of values.  To categorize Nietzsche as a nihilist would be a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of his work.

When referring to nihilism there must be an understanding of all that the word entails.  Nihilism refers to nothingness and is a denial of all worldviews.  There are apparent problems with being consistent in rendering a nihilist understanding.  Referring to everything having no meaning renders a meaning of nothingness.  There is no objectivity, knowledge, truth, or virtue.  There is a claim of paradigm independent referents.  For the advancement of understanding Nietzsche’s teleology this self-referential incoherence must be set to the periphery.  To discard Nietzsche so quickly in such a manner would be to misunderstand his teleological claims.

Nietzsche’s paradigm for truth was based on biological development.  This, by all admission, was a relativistic understanding and rendition of truth; it was a social construct.  This was in response to the proclamation that “God is dead.”  In the fifth chapter of Twilight of the Idols Nietzsche deduces the implications of stripping God from Christianity [in reference to morality].

December 31st, 2014

Just Apologize… It’s that Simple

by Max Andrews

We are told to forgive as Jesus forgives. Jesus doesn’t forgive everyone and thus whom he does forgive repent and seek forgiveness.

I understand some people forgiving someone on their own initiative but that seems, to me, for psychological and emotional reasons–therapeutic to help get over something. That’s fine. But forgiveness without an antecedent repentance or seeking of forgiveness falls moot and is inefficacious since that forgiveness really isn’t predicated to anything at all–it’s for emotional reasons to just move on, I would suspect.

I’m a forgiving person. Sometimes all I want is an apology and when forgiveness is sought from me I have an obligation to forgive. Until then, I see it as just and fair to hold the person to account for their wrong against me.

December 30th, 2014

The History of Subjectivism

by Max Andrews

Subjectivism begins with personal experience. One might actually regard philosophical subjectivism as doing philosophy from the inside-out (which can eventually lead to critical-realism/non-realism). Both René Descartes (1596-1650) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) attempted to construct philosophical systems from this starting point (although in the end both were realists). In the modern world subjectivist philosophies have become very popular as they challenge the notion of absolute Truth which allows people to democratize truths. This means truths become relative to each person. As a result, a society built on subjectivist principles is believed to be tolerant and willing to allow people to live and let live (providing they do not harm others – which, ironically, is not a subjective, and therefore relative, statement).

December 30th, 2014

Experience and Being in the Right Frame of Mind

by Max Andrews

What if it were the case that justification of our beliefs in propositions describing physical objects is always inferential and that it is always from propositions about the nature of our experiences that such inferences are made.? If this is true, there are two conditions that must be satisfied concerning inferential belief in physical objects:

(1) Statements about experience must count as reasons or evidence for statements about objects.
(2) Statements about experience must in some, no doubt rather obscure, sense be accepted by those who make statements about objects.

Maybe there’s reason to doubt  (1) and (2) by simply suggesting that that it is not always the case that most people are always in the “appropriate, sophisticated, phenomenological frame of mind.”  This is certainly true to an extent; so let us refer to this handicap as H.  It may be the case person S is intoxicated with alcohol and his phenomenological apprehension may be malfunctioning or that S realizes that his phenomenological apprehension of the external world is not as it should be and is capable of recognizing malfunction. 

December 28th, 2014

Police, Government, Rule of Law, and Legal Piracy

by Max Andrews

Ive been told by so many people that our [American] government and police aren’t corrupt. There are good police and bad police (see Why Conservatives Should Care More About Police and Government Overreach for a fuller grasp on my position here).

The bad police have the power to suppress and intimidate the good ones and whistleblowers. However, consider the civil forfeiture laws and corruption without due process and a lack of legitimate rule of law (eg a court case without a judge…[?]). This is called piracy and theft but it’s only legal if the government does it…

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3kEpZWGgJks

December 26th, 2014

Pain and Suffering: When We Are Most Like God

by Max Andrews

I was once at Cracker Barrel with someone, a favorite of mine.  We sat down and we started talking about family and the issue of pain, suffering, and evil sneaked its way into our discussion.  Evil, pain, and suffering are  very serious issues that I do not take lightly.  I lectured on the problem of evil a couple of years ago to one of my philosophy classes I assist/teach.  I have the hardest time talking about pain and suffering and teaching it was difficult for me as well.  I spent the first 40 minutes emphasizing how important the issue is ranging from its permeation into culture such as the movie I Am Legend film (Will Smith’s character denies God’s existence because of the evil), September 11th, and to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.  I thought about our response to pain and suffering and then it dawned on me… a response of compassion, sympathy, and real spiritual anguish over such pain and suffering is when we are most like God.

December 21st, 2014

Why Conservatives Should Care More About Police and Government Overreach

by Max Andrews

Let me be clear from the very beginning. I appreciate the police. I know our world needs laws so a society may harmoniously function (ideally). A world without law and a world without police would be a world like The Purge. There are legitimate arguments behind sophisticated anarchist arguments but as someone who affirms the total depravity of man, it’s just not going to happen. Likewise, one can still have respect and high regard for police and government officials and offices while still being concerned about government overreach, brutality, and abuses, and demand [as a Democratic Republic–America] that these things change for the better.

So, the tenets you need to understand before reading:

  1. I’m not anti-police.
  2. I’m not an anarchist.

I don’t need to cite all the police misconduct cases out there but there are trigger happy cops willing to shoot unthreatening mentally handicapped people (here, and here [associate of Rosa Parks executed], even planning ahead of time but didn’t get in trouble for it, their patrol car caught the audio of the overkill of a mentally unstable homeless man in NM), and even call over dogs to get their attention and then fatally shoot the dog (without consequence for the officer).

December 15th, 2014

VIDEO: The Thomisitic Abductive Cosmological Argument (TACA)

by Max Andrews

November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.

Title:  “A New and Abductive Thomistic Cosmological Argument”

Abstract:  Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.

November 30th, 2014

New Molinism eBook to be Released

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 1.28.12 PMMy second eBook in a series called “The Spread of Molinism”, is now coming out with Volume 2, The Philosophy, Theology, and Science of Molinism. This will assume that you’ve read and have mastered the basics of Molinism I presented in Volume 1, An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered.

This book is substantially longer and more in depth. For example, in my Word document, my first book was 54 pages single spaced. This book is approximately 100 pages single spaced (size 10 font). Below is a sample preface with the outline. I don’t have a release date set for it just yet but it will be sometime before Christmas. It would certainly make for a great Christmas gift to parents, siblings, or others interested in the debate–by gifting both volumes!

I will keep everyone informed on the progress.