I recently had the pleasure of being on Atheistically Speaking, an atheist podcast by Thomas Smith, for the 2nd time! Last time it was a relatively informal discussion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and I enjoyed myself. I don’t consider myself anything of an expert on the topic, but I enjoy having a good conversation.
This time, the topic was the horrible arguments used regularly by the atheist community. The conversation was at least as good as the KCA conversation, if not better. I know I enjoyed myself both times. Read the rest of this entry »
“God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance that gets smaller and smaller as time goes on” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Creationists eagerly seek a gap in present-day knowledge or understanding. If an apparent gap is found, it is assumed that God, by default, must fill it.” – Richard Dawkins
“Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to invent gods to lord it over every aspect of human life.” – Stephen Hawking
Yes, people used to marvel at thunder and lightning and come to unreasonable conclusions. They did not know what was going on, and they concluded that God (or gods) must be responsible. This is a gap reasoning.
But when someone is looking at the available evidence and coming to a ‘therefore God exists,” it is not a God of the gaps conclusion. Many of the logical arguments concluding with “therefore, God exists” may be invalid, unsound or totally wrong, but they’re not gap-reasoning.
If someone says, “I don’t know… therefore X,” that is gap-reasoning.
If someone says, “Here are several reasons why it is reasonable to conclude that X,” that is not gap reasoning.
Yesterday, January 22nd, was the anniversary of the famous Roe v. Wade decision made by the US Supreme Court in 1973, which was effectively a federally signed permission slip for women to get abortions. But many people, including myself, do not agree that the issue of abortion is settled by court fiat because… well, the court was wrong.
Abortion is an issue fraught with emotionally and rhetorically powerful arguments, so we have to make sure that we handle this issue with care. However, we are discussing an issue of great importance; if the pro-lifers (those against abortion) are correct, then we have been allowing the systematic destruction of the most helpless member of society for the last 42+ years. And if the pro-choicers (those in favor of abortion choice) are correct, then pro-lifers are looking to take away a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
Most of the ‘street-level’ arguments for and against abortion are a combination of assuming what they’re trying to prove (begging the question), personal attacks, accusatory motivational assumptions, straw men, loaded questions, and any number of other logically fallacious ways of thinking. How often have you heard a discussion on abortion where the pro-lifer is accusing the pro-choicer of hating babies and wanting to use abortion as birth control? …and in response, the pro-choicer accuses the pro-lifer of misogyny and being against women’s rights?
In fact, if you’re trying to hone your skills in logical fallacy identification, watch a popular level debate (on Fox News or CNN or something, those are almost always hilariously bad) and count the number of fallacies used by both people. That’s some hardcore on-the-job training, so be warned.
When we are approaching the issue of abortion, we have to ask two vitally important questions – one scientific and one philosophical.
What is the unborn? This is a scientific question.
What gives us value? This is a philosophical question. Read the rest of this entry »
Hello everyone! I hope you had a gr8 Christmas and new year! Welcome to 2015!
My normal plan for this blog is to post something on Monday and then a favorite podcast of the week on Friday. However, I’ve neglected this last Monday.
Hopefully you will forgive me. After all, it was between Christmas and the New Year! #HolidayProbs
I do have some good news! My abject negligence will culminate in a decent post this Monday (hopefully) the doctrine of Hell and why I believe the Bible does not teach the [traditional doctrine] eternal conscious torment.
Speaking of Hell… I’d like to introduce my favorite podcast of the week:
Rethinking Hell is probably one of the best series on the doctrine of Hell from a conditionalist perspective I’ve ever encountered. Granted there aren’t that many podcasts that fill this niche, but I’m glad these guys are doing it because they do it very well. And they have a dang cool podcast logo and website banner.
Just look at it. #fire
If you’d like to know more about annihilationism (before my post on Monday, of course), listen to the most recent two episodes of Rethinking Hell. It is a 2-part series covering a recent informal debate between conditionalist Edward Fudge and traditionalist Frank Zuber on Moody Radio. Just listening to Ronnie & Chris discuss the issues in this debate will make for a solid primer for anyone new to conditionalism.
You can find the discussion here (the link I had wasn’t working; waiting on a response from Moody for a new link).
Many of their other episodes deal with specific responses to specific claims made by critics of annihilationism, and they deal with the objections fairly and substantially. I strongly suggest going to them for a well-informed view on hell from a conditionalist perspective.
Specifically, I really enjoyed episode 4 – The Case for Annihilationism with Glenn Peoples, and episode 7 – Traditional Objections Answered with Chris Date.
If you are a conditionalist, this is a great resource for responding to critiques of annihilationism.
If you are a traditionalist, universalist, or just on the fence on this issue, this is a great way to understand the arguments of conditionalists.
In my post on Monday, I’ll be linking to more conditionalist resources.
And like always, if you have a podcast that you think is just downright amazing, let me know! In the comments or on twitter 🙂
Specifically, episode 309: On Being a Workaholic. This episode is great, but is very very very unlike his normal podcast content… which is just as great, but in a totally different way. In this episode, Tom talks about the lessons he learned while being a ‘workaholic’; namely that he used to carry his work over into his family life. As someone who has moderate workaholic tendencies, I’m going to learn vicariously through him and take his advice.
Usually, Woods discusses libertarian political philosophy. He puts out a new episode every weekday, and they’re usually around 30 minutes long. I love that they’re so short because it allows for a full episode while driving to work, or it allows you to binge listen to 250 of them in a month or two (#PersonalExperience). One of my favorite things about the Tom Woods Show is that he doesn’t do politics; I hate politics. He does political philosophy.
By “politics” i mean pointing at specific people and arguing about their voting record and arguing over whether the tax rate should be 15% or 17%.
By political philosophy, I mean economics, the role of government, taxation, foreign policy, etc. Tom does mostly political philosophy. And when he does do ‘politics’, it doesn’t suck because it is mostly political philosophy anyway!
So after you listen to On Being a Workaholic, you should listen to these other episodes (listed below). I’ve been listening and writing down the episodes that I think are the best of the best, and these are them. My top 15, if you will.
Should you listen to my top 15? Yes.
Should you binge listen to his entire podcast repertoire? Even more yes.
Be careful though. Woods is the kind of libertarian that makes the average non-libertarian uncomfortable with how much he LOVES FREEDOM. (lol)
- 7: Guns 101 (no iTunes link, but you can search for it (do it))
- 13: Objections to Libertarianism (iTunes)
- 53: Before the Welfare State? (iTunes)
- 54: Pope Francis on Capitalism (iTunes)
- 80: Libertarians are Scary! (iTunes)
- 81: Raise the Minimum Wage? (iTunes)
- 100: Are there Good Arguments for the State? (iTunes)
- 119: The Environment and the Market (iTunes)
- 123: Climate Change and Liberty (iTunes)
- 144: Libertarian Christians (iTunes)
- 243: Why Arguments for Government Don’t Work (iTunes)
- 257: Austrian Economics vs. a Mainstream Text (iTunes)
- 263: Friedman Takes on Tough Libertarian Questions (iTunes)
- 272: Am I a Dummy for Believing in God? (iTunes)
- 296: Maximize Your Results, Minimize Your Time: Five Tips for Learning Liberty (iTunes)
I have a BINGE & accidentally-ignore relationship with many of the podcasts I listen to. Thankfully iTunes doesn’t accidentally ignore podcasts in the same way I do. So when I remember to listen to a podcast, there are several episodes waiting for me! Yay!
This is exactly what happened this week with Ken Samples‘ podcast, Straight Thinking (iTunes). My forgetfulness is not meant to be seen as a shot against Straight Thinking at all. I may not always agree with Samples (or Reasons to Believe), but his systematic way of approaching theological and philosophical topics is great. Samples is a great teacher, and rarely am I left wondering what he meant by (insert complex topic here) or where he stands on (insert theological or philosophical topic here) and why.
Samples’ ability as a teacher is 50% of the reason I am recommending this podcast this week. The other 50% is because he has started a lengthy series on logic and critical thinking. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for those looking for a practical look at logic, reason and the proper use of your brain.
He is calling it “Logic 101”, and as of today (12/19/14) he has gone through 4 episodes.
Logic 101A: The Whats and Whys of Logical Thinking
Logic 101B: Thinking Logically about Conspiracy Theories
Logic 101C: Think It Through
Logic 101D: Enhancing Brain-Mind Power
Check it out!
Let me know what you think!
And if you have a favorite podcast that you’d like to recommend, put it in the comments section or tweet at me! @ElijiahT
I’m always looking for new podcasts to binge-listen to.
Tyler Dalton McNabb and I co-authored this back when Comfort’s ‘Evolution v God’ video came out and I wanted to repost it here because… well, because I like what we’ve written on the topic.
Ray Comfort has recently released another youtube sensation with his movie Evolution v. God. In typical Comfort fashion, Comfort interviews a handful of relevant college professors and students on the topic of evolution. Comfort’s main assumption in this movie seems to be that one must choose between God and evolution. In this battle royal or winner takes all match, Comfort argues that since evolution is bad science (if science at all), and the existence of God is obvious, God wins!
In order to get to this conclusion, Comfort asks particular questions that range from basic epistemological questions to basic biological questions. It is in virtue of this that we will be separating this response into two major sections. The first major section will focus on the philosophical material that this movie contains, while the second major section will deal with the scientific material that this movie contains. In the following respective sections, we will be arguing that Comfort’s movie is based on both bad philosophy and bad science. Though in the end we will not be able to recommend this movie, we would like to recommend alternative apologetic resources at the end of this review.
Now before we begin this response, we would like to take time and mention that this response is in no way an attack on Comfort as a human being. We believe Comfort to be a loving Christian who has been mightily used by God. Though we are sure that many people will be in heaven because of Comfort and his ministry, we do feel that Comfort’s reasoning in this video reflects both poor philosophy and poor science. It is in virtue of this that we feel that Comfort’s video helps create an unnecessary stumbling block to the Gospel.
Alright! Go ahead and watch it.