The Case for a Creator: A Universe Not Made For Us

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 7The final section of this chapter concerns Gonzalez's argument that the Earth is uniquely designed to make scientific discovery possible. His argument is that our planet is fine-tuned not just to allow the existence of life, but to allow us to find out important facts about the nature of the universe that wouldn't be possible to discover if we lived anywhere else. (As an aside, it's asinine for Strobel and his interviewees to celebrate how perfectly designed … [Read more...]

Cargo Cult Science

During World War II, American forces fighting in the Pacific set up bases on remote islands whose people had had very little prior contact with other civilizations. These people, with technology at a Stone Age level, were amazed by the strange visitors and the almost miraculous cargo they brought with them - chocolate, cigarettes, radio, steel tools. When the war ended and the soldiers left, some tribes went to desperate measures to summon them back, forming religions - cargo cults - which tried … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Intellectual Incuriosity

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 5Chapter 5 is about the Big Bang and the cosmological argument, and we'll get to those. But I wanted to begin by highlighting an incredible, and telling, statement by Strobel in the opening paragraphs of the chapter.It seemed to me that the beginning of everything was a good place to start my investigation into whether the affirmative evidence of science points toward or away from a Creator. At the time, I wasn't particularly interested in internal Christian … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Pursuing All Possibilities

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 2Before embarking on his interviews, Strobel makes a statement about his investigative strategy:In selecting these experts, I sought doctorate-level professors who have unquestioned expertise, are able to communicate in accessible language, and refuse to limit themselves only to the politically correct world of naturalism or materialism. After all, it wouldn't make sense to rule out any hypothesis at the outset. I wanted the freedom to pursue all … [Read more...]

How to Think Critically: Memory & Confabulation

The reliability of eyewitness accounts is one of the bedrock beliefs of our society. In ancient cultures - and in some modern cultures that still follow ancient laws - some crimes could only be proven by eyewitness testimonies. One of the most infamous examples was Pakistan's Hudood Ordinances, which mandated that allegations of rape could only be proven by four eyewitness accounts; otherwise, the woman was to be punished for making false accusations. Even in our supposedly more enlightened … [Read more...]

The 99 Percent Solution

One of the more tiresome parts of being an atheist is having to deal with preachers who drag out the old apologetic cliches and convince themselves that they're being clever. Just so is this piece from one Rev. Eric Strachan:[I] like to ask every atheist, "What percentage of the total knowledge that one could possibly acquire do you think you have?"Interestingly, most answer around five per cent or thereabout. "Think again," I say. "It's more likely to be around .05 per cent!"I then like … [Read more...]

Mental Slavery and Creeping Atheism

Evangelical pastor Ray Stedman knows the root cause of everything that's wrong with the world:It is not nationalism, it is not racism... it is the human heart. It is the pride of man that fancies he can get along without God.But not to worry, because he advises us how we can conquer this obstacle. To achieve that, we must...take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. This is extremely important....It is absolutely necessary to do this if you want to have permanent victory. … [Read more...]

The Amorphous Enemy

In a previous post, "The Soft Landing", I wrote about the future and about one potential scenario that I find disturbing: that militant, fundamentalist churches will grow at the expense of moderate and liberal ones, leaving behind a world split between atheism and angry, intolerant religion. In this post, I'll again look to the future, this time to outline another possibility that I find worrisome in a different way.In this scenario, both moderate and fundamentalist religion will decline … [Read more...]

How to Think Critically: Testimonials

The testimonial is the favorite tool of pseudoscientists everywhere. Search the internet far and wide, and you'll have trouble finding a cancer-curing scam machine, thermodynamically impossible engine-conversion kit, or obscure psychic website that doesn't feature glowing testimonials from true believers. Eshu of Bridging Schisms gives many more examples, in his post "Testimonials and Research", like this gem from a satisfied client singing the praises of a psychic claimant:"I came to Philena … [Read more...]

Faith Comes First

A few months ago, a theist contacted me by e-mail to claim that her church, the Mormons, had fulfilled many of the criteria set forth in my essay "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists". There was one criterion she thought was unfair of me to list - evidence of miraculous occurrences brought about through prayer:This one is rough, mainly because faith must precede the miracle.Similarly, another theist who contacted me by e-mail claimed that it didn't matter whether anyone could answer … [Read more...]


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