March 9th, 2014

A world-famous chemist claims there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

by Max Andrews

Original source: Uncommon Descent

Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars (pictured [below], courtesy of Wikipedia), nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist, Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists, took the courageous step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

March 5th, 2014

“Under Our Skin” – The Must See Documentary

by Max Andrews

Under Our Skin is an amazing documentary about Lyme Disease and those who suffer from it. It’s available to watch for free on Hulu (I know many places around the world don’t stream Hulu so you may want to try to find it somewhere else). It doesn’t talk about the conspiracy behind Plum Island (US government animal testing facility off the coast of Lyme, Connecticut… There may be good reason to blame the government for this disease but I won’t discuss that issue here). It focuses on the problem of healthcare in the US, the imbalance of the government and insurance companies, the corruption of policy makers, and the greed of those who patent advances and not make it available for others to benefit from. Here’s the trailer.

March 4th, 2014

God, Man, the World and Ontological Relations

by Max Andrews

God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties.  This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem).  The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves.[1]  This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.[2]

In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found.  If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object.  Thus, to know entities as they actually are is to know what they are in their relation “webs”.  Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.[3]

March 3rd, 2014

The Problem of Bad “Biblical” Rhetoric

by Max Andrews

If we are pursuing truth then there are many means to discovering what the truth is [about God, reality, etc.]. It’s incredibly naïve to dismiss something because it is not in a preferred category. If we are pursing truth then it would be a category error to dismiss a challenging viewpoint simply because of categorically dismissiveness. Throwing words around like unbiblical, sub-biblical, and non-biblcal are rhetorical devices used in a debate when both parties (or more) believe that they are defending a biblical position. You may believe that something is one of the aforementioned categories but to continuously bring it up is quite the rhetorical effort, and I admit, probably effective to the listeners and debaters, but it doesn’t help and it’s simply annoying. The same thing goes for the claim of “meaningful exegesis” (some people may recognize that line). The two parties in the debate sincerely believe they are doing meaningful exegesis but it simply rhetoric and places the person categorically below the other one by trumpeting their position as being [the only] biblical position. It’s like political public opinion. If you repeat something long enough, be it true or not true, they’re going to start believing it (analogically speaking, the audience or listeners).

March 2nd, 2014

Would You Want to Know When and How You’ll Die?

by Max Andrews

It’s not a very easy question to answer and if you feel the need to sit in silence and have a drink at the pub or have a cigarette over the question feel free. Would you rather know when and how you will die or would you rather let providence unfold and let your ignorance diminish as time goes on?

We have very little control over when we will die unless we take our own lives or we put ourselves in circumstances that will likely increase death (e.g. dangerous activities like sky diving, drugs, scuba, skiing, etc.). Be honest with yourself and place morbidity aside. I’m going to make a personal pros and cons list that come to mind…

The thought occurred to me when I was thinking about my genes. Yeah, I know it’s a weird thing to think about…

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February 28th, 2014

The Monuments Men: A Dialectic not to be Ignored

by Max Andrews

I’ve heard mostly negative reviews over the film The Monuments Men and, as it currently stands, has a rough 6.4 rating on IMDB. The film isn’t anything like Good Will Hunting or in the category of any film prestige but it does stand out as something more than a pic based on a true story–it portrays the aesthetic dialectic of the beautiful and the profane.

There are several scenes that capture the dialectic in amazing ways and if you haven’t seen it then watch for these scenes and if you missed the point try to go back and recall it. A quick recap… a dialectic is the meeting of seemingly contradictory metaphysics. First, there’s the thesis, which meets it’s antithesis in opposition. Hopefully, there’s a harmony, the synthesis.

The Monuments Men Review

February 26th, 2014

The Atheist Argument from Fine-Tuning is too Coarse

by Max Andrews

Believe it or not an atheist friend of mine has presented an argument from fine-tuning to demonstrate that God doesn’t exist. I think there are several different problem with the argument but I’ll be as charitable as possible to my anonymous friend @SkepticismFirst (SF).

Fine-tuning is something I’ve invested quite a bit of research in. My MA (philosophy) thesis was on the Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios and I’m continuing that research right now in my PhD (University of Edinburgh). So, I’ve written quite extensively on this issue. Here are a few links to get the fine-tuning argument presented by the proponents of fine-tuning:

February 26th, 2014

“The Problem of Existence” on Sale for Amazon Kindle

by Max Andrews

The Problem of Existence

 

UPDATE (3 March): This Saturday, March 6, I will be doing the drawing for the first few that have submitted their receipts of purchase to receive a $25 gift card. There are only a few more slots available to please be sure to send me your receipt!

The Problem of Existence: Existential Reflections on Pain and Suffering is now available for purchase at Amazon for $3.99. The first fifty people to purchase the e-book will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. All you need to do is take a screenshot of your purchase receipt and email it to mlandrews@sententias.org. Below are the links for The Problem of Existence’s availability in the Amazon marketplace around the world (prices adjusted for national currencies):

Purchase The Problem of Existence in the American Amazon market

The French Amazon market

The Brazilian Amazon Market

The Indian Amazon Market

The Spanish Amazon Market

The Canadian Amazon Market

The British Amazon Market

February 20th, 2014

“The Problem of Existence” E-Book on Feb 26 and Giveaway

by Max Andrews

The Problem of Existence Amazon CoverOn Feb. 26 my first e-book, The Problem of Existence: Existential Reflections on Pain and Suffering, will be available for Kindle download for $3.99. I’ve been working on this project for over a year and I’ve recently delving back in to finishing it. Essentially, the book is for those who are suffering or in pain and for those who may know someone who is going through hardship and suffering. We find ourselves thrusted into existence and we observe so much absurdity around us. This is the problem of existence. It’s the why questions.

Regular readers over the years will recognize a lot of the content. I’ve compiled everything in what will, hopefully, be an easy read formatted in an understandable way. Some of it is story telling and other parts are serious philosophy and theology. This e-book is a bit different than my normal topics related to science and philosophy. I found that while composing and editing it I was really just speaking to myself. Like the psalmist does so often, “Why are you cast down, O soul?” Sometimes we need to preach to ourselves and this is really just a glimpse of my heart.

February 18th, 2014

Q&A 39: Ethical and Epistemic Dilemmas in Education

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion

Dear Max,

I understand you are very busy but this is very serious and if you could please spend some time reading this email it would be appreciated. You helped me about a year ago greatly through Reasonable Faith with regard to philosophy of the mind. I truly appreciated your words.

Please allow me to share a little about my background before I get to the point. I am a Christian who lives in Australia, I have a deep passion for apologetics and philosophy and have been teaching myself in my spare time for almost 2 years nearly every day. I have worked as a software developer for almost 20 years, these skills have greatly honed my analytical thinking.

Recently I learned that our school is implementing the PYP & MYP program from the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) also known as the World School. I had suspicions of this program because of its heavily secularized origin. This alerted me to do some research and suffice to say my findings are alarming. The problem with it is illustrating its deceptiveness via its pragmatic methods.