Posts tagged ‘theism’

October 31st, 2014

10 Things That Annoy Philosophers

by Max Andrews

If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:

10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”

Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.

9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery

Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.

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 5th, 2014

Guest Atheist: Why I Engage With Theists

by Max Andrews

I’m often asked why I engage with theists. When I was invited to write this guest post, I thought a lot about what I wanted to say. I think what I want is to focus on an analysis of these words: ‘engage’, ‘theists’, and ‘why’ .

Beyond merely arguing with theists, talking to them, or talking *at* them, I engage with them. To me, this involves two things. The first is civility. Civility is, broadly, a dispositional attitude that permits disagreement while eschewing rudeness. The second is intellectual curiosity. This involves being genuinely interested in what one’s opponent has to say – not just for the purposes of defeating their arguments, but for the purposes of giving them a fair say, and perhaps learning something yourself.

Now on to ‘theists’. I do engage theists in discussion often, but the fact that they’re theists is incidental. The group of people I’m interested in engaging can be described as something like ‘individuals who are interested in academic issues (philosophy, science, politics, history, etc.); and who, like me, place importance on civility and curiosity’. Some members of that group just happen to be thiests, and they’re no different than any other member of that group – they’re capable the civility and curiosity described above. 

November 15th, 2013

Q&A 35: Arguing with Pantheists

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Mr. Andrews,

Thank you for your website. It has helped me greatly.

Recently I have been witnessing to some Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer followers. They are diehard pantheists. After using the cosmological and contingency arguments to establish first cause and God’s separation from his creation I tried to use a logical argument against pantheism. In response to one of them saying that he was god I tried using the Law of non contradiction against his statement. I said its at contradiction to be necessary/ contingent, eternal/ temporal, infinite/finite, uncreated/created etc. His response was that Jesus was. I went on to explain how Jesus had two natures and there was no contradiction. He said so did he. Of course Jesus proved his divinity and these guys couldn’t.

Sir do you know any good arguments against Pantheism using the laws of logic?

Thank you Sir, I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,
Chris Lyons

August 8th, 2013

Q&A 31: Can Atheism be Shown to be Logically Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Mr. Andrews, 

Thank you very much for your time in reading this question. Previously I had submitted a question to reasonablefaith.org and you responded to my question; thank you for your time and for your response. This question that I have is somewhat similar. Aside from the Ontological Argument, do you think that it is possible to demonstrate that atheism, or even agnosticism, is logically incoherent? Might the following argument support the idea that atheism is logically incoherent?

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

July 17th, 2013

If God Guides Evolution It’s Still Design

by Max Andrews

This objection to intelligent design is within a theistic philosophy and theology.  The theistic evolutionist would make the arguments for Darwinism just like the atheist would make his arguments for Darwinism; the only difference is that the former is a theist.  Asa Gray (1810-1888) was a proponent of evolution who suggested that God guided evolution.  The problem for the theistic evolutionist at this point is that if God guides evolution, it is design.  Guidance implies purpose and involvement.

July 16th, 2013

The Pale Blue Dot

by Max Andrews

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”  Carl Sagan, from a Public Lecture delivered October 13, 1994, at Cornell University

June 12th, 2013

Q&A 26: Revisiting the Viability of Theistic Explanations

by Max Andrews

Question:

This is a follow up question from week 16. For a greater context please see that Q&A.

OK, thank you so much!

I’ll go through your reply point by point more or less, but I’ll try my best to be concise.

On successful research programs – Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to assume that science and philosophy aren’t continuous. Perhaps this is based on the idea that science is committed to methodological naturalism (MN). But what do you think of the idea that science isn’t looking for the best naturalistic explanations, but the best explanations, period; and it just so happens that naturalistic explanations have a successful track record and supernatural ones don’t? In other words, MN need not be seen as a presupposition of science, but as sensible advice based on past experience – MN has been tremendously successful before, so why not be committed to it? My point is this: it seems that, unless we assume science and philosophy (qua explanatory practice, at least) are discontinuous, your appeal to God as a metaphysical explanation (as opposed to a scientific one) is questionable.

June 6th, 2013

Q&A 25: Assessing the Harm Principle

by Max Andrews

Question:

Mr. Andrews,

Often when using Dr. Craig’s version of the moral argument, the humanist will object that God is not necessary for at least one objective moral value: the harm principle, i.e. pain is bad. While I’m tempted to retort back that naturalistically speaking, there is nothing to say pain is objectively bad, the humanist will say that the harm principle is an objective moral value by which other things can be measured. This is so because no humans like pain and those that do only take pleasure in mild forms of pain. How might I solve this problem?

Thank you,

Nolan

Answer:

Hi Nolan,

It’s difficult for me to see why the naturalist (or humanist) will place this principle above every other moral fact. It’s nothing more than an attempt to make a categorical exception to objectivity. If this harm principle is objective then certainly it still falls within the parameters of requiring explanation within the moral argument.