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...]

McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 2: An Eternally Omnipotent 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).=================...Jesus definitely claimed to be God (see below and in Chapter 6).  So every person must answer the question: Is His claim to deity true or false?   (NETDV, p.158)=================The first key premise of MTA is this:Jesus claimed to be God.This first premise appears to be false.  Jesus did NOT cla … [Read more...]

McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 1: An Eternally Bodiless Person

Here are the basic premises of McDowell's Trilemma Argument (hereafter: MTA), from The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (hereafter: NETDV by Josh McDowell:=================...Jesus definitely claimed to be God (see below and in Chapter 6).  So every person must answer the question: Is His claim to deity true or false?  This question deserves a most serious consideration.[...]Jesus' claim to be God must be either true or false.  If Jesus' claims are true, then He is the Lord, an … [Read more...]

An Evidential Argument from Evil: Natural Inequality

I want to quickly sketch an evidential (aka "explanatory" aka "abductive" aka "F-Inductive") argument from evil, one which focuses exclusively on natural inequality.  The argument is not mine; it belongs to Moti Mizrahi.The key point of Mizrahi's argument, which he credits to an insight of John Rawls, is this: ... natural endowments are undeserved.Now, if natural endowments are undeserved, then the fact that one person is more innately endowed than another is arbitrary from a moral point of … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Parts 5B and 5C

Joe Hinman's fifth argument for the existence of Jesus based on external evidence is presented in two sections of his post on the Web of Historicity:5B. Big Web of Historicity5C. Jesus Myth Theory Cannot Account for the WebThe fifth argument for the existence of Jesus can be summarized in terms of a single premise:1.There is a web of historicity.Therefore:2. It is probable that Jesus of Nazareth was a flesh-and-blood historical person.Given this very simple summary, … [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...]

LINK: Would the World Be Better Off Without Religion? A Skeptic’s Guide to the Debate

I am linking to this, but not endorsing it. In fact, I haven't even read the entire thing yet!LINKWhat I am about to write is not necessarily about the linked article, but about the article's topic. My hunch (or bias?) is that the question posed in the title of the article is an extremely complex topic. Rather than trying to "boil the ocean," all sides would be better served by "decomposing" the question into multiple questions with a much smaller scope. For example:Would women be b … [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...]