Pressing Your Buttons (from my book Believing Bullshit)

  PRESSING YOUR BUTTONSOne way in which we can shape the beliefs of others is by rational persuasion. Suppose, for example, that I want someone to believe that Buckingham Palace is in London (which it is). I could provide them with a great deal of evidence to support that belief. I could also just take them to London so they can see with their own eyes that that’s where Buckingham Palace is located.But what if these kinds of method aren’t available? Suppose I have little or no evi … [Read more...]

Response to Randal Rauser’s response to my response to his shoddy review…

Randal Rauser has responded to my suggestion that his review of my book Believing Bullshit was pretty shoddy (though not as shoddy as Martin Cohen’s in the THES). Go here. Understandable, I suppose. By combining selective quotation, misdirection and quite a lot of bluster, Rauser is quite successful at generating the impression I have been unfair to him. A preliminary point re not responding to Rauser’s entire review. After disclaimers about what follows being nothing pe … [Read more...]

Response to Craig’s crit of my paper on the existence of Jesus

 A while back, William Lane Craig responded to an argument of mine that was published in 2011 in Faith and Philosophy in a paper called “Evidence, Miracles, and The Existence of Jesus”. (Craig’s response appears on his Reasonable Faith website here). In fact, Craig largely ignores the various arguments in my paper, and focuses instead in refuting arguments it does not contain. If you want to read the paper to check, it’s available here. … [Read more...]

MOVING THE SEMANTIC GOALPOSTS – theological sleight-of-hand with words

 From my book Believing Bullshit. Moving the goalposts The expression “moving the goalposts” refers to a certain disreputable strategy in an argument. Suppose I claim Fred has never been to Brazil. It’s pointed out to me that Fred went to Brazil on his honeymoon. My claim has been shown to be false, but rather than admit this I just switch claims: “Well, he’s never been to Brazil on business.” I have just moved the goalposts. The analogy is with football. It looks like some … [Read more...]

Defending a liberal approach to raising good citizens (rejecting religious-authority-based approaches)

My interview from West Midland's Faith Forum (one year after the riots). … [Read more...]

Correction to chpt 2 of Believing Bullshit

Here's an endnote I am adding to a chapter I am contributing to the upcoming Handbook on Humanism (edited by AC Grayling and Andrew Copson [Wiley Blackwell publisher]). I now realize I got something wrong in chapter 2 of my book Believing Bullshit, so might as well set the record straight publicly. Here's the endnote of the chapter I am now writing for the new book [n.b. YEC = Young Earth Creationism]: Elsewhere I have said that because Ken Ham’s theory makes no predictions – … [Read more...]

Draft chapter on Humanism, Science and Skepticism for comments….

    Humanism: Science, Reason and Skepticism[1]   What are science and reason?   Humanists expound the virtues of science and reason. But what are science and reason? And we should we think it wise to rely on them?   By science, I shall mean that approach to finding out about reality based on the scientific method. This is a method that was fully developed only a few hundred years ago. Science, as I’ll use the term here, is a comparatively recent invention, its development owing a g … [Read more...]

Baudrillard and pseudoprofundity

Here is a quote from Baudrillard that Prof Paul Taylor chose for the Radio 3 programme we recorded to be broadcast tonite at 10pm (I am talking about pseudo-profundity and bullshit and pointing a finger at some post-modern thinkers - listen here for a week [I am on from about 14mins30]):For ethnology to live, its object must die. But the latter revenges itself by dying for having been "discovered", and defies by its death the science that wants to take hold of it. Doesn't every science live … [Read more...]