Insofar as human happiness is achievable, the clear verdict of history is that it is most readily achievable in societies based on the principles of liberal democracy. That is, societies with democratically elected representative governments that respect individual liberties, and which maintain satisfactorily high standards of social justice and economic equity. Examples of liberal democracies would be France, Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, the Scandinavian countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and (decreasingly) the United States. Liberal democratic societies minimize… Read more

ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENT #2 In Part 13, I clarified and analyzed the logical structure of the Argument from Efficient Causality, Argument #2 in Kreeft’s case for God.  Here is the clarified version of Argument #2: 1a. IF there is no thing which is such that its present existence is uncaused, THEN all things need a present cause outside of themselves in order to exist. 2a. IF all things need a present cause outside of themselves in order to exist, THEN… Read more

TASO The third inductive argument in Swinburne’s case for God is TASO (the Teleological Argument from Spatial Order): Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (e3) There exists a complex physical universe which is governed by simple natural laws, and in which the structure of the natural laws and of the initial conditions are such that they make the evolution of human bodies in that universe probable. THEREFORE: (g) God exists. TASO is presented and defended by Swinburne in Chapter 8 (“Teleological Arguments”) of his… Read more

EVALUATION OF KREEFT’S CASE SO FAR I began this series by considering the last ten arguments in Peter Kreeft’s case for God in Chapter 3 of Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA).  Those arguments appear to be ones that Kreeft viewed as weaker than his earlier arguments.  NONE of those last ten arguments turned out to be a solid argument, and I concluded that they provide no significant reason to believe that God exists. I have shifted to an examination… Read more

THE EVALUATION OF ARGUMENT #1 SO FAR In Part 11 we saw that Argument #1 is UNSOUND, because it is based on the premise (F), and because Kreeft provides no support for (F), and because we have good reason to believe (F) to be FALSE. In this current post, I will examine the core argument in support of premise (8a), the other main premise of Argument #1.   THE CORE ARGUMENT SUPPORTING (8a) Here is premise (8a): 8a. There is exactly ONE being outside the material universe and… Read more

In his new book, The Meaning of Belief, philosopher Tim Crane argues that much of the anti-religious animus of atheists is largely motivated by the spectacle of religious violence in our day, typified by the events of 9/11/2001. Atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris passionately denounce the violence done in the name of religion and conclude that religious belief is dangerous. If, like John Lennon, we imagine a world with no religion, are we imagining a… Read more

INTRO TO TASO For several years, I have been working on an article about Richard Swinburne’s case for God. I’m currently revising the section of that article dealing with the third argument in Swinburne’s case: TASO (the Teleological Argument from Spatial Order). In working on that section of the article, I noticed that my favorite objection to TASO was missing from that section. I have spelled out this objection a few times in posts and comments here at The Secular Outpost,… Read more

THE CONTEXT Peter Kreeft and his co-author Ronald Tacelli open their Handbook of Christian Apologetics  (hereafter: HCA) with these words about their “reasons for writing this book”: We are certain that the Christian faith is true. We are only a little less certain that the very best thing we can possibly do for others is to persuade them of this truth, in which there is joy and peace and love incomparable in this world, and infinite and incomprehensible in the next…. Read more

Ever since Socrates said “follow the argument wherever it leads,” the practice of rational debate has been central to our intellectual culture. The ideal is that when qualified parties disagree you allow each side to adduce arguments and present its case in an open forum. The hope is that, once each position has been thoroughly aired and vetted, the side with the stronger arguments will eventually prevail, and that consensus, or at least compromise, will emerge. Sometimes this practice works…. Read more

ANALYSIS OF PHASE 1 In Part 9, I began to analyze and clarify the logic of Argument #1 (The Argument from Change) in Peter Kreeft’s case for God from Chapter 3 of Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA).  My analysis focused on the first phase of the argument. Here is my understanding of the logical structure of the first phase of Argument #1: 1. IF there is nothing outside the material universe, THEN there is nothing that can cause the material universe… Read more

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