Posts tagged ‘Virginia Tech’

October 25th, 2012

Virginia Tech Debate on the Existence of God Audio Available

by Max Andrews

Below is the link for the audio of the VT debate on the existence of God I was a part of earlier this year.

Debate Audio

Also, for more information and my take on the debate you can view the video and comments through the link below.

Debate Video/Information

June 6th, 2012

VIDEO: VA Tech Debate on the Existence of God

by Max Andrews

This was a debate on March 21, 2012 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA.  It was sponsored by the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech, Leopard Zeus Fan Club, Ask Big Questions at Virginia Tech, and the Department of Philosophy at Liberty University.

Defending Theism

  • Max Andrews, Department of Philosophy Liberty University
  • Josh Nixon, Virginia Tech

Defending Atheism

  • Dan Linford, Virginia Tech
  • Beau Bradley, Virginia Tech

April 24th, 2012

VT Debate Video Soon!

by Max Andrews

I’ve got an update about the debate video.  I just heard from our friends at Tech and they said they have the video ready to go.  The only problem is that the audio has poor quality.  I’m going to try to edit that but if any of you are in the local Lynchburg area and you’re able to edit these kind of things please let me know. I would appreciate your help.  This should be good to go within the next few days.

April 22nd, 2012

Still No Video of the VT Debate Yet

by Max Andrews

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about when I’ll be able to share the video of my debate on the existence of God at Virginia Tech back in March.  I’ve been in touch with one of the organizers for the debate and as of two weeks ago the VT Video Productions was almost finished with the final video.  I’ve been anxiously checking the mail every day for a while now so I’m looking forward to getting it just as much as several of you.  Once I get it I’ll let you know and I’ll share it.  I’m really hoping it’s this week.

April 10th, 2012

An Agnostic’s Response to My Use of the Cosmological Argument

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest blog post by Fred, an agnostic, critiquing my use of the argument from contingency I presented at the Virginia Tech debate on the existence of God.  Here’s a brief bio:

B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science, completing my formal education in 1978.  I’ve taken precisely two philosophy courses during my student days, both in Logic.  I  took a lot of math and science courses. I am now in I.T. middle management at a multinational oil company, with about 90 people reporting to me.

I’m 58 years old, grew up as a devout Catholic – attended Catholic schools in Houston for 12 years.  I credit the free thinking atmosphere at my high school with opening my mind up and allowing me to look beyond the dogma I had always been taught.  This led me to question, to become skeptical, and ultimately to develop into an agnostic.  I lack a belief that a God exists, but I have continued to explore.  I am impatient with dogmatism, from theists and atheists alike.  My engagement in discussions such as this is out of pure self-interest.  I’m not trying to prove anyone wrong, I’m just trying to see if I’m missing some truths or overlooking some credible argument. I do so by challenging the position of the person I’m engaging, which can sometimes give the appearance that my position is more extreme than it is.  In the course of my pursuits I’ve been forced to look a little into metaphysics, because it seems this is where the arguments for God’s existence reside.  I’ve also looked into historical methodology, because this pertains to the arguments for Jesus sit. 

April 3rd, 2012

VT Debate–Response to the Atheist Objection that God is a Moral Monster

by Max Andrews

There were two main objections, which my atheist opponents defended during the VT debate on the existence of God.  One of the objections was from the problem of gratuitous evil, particularly natural evil, which I have already responded to here. The other objection raised during the debate was presented first after my opening statements. The argument was that because me and my debate partner were Christian theists the Christian God cannot exist because of the supposed atrocities in the Bible and other doctrines such as hell.

The argument began with the problem of predisposition. In other words, why you must approach your faith of choice with objectivity and skepticism and not confirmation bias.  However, in response, in order to identify and affirm the discovery of a truth one must not exhaust all possibilities.  Additionally, it works both ways.  If the criterion is applied fairly how can one deny the proposition, in this case, God exists, without examining all possibilities?  This criterion is untenable.  Also, to suggest that one is a Christian because of environment or spatiotemporal location is to commit the genetic fallacy.

April 1st, 2012

VT Debate and Quote Mining

by Max Andrews

During the VT debate on the existence of God one of the atheists quoted a section of my blog concerning the issue of teleology and suicide.  The quote read:

If there is no God to provide meaning, value, and purpose, the only consistent option for humanity is suicide.[17]  Any becoming of life-affirming or life-denying acts are illusory.  Absolutely nothing can be a positive or negative act for the individual since there is nothing to determine a differentiation.  One is forced to face Nietzsche’s abyss and face the reality that no rope can scale the depth of nothingness.  One is only left with despair, guilt, and angst.  If one can determine that despair, guilt, and angst are not preferred then his only option is to eliminate such emotions and thoughts.  If there is no God, the only remedy for absurdism is to participate in Nietzsche’s abyss of nothingness:  suicide.

This was taken from a previous post of mine on how God provides meaning and purpose. In this quote I had a footnote reference to elaborate on one of these points.  This footnote (17) reads:

March 26th, 2012

VT Debate–The Problem of Gratuitous Evil

by Max Andrews

One of the objections made by one of the atheists in the VT debate on the existence of God was William Rowe’s form of the problem of gratuitous evil:[1]

  1. There exist instances of intense suffering that an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. (Factual premise)
  2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering that being could, unless that being could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. (Theological premise).
  3. Therefore, There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.

Or, simply put:

  1. There are unnecessary evils.
  2. God would prevent evils without losing some greater good.
  3. Therefore, God does not exist.
    read more »

March 25th, 2012

What if God Commanded You to do Something Wrong?

by Max Andrews

While at the VT Debate on the existence of God one of the atheists’, in passing, briefly mentioned the Euthyphro dilemma. Does God command something because it’s good or is it good because God commands it?  The first horn makes goodness apart from God and the second makes goodness arbitrary. This came up in the Q&A as well.  What if God commanded you to strap a bomb to your chest and blow other people up or rape others?  As an advocate of divine command theory the response to this question is a bit more nuanced then any prima facie answer. (Also, see my moral argument I presented at this debate).

The proponent of divine command theory (DCT) claims that whatever God commands to any moral agent becomes a moral obligation.  Formulations of the commands are given symbolic form by David Efird as:[1]

(RIGHT)                      ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)

(WRONG)                   ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)

(PERMITTED 1)            ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)[2]

(PERMITTED 2)            [(∃ϕ☐Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐Cg~ϕ)] ∙ [(∃ϕ☐~Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐~Cg~ϕ)]

*∀= for all…, ☐=necessarily, ◊=possibly.  For instance, RIGHT is read as for all actions, ϕ, ϕ is right if and only if God commands ϕ.

March 24th, 2012

The Fine-Tuning Argument and Random Sampling

by Max Andrews

One of the objections raised by an audience member at the VT debate on the existence of God was against the fine-tuning argument and probability (for my method of argumentation please see: VT Debate-My Method of Argumentation).  In statistics a random sample drawn must have the same chance of being sampled as all the other samples.  The objection was based on this problem.  Since we know of only one universe we don’t know what the range of values for the constants and physics could be.  This was also brought up in conversation with both atheists after the debate.  Since we don’t know how narrow or broad these ranges could be there’s no way of drawing out any probability based argument from fine-tuning.  The thing is that we can know what other universes would be like if the values were different.  If our natural laws have counterfactuals that are in any way incoherent then this is an appropriate sampling.  Also, to make this objection and advocate that we just so happen to live in a life permitting universe in the multiverse then this objection cannot be made since the claim that we happen to life in a life-permitting one amongst countless others suggest we can know what the other samplings are.  For instance, here are a few examples: