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...]

What Does Philosophy of Religion have to Offer Today?

PhilosophyOfReligion.org has posted a series of short essays on the question of what the philosophy of religion have to offer for today's university. My response has recently been posted:http://philosophyofreligion.org/ … [Read more...]

Gratuitous Evils: What are the Chances?

Gratuitous evil is evil that God would not permit. In Alvin Plantinga’s terms, God would not actualize such evils either strongly (i.e. by directly creating them) or weakly (i.e. by allowing free creatures to commit them). A gratuitous evil is one that God would have no morally sufficient reason for actualizing (strongly or weakly). God has a morally sufficient reason for actualizing an evil e in a world W if and only if e is necessary in W for some good g, and W, containing both e and g, is b … [Read more...]

OK, so That’s What he Really Means

The following are recent statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and the explanations of those statements by his staff.[Note: Yes, this is satire. I am explicitly noting this since the Trump candidacy is proving Poe’s law that reality can become so bizarre that it is indistinguishable from satire.] Trump: Yeah, shoot crooked Hillary. Shoot her now.Staff: He meant that photographers should make an effort to shoot candidate Clinton in a more complimentary way, si … [Read more...]

Are we Addicted?

As an entrepreneur, a heroin pusher has a big advantage. His customers become addicts; they cannot do without the product he sells. Pushers have no problem with getting repeat customers.Heroin addiction is a terrible national problem, but it is far from the most widespread addiction. According to an article in today’s Houston Chronicle, “The Talking Dead” by Prof. James A. Roberts, Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, the typical (‼!) American checks his or her smartphone every 6 and … [Read more...]

Repost: Review of Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce

In honor of the apotheosis of idiocy that was the nomination of Donald Trump, I am reposting this review from five years ago. It is even more relevant now.Mike Judge is one of the most incisive commentators on the dumbing down of American culture.  He created the cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead, two dimwitted adolescents who sit around watching music videos and providing moronic commentary (e.g., “He said ‘butt.’  Heh, heh, heh”).  To many viewers, myself included, Beavis and Butthead … [Read more...]

Off-Topic: Must Watch Video: #Trump Attacks the Khan Family: A Closer Look

From "Late Night with Seth Meyers"I thought the GOP had always tried to position itself as THE party for veterans. In light of Trump's bizarre and shameful attacks on Captain Khan (and his grieving parents), I have to believe that long-time GOP loyalists are experiencing massive cognitive dissonance, as they deal with conflicting desires to honor our nation's veterans and to support their party's Presidential nominee. In fact, wasn't it the GOP who coined the concept of the "values … [Read more...]

Changing Ethics by Changing Brains

In his very enjoyable PBS series and the accompanying book, The Brain: The Story of You, neuroscientist David Eagleman writes about the famous “trolley dilemma.” Here is the scenario: A runaway trolley is barreling down the tracks towards a group of four workers. You see that they will all be killed unless you pull a lever diverting the trolley onto a side track where it will only kill one workman. What do you do? In this case almost everyone will pull the lever. You sacrifice one life to save fo … [Read more...]