The Atheist named Richard Swinburne

I was reading the Martyrdom of Polycarp recently, which is “the oldest written account of a Christian martyrdom outside the New Testament.” (The Apostolic Fathers, updated edition, edited and revised by Michael Holmes, p.222; hereafter: TAF). Polycarp was killed between 155 and 160 C.E:The Martyrdom of Polycarp sets out quite clearly both the issue at stake--Lord Christ versus Lord Caesar—and the state’s (as well as the general population’s) view of Christians as disloyal atheists who threate … [Read more...]

Alex Rosenberg’s 2012 Argument for Nihilism

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  In his 2012 book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, Alex Rosenberg defends an argument for nihilism.[1] In this article I want to evaluate his argument. Definitions Before we turn to his argument, we first need to understand how Rosenberg defines his terms. Let us begin with the word “scientism.” In his own words, Rosenberg defines “scientism” as follows. But we’ll call the worldview that all us atheists (and even some agnostics) share “scientism.” This is the conviction that [1] the … [Read more...]

Atheist Ethicist on Evolution and Morality

The Atheist Ethicist has been writing a nice series on morality and evolutionary ethics. Posts (so far) include: “Evolution Accounts for Morality?” “Concerning Evolution and Morality” “Evolution and Two Conceptions of Morality” “Evolution, Morality, and Objective Values” “The ‘Necessity’ of an Evolved Moral Sense” “Evolution, Altruism, and Morality” “Evolved Sentiments and Moral Content” “The Immorality of ‘An Evolutionary Basis for Morality’” “Evolution and ‘D … [Read more...]

The Perfect Goodness of God – Again (Part 2)

In my previous post on this topic, I used conditional derivation to try to prove that one statement entailed another statement, to show that 'There is a person who is omniscient and perfectly free' entails 'There is a person who is perfectly good'.But because I'm a bit unclear on how the logic of conditional statements relates to entailment, I'm not sure that conditional derivation can be used this way.In any case, implication (the logical relationship in a true conditional statement) is … [Read more...]

Thoughts about Plantinga’s Interesting Paper on “Naturalism, Theism, Obligation, and Supervenience”

I’ve been studying Plantinga’s very interesting paper, “Naturalism, Theism, Obligation, and Supervenience.” (See here for Ex-Apologist’s very brief post about it.) Plantinga’s stated goal is to show that metaphysical naturalism cannot accommodate realism about moral obligation by "displaying the failure of the most natural way of arguing" that metaphysical naturalism can accommodate moral realism, viz., supervenience. There are many things about this paper which I find interesting … [Read more...]

An Argument Against Moral Facts

In a seminar on Metaethics (h/t John Brunero) , I encountered an argument against moral facts that I hadn't heard before. Here is a brief sketch: (1) We're justified in believing in some fact only if it plays a role in the explanation of our observations and other non-moral facts. (2) Moral facts don't play this role. ... (3) We are not justified in believing moral facts. In order to motivate (1), we can appeal to some flavors of naturalism. Many will argue that a completed science will … [Read more...]

Podcast: Objective morality and atheism; the evil god challenge; risks posed by religion

I did a podcast for Malcontent's Gambit here. It's about 45 mins long. Alan and I got into some interesting topics, including: whether atheists can allow for absolute moral values, my evil god challenge, and the potential dangers posed by religion. … [Read more...]

AdamHazzard’s Quick Parable Comparing Atheistic and Divine Command Theoretic Metaethics

I just read this in the combox on Randal Rauser’s blog. An atheist and a divine-command theorist are approached by someone who says to them, "God is telling me to kill my child. Am I crazy?"The atheist doesn't hesitate. "Yes! You need to seek help immediately!"While the divine-command theorist shuffles his feet and says, "Well, that depends. Is your name Abraham?" Is this parable a fair representation of divine command theory?ETA: I’ve posted this because I like the parable. It see … [Read more...]


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