I.I. Sponsors Internet Debate on God’s Existence: God or Blind Nature?

(redated post originally published on 9 July 2007)After five years of planning, preparation, and work, the Internet Infidels will officially announce on July 1 the first installment of its "Great Debate" project, God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence. (I've been given the OK to post this early.) The project, coordinated by agnostic philosopher Paul Draper, will present four written debates involving nine distinguished philosophers, each examining different areas of evidence … [Read more...]

Victor Reppert’s Anti-Naturalistic Argument from Pain

(redated post originally published on 25 November 2006)There are a variety of approaches to formulating an argument from evil against theism. Two of the most influential versions of the evidential argument from evil were developed by atheist William Rowe and agnostic Paul Draper. Both involve appeals to pain. In a recent entry on his blog, Victor Reppert tries to turn the tables on proponents of arguments from evil (pain) by arguing that pain is a problem for atheists. Reppert formulates his … [Read more...]

Sarcasm: How to be an Atheist Apologist

(redated post originally published on 3 December 2006)Disclaimer: the following post is sarcastic. It is not intended to be representative of the tactics used by all or most atheist "apologists."1. Any reason for doubt, no matter how far-fetched or speculative, is sufficient for avoiding the conclusion that God exists. For example, even if we don't have the first clue about physics or cosmology, posit the mere possibility of the existence of multiple universes in order to avoid the … [Read more...]

Sarcasm: How to be a Christian Apologist

(redated post originally published on 2 December 2006)Disclaimer: the following post is sarcastic. It is not intended to be representative of the tactics used by all or most Christian apologists.1. Doubt is to be avoided at all costs. There's a reason for the expression, "devil's advocate," you know.2. Do not mention objections to the faith unless they are so common that you would discredit the faith by failing to answer them.3. If you must acknowledge an objection, try to … [Read more...]

“You are Under Arrest in the Name of Jesus!”

Life in Texas is many things, but it is never boring. You can always count on zealous Bible-beaters, uh, our duly elected state officials, that is, to liven things up. Our governor Greg Abbott wants crosses on police cars:http://www.charismanews.com/us/55009-why-the-texas-governor-wants-crosses-on-police-carsNote that his justification only mentions the religious significance of the cross in passing. Chiefly, the cross is a symbol that supposedly elicits the deepest respect from Texans. … [Read more...]

Off Topic: Critical Thinking about Marijuana Use

I don't smoke pot, so I don't have a significant personal stake in questions about the risks and dangers of marijuana use.  I am glad that my state recently legalized marijuana, but I think it should be legal whether or not it has significant health and safety risks, just like smoking tobacco and drinking alcoholic beverages is legal even though these activities clearly have significant health and saftey risks.Ever since I was a young person I have noticed that many people have a strong … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 9: Mormonism’s Missing Golden Plates

I began this series with a Bayesian interpretation of arguments from silence and then proceeded to use that interpretation to evaluate various arguments from silence about Jesus and God. In this post, I want to assess an argument from silence against a central claim of Mormonism, namely, that the Book of Mormon is the English translation of golden plates which church founder Joseph Smith received from the angel Moroni.If we abbreviate “the golden plates are nowhere to be found” as S, let B re … [Read more...]

Off-Topic: A U.S. Constitutional Amendment Wish List

All the presidential primary debates, primaries, and causes got me thinking about the U.S. Electoral College, which in turn got me thinking about changes I'd like to see made to the Constitution.1. Eliminate Lifetime Supreme Court Appointments. See, for example, here. Instead, have Supreme Court justices get, say, 20-year terms after which they are ineligible to ever serve on the SC again.2. Repeal Citizens United Supreme Court Decision.3. Single Subject Rule.4. Prohibit states fr … [Read more...]