Luke Muelhauser: The Courtier’s Reply, the Not My Theology Reply, and Straw Men

The Courtier’s Reply is useless. It ignores the real target of an argument. The Not My Theology Reply is legitimate, though it may be beyond the scope of the present discussion. If someone’s argument does not apply to your philosophy but it does apply to the philosophy of others, then that argument probably wasn’t intended for you. But you might still want to make the Not My Theology reply just to clear things up for people. The Straw Man Reply is legitimate only if someone misrepresents the vi … [Read more...]

Michael Martin Has Died

mmartin

I just learned the horrible news that renowned philosopher Michael Martin (1932-2015) died unexpectedly yesterday. He will be missed.I hope to write a proper tribute to him at a later time. For now, I want to provide links to his books. (For links to his online essays on The Secular Web, click on his name above.)Atheism: A Philosophical JustificationThe Case Against ChristianityAtheism, Morality, and MeaningThe Cambridge Companion to AtheismThe Impossibility of God (with R … [Read more...]

Another Terrible Atheist Debate Performance

I originally planned to blog my thoughts about this oral debate while I was watching it. Then after I had a rather nasty exchange on Twitter with the atheist debater, I said I wasn't going to write about him anytime soon. Then I thought about it some more. I realized the only reason I was going to engage in self-censorship was to avoid all of the drama associated with criticizing anything to do with this individual's arguments, blog posts, books, or debates. "That's a really bad reason to say … [Read more...]

Old But Still Relevant: Phil Plait on “Don’t Be a Dick”

LINK … [Read more...]

How and When Should You Use Ridicule, If At All? It Depends on Your Goals

I think it's self-defeating for philosophers who want to engage in genuine inquiry to use ridicule. If one's primary goal is to be an apologist first and a philosopher second (such as William Lane Craig), then I think ridicule can change some minds while alienating others. (By mentioning his name, I'm not claiming that he does, in fact, use ridicule. I'm simply stating that he is a philosopher who primarily seems to act as an apologist.) I think it's an open question whether using ridicule as a … [Read more...]

Stupid Atheist Meme #1: If You Could Reason with Religious People…

After my post Apologetics Infographic #1, I planned to do a related series titled, "Stupid Atheist Memes." I see, however, that Ed Brayton had the idea first. (See here for the latest in his series; the others so far are here, here, and here.) I trust he won't mind if I do my own series with the same title.For the inaugural entry, I'd like to discuss this. If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people. The meme is attributed to the fictional atheist Dr. … [Read more...]

Temporarily Blacklisted a User

I have never before banned a user from any site I've moderated, but I have temporarily (for 30 days) blacklisted one user who has been dominating the combox with repetitive comments (and questions) that have been answered repeatedly by others. I asked the user to voluntarily take a break, but that request was ignored by the user, who then proceeded to post another repetitive comment.I expect this decision will have both supporters and critics. I'm okay with that.Because Disqus doesn't … [Read more...]

Link: “The End of the Teapot Argument for Atheism (and All Its Tawdry Imitators)” by Mark F. Sharlow

Abstract: Atheists sometimes use Bertrand Russell’s teapot argument, and its variants with other objects in place of the teapot, to argue for the rationality of atheism. In this paper I show that this use of the teapot argument and its variants is unacceptably circular. The circularity arises because there is indirect evidence against the objects invoked in the arguments. LINKDisclaimer: I haven't read, much less evaluated this paper. Feel free to debate in the combox! … [Read more...]


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