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Omniscience Entails Fatalism

Monday, May 9th, 2011
Captioned as "Odin disguised as a Travell...

Image via Wikipedia

Dear friend in philosophy
Thank you for your recent charming company. As you might recall from our discussion at the restaurant, I remarked glibly that omniscience entails fatalism. You, of course, disagreed with me on the grounds that God’s existence is somehow atemporal. Since informal discussions over lunch, sadly cut short by your disappearance, are less than conducive to heavy philosophy, I thought this clarification in order.

I believe I can prove my assertion. Given a few reasonable assumptions, and a particular understanding of the concepts involved, we should be able to (more…)

On bridges, lifebelts, and being wrong

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

“There was once an atheist man,” a colleague of mine told me after someone outed my atheism to her. “Who fell into the ocean. And then he called out for Jesus.” She was a nice woman in her mid-life who had probably never met an atheist before. I could tell it shocked her profoundly that such a thing even existed – as if I had suddenly turned into a feral leprechaun before her very eyes. So I hurriedly ended my shift while politely informing her that, in the man’s stead, I would rather have called for a lifebelt.

LifebeltMaybe it’s just because I’m from the Faroe Islands but, in my experience, Christians seem obsessed with falling into the ocean. Another frequently used canard is the good old “If you saw someone falling into the ocean and you knew they couldn’t swim, wouldn’t you do anything to save them?” This is usually the go-to excuse for the “tough love” of the unpleasant and dishonest kind of proselytism and of the forcible injection of religion into education and politics. A variation is the oft-repeated bridge-gambit; “If someone were about to walk onto a bridge, you knew to be unstable, wouldn’t you be justified in saving them from danger by any means?”

The danger is Hell, the rickety bridge is (more…)

Theists, stop being ignorant about meta-ethics!

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I recently watched the Notre Dame debate between Sam Harris and William Lane Craig entitled ‘Is Good from God?’ I can refute everything Craig said in just three words:

Ideal Observer Theory

Look, theists, if you want to argue that Divine Command Theory farts rainbows and brings orgasms to needy little children, knock yourselves out. But honestly, stop acting as if it were the only coherent meta-ethical theory ever devised in the history of humanity. It doesn’t make you look clever, it makes you look either ignorant or dishonest. Craig must certainly be immorally dishonest, since as a Research Professor of Philosophy he ought to know better.

No, I don’t intend to defend Ideal Observer Theory over Divine Command Theory – though I’ll recommend Michael Martin’s book ‘Atheism, Morality, and Meaning‘ for the interested – and Ideal Observer Theory isn’t even the only theory that fulfils Craig’s criteria of ‘objectivity.’ I don’t even know why we should take seriously Craig’s assertion that ‘If God doesn’t exist there can be no objective morality’ since it basically just boils down to an argument from Craig’s personal incredulity.

However, my point is that philosophical integrity demands that we ought at the very least acknowledge that there are other positions available. We don’t have to accept them. Hell, we can argue vehemently against their veracity. But the least we can do is to not pretend that there is no opposing view; no legitimate disagreement. That’s not philosophy, that’s just plain old propaganda.

For shame!

 

Intelligent Design’s Abject Failure

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

I shall argue that Behe’s Irreducible Complexity fails to invalidate a proper understanding of Darwinian evolution by natural selection by considering three ways in which evolution might adequately explain seemingly irreducible complexity. I shall then argue that even granting Behe the falsity of evolution is insufficient to establish an Intelligent Designer. Lastly, I shall couple Behe with Dembski’s argument for reliable empirical indication of intelligent causation, and show this strongest version of Intelligent Design to be a fallacious argument from ignorance at worst or most charitably understood as an ultimately unwarranted inference to best explanation.

φ

It should be noted that (more…)

O’Reilly deserves no charity

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

…but maybe we should give him some. Now, Bill O’Reilly gives us no reason to be charitable toward his claims. He is loud-mouthed, arrogant, frequently bigoted, annoyingly interruptive, and never charitable toward his interviewees himself.  Such behaviour hardly engenders good will in people to treat him differently. This, I suspect, is the reason for the massive amounts of ridicule heaped onto him after his tide-argument for God in his interview with David Silverman:

Most notable of such ridicule is Colbert describing his position as ‘there must be a God because I don’t know how things work’ and then bringing physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in to explain the tides.

As amusing and justified the ridicule of O’Reilly admittedly is, I doubt the man is truly so ignorant of basic scientific explanations as he’s made out. I just think he’s really bad at getting across whatever his argument happens to be. So when O’Reilly says:

Sun comes up, sun goes down. Tide comes in, tide goes out; never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.

A more charitable interpretation, than a profession of ignorance of the motions of celestial bodies, is (more…)

The Real Atheist Nightmare

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I have discovered the original worst nightmare of atheists. Before such a great mind as Chuck Missler shattered our fragile atheist delusions with a jar of peanut butter

…even before the magnificent intellect of Ray Comfort demonstrated the error of our heathen ways with a banana

…before then – from the depths of time preceding even Paley’s watch – the revered Lactantius, Christian author and advisor to the first Christain Emperor of Rome, provided us with incontrovertible, logically unassailable proof of God’s existence. Behold the true atheist’s worst nightmare; the nose!

But let us return to the works of God. […] And the nose, arising from the confines of [the summits of the eyebrows], and stretched out, as it were, with an equal ridge, at once serves to separate and to protect the two eyes. Below also, a not unbecoming swelling of the cheeks, gently rising after the similitude of hills, makes the eyes safer on every side; and it has been provided by the great Artificer, that if there shall happen to be a more violent blow, it may be repelled by the projecting parts. But the upper part of the nose as far as the middle has been made solid; but the lower part has been made with a softened cartilage annexed to it, that it may be pliant to the use of the fingers. – On the Workmanship of God

So there you have it. How could God possibly not exist if we’re able to pick our noses? I’m going straight to church. I am sorry, God, for being ungrateful for the snot you gave us.

 

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs: A Freethinker’s Mix

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Freethinker's Mix Cover

Cover by A Tribe Called Meuw

I know there already have been many lists of atheist songs; I know because in trying to find songs for my own selection I read quite a few of them. However, I wanted to make something different than a comprehensive list.

I wanted to not only to choose my favourites but also arrange them in some sort of meaningful order that tells a story – at least to my own satisfaction. In short, I wanted to select a mix that can be burned onto a CD and I have endeavoured to keep it under that magical 79 minute mark.

It should also be noted that I know full well that not all of these artists are, in fact, atheists. Some are, some are not, and some I honestly have no idea about. Rather I chose songs based on whether they expressed something an atheist or freethinker would be likely to relate to – though, of course, your mileage may vary. More on odd choices after the track list.

(more…)

Faroese Controversy – Yet Again

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Once again my country made the international headlines for something negative. The prime minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is visiting the Faroe Islands and naturally brought her wife Jónína Leósdóttir along. Our own prime minister, Kaj Leo Johannesen, invited all of the Faroese party leaders to an official banquet to welcome the Icelandic prime minister and her wife to our country.

Jenis av Rana – who has been the subject of my rants before – refused, as the only party leader, as one out of three party leaders, one of which had a prior engagement and one who followed av Rana’s lead like a good doggy, to attend the banquet on the grounds that he is an incurable bigot. If you ask me the reaction should have been ‘good riddance’ (really now, if the hateful, bigoted extremists aren’t shunning you, you’re doing something wrong) but any Icelander who was hurt on behalf of Iceland has my complete understanding and full sympathy.

This might not even have been such a big deal if Mr. av Rana had simply (more…)

Everybody Draw Muhammed Day!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Muhammed Drawing

It is ‘Everybody Draw Muhammed Day’ today.  In the wake of South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, receiving threats on their lives because of their bear-suited Muhammed, quite a few people have taken it upon themselves to all start drawing. Granted, most people draw stick-figures. However, I wanted to make something more of it this time since I already drew a stick-figure on blasphemy day. Now, if it is not obvious by my actions, I fully support the drawing of Muhammed. I support it for a very simple reason; a reason so eloquently explained by Ayaan Hirsi Ali when they interviewed her about (more…)

Happy Blasphemy Day to One and All!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

muhammed