Archives for 2012

Theist-Atheist Discourse: Some Thoughts on Victor Reppert’s Post

Victor Reppert and I have been having a productive and healthy exchange about the tone of theist-atheist discourse. If you haven't already seen it, I encourage you to read his latest post on the topic.Disclosure Before commenting on his post, I want to provide a sort of "disclosure" statement about biases, similar to what you might find in a peer-reviewed medical journal article about a new drug. I am not a so-called 'New Atheist.' In fact, I don't even care for that label, since I think there … [Read more...]

Do Atheists Concede the Ground of Death Too Easily? A Reply to Greta Christina

According to Greta Christina, atheists concede the ground of death too easily. She quotes or paraphrases the following sentiment.“Sure, atheism may have better arguments and evidence. But religion is always to going to win on the death question. A secular philosophy of death will never comfort people the way religion does.”In response, she writes,I’ve heard this idea more times than I can count. And here’s the weird thing: It’s not just from religious believers. I hear it from atheists, too. … [Read more...]

Reppert’s Clarification on KKK Rallies vs. the Reason Rally … [Read more...]

Are Reason Rallies Analogous to KKK Rallies?

Victor Reppert links to an article at the Catholic League website entitled, "Atheist Rally Draws Haters." Reppert writes:OK, as Ricky Ricardo would say, splain. Explain to me the difference between this and a KKK rally, other than the fact that, primarily, Christians were the targets, as opposed to Blacks and Jews.Because I have so much respect for Reppert as a philosopher, I find it hard to believe he cannot tell the difference between a KKK rally and a Reason Rally. If I didn't know him … [Read more...]

Checklist: Evaluating Claims about Jesus – Part 6

This post will briefly discuss the two final tests of "eyewitness evidence" (or rather, tests of the historical reliability and trustworthiness of the Gospel accounts) from The Case for Christ (CFC) by Lee Strobel.7. THE CORROBORATION TESTI introduced this next test by asking Blomberg, "When the gospels mention people, places, and events, do they check out to be correct in cases in which they can be independently verified?"  Often such corroboration is invaluable in assessing whether a … [Read more...]


I'm fortunate to often run into students whose interests in physics go beyond what they encounter in class, and who might even develop their interests in philosophical directions. Anyway, one of my previous students has apparently been taking the ambitions of physics to describe everything very seriously, and has been worrying about the classic free will vs. determinism problem.So I emailed him a response, which aside from directing him to the literature, tried to give a quick and dirty … [Read more...]

Checklist: Evaluating Claims about Jesus – Part 5

In the Chapter 2 of The Case for Christ (hereafter CFC), Lee Stobel puts forward eight tests for determining the credibility and reliability of the Gospels.  I briefly discussed four of those tests in Part 3 of this series.  In this post I briefly discuss two more of  the tests.5. THE BIAS TESTThis test analyzes whether the Gospel writers had any biases that would have colored their work.  Did they have any vested interest in skewing the material they were reporting on? (CFC, … [Read more...]

Is Bayes’s Theorem Irrelevant to History?

On his blog, R. Joseph Hoffmann published an essay by Stephanie Louise Fisher which, among other things, argues that Bayes's theorem (hereafter, BT) is irrelevant to historical scholarship. In her words, BT is "completely inappropriate for, and unrelated to historical occurrence and therefore irrelevant for application to historical texts."Really?Whenever a historian argues that such-and-such an event probably did or did not happen, the historian is implicitly appealing to probability. … [Read more...]