Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Anderson’s Anti-Epistemological Argument Against Naturalism

Recently Christian apologist James Anderson recently published An Epistemological Argument Against Naturalism. Readers are encouraged to take a look for themselves.

There is much that I could provide in response to what Anderson presents there, but along with some comments about Anderson’s overall approach to the matter, I’m going to confine my present objections to two primary areas. In my estimate, the objections I will present below are sufficient to refute this argument beyond recovery. (Mind you, in doing so, I am not attempting to defend “Naturalism” as a worldview, for no version of Naturalism that I have looked at addresses the fundamental philosophical needs which Objectivism addresses.)

If, after reading through what I have to say here, readers still have further questions on Anderson’s argument, feel free to post a comment. Reader feedback is always welcome.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Visitor Questions on Jeff Durbin and Formal Debates with Apologists

A visitor to this blog recently left a question in the comments of this entry and I thought I’d share it in a dedicated post in case other readers had some insights to offer. Readers are invited to post any thoughts in the comments.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Jason Lisle on Sensory Experience and Epistemology

Nearly a decade ago now on this blog I interacted with writings by one Dr. Jason Lisle, a Christian astrophysicist who operates the Biblical Science Institute which, according to its own about page, is a “creation-themed science ministry” which “exists to help you rationally defend the Christian worldview against those who claim that the Bible is unscientific.” Now who could possibly make such a claim as that? Lisle is a proponent of presuppositionalism, and my past interactions with can be found here, here, here and here.

I recently came upon a blog entry by Lisle in which he makes some comments about sensory experience, a topic I explored in my previous entry. My 2014 posts which I linked to above themselves contain links to Lisle’s old blog; those links seem not to work any more – my machine gives me warnings when I click on them, so I’d suggest not trying to visit them. Lisle seems to have moved his blog to his “institute” website. The present entry I found is here: How do I Know that I Know? – a Response (Part 1).

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Do the Senses "Distort"?

Some time back I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine. Our discussion started touching on philosophical topics and it was clear on the surface, at least up to a point, that my colleague agreed with my points about foundational principles and the need to govern our reasoning by facts and to steer our inferences by rational principles. He expressed strong agreement with these points, but suddenly made the remark in passing, “Yes, the senses do distort, but…”

There I stopped him and asked him to explain this. He seemed taken aback by my challenge, as though it were self-evident that the senses “distort,” as though the recognition that the senses “distort” were unimpeachably true. After querying him on this assumption, it started to become clear that he really did not have an argument for this premise, but he also did not demonstrate any willingness to reconsider it.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

"What are the odds..?"

In the comments section of my previous entry, a frequent visitor to this blog named Robert shared some excerpts from encounters he had with religious apologists trying to push their mysticism. As is often the case, the apologist insisted on certain conditions which he as a non-believer needed to satisfy in order just to participate in an exchange, such as the alleged need to “provide a 'valid' explanation as to exactly HOW the genetic code created 'itself' WITHOUT the advantage of 'intelligent' thought'.” I can only suppose from statements Robert has made in numerous comments on my blog, that he does not in fact hold to the view that “the genetic code created itself,” either with or “WITHOUT the advantage of ‘intelligent’ thought.”

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Frank Turek vs. the Laws of Nature

Recently I saw a brief video on Youtube of Christian apologist Frank Turek interrogating someone who appears to be a student in some kind of public venue, like a seminar or classroom setting. The clip is clearly an excerpt from some longer broadcast, but I have not seen the whole thing. The clip is just under a minute long (what is called a “short” on Youtube) and was apparently deemed worthy enough to publish as a standalone piece of entertainment.

The interaction here exemplifies an all-too common tactic in apologetics: the apologist demands that another person (presumably a non-Christian) present an explanation of something of a general nature about reality, and if the thinker cannot satisfy this demand, the apologist affirms “God” as the correct explanation, and the thinker’s inability to provide an alternative is construed as confirmation of the theistic worldview. On this strategy, a child repeating the affirmation of the existence of a god that he learned from adults in his life would be treated as having supplied an informed explanation. In essence, it is an appeal to ignorance packaged as a seemingly innocent gesture of philosophical inquiry. We must never forget that gods always come in the shape of man’s ignorance. The purpose of apologetics is to mask this ignorance as a recondite form of insight.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bahnsen's Poof Revisited... Again

Recently this blog entry received a comment from Jeffrey Jay Lowder (yes, this Jeffery Jay Lowder), one of the original founding members of Internet Infidels (his articles there can be accessed here). It does not seem that Lowder is much associated with Internet Infidels any more, but the site did post an interview with him back in early 2022 (see here), which I have not at this time yet read.

Many years ago (I’m thinking 20-plus years at this point!), Internet Infidels was one of my more frequently-visited sites, though I do not visit very often at all any more. I just haven’t been keeping up, I’m afraid! But as I mentioned in my reply to Lowder’s recent comment here on my blog, I do remember enjoying his debate with an apologist named Phil Fernandes (that is with an ‘s’, not a ‘z’; the debate can be seen in its entirety, with the Q&A session, here). That was back in the video-cassette days. In fact, in my first collection of self-owning statements made by Christian apologists, From the Horse's Mouth: Apologists Shooting Themselves in the Foot, I included the following comment which Fernandes makes in that debate, which I take as a confession on his part:
"I just believe that we are very good about lying to ourselves, and only accepting, uh, or interpreting the evidence the way we would like to."
In his comment, Lowder provided a link to a video on Youtube in which he presents a very detailed analysis of Greg Bahnsen’s opening statement in his famous debate with Gordon Stein (PDF transcript can be found here). I watched the video and encourage readers here to check it out for themselves as well.