The BSA and Nontheists: A Reply to Steve Hays

After reading my post about the BSA's policy of discriminating against atheists, Steve Hays is not convinced. While at one point he recognizes that I am criticizing "the opposing position internally, on its own terms," at several other points he seems to forget that, e.g., his tu quoque claim that atheists don't generally defend the civil liberties of theists, his question about how atheists can justify moral realism, etc. As interesting as those issues are, however, they are irrelevant to … [Read more...]

Comforting Illusions: Reply to Steve Hays

Hays writes:Militant atheists deem it their duty to disabuse Christians of their faith. Militant atheists think Christian theology is false, and they also think it’s morally wrong to believe falsehood.I guess I am not a militant atheist. (As an aside, why is it common practice to refer to some atheists as "militant" or "avowed," but one rarely, if ever, sees those adjectives in front of "Christian," "Muslim," "Jew," or even "theist"?)Hays describes a hypothetical scenario and then asks t … [Read more...]

Stenger on Zero Total Energy as Evidence for Atheism

I do not have a physics background, so I am posting this in case someone who does can clarify this for me. In his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, physicist Victor Stenger argues that the fact that the universe began from a state of zero energy is evidence for God's nonexistence. On page 116, he writes:In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of … [Read more...]

The Argument from the Flourishing and Languishing of Sentient Beings (AFL)

This post was inspired by the writings of Paul Draper. If you like the argument, the credit should go to Draper. Any problems with the formulation below, however, are probably due to an error on my part. Informal Statement of the ArgumentOnly a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive. In other words, very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy. An even smaller fraction of … [Read more...]

WOTM: What a Friend We Have in Joshie

This is a brilliant video clip exposing the absurdity and immorality of condemning people to eternal punishment solely based on nonbelief. (HT: PZ Myers) … [Read more...]

How Not to Debate ‘the’ Moral Argument: Reply to PZ Meyers

In a recent post, PZ Myers complains that a couple of atheists botched their response to 'the' moral argument for God's existence.[1] He writes:There is a common line of attack Christians use in debates with atheists, and I genuinely detest it. It’s to ask the question, “where do your morals come from?” I detest it because it is not a sincere question at all — they don’t care about your answer, they’re just trying to get you to say that you do not accept the authority of a deity, so that the … [Read more...]

A Key Assumption of TASO

In Chapter 8 of The Existence of God, 2nd edition (hereafter: EOG), Richard Swinburne defends two teleological arguments for the existence of God.  The second argument he calls the Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (TASO):1. The laws and boundary conditions of the universe are such as to make probable the evolution of human bodies.Therefore:2. God exists.Swinburne argues that (1) provides relevant evidence in support of (2), significantly increasing the probability that (2) … [Read more...]

20+ Questions for Theists

(This post was last edited on 21-Jun-12, by reorganizing the list into a more logical sequence. I apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause to people who have posted comments or their own articles discussing these.)As a follow-up to my last post, I compiled a list of my own questions for theists. I'm sure readers will have many of their own to add.The question "Why is there something rather than nothing" presupposes "nothing" as being  the normal state of affairs. Why … [Read more...]