Archives for March 2012

Pressure on secularism

I don't know if secularism was ever as much a consensus position as we sometimes think. But I do think it's weaker today. Consider some recent examples of conservative religious pushback against even rather mild secularist political positions.First, the United States. Take a look, if you can, at "In Defense of Religious Freedom A Statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together." There's an awful lot of theological blather in it about justifying "religious freedom," which tries to make it … [Read more...]

Messianic Prophecy – Update

On my own blog, I have begun examining eight alleged Messianic prophecies, presented by Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks. I have reached a conclusion about the first of the prophecies and will share that here. For supporting arguments and details, you can read the posts at my blog. to Peter Stoner, Micah 5:2 should be interpreted as making a specific prediction:(1) The correct interpretation of Micah 5:2 is that it predicts that 'The Messiah … [Read more...]

Conservative anti-science

Chris Mooney has an interesting post, citing recent research by Gordon Gauchat that shows a noticeable decline in trust in science among political conservatives in the United States, over the past few decades.There isn't much that I know of in this sort of research that would help me estimate what the contribution of conservative religiosity is to the lack of trust in science. It could be interesting to disentangle, say, a supernaturalist reaction against the naturalistic tendency of modern … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 4

Does the utterance of the words 'God exists' amount to a meaningful utterance? Does this utterance express a statement?  Two considerations support the claim that this is a meaningful utterance:1. 'God exists' is a grammatical sentence.2. The word 'exists' has an established meaning.The main question to consider is whether the word 'God' has a meaning.Many utterances of the form 'X exists' are obviously meaningful utterances that express a statement:Chickens exist.The Earth … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 19

One of the major alleged wounds inflicted upon Jesus during the crucifixion is a deep spear wound:DSW = On Friday of Passover week, just before the first Easter Sunday, Jesus received a deep spear wound to his chest (i.e. the tip of the spear penetrated at least 3” deep, measured perpendicular to the surface where the spear entered his chest).This claim is based on a couple of passages from the Fourth Gospel.  One passage concerns the Doubting Thomas story, that I previously argued was f … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 3

In the first of five phases of his case for God, Swinburne argues that the assertion 'God exists' makes a coherent factual statement.  What is a coherent factual statement?  More specifically, what is a statement? and when is a statement a coherent statement?First, it is clear that when someone says 'God exists', that person is uttering a string of words.  In this case, two words: 'God' and 'exists'.  But not every utterance of a string of words constitutes a meaningful … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 18

There are reasonable doubts about each of the major wounds allegedly inflicted upon Jesus. This in turn leads to reasonable doubt about the claim that Jesus died on the cross on the same day that he was crucified.  Because the occurrence of each alleged major wound significantly increases the probability that Jesus died on the cross on the same day he was crucified, the non-occurrence of each major wound significantly decreases the probability that Jesus died on the cross on … [Read more...]

More secular (and obnoxious, and stupid) Millennials

I've been looking at some social psychology research concerning the so-called "Millennial" generation, in their twenties today. (I figure it doesn't hurt to know more about my students.)Often, the research finds that the Millennials are an obnoxious, shallow, and stupid bunch. (OK, that's my take on it. But basically, reading the survey results, my usual reaction is that I hate most of them.)But since Millennials tend towards self-centered consumerism and moral individualism (even more than the … [Read more...]