Unapologetic Review – Part 10: Evaluation of Reason #9

REVIEW OF ANALYSIS OF REASON #9In Part 9 of this series, I asserted that  the main argument in  Unapologetic is Reason #9, and I argued that Reason #9 invoved the following assumptions: 5. ANY claim that is based on faith cannot be reasonably defended. 6. Philosophers ought NOT recognize and participate in an alleged sub-discipline of philosophy that uses reason to examine ONLY claims that are based on faith. Premise (5) is a reason in support of premise (6), and premise (6) is a reason in … [Read more...]

A Puzzle About Morality and Rationality

NOTE: This post has been edited since it was originally published in light of a very important observation from commenter Angra Mainyu. His comment revealed that I made an error in my original presentation of the puzzle. If you would like more information about this issue, please see the third footnote at the end of this post.In the comment thread for my post about Derek Parfit, many of us have been talking about whether a person can ever deserve to suffer. In one comment, Keith Parsons made … [Read more...]

Retributivism, Punishment, and Moral Value

In the comments on another post http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2017/01/05/memoriam-derek-parfit-1942-2017/ , the contrast between retributivist and consequentialist models of punishment came up. Here is a thought-experiment I present to my classes on this contrast.Suppose that in lieu of life-imprisonment for major crimes, the technology exists to plug offenders into a Matrix-like situation: they are to be imprisoned for the rest of their lives in a completely virtual reality. … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 9: The Supreme Moral Lawgiver

In Phase 1 of his case for the existence of God (in When Skeptics Ask, hereafter: WSA), Norman Geisler argues for the existence of  a "supreme moral Lawgiver".  The argument goes like this (see WSA, p. 22):Geisler's Moral Argument32. There is an objective moral law.33. Moral laws imply a moral lawgiver.THEREFORE:34. There is a being that is the supreme moral lawgiver.Premise (32) is a controversial claim, and so a good reason or agument is needed to support this claim.   … [Read more...]

Quibbling over Semantics While Missing the Point

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm a linguistic relativist. I don't think words have objective meanings. I think the meaning of words is relative to time and place. So when I encounter someone who is adamant about defining a word in a different way than I do, I just shrug my shoulders. I'm much more interested in the concepts represented by certain labels than the labels themselves.I recently discovered (or re-discovered) an exchange on this site in which a Christian apologist … [Read more...]

Ethical Subjectivism and the Argument from Outrage

In arguing for the superiority of theistic ethics over secular ethics, apologists sometimes present some version of an argument like this:1. If theism is not true, then ethics is subjective. 2. Ethics is not subjective. 3. Therefore, theism is true.I think this is a bad argument because I think premise 1 is false. But I will not be arguing that point here. Instead, I want to point out what I think is a massive irony in the way premise 2 is usually defended. I call the  argumentative … [Read more...]

McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 4: An Eternally Perfectly Morally Good Person

McDowell's Trilemma Argument (hereafter: MTA), can be found in The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (hereafter: NETDV) by Josh McDowell (see pages 158-163).The first key premise of MTA is this:Jesus claimed to be God.None of the canonical Gospels report Jesus as having asserted the claim "I am God" nor the claim "Jesus of Nazareth is God" nor the claim "The Messiah is God, and I am the Messiah".  Based on the canonical Gospels, Jesus never directly CLAIMED to be God. However, it i … [Read more...]

LINK: “Ethics and Evolutionary Theory” by Erik J. Wielenberg

I haven't read this, but I'm posting the link because (1) I respect the author; and (2) I think the topic will of interest to many of our readers.LINK (Note: this article is behind a paywall)Reminder/Disclaimer: Posting links does not necessarily constitute endorsement. … [Read more...]