Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Moral Argument for God's Existence

Human beings generally believe that some actions are morally right and that other actions are morally wrong. We may disagree about which specific actions are right or wrong, but there is little disagreement on basic moral principles.

What is the source or origin of these moral principles? If naturalism is true, shared moral values and duties must be the product either of evolutionary development (that is, they are hardwired into us biologically) or of cultural development (that is, they are instilled in us by society).

Notice that neither of these options allows moral values and duties to be something objective (true regardless of our opinions). On the evolutionary view, moral values and duties originated as features that helped our ancestors survive and reproduce (the same way the claws of a tiger help it survive or the colorful feathers of a peacock help it reproduce), but this has nothing to do with objective right and wrong. The statement "It's good to be compassionate" wouldn't be true. Instead, the true statement would be: "Compassion helped our ancestors pass on their genetic information." Our belief that compassion is objectively good would be a kind of illusion. Of course, one might think that whatever helps survival and reproduction must be good. But bedbugs reproduce through violent rape. The violent rape helps the species survive and reproduce, but this says nothing about whether violent rape is right or wrong.

On the cultural view, moral values and duties developed because they were needed by society. A society without rules is impossible, for the absence of rules would lead to chaos. But here again, moral values and duties are not objective. The statement "You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you" wouldn't be true. Instead, it would mean "Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you helps society." One may suggest that whatever helps society is good, but various societies have thrived on cruelty, oppression, and subjugation. Does this mean that cruelty, oppression, and subjugation are good?

Hence, if moral values and duties are going to be something beyond biology and culture, they need a transcendent source. This is the basis of the Moral Argument for God's Existence.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

One of the most popular arguments for God's existence is the "Argument from the Fine-Tuning of the Cosmos" or the "Fine-Tuning Argument." The Fine-Tuning Argument is a version of the Design Argument (various versions of which claim that certain observable features or structures are best explained by an appeal to intelligence).

Here's the gist of the Fine-Tuning Argument. In order for you to be reading this right now, the fundamental structure of the universe has to be finely tuned for intelligent life. The forces, principles, and constants of physics, certain physical quantities, the ratios between the masses of atomic particles, and the properties of elements and compounds have to be just right, or you wouldn't exist.

There are only three possible explanations for the fine-tuning of the cosmos: (1) necessity, (2) chance, and (3) design. The constants of physics aren't necessary, and they are too unimaginably improbable and goal-oriented to be the product of chance. Hence, design is the only reasonable explanation.

Here's a short video on the argument:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Atheists Advocating Book Burning?

One of the saddest results of the "New Atheism" movement has been the radicalization of many atheists. Instead of calmly arguing against the existence of God, many of the "new atheists" are now taking a far more extreme stance (e.g., calling religion a "disease" that must be eradicated). Some atheists are even calling for book burnings.

Of course, as Heinrich Heine said: "Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Religious Experience and the Existence of God

Human beings have a variety of visual experiences, auditory experiences, emotional experiences, and so on. But many people also have powerful religious experiences (e.g., experiencing the presence of God). Atheists maintain that religious experiences are illusory and do not correspond to anything beyond the physical world. While we can certainly be careful about the conclusions we draw from religious experiences, should we really assume that everyone who has a religious experience must be delusional?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Existence of God and the Resurrection of Jesus

Here's a short introduction to the evidential significance of Jesus' resurrection (by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Biology of the Second Reich: Social Darwinism and the Origins of World War I

Social Darwinism is the attempt to apply biological principles such as "survival of the fittest" to societies (e.g., the social and political realms). The results may include racism ("race X is more highly evolved than race Y, so race X is superior"), eugenics ("improving" the human gene pool by selective breeding and sterilizations), and war ("inferior societies should be crushed to make room for superior societies"). Social Darwinists may also maintain that compassion for the weak or sick is detrimental to civilization (because the sick and the weak would have been eliminated by natural selection, and preserving them contrary to nature will therefore stunt the development of humanity).

The following video suggests that social Darwinism provided a kind of intellectual justification for World War I (as it certainly did for World War II).