Wednesday, December 30, 2015

William Lane Craig Versus Objective Morality

I know, not this guy again, right? William Lane Craig v. objective morality? I mean, can it get any more mismatched than this?

It’s true. Craig has already been exposed numerous times (here on IP and elsewhere) as essentially a whore for religious apologetics. He’ll pretty much say anything for apologetic expedience.

A reader recently contacted me and asked me to give my $0.02 on a video snippet featuring Craig responding to a question about Objectivist morality. This short video can be found here. Apparently internet apologists, including even presuppositionalists (who otherwise disparage Craig’s so-called “classical” apologetic approach – see for example Five Views on Apologetics) are apparently impressed with Craig’s effete analysis of the Objectivist ethics.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Moral Virtues of Objectivism

In her novel Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand gives one of her main characters a lengthy speech in which she lays out the general features of her philosophical system – finally a philosophy based on reason.

In developing her philosophical approach to morality, she identifies seven primary virtues. They are: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

W.L. Craig, the Resurrection, and the Complaint of Presuppositional Bias

Apologists often presume that they’re scoring significant debating points when in fact they’re only succeeding at multiplying their own burdens. A clear case of this can be found in the common complaint that non-believers approach the topic of Jesus’ resurrection and other miracle stories with an “anti-supernatural bias.” This bias, they allege, is philosophically unwarranted and thus marks non-believers as operating from personal preferences, protecting emotional safe zones, and unfairly ruling out the possibility of the resurrection and/or other miracle claims before they get off the ground.

In this video segment featuring Christian apologist William Lane Craig, the following question is asked:
What role do one’s philosophical assumptions play in doing historical research, particularly related to the resurrection of Jesus?
Before getting to Craig’s answer to this question, consider the following alternative scenarios.
Scenario 1: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the recognitions that (a) existence exists independent of conscious activity; (b) a thing which exists is itself and acts according to its nature; (c) knowledge is something we must discover by gathering facts which we find in the world when we look outward and validate by an objective method; (d) reason is man’s only means of knowledge, standard of judgment and guide to action; (e) wishing doesn’t make it so; (f) logic is the conceptual process of non-contradictory identification; (g) truth is the non-contradictory, objective identification of fact; (h) science is the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study (including not only natural phenomena, but also moral values and human history), etc.  
Scenario 2: the investigator approaches historical research on the basis of the assumptions that: (i) existence is a product of conscious activity; (j) things are whatever a ruling consciousness wants them to be and act in conformity with a ruling consciousness’ will; (k) knowledge is something we “receive” by assimilating dogmatic affirmations which we acquire by looking inward; (l) dreaming – cf. Mt. 1:20; 2:12-13, 19, etc. – and “visions” – cf. Acts. 9:10-12; 10:3-19; 11:5; 12:9; 16:9-10; 18:9; Rev. 9:17, etc. – are “valid” sources of “knowledge”; (m) wishing in fact does make it so; (n) logic is the “reflection” of a being which is said to be supernatural and infinite; (o) contradictory notions are only “apparently contradictory” to man because of his “finitude”; that “truth” is whatever the ruling consciousness wills; (p) man’s cognitive faculties have been corrupted by “the noetic effects of sin”; (q) reason (which the venomously anti-Semitic Martin Luther called “the devil’s greatest whore”) has the power to “deceive” (see for example here); (r) foreskins are more important than an understanding of conceptual integration; (s) advances in science typically represent a threat to religious adherence and therefore must be resisted, etc.
Just mull on these two alternatives and consider which approach is better equipped to accurately assess the relevant facts.

Not sure yet?

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Is the Resurrection Story “too improbable” to Believe?

I thought it would be instructive to interact with this recent caricature piece by Steve Hays: Even if it happened, I refuse to believe it!. There Hays writes:
Unbelievers typically say they reject the Resurrection because it's too improbable.
I guess I’m atypical then. I reject “the Resurrection” claim as well as all mystical claims because I don’t think they’re true. This is not a matter of probability. My view is not that there’s 0.000001% chance that “the Resurrection” may have happened. My view is that Christianity’s mystical claims are 100% untrue. The believer doesn’t have to like this if he doesn’t want to, but there’s no “probably” about it here.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Walking on Water vs. Reality

A famous passage in the gospel of Matthew goes as follows:
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:22-33)
A number of issues could be raised in response to this passage.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fishing with a Chick Tract

So there I was this last Friday afternoon, minding my own business waiting for the Green Line on my way home from work. I had just moments before disembarked from a Blue Line train, and as is my normal habit, I immediately checked the telescreen to see when the next Green Line would come. The telescreen indicated that I had an 18-minute wait. Seriously? Eighteen minutes?

So, as the sun was still high enough in the sky to matter, I sought refuge in the shade of a bus idling nearby, its driver off to the loo or wolfing down a sandwich someplace.

I glanced around and saw a motley assortment of humanity gathered round, waiting for whatever line to take them wherever. The crowd on the platform at this moment was rather light, with a few folks here and there, some coming, some going, some standing around waiting like me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

“…it’s easy to imagine all the saved in heaven…”

It’s a particularly delicious treat when apologists unwittingly make damning concessions. Of course, this happens quite routinely, only it often has a subliminal effect since most non-Christians are as clueless about fundamentals as Christianity requires its adherents to be.

For example, when a Christian makes a statement like, “just because you don’t believe in the resurrection doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” he along with most non-believing skeptics apparently don’t recognize how the believer is making use of a fundamental principle which directly conflicts with the metaphysical foundations of Christianity.

Or consider when apologists make the absurd claim that they begin with the assumption that the bible is true. For example, when Jason Petersen writes (details here):
I guess let me just explain my epistemology, if you don’t mind. I start with the revelation of Scripture. I view Scripture as sufficient.
Such statements are simply an admission that their beliefs cannot possibly be rational, since their very starting point constitutes a radical departure from reality. They only multiply this absurdity when they assume the truth of what they later come along and claim to be able to “prove.”

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Hideous Rigors of Christian Salvation Doubt

Apologists routinely present their religious faith as though they were as certain of its alleged truth as rock is hard. In fact, the bible even likens faith to rock. But even the biblical imagery is at odds with itself: faith as solid as a rock is a virtue, but a heart of stone signifies vice; and yet a heart of flesh is the mark of piety and righteousness, but at the same time the flesh is spiritually weak and sinful.

But going by the bravado which apologists present in their debate performances and the tone of unflinching certainty they never fail to project in their writings, one might never suspect that, in the private corners of their minds, they are in fact shivering frenetically in a chilly, endless winter of persisting doubt. The tough exterior of certitude and sureness might in fact be nothing more than a tenuously thin shell concealing a frightened hollowness that is all that is left behind once the Christian devotional program has done its task in getting the believer to reject himself, surrender his virtue, and eviscerate his own character.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Tragedy that is Christian Morality

Over on Triablogue, blogger and long-time visitor to my blog Justin Hall challenged Steve Hays on his naïve, one-size-fits-all attempts to malign atheism and those who hold no god-beliefs – those dastardly evil people known as “atheists.” In his blog entry, Atheism has no brakes, Hays is apparently attempting to blame atheism for the tragic goings-on that have recently come to light concerning Planned Parenthood. Not surprisingly, he has a difficult time making any connection between the two.

Ironically, Hays laments the evil that goes on in the world while his own worldview teaches that “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160) and that “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 172). Given Hays’ worldview, the people at Planned Parenthood are nothing more than puppets doing the will of the Christian god as they fulfill its “divine plan.” Since, according to Christianity, everything that happens in the world, happens according to “God’s plan,” Planned Parenthood is just one more instance of planned evil.

It’s pretty hard to lay blame on atheism when you worship a god which has intended evil to proliferate the world from before the beginning of time, but then again, Christians are not known for the logical solvency of their worldview.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Believer's Remorse

I was doing some research last evening for a blog entry I’m working on, and in that research I found some choice quotes from Christian apologist Dustin Segers. Readers who have followed my blog for the past several years may remember some noteworthy interactions with Segers’ apologetic statements that I have posted here.

Here are some examples:
and a series of six posts interacting directly with Segers’ questions for atheists:
As I came upon Segers’ statements, I wanted to find those locations (URL references) on the internet where I had originally found them as I want to use some of them in developing some points that I have in some upcoming blog posts that I have currently in draft stage. I found that Segers’ own blog, Grace in the Triad, no longer exists – what you’ll find there now is discussion of kitchen cabinet hardware, not presuppositional apologetics like back in the good ol’ days. (Perhaps Segers took a suggestion I had made here.)

Also, I have not seen any activity from Segers on Triablogue – where in the past he would occasionally post in the past under the moniker “Dusman” – for several years now. (The last posting of Segers’ postings on T-blogue is one titled Life is a Vapor, from March 2012.)

However, I did stumble upon something relatively more recent.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Being Prepared for Encounters with Evangelists

Missionizing religionists are anxious to proselytize and win converts. They get frustrated when their harvests are meager, when their nets bring in no fish. Indeed, it seems generally that witnesses for Christ have grown disenchanted, for I don’t see them out on the street as regularly as I did, say, 20 or 25 years ago. Now they seem to be a real oddity, but that might be because I live in a city whose overall political leanings are expressly liberal. But that would make this a great place to send missionaries, or so it would seem: aren’t there still some of “God’s chosen” here who need to be reached?

At any rate, as Christians are instructed by I Peter 3:5 to be “always ready,” I too like to be ready, and I want my readers to be ready as well. So I’ve taken some time to create a small list of questions to help the conversation along in the off-chance that I bump into a “witness for Christ” out doing “the Lord’s work” of spreading the “good news” and seeking converts.

Before we get to those questions, however, it is important to review a few considerations about the evangelist’s task.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Changing Your Views

The topic of changing one’s views is constantly in play in discussions between religious believers and critics of religious beliefs. The question often arises: What would it take to make you believe? or What would it take to make you abandon your beliefs? Questions of this sort seem to have a baiting nature, but they can be rather thought-provoking as well. It is valuable to reflect on how our views have changed over the course of our lives, what they changed from and what they changed to, what prompted the change and what instigated the original belief to begin with.

In his blog entry Ten Questions Biblical Literalists Cannot Honestly Answer, Casper Rigsby asks:
8. Is there any amount of evidence that would change your views?
In a reaction titled 10 questions, Steve Hays responds:
i) It doesn't occur to Casper that we can't change our views in toto. Our view of the evidence is, itself a viewpoint.
It’s not clear how Hays can divine such a sweeping assessment of what Casper has or has not done from a simple question of this sort (perhaps this has occurred to him – his question is sufficiently open-ended to allow for this).

Sunday, June 07, 2015

From the Horse's Mouth... Again!

Back in IP Year One, I posted an entry titled From the Horse’s Mouth: Apologists Shooting Themselves in the Foot. That entry contained a series of self-implicating statements which I had found in a variety of apologetic publications. For example, I included John Frame’s confession “we know without knowing how we know” (from here) and Phil Fernandes’ admission “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” (from here; see also here).

Those are some pretty damning statements, and we should not fail to remind apologists about them.

But on occasion, I come across another one, so a new collection has gathered, and I’d like to have these kinds of things right at my fingertips. So I am assembling a second installment to the From the Horse’s Mouth collection.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Does Atheism truly "render good and evil nebulous"?

In this follow-up entry to my post Does Atheism Truly Lead to Nihilism? I examine a statement proffered by Steve Hays over on Triablogue which are intended to characterize atheism as such in the most degrading light possible. Hays’ statement comes from the comments section of his blog entry Quest for Nihilism.

In his comment, Hays writes:
atheism is a "bad joke" because it renders good and evil nebulous; values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures; life has no intrinsic meaning or value.
While such assertions are quite commonly expressed by Christians, I’ve always found them to be quite at odds with the biblical worldview – as well as the implications of certain defenses of it, and for a variety of reasons. For one, I can find no definitions of either ‘good’ or ‘evil’ in any of my bibles. At no point do we find a verse that says “Good means….” and another that says “Evil means….” What could keep the concepts of evil more nebulous than simply failing to state their definitions in an explicit manner?

Sadly, in fact, there are additional ways in which the Christian worldview blurs the meaning of these crucial terms.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Does Atheism Truly Lead to Nihilism?

A popular assumption among theists in American culture today is that atheism and nihilism are somehow inherently joined at the hip. As Steve Hays of Triablogue puts it in a recent blog entry, “atheism entails moral and existential nihilism.”

According to this belief, if one is an atheist, then he is either an outright nihilist, or at best a nihilist in denial. Atheism is assumed by Christians to have so irresistible a gravitational pull to nihilism that escape is not possible. Given this, it is further reasoned, theism is to be preferred as though it prevailed by default, without the need to show that any of its tenets are objectively true. If you don’t want to be a nihilist, you’ll have to be a theist, and since every form of theism other than Christianity is supposedly invalid, Christianity is characterized as the only viable alternative to nihilism. These assumptions, as self-serving as they are for the apologetic program, are often re-asserted by believers to keep them alive and consequently provide a source of consolation for the converted. It’s one of the locks that evangelists put on the door to keep believers in the fold.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Natural Born Atheists

Over on Triablogue in a post titled ”We are all born atheists”, Steve Hays cites Peter Pike (remember him? He’s the guy who argued that imaginary things are “immaterial” – see here), who had on some blog posting of his (Hays does not give a link; feel free to look for yourselves) the “slogan” which affirms: “we are all born atheists.”

Apparently Hays is uncomfortable with this observation and raised a few objections against it. But it is what Hays does not do that should give us pause before going forward. While Hays is eager to undermine the observation that we are born atheist in some way, he demonstrates no concern for whether or not it is true that we are born atheist. For example, he nowhere challenges the claim that it is true, nor does he show that it is not true.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Ten

Yes, folks, my blog Incinerating Presuppositionalism is turning TEN YEARS OLD today! That’s right, ten years ago today I posted the first entry on this blog, and I’m pleased to report that it’s been going strong ever since.

Swashbuckling away at Christianity’s defenses, exposing their fallacies and untruths, bringing to light their gimmicks and refuting their arguments… all this has been a most delightful undertaking for me these past years. It has brought me a most unique pleasure that must be experienced firsthand in order to be fully understood, and enjoyed. It is a gift that I give to myself first and foremost.

The past year has been very busy for me, given a very demanding work schedule, but I have managed to be productive even on my beloved blog. Not only have I reached the tenth anniversary mark for my blog, but also my 400th blog entry. This may not seem like a lot for ten years, but bear in mind that my blog does not have a “staff” of writers churning out trite posts about where to buy the best scones or how the weather affected the turnout at last Tuesday’s game. Rather, it’s just me writing here, and as any reader knows my blog entries are often many pages long and full of ample doses of research. It really is a labor of love.

This is not to detract from those readers and visitors who post comments. Really, the comments are what make it really interesting here at IP, and there is a loyal core who have been at the forefront of the commenting activity. So to you all (you know who you are), I tip my hat in gratitude! I’m sorry every time you have to wait for me to get around to publishing your comments, but those who have been reading my blog for the past couple years know why I was reluctantly pressed to turning on the moderating procedure, something I still don’t really care for myself.

So what happened this past year? Well, quite a bit now that I look back on it all. Over the past year I’ve interacted with a few apologists for the first time, some presuppositionalist in their bent, others more traditional. And this year I did finally get around to examining arguments by William Lane Craig. Some readers have emailed me here and there over the years asking for my take on WLC’s arguments and debates. Hopefully I have satisfied such curiosity.

To my own surprise, this year saw fifty new blog entries. Here they are:

352. Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Nine - March 26, 2014
357. Fumbling at the First Down - May 6, 2014
360. Dawson’s Razor - June 1, 2014
365. Dave’s McPresuppositions, Part V - June 12, 2014
366. A Response to Christian James - June 17, 2014
368. STB: Four Years and Counting - August 27, 2014
370. Deriving “Ought” from Dirt - October 4, 2014
379. Jason Petersen’s “Epistemology” -October 21 , 2014
383. Glossary of Terms - December 10, 2014
386. Petersen vs. the Universe - January 10, 2015
387. Lennox’s 10, Part I - January 31, 2015
388. Lennox’s 10, Part II - February 12, 2015
389. Lennox’s 10, Part III - February 13, 2015
390. Lennox’s 10, Part IV - February 21, 2015
391. Lennox’s 10, Part V - February 28, 2015
401. The Ending of the Gospel of Mark - March 24, 2015

As for moving forward, I have a lot of new ideas and planned blog entries, but I am going through a transition as well. I moved to Thailand back in May of 2011, and my work here is now finished. Soon I will be relocating back to the United States to start my next chapter in life. And while this has been a great growing experience, I do not know how long it will take me to resettle my life and devote my energies to writing for my blog. Given the many demands on my time, I’m a slow worker. But keep your eyes peeled. Maybe I’ll surprise you!

In the meantime, keep pursuing your values and hone your reasoning skills.

by Dawson Bethrick

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Ending of the Gospel of Mark

The final chapter of the gospel of Mark, Mark 16, represents a sore spot for Christian apologetics. The more attention it gets, the more it starts to bleed and fester, like an abrasion on a fingertip that cannot heal because of regular wear and tear.

In every bible that I have seen (which is considerable, but far from universal), the final chapter of Mark has 20 verses. And yet, Christian apologists, when the topic presents itself (and it does), insist that verses 9 through 20 were interpolated by later scribes or copyists and therefore are not original to the gospel. The original gospel either ends at 16:8, or its original ending was lost (as some have argued).

What are the implications of either scenario? Let’s first consider the final 12 verses, the so-called “longer ending,” that are still found in today’s printed bibles.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part IX: “God can be personally known and experienced”

We come now to the last of William Lane Craig’s eight arguments for the existence of his god which were published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Philosophy Now. The previous seven arguments did not weather scrutiny well at all. Readers can take in the wreckage left behind in the following blog entries:
In the present argument, Craig seeks to defend the claim that “God can be personally known and experienced.” This is his final chance to salvage his god-belief from Given this, if Craig’s final attempt here to defend his theistic assertions proves to be a failure like the previous seven, then I think we can safely conclude that the door is sealed shut on his apologetic arsenal and, consequently, he should take a vow of silence.

So let’s take a look at Craig’s final case and see if he can still score a point.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part VIII: “The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists”

We now come to William Lane Craig’s seventh argument. This comes from his set of arguments which were published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Philosophy Now (as opposed to some other time). I have already examined the previous six arguments which Craig published along with the one we’ll be looking at presently. The blog entries in which I interact with those previous six arguments can be found here:
In his seventh argument, Craig seeks to defend the claim that “The very possibility of God’s existence implies that God exists.” Now as absurd as this sounds, Craig is apparently wholly serious (after all, he’s got a reputation to keep as well as an audience to entertain), and he does put forward a case of sorts on its behalf.

My examinations of Craig’s previous six arguments have not gone well for him at all. Will Craig finally score a point with his present case? Let’s dive in and find out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part VII: “God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties”

We now come to the sixth of eight arguments for theism published by William Lane Craig in Philosophy Now. Craig's previous five arguments have each been refuted. They can be accessed in the following links:
As the title of this post indicates, I will be examining Craig’s sixth argument, which is supposed to be a defense of the claim that “God is the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.” The previous five arguments have all been found to be fatally problematic. But surely, with all the talk Christians spew about their god being the “standard” of morality, Craig might finally score a point here. No? Well, let’s buckle down and take a look-see.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part VI: “God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness”

We now come to the sixth installment in my series examining eight arguments for the existence of a god published by William Lane Craig in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Philosophy Now. The previous five installments in this series can be found here:
In the present installment, we will be looking at Craig’s defense of the claim that “God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness,” the fifth of his eight arguments. Craig’s previous arguments have all been shown to be utter failures. In spite of the dismal failures of Christian apologetics, Craig and other defenders of theism continue their futile efforts to argue from this world to a realm contradicting it while never coming to terms with the fact that, once we get to the conclusion of any of their arguments for the existence of a god, we still have no alternative but to imagine the god whose existence is said to be thereby proved.

But Craig thinks that his god is the “best explanation of intentional states of consciousness.” Will Craig finally be able to score a goal with this case? Let’s take a look and see.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part V: “God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life”

This is the fifth installment in a series of blog entries which I am posting in response to a set of theistic arguments published by Christian apologist William Lane Craig. The first four installments can be found here:
In the present installment, we will look at Craig’s defense of the so-called “fine-tuning” argument (I’m tempted to call it the “fine-tooning” or “fine-cartooning” argument, in honor of the cartoon universe premise of theism which it is intended to smuggle into intellectual circles). Craig’s case in the present installment is supposed to seal an affirmative verdict on behalf of the claim that “God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part IV: “God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world”

This is the fourth installment in a series of blog entries which I am posting in response to a set of theistic arguments published by Christian apologist William Lane Craig. The first three installments can be found here:
Craig’s third argument is intended to support his claim that “God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world.” Craig’s first two arguments have already been shown to be complete failures. Let’s see if Craig’s third argument does any better.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part III: “God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe”

This is the third installment in a series of blog entries which I am posting in response to a set of theistic arguments published by Christian apologist William Lane Craig. The first two installments can be found here:
See the Introduction for links to Craig's article (which can now be accessed only by subscribers to Philosophy Now).

Craig’s second argument is intended to support his claim that “God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.” Although they have similarities, this argument is distinct from his first argument in that, in the present case, Craig seeks to draw on research from a group of secular scientists in order to support his theistic position. Craig’s first argument has already been shown to be a complete failure. Let’s see if Craig’s second argument does any better.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part II: “God is the best explanation why anything at all exists”

Over the years the self-appointed “professional philosopher” William Lane Craig has published many articles in which he has presented arguments for the existence of the god he claims to worship. One such article appeared in the online journal Philosophy Now in its November/December 2013 issue. Titled Does God Exist?, the article is now accessible in full only to subscribers. In its first month or so of publication, it was available to non-subscribers like myself, and as happenstance would have it, I had the presence of mind – not knowing that it would be pulled from the internet – to copy it to my hard-drive.

I am now posting my own criticisms of Craig's arguments through a series of entries on my blog. This is the second post in this series and it will deal with Craig's first argument. The first post in this series can be found here.

As I read through Craig’s article, I saw so many holes in his arguments that, were he not so arrogant and self-promoting, I’d almost feel embarrassed for him. But given the fact that he has essentially made a career of getting on stages before fawning audiences and bamboozling them with outright lies to continue in their religious delusions, I can only take delight in the fact that I have philosophically immunized myself from such contrivances.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Craig’s Eight Arguments for God, Part I: Introduction

William Lane Craig, known for his medieval thinking and performance debates over questions such as whether a god exists or whether Jesus was really resurrected from the dead, has been touted as “one of the world's leading philosophers of religion” (Biola University product advertisement, The Best of William Lane Craig: Debate Collection, Volumes 1-2), “a top theologian and philosopher” (Alex Murashko, Theologian William Lane Craig Looks Forward to Debate 'Philosophically Informed and Civil' Atheist Sean Carroll), and “the best debater – on any topic” (Luke Muehlhauser, William Lane Craig’s Debates (Reviews)). In his debates, Craig often refers to himself as “a professional philosopher,” and he is treated by many Christian apologists as a leading authority of sorts whom we should never question. One might as well suppose he wins his debates before he even takes his position at the podium.

With commendations such as these and no doubt many, many more, one cannot expect Christianity’s most celebrated show-dog to disappoint, especially when called to produce convincing proof, once and for all, that Christianity’s god, at the exclusion of all rivals, is real. Given Craig’s highly-praised academic credentials, one would expect flawless delivery of the ultimate case for Christian theism.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lennox's 10, Part V

This is the fifth and final installment of my series examining Christian apologist John Lennox’s reactions common objections to Christianity.

The previous four installments of this series can be accessed here:
In the present entry I consider Lennox’s reactions to the ninth and tenth objections which he considers, namely that it is ridiculous to take the bible literally and the lack of evidence for the existence of a god in the first place.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lennox's 10, Part IV

In this blog entry, I continue my examination of Oxford Professor and Christian apologist John Lennox’s reactions to common objections to Christianity. This is the fourth entry in this series. The first two entries can be found here:
In the present entry, I consider Lennox’s reaction to the seventh and eighth claims which he considers, namely that the internal splintering within Christianity dividing it into doctrinally conflicted denominations implies the falsehood of Christianity and “the Bible is immoral.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lennox's 10, Part III

In this blog entry, I continue my examination of Oxford Professor and Christian apologist John Lennox’s reactions to common objections to Christianity.

This is the third entry in this series. The first two entries can be found here:
In the present entry, I consider Lennox’s reaction to the fifth and sixth claims which he considers, namely that “faith is believing without evidence” and “faith is a delusion.”

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lennox's 10, Part II

In this blog entry, I continue my examination of Oxford Professor and Christian apologist John Lennox’s reactions to common objections to Christianity.

This is the second entry in this series. The first entry can be found here:
In the present entry, I consider Lennox’s reaction to the third and fourth claims which he considers, namely that “science is opposed to God” and “you can’t prove that there is a God.”

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lennox's 10, Part I

Written by reporter Heather Tomlinson, an article published a few months ago in Christian Today features Christian apologist John Lennox offering curt rejoinders to a series of statements that are critical of religion in general and Christianity in particular.

John Lennox is a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, he is active in Christian ministry, and he has put in number of appearances in high-profile debates with critics of religion, including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Michael Shermer. The article, titled Ten quick responses to atheist claims, appears to mingle Tomlinson’s own replies to the prompts sprinkled with little snippets by Lennox.

The article explains:
You don't have to read hundreds of books before you can discuss your faith with an atheist. Sometimes claims and questions that are just short soundbites can be answered just as quickly. At the London Evangelists' Conference yesterday, Professor John Lennox offered some quick responses to some common claims from atheists.
So “soundbites” are the offerings that Christian Today is happy to pass on from the professorial Christian apologist. (It’s an attention span thing.) As one might predict, the prompts to which Prof. Lennox responds are total soft balls. While many have been repeated in passing by atheists over the years, they don’t get to the heart of the conflict, which is faith’s opposition to reason. But an examination of the replies offered to the prompts may be instructive for those who might miss the deeper issues that are systematically washed over when apologetics takes the form of “soundbites.”

In this series, beginning with the present post, I will take a look at the prompts and the reactions which Christian Today has published. I will cover two items in each post, with a total of five entries in this series.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Petersen vs. the Universe

Jason Petersen has posted a reaction to my several posts refuting his faltering attempts to criticize Leonard Peikoff’s assessments of god-belief. Petersen’s article can be found here: A Response to Dawson Bethrick: Leonard Peikoff’s Objections to God’s Exitence. Apparently Petersen believes that by responding to my blog entries, he’s somehow doing his position a service. He does not realize that he is simply giving his critics more ammunition. When religious believers attempt to erect defenses for their worldviews, they very often fail to see the inconsistencies they wander into and end up affirming. I’m glad this isn’t my problem!

Curiously, in examining Petersen’s lengthy diatribe (I don’t find David Smart or Sye Ten Bruggencate – both of whom have complained about the lengthiness of some of my blog entries – whining that Petersen’s article is “longwinded”), I nowhere found any active hyperlinks to my series of blog entries interacting with Petersen's objections to Leonard Peikoff, of which there are five! Petersen does give a few URLs to my blog entries, but in case anyone has missed them, I’m happy to post links to them here:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I admit that I really do like seeing Christians attempting to interact with my writings, if for nothing else the entertainment value that can come of such endeavors. But articles like Petersen’s also help get the word out for me, and given the wide array of issues covered in them, they also provide ample opportunity for more cutting-edge atheology! In fact, a number of my readers have informed me that they had discovered my blog through Christian sources and that they were glad to find my writings. So while Jason Petersen may think he’s out slaying dragons for Jesus, he is in fact helping in his own way to promote my ideas. So for this alone, I want to extend my gratitude to him. May Jason Petersen continue to be the gift that keeps on giving!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Fringe Outliers or Pioneering Trailblazers?

In an article titled It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas ... Mythicism's in the Air published by on 24 Dec. 2014, Australian author and lecturer John Dickson takes a former student of his to the woodshed for not towing the standard Christian party line about the alleged historicity of the Jesus of the gospel narratives. Who is John Dickson? According to Wikipedia page about him, Dickson is:
an Australian writer, historian, minister and Honorary Fellow in the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. He is co-founder and director of the Centre for Public Christianity, a media company which seeks to "promote the public understanding of the Christian faith".
Also, in addition to his lecturing at Macquarie University, Dickson finds time to serve as the senior minister of an Anglican church in Roseville, Australia. Dickson has also published a number of books, with such titles as The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips, Promoting the Gospel: the Whole of Life for the Cause of Christ and A Spectator's Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazaret to name but a few.

It seems safe to say, then, that Dickson, as a committed Christian believer and minister, has a confessional investment to protect here. Now in pointing this out, I may be accused of poisoning the well. But in fact, I’m simply pointing out the facts here. And when citing facts is considered fallacious, this tells us something about those who raise objections to citing facts.