The Nature of Naturalism

Over the last year (or two?), I've had on-again and off-again exchanges on various blogs with reader "Crude" about the definition of metaphysical naturalism. I'd like to comment on his (?) recent objections in the combox on Victor Reppert's blog start with the linked comment here and work your way down. Each time we've had an exchange, I've (virtually speaking) walked away scratching my head, not feeling the force of Crude's objections. Since that could be due to a misunderstanding on my part, … [Read more...]

Critical Thinking – Part 1

What is 'critical thinking'? Why is it important? Why should anyone try to be a critical thinker? What does critical thinking have to do with secularism and humanism and naturalism?There are two main ideas to consider behind the term 'critical thinking'. First, and most obviously, we should consider the ordinary meaning of the word 'critical'. Second, and less obviously, we should consider the use of the term 'critical' in relation to various philosophical theories/viewpoints (i.e. … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 5

The Cosmological Argument (TCA) is the first argument in Swinburne's inductive case for the existence of God. The arguments are presented in a specific order, each argument adding one more contingent fact (or specific set of contingent facts) to the facts presented in the premises of the previous arguments. Since TCA is the first argument, it is presented against a background of ZERO contingent factual claims or assumptions. On Swinburne's approach, we literally start from scratch. The ONLY … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 4

Richard Swinburne presents his inductive cosmological argument in Chapter 7 of his book The Existence of God (second edition, hereafter: EOG). I plan to start at the beginning of the chapter and go paragraph by paragraph, stopping to comment on each paragraph that includes either support for, or defense of, some part of the cosmological argument (hereafter: TCA).Paragraph 1 (EOG, p.133) This paragraph neither supports nor defends a part of TCA.Paragraph 2 (EOG, p.133-134) This … [Read more...]

The Courtier’s Reply as Post-Theistic Attitude, Not Fallacy

Sam Sawyer, SJ, a fellow a Patheos blogger over at the new blog The Jesuit Post (in Patheos's Catholic Channel) recently plugged the exchange between Edward Feser and Keith Parsons. (Thanks!) I'd like to return the favor by plugging a post on his blog: "Not Even Wrong: Answering the New Atheism with Better Belief, Not Better Arguments." The post provides a Jesuit perspective on the 'New Atheism,' which is well worth a read.In a featured comment, Sawyer mentions his experience of being … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 3

I am exploring a concern about, or potential objection to, Swinburne's inductive cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God. The objection I have in mind is something like this, for the cosmological argument:Although the one factual premise of Swinburne's cosmological argument is supposed to be the ONLY contingent factual claim or assumption upon which the conclusion of the argument rests, the argument actually rests on a considerable number and variety of contingent … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 2

Like many other liberals, I'm delighted and mesmerized by Bridgegate and various other Chris Christie scandals from the fine state of New Jersey. I cannot wait for my daily dose of Rachel Maddow dishing the latest dirt on Christie and his idiotic crowd of corrupt New Jersey hooligans.What does this have to do with Swinburne's arguments for God? Well, one neat trick that a couple of Christie's friends have pulled is to plead the 5th amendment as a legal justification for refusing to turn … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological & Teleological Arguments

I'm not going to try to fully explain and evaluate Swinburne's Cosmological and Teleological arguments for God here. That would be way too much to tackle in one or two blog posts. There are just a couple of doubts or concerns about these arguments that I would like to express and explore.Swinburne's inductive cosmological argument for God has just one premise:e. A complex physical universe exists (over a period of time). Therefore: g. God exists.Swinburne argues that e is more … [Read more...]