Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Trouble with Richard Dawkins

Atheist Philosopher Michael Ruse crticizes Richard Dawkins and the New Atheists.

He says that the God Delusion makes him ashamed to be an atheist. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Does God Exist?": Peter Williams v Christopher Norris

Great debate between philosophers Peter Williams and Christopher Norris.

In this debate Peter Williams defends four theistic arguments:

-Moral Argument

-Argument from Reason

-Fine-Tuning Argument

-Cosmological Argument

Did Abraham Lincoln Exist?

The new movement of 'ALincolnism' is an attempt to show the nonsensical argumentation (if you could even call it that) of the New Atheists. This is a great article on using the same standards the New Atheists use in order to argue for Abraham Lincoln's non-existence. 

***Note: This is satire.***
Did Abraham Lincoln really exist? It is a hard question to answer, but an important one. Millions if not billions of people believe in His existence, but that doesn’t mean they are right. As Richard Dawkins has wisely said, “The question is not “How many millions believe it?”… But “Is it TRUE? The question is not “Is your belief entitled to respect?” but “Is it TRUE?”
The implications of Lincoln’s existence are potentially profound for how we understand American history, the nature of slavery, and whether or not America should remain as one country, or divide again into North and South.
So today I’d like to draw your attention to a new group. We call ourselves “the aLincolnists” and I am proud to be associated with these freethinking, rational skeptics. We’ve taken our inspiration from the most impressive thinkers of our time: the New Atheists. 
Having carefully studied the works of Richard Dawkins, John Loftus, Sam Harris, Richard Carrier, Daniel Dennett, P.Z. Myers, and Christopher Hitchens, we are utilizing their brilliant insights into the study of religion to break ground in new academic disciplines. For far, far too long these formidable scholars have been ignored, disrespected, and unfairly boxed into the narrow study of musty old religions. But it is our conviction that their paradigm-busting scholarship should lead us to new discoveries in other fields!  
The time has come. Let’s admit it: Belief in Abraham Lincoln is the most malevolent of all mind viruses. So it is critical that all reason-loving skeptics finally acknowledge that Abraham Lincoln never existed.  
Here are some of the arguments that have been carefully developed and are now being shared around the world (continue reading here...)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Cause Doesn't Have to Be God!

When confronted with the cosmological argument, some atheists will grant that the universe has a cause but then argue that the cause doesn't have to be God.

We can deduce some attributes of the 'first cause':

  • If all matter came into existence at the start of the universe, then the cause of the universe must be immaterial.
  • If all space came into existence at the start of the universe, then the cause of the universe must be spaceless.
  • If all time came into existence at the start of the universe, then the cause of the universe must be timeless.
  • If the universe came into existence, then the cause of the universe must be powerful enough to create a universe.
  • If the universe came into existence at the starting point of time, then the cause of the universe must be volitional (having the ability to make choices).

Craig illustrates, in his debate with Dr. Lewis Wolpert, quite cleverly (and with some hilarity), why the cause of the universe must be God by virtue of the properties attributed to it!

Objections to the Cosmological Argument

The Cosmological Argument is a powerful argument for the existence of God. Different versions of it have been defended by Plato, Aristotle, Al-Ghazali, Aquinas, Leibniz, Clarke, and in our day by William Lane Craig.

Here is Craig's version of the Cosmological Argument:

1. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In this short video, Craig explains and answers objections to the cosmological argument by 'Eastwooding' Richard Dawkins.

Alvin Plantinga: What Role Do Presuppositions Play in Our Worldviews?

Evidence rarely speaks for itself. In most cases, data must be interpreted, and our background beliefs will affect how we interpret this data. Hence, when we conclude that a certain hypothesis or theory is true or false, our conclusion has a lot to do with the presuppositions we already had. This means, of course, that if we begin with false presuppositions, we're at much greater risk of reaching false conclusions.

In this short video, Alvin Plantinga discusses the role of presuppositions in a person's worldview.

Monday, March 18, 2013

William Lane Craig: Can We Be Good Without God?

Belief in God is obviously not required to perform moral actions. An atheist can be generous, kind, loving, and so on. But if God does not exist, there is no source of objective moral values and duties, so nothing is really good or bad without God. That is, while an atheist can be generous, kind, and loving, these characteristics are no more objectively good than stinginess, cruelty, and hate, if atheism is true. Hence, while the atheist can do good things without belief in God, no one can be good without God. William Lane Craig explores the issue:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ernst Haeckel's Phony Embryo Drawings

Ernst Haeckel
Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was a German zoologist and physician, who discovered thousands of biological species and helped popularize Darwinism. He also contributed extensively to the conceptual framework of modern biology, coining such terms as "phylum," "stem cell," and "ecology." Unfortunately, Haeckel was a bit too zealous to defend Darwin's theory, and he ended up falsifying a considerable amount of evidence. An experienced artist, he famously examined the embryological development of numerous organisms and sketched drawings of various stages of their growth, ultimately compiling his drawings into charts to prove his claim that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" (the view that each stage in the development of an individual organism reflects an adult stage of an evolutionary ancestor). Haeckel's drawings were accepted without question throughout most of the 20th century. Even today, many biology textbooks contain samples of his drawings, such as the following:
Compare a few of Haeckel's sketches with actual photographs of embryos:

Obviously, some of Haeckel's drawings bear little resemblance to the developmental stages of actual organisms. Here's a video by the Discovery Institute with more:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Charles Darwin on the Argument from Reason

Darwin recognized the implications of unguided selection. Nature favors traits that help organisms survive and reproduce, not traits that help organisms discover deep philosophical truths. Hence, if our minds are the result of natural selection acting on random mutation, we can't trust our convictions.

For more on the Argument from Reason, click here.

Darrell Bock on Early Christian Orthodoxy

Some critics of Christianity like to pretend that there was no real orthodoxy in the first century, and that many different versions of Christianity were popular until one version came to dominate in the fourth century. Unfortunately for fans of this pluralistic picture of early Christianity, the evidence shows that orthodoxy can be traced back to the time of the apostles. Darrell Bock explains:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Former Atheist Ian McCormack Describes Near-Death Experience

Ian McCormack was still an atheist when he was stung by five Box Jellyfish while diving near an island in the Indian Ocean. Although he was pronounced clinically dead at the hospital, he remained conscious, separated from his body. In this CBN interview, he describes his experience.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God: Fact or Fiction? (John Lennox)

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. (Click here for more on Professor Lennox.)

In this lecture, he discusses a variety of issues related to the topic "God: Fact or Fiction?"

Monday, March 11, 2013

D. A. Carson: How Can We Trust the New Testament Canon?

The New Testament "canon" (Greek: "measuring stick") consists of 27 first-century writings that Christians believe to be inspired by God. What were the criteria for recognizing these inspired writings? How did Christians distinguish first-century writings from later works? New Testament scholar D. A. Carson explains.

Friday, March 8, 2013

William Lane Craig: Does Epistemological Naturalism Imply Metaphysical Naturalism?

Epistemology is, loosely, the study of knowledge. It asks the question: "How does one go from mere belief to actual knowledge?" Epistemological Naturalism is the claim that knowledge can only be reached through the methods of the empirical sciences. Metaphysical Naturalism is the theory that the physical world is all that exists.

In this video, William Lane Craig points out two obvious problems with Epistemological Naturalism, and then argues that Epistemological Naturalism does not imply Metaphysical Naturalism.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Michael Behe: What Are the Limits of Darwinism?

Random mutations, differences within populations, and natural selection are all well established features of the biological world. But can these features account for the complexity and diversity of life? Are there limits to Darwinism? Biochemist Michael Behe answers.