Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ten Ways Faith Opposes Reason

Thinkers since the Renaissance have rightly sensed the destructive conflict faith poses to man’s intellect, his freedom, and his advancement. There are a number of fundamental reasons for this, and I think it’s important to identify them in terms of reason's incompatibility with faith.

Faith (also mysticism) is essentially commitment to the imaginary without acknowledging the imaginary as unreal. As such, faith is a fundamental distinguishing feature of the religious view of the world, a view which makes the world in which we actually live take a backseat to an alleged realm that is accessible only by means of imagination.

In spite of faith’s elevating of imagination over facts, apologists for religious worldviews today, even in the West which enjoys historically unprecedented post-Enlightenment progress, still insist that their faith is compatible with reason. I can only suppose either that they simply do not understand the conflict between reason and faith, or that they want to downplay it in order to exonerate their own worldview’s complicity, witting or not, with trends that are working to erode that progress.

Read more »


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

William Lane Craig Versus Objective Morality

I know, not this guy again, right? William Lane Craig v. objective morality? I mean, can it get any more mismatched than this?

It’s true. Craig has already been exposed numerous times (here on IP and elsewhere) as essentially a whore for religious apologetics. He’ll pretty much say anything for apologetic expedience.

A reader recently contacted me and asked me to give my $0.02 on a video snippet featuring Craig responding to a question about Objectivist morality. This short video can be found here. Apparently internet apologists, including even presuppositionalists (who otherwise disparage Craig’s so-called “classical” apologetic approach – see for example Five Views on Apologetics) are apparently impressed with Craig’s effete analysis of the Objectivist ethics.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Moral Virtues of Objectivism

In her novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand gives one of her main characters a lengthy speech in which she lays out the general features of her philosophical system – finally a philosophy based on reason.

In developing her philosophical approach to morality, she identifies seven primary virtues. They are: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride.

Read more »

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

W.L. Craig, the Resurrection, and the Complaint of Presuppositional Bias

Apologists often presume that they’re scoring significant debating points when in fact they’re only succeeding at multiplying their own burdens. A clear case of this can be found in the common complaint that non-believers approach the topic of Jesus’ resurrection and other miracle stories with an “anti-supernatural bias.” This bias, they allege, is philosophically unwarranted and thus marks non-believers as operating from personal preferences, protecting emotional safe zones, and unfairly ruling out the possibility of the resurrection and/or other miracle claims before they get off the ground.

In this video segment featuring Christian apologist William Lane Craig, the following question is asked:
What role do one’s philosophical assumptions play in doing historical research, particularly related to the resurrection of Jesus?
Before getting to Craig’s answer to this question, consider the following alternative scenarios.
Scenario 1: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the recognitions that (a) existence exists independent of conscious activity; (b) a thing which exists is itself and acts according to its nature; (c) knowledge is something we must discover by gathering facts which we find in the world when we look outward and validate by an objective method; (d) reason is man’s only means of knowledge, standard of judgment and guide to action; (e) wishing doesn’t make it so; (f) logic is the conceptual process of non-contradictory identification; (g) truth is the non-contradictory, objective identification of fact; (h) science is the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study (including not only natural phenomena, but also moral values and human history), etc.  
Scenario 2: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the assumptions that: (i) existence is a product of conscious activity; (j) things are whatever a ruling consciousness wants them to be and act in conformity with a ruling consciousness’ will; (k) knowledge is something we “receive” by assimilating dogmatic affirmations which we acquire by looking inward; (l) dreaming – cf. Mt. 1:20; 2:12-13, 19, etc. – and “visions” – cf. Acts. 9:10-12; 10:3-19; 11:5; 12:9; 16:9-10; 18:9; Rev. 9:17, etc. – are “valid” sources of “knowledge”; (m) wishing in fact does make it so; (n) logic is the “reflection” of a being which is said to be supernatural and infinite; (o) contradictory notions are only “apparently contradictory” to man because of his “finitude”; that “truth” is whatever the ruling consciousness wills; (p) man’s cognitive faculties have been corrupted by “the noetic effects of sin”; (q) reason (which the venomously anti-Semitic Martin Luther called “the devil’s greatest whore”) has the power to “deceive” (see for example here); (r) foreskins are more important than an understanding of conceptual integration; (s) advances in science typically represent a threat to religious adherence and therefore must be resisted, etc.
Just mull on these two alternatives and consider which approach is better equipped to accurately assess the relevant facts.

Not sure yet?

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Is the Resurrection Story “too improbable” to Believe?

I thought it would be instructive to interact with this recent caricature piece by Steve Hays: Even if it happened, I refuse to believe it!. There Hays writes:
Unbelievers typically say they reject the Resurrection because it's too improbable.
I guess I’m atypical then. I reject “the Resurrection” claim as well as all mystical claims because I don’t think they’re true. This is not a matter of probability. My view is not that there’s 0.000001% chance that “the Resurrection” may have happened. My view is that Christianity’s mystical claims are 100% untrue. The believer doesn’t have to like this if he doesn’t want to, but there’s no “probably” about it here.

Read more »

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Walking on Water vs. Reality

A famous passage in the gospel of Matthew goes as follows:
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:22-33)
A number of issues could be raised in response to this passage.

Read more »

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fishing with a Chick Tract

So there I was this last Friday afternoon, minding my own business waiting for the Green Line on my way home from work. I had just moments before disembarked from a Blue Line train, and as is my normal habit, I immediately checked the telescreen to see when the next Green Line would come. The telescreen indicated that I had an 18-minute wait. Seriously? Eighteen minutes?

So, as the sun was still high enough in the sky to matter, I sought refuge in the shade of a bus idling nearby, its driver off to the loo or wolfing down a sandwich someplace.

I glanced around and saw a motley assortment of humanity gathered round, waiting for whatever line to take them wherever. The crowd on the platform at this moment was rather light, with a few folks here and there, some coming, some going, some standing around waiting like me.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,