Friday, November 25, 2022

Evolution and the Persistence of Religion

Many thinkers apparently believe that there is a contradiction of sorts between the theory that human beings evolved from more primitive organisms on the one hand, and the persistence of religion throughout human history on the other. If religion is not true, it is surmised, then how is it that religion has thrived in all eras of human history to such a fervent degree? Put another way: if human beings evolved and continue to flourish on earth through the survival of the fittest, how is it that religion has survived right alongside unless religion is true?

(Of course, here we apparently need to set aside the fact that there are many competing religions, some monotheistic, others polytheistic, and others that are not theistic in any ordinary sense.) 

Curiously, some thinkers believe there is a need to reconcile the fact that religion is so pervasive throughout the history of humanity with the premise that human beings as a species evolved from non-human ancestors. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Is Creation Possible?

In their book Handbook of Christian Apologetics, authors Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli introduce their discussion of the topic of divine creation of the universe as part of a series of questions:
There is much to be said about the issue of creation and evolution. However, here we only summarize the answers to five essential questions: (1) Is creation possible? (2) What difference does creation make? (3) Is evolution possible? (4) What difference does evolution make? (5) Does evolution contradict creation? (p. 103)
Not surprising (to me at least), Kreeft and Tacelli’s answer to the question “Is creation possible?” is superficial and uninquisitive. That is to say that, while Kreeft and Tacelli will of course, as believers, affirm that creation of the universe is possible, they identify no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate such a possibility, nor do they explain what “creation” in this context practically means. Rather, their primary if not only concern seems to be to secure the belief that creation is possible from the charge of irrationality.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Why Do Apologists Raise the Problem of Induction in Debate?

A visitor to my blog posting under the moniker Rageforthemachine (hereafter just Rage) recently left the following comment on my entry Same Old Song and Dance: Anderson on Induction… again:
I've never understood what presupps think they have over everyone else when it comes it inductive justification. Are they saying "because I have seen a thousand white swans I know all swans are white" which is false; or are they saying "because I have seen a thousand white swans I know the next one might be white or it might not" which of course renders inductive knowledge just as insure as they claim everyone else's is.
It's a good question, and I think that however it can be answered ties in closely with what motivates apologists who raise certain topics as a focal point for debate. Discerning other people’s motives often involves speculation and conjecture, but if we’re careful, we might just find a certain pattern of tells which suggest and confirm certain desired end goals. The key part of Rage’s question is stated upfront: apologists do in fact seem to think they have something “over everyone else when it comes to inductive justification,” otherwise I doubt they’d be so eager to raise such questions in the first place. Curiously, however, I’ve never found any evidence of such advantage on behalf of Christianity in the pages of the bible.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

TAG and the Appeal to Magic

Proponents of the “transcendental argument for the existence of God,” or TAG, are well-known for repeating charges that non-Christians cannot “account for” some phenomenon or other of fundamental philosophical importance (e.g., truth, certainty, the laws of logic, induction, moral norms, etc.) simply because their worldview rejects Christian theism. On occasion some effort is made in the attempt to support the negative aspects of such charges, often with little more than pat slogans, such as that one cannot “ground” unchanging laws of logic in an ever-changing universe of constant flux, that rationality cannot arise out of the irrationality of chance-based evolution, and the like. Non-Christian worldviews are philosophically deficient because of reasons, so the Christian worldview prevails, almost as if by default.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Stovetop Realizations

I’ve had yet another very busy month and in fact I had intended to post a couple entries this month, but life’s responsibilities have robbed me of the time needed to focus and work on them, so those drafts will have to continue incubating for some time.

But I did want to share some thoughts in response to a comment which was made on my previous blog. Before getting to that, I just want to express my gratitude to everyone who reads anything I post here and even more so to those who take the time to post such thoughtful comments. I started this blog back in 2005 and I didn’t know how long I’d be able to keep in running. It’s become something of a compendium at this point. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do intend to keep it going. Let’s see if I can make it to 20 years! That would be quite a milestone, no? In the meantime, please know that I do read all comments, and I almost always have something to say in response, if nothing more than “Thank you!” If I do not reply, it is not because I missed your comment (it’s possible, but probably not the case), but instead because I’m just a very busy workhorse. Writing is a love of mine, but sometimes it takes a lot of energy to get into the proper frame of mind to say something intelligent, and even then I can wildly miss the mark. 

Anyway, on to today’s post. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Same Old Song and Dance: Anderson on Induction... again

Christian apologist James Anderson has published yet another article on the problem of induction, this time as others essentially repeating the same superficialities from two decades ago, as though he has learned little in the intervening years: David Hume is still the prevailing authority on the topic of induction, and the problem of induction is “solved” by imagining an invisible magic being which ensures the uniformity of nature by means of sheer will. Nothing else really needs to be considered. The fact that he can point to academics who continue to be confused on the nature and basis of induction, as though this were even relevant, only serves to reinforce his theistic prejudices.

My views on the problem of induction have indeed evolved over the years. More and more I have come to the assessment that the problem of induction commits the fallacy of the stolen concept: the very framing of the problem of induction in fact tacitly assumes the validity of induction, and yet the validity of induction is what the problem essentially aims to call into question.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Apparently I don't have the right...

Cornelius Van Til writes:
No human being can explain in the sense of seeing through all things, but only he who believes in God has the right to hold that there is an explanation at all. (Why I Believe in God, emphasis added)

Really?