Archives for September 2008

Skeptical Approaches to Miracles – Part 4

In Miracles and the Modern Mind, Norman Geisler summarizes Spinoza’s argument about miracles:1. Miracles are violations of natural laws.2. Natural laws are immutable.3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws.4. Therefore, miracles are impossible.(MMM, p.15)Geisler raises four objections to this argument (MMM, p.21). Before considering any objections, however, we need to determine whether Geisler has accurately summarized Spinoza’s thinking about miracles.The short answer is: No, Geisler has n … [Read more...]

An Argument for Atheism – Part 3

In Chapter 2 of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins gives an argument for atheism. The argument is a chain of reasoning consisting of five inferences. In my previous post on this argument (8/4/08), I pointed out that the first inference in the chain is a non sequitur:1. Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution.Therefore2. Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to … [Read more...]

Against human rights

The UN is holding a Durban Review Conference concerning human rights in April 2009. Canada is already boycotting it, and a few other Western countries are also suggesting they might. Wrangling about Israeli-Palestinian matters seems to be at the heart of the controversy.Among secularists, there's an extra concern that Muslim organizations have successfully pressured the UN to endorse curtailment of free speech when "abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or … [Read more...]

Pat Condell

If you're ever in the mood for anti-religious humor, largely consisting of 6-minute antireligious rants, check out Pat Condell. The introduction says, "Hi, I'm Pat Condell. I don't respect your beliefs and I don't care if you're offended. Cheers."Interesting... … [Read more...]


I got to see the movie Expelled last night. A campus Christian group brought it to a local movie theater, and was giving out free tickets.It was better done than I had expected. I'd seen some reviews that thought some of the attempts at humor were ham-handed, and the production amateurish at times. I don't know. My impression was that of a well-done propaganda movie. Or, if "propaganda" sounds too negative, I thought it was an effective presentation of its point of view. I expect it worked very … [Read more...]

Purtill’s Definition of “Miracle” – Part 5

Richard Purtill proposed the following definition:A miracle is an event (1) brought about by the power of God that is (2) a temporary (3) exception (4) to the ordinary course of nature (5) for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history. (“Defining Miracles” in In Defense of Miracles, IVP, 1997, p.72).I have previously argued that condition (5) should be rejected, and in my last post on this subject (7/25/08), I began to examine the first condition:(1) brought about by the power of GodI … [Read more...]