Morality and Atheism: An Exchange with Prof. Feser

Note: This is my initial post of an exchange with Dr. Ed Feser on the topic “Can morality have a rational justification if atheism or naturalism is true?” My answer, of course, is “Yes it can!” I decided to address the issue by spelling out, in some detail, what I think a good naturalistic theory would be. In my second post I will directly address Dr. Feser’s post. I thought that I recalled that our initial post on this topic had a 5000 word limit. I was wrong; it was 2500 words, and Dr. Fese … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis on the Torments of Hell

This is a modified quote from my essay "Hell: Christianity's Most Damnable Doctrine" in The End of Christianity, edited by John Loftus, Prometheus Books, 2012. The page numbers in parentheses refer to Lewis's book The Problem of Pain. Now, I know, as my friend John Beversluis discovered when he wrote his wonderful book on Lewis, whenever you say anything about what Lewis said, a host of wrathful Lewisites will say that you took his words out of context, or that Lewis modified or retracted his … [Read more...]

Reply to Prof. Feser’s Response, (Part III)

Ed, Russell’s argument is from Why I am not a Christian, which was a popular talk given to a general audience. As you say, almost certainly he was aiming at popular apologetics. He could, however, address the argument at a much more sophisticated level. I think his best response to cosmological arguments came in his classic debate with Frederick Copleston. Since I have written on this debate, I hope you will not mind if I quote myself at length: "Copleston’s first argument was the “argument from … [Read more...]

Hysterical Homophobe Fred Phelps Dies

I just got the message that the Rev. Fred Phelps has died:http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/anti-gay-pastor-fred-phelps-sr-dies-84-22986518#.UysiKRZcHhI.emailPhelps and his congregation became infamous by picketing funerals for those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan with signs reading "Thank God for IED's (Improvised explosive devices that accounted for many casualties)." Their "reasoning" was that God permitted American soldiers to be killed as punishment for America's … [Read more...]

Response to Prof. Feser’s Response to…etc (Part II)

Ed, this will be a rather truncated response to these points because I will address just the arguments you present here. A fair treatment of your arguments would need to address your article on these topics in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. However, two physical realities—time and space—limit me here.The question I posed was why we should think that a presumptively fundamental physical reality (quarks and leptons, quantum fields, superstrings, or whatever) needs supernatural sup … [Read more...]

Response to Prof. Feser’s Response (Part I)

Ed, for the convenience of readers, here is a link to your response to my answer to your first question.Here is my response:And thanks back to you for a very gracious and constructive reply! You clarify your position admirably. Also, you are right that philosophers do legitimately serve a role as “public intellectuals” in addressing popular arguments and claims. My friend philosopher John Beversluis published a superb critical study of C.S. Lewis, and I applaud him for doing so. His book … [Read more...]

Reply to Prof. Feser’s Response, (Part IV)

Ed, I am going to take the liberty of first replying to your response to my answer to your fourth question. I am going to do this because I think that this is where we most significantly clash, that is, where our fundamental disagreements are most apparent. I want to address these points right away, and the others I will take up after the 15th when I will be back at my office.Sorry if I was unclear and gave a misleading impression. I do, in fact, think that the laws of nature are best … [Read more...]

Reply to Prof. Feser’s Fourth Question

Ed, Here is your fourth question to me: “4. In response to another reader’s question, about Craig’s version of the First Cause argument, you wrote: “Both theists and atheists begin with an uncaused brute fact. For Craig it is God, and for me it is the universe.” Now, as you know, the expression “brute fact” is typically used in philosophy to convey the idea of something which is unintelligible or without explanation. And your statement gives the impression that all theists, or at least most of t … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X