The Problem with Metaphysical Naturalism (According to Victor Reppert)

Victor Reppert and I have had a long series of exchanges (thirty five years) dating back to when we were both graduate students at Emory University. I do not think that we would come to agreement even if we were granted another thirty five years to debate, but I am determined at least to get clear on the grounds of some of our disagreements. As always, philosophical debate is impeded by the slipperiness of definitions. You think that you have ably refuted an opponent’s claim that X is Y, and he r … [Read more...]

More detail or less?

It's a common observation in psychology and behavioral economics that normal human reasoning often violates formal norms. Many people might, for example, judge it more probable that a librarian will be an introvert and wear glasses compared to a question about librarians just wearing glasses. It should be the other way around, since among librarians that wear glasses, some will not be introverts. Vivid conformity to a stereotype, compared to a more generic situation, can make a description seem … [Read more...]

Twisted Script

Well-known novelist Richard Hoyt has written Twisted Script, a novel that satirizes both Evangelicalism and Islam. Apparently he's had trouble getting it published through conventional means. (Surprise, surprise.) So he's making it available very cheaply online. If anyone is interested, take a look. … [Read more...]

A secular atheist country dominated by radical Islamists

Apparently, probable US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich just declared that"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."It's interesting to see how at least some American … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 10

1. Don’t Criticize what you don’t understand. I have been following this principle in my approach to Richard Swinburne. For more than a year now I have studied his case for God in The Coherence of Theism and The Existence of God. As an atheist the objective of finding significant problems in his case for theism is of interest to me, so that I can refute his case as part of a defense of my own viewpoint. But I’m not anxious to achieve that goal. So far, I have made no serious attempt to refute Swi … [Read more...]

“The Evolution of Religion”

I highly recommend a review article by Scott Atran and Joseph Heinrich, "The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions." It's a great summary of current thinking about scientific explanations of religion. (Thanks to Konrad Talmont-Kaminski)Sample quotation:In sum, religion, as an interwoven complex of rituals, beliefs, and norms, plausibly arises from a combination … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis Pontificates about Something or Other

Victor Reppert has recently posted this quote from C.S. Lewis on his Dangerous Idea blog:“The process whereby man has come to know the universe is from one point of view extremely complicated; from another it is alarmingly simple. We can observe a single one-way progression. At the outset the universe appears packed with will, intelligence, life, and positive qualities; every tree is a nymph and every planet a god. Man himself is akin to the gods. The advance gradually empties this rich and g … [Read more...]

Existentialist textbook sticker

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