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Plantinga’s Naturalism Defeater

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

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Way back in the distant past of 2010 Justin Brierly over at his show ‘Unbelievable?‘ moderated a discussion between philosophers Stephen Law and Alvin Plantinga. The topic of debate was Plantinga’s infamous argument that the conjunction of naturalism and evolution renders cognitive reliability improbable. The conjunction is therefore supposedly a defeater against believing in the truth of beliefs produced by our cognition; including the belief in naturalism and evolution. Naturalism, says Plantinga, thereby undermines itself.

Image of Alvin Plantinga released by Plantinga...

Alvin Plantinga - Image via Wikipedia

The discussion is interesting and well worth a listen. Although I think both sides could have made a stronger case. The moderation was mostly fair. However, I couldn’t help my bemusement that Plantinga was consistently ‘Plantinga; one of the world’s greatest philosophers of religion etc. ad infinitum‘ while Stephen Law had to make do with being just plain old ‘Stephen Law.’ I mean, sure, what do I know? Perhaps Plantinga just has these Übermensch qualifications to rival even The Stig while poor Law is inexorably left behind in the dust of mediocrity. But it did become increasingly comical in iteration as the show progressed.

The first part of the show was naturally dedicated to (more…)

Let’s Flog the Anthropic Mare!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I just found this magnificent case of bad philosophy on Youtube. (Yes, I know! Who would’ve thunk it, eh?) While I would flatter myself unjustly were I to fancy myself a philosophical equivalent of the Bad Astronomer, (I wish!) my website is hardly about debunking bad philosophy. However, it is a guilty pleasure of mine because it gives me something to talk about. Especially when it’s a topic I’ve written about before.

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I have no idea (more…)

A soap opera star is a better philosopher than you

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

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Where’s your God now, William Lane Craig?

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…)

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!

 

Why something rather than nothing?

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Closer to Truth - Inwagen & O'HaraClick image for video since CtT murder kittens by disallowing embed

If you are an open atheist, presumably, at some point, some clever theist has asked you the question ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ Depending on how uncharitable you feel, you might want to expeditiously dismiss it as an argument from ignorance. Surely no atheist’s inability to answer mind-boggling, deeply metaphysical, and possibly nonsensical questions constitutes supernatural proof. An atheist is a non-believer in gods, not a self-proclaimed encyclopaedia of recondite knowledge. Thank you very much.

However, that would be (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…)

Are you there God?

Monday, November 5th, 2007

The raven of inadequate pigmentation
Is back and sick of bitch’s shit and big abnegations
I decided to stick around to be bad & exhibit no abrasions
Henceforth I flow evasive to a tense court of soulless slaves
& I chose to lend force and be cold when facing
A hole in this place where I was thrown away from
Leave me alone & stay yon’ those played puns
Are flayed for fun; faith’s festering far beyond
I just hope my companions can forgive me farther on
I didn’t want to stay a far here from apart from bonds
I had spent a great deal of time building up
I’ve tried to heal and find (more…)