Posts tagged ‘philosophy’

April 17th, 2014

Q&A 41: Doubt and the Gospel

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Hello Max Andrews, 
My name is David Hernandez and I’m a young minister with interest in theology and a keen interest in philosophy. First, I’d like to thank you for your website, it’s been a great help in understanding. 
First, I’d like to talk to you about doubt. I’ve doubted for a long time. Not that I haven’t heard the arguments or atheism convinces me. It really doesn’t. But every now and then, I doubt a lot. I’m getting quite tired of it. I feel it hard to talk to an atheist for many of their arguments make me doubt. Some of them are stupid but I think, what if it’s true? Maybe it’s emotional. 
Also, would you suggest any book for beginners in apologetics, philosophy of religion, and natural theology. I have a great interest though i feel God wants me to be a minister, particularly an evangelist (missionary most likely.) 
Also, what’s the relationship between metaphysics and the physical universe? I’m not understanding exactly what the cosmological arguments are trying to say.
Also what can you say in taking the gospel to atheists? It is quite difficult. I find like that but sometimes these arguments don’t work in convincing them. I guess it must be appealing to head and heart. To me they become the most difficult to bring the gospel too. Maybe it’s just I feel that way since it’s really the only worldview that challenges mine. Idk well if you answer this email thank you so much. God Bless.

March 25th, 2014

Q&A 40: William Lane Craig on the Multiverse and Is Free Will Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

I accidentally found your blog recently ! Lots of great stuff and I’ll be definitely reading more. 2 questions though

1) I was watching the Craig/Carroll debate on cosmology. Craig seemed to say that the Boltzmann brain problem was a problem for all multiverse models and Carroll said it was just a problem for certain models. Who’s right?

2)  There’s this argument free will is incoherent. It seems persuasive to me.

“Some people imagine that there’s a thing that takes part in human decision making called free will. They say that while our actions are certainly influenced by our past experience, and by desires which we haven’t chosen, free will ultimately decides what to do with these inputs—it decides whether or not to follow the path pointed to by our experience and desires or to veto that course of action and settle on another.

If this is really the case, on what basis does this free will choose whether or not to ‘take control’? And when it does take control, how does it decide what to do?

It certainly can’t be reaching its decisions according to our desires or past experience, because these factors are already represented by the ‘non-free’ part of our will. Free will, to earn its keep, must be operating differently. So what’s left as a basis for the decisions of free will? Maybe free will acts at random, but surely if that’s the case then it doesn’t seem to deserve to be called free at all.

March 18th, 2014

Why LOST is the best TV series… Ever

by Max Andrews

Before I start ranting about the glories of LOST I need to put up a disclaimer first: I’ve been told that me watching LOST over and over is a PTSD thing. I started watching it while recovering from a major surgery and watched it during the four month recovery. I know someone who does the same thing (continuously watching something they watched whilst in the hospital for something traumatic). So, there may be personal bias due to those circumstances but I’ll try to be as objective as possible. There are six seasons (121 episodes and an epilogue) and I’m currently on my ninth time through the whole series since I started for the first time late July 2011. (Judge all you want. Many times it have it playing in the background while I do work. I’ve managed to complete an MA and my first year of a PhD so you can go for a walk if you started jumping to negative judgements about me… This qualification was primarily for Fred… a hater of all things me… but he really loves me, he just doesn’t know it.)

Also, I haven’t seen every TV series in history so I’m making an inductive conclusion based on what I know. Take it hyperbolically if you wish. I’ll do my best to not give away spoilers but I’ll share enough to eventually convince the masses that hate LOST that they’re wrong, lack philosophical rigor and a broad imagination, and that they’re about as useful as a limp noodle.

-END DISCLAIMER-

So, here’s the synopsis. Oceanic Flight 815 crashes on a mysterious island with unique electromagnetic/magical properties. It’s science fiction so if you’re already upset by “magic” then go away. (I’d hate to hear your thoughts on Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc.) The plane was off course by over 1,000 miles so that’s why they aren’t rescued right away.

March 12th, 2014

The Winner of the Problem of Existence Amazon Gift Card

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 8.34.02 PMAs promised with the sales of the The Problem of Existence the first fifty sold and to send me their receipt were entered to win a $25 gift card. The winner is Austin McNair! (Keep reading, even if you didn’t win or didn’t enter…)

You can view the drawing from [Seattle!] hat: http://instagram.com/p/ldXxIyFi9y/

I was very encouraged by so many people sharing the book and purchasing the book. I know some people may have needed it for themselves and I know some people are reading it to help others, which is so important. It shows that there are people who want to learn about these problems that others are facing in life. It’s not all about the sales. It’s about sharing the knowledge and loving others. I was particularly encouraged by one of the submissions by Michael Chardavoyne:

“The Problem of Existence” A book that reaches the mind and the heart at the same time. I find myself pulled in page by page as if it was meant for me to digest in the core of who I am and my perspective of those around me. If we are intrinsically valuable and there is a Creator life has meaning. If not where does meaning and purpose come from?

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).

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.