The Amalekites and Options for Apologists

I have been having a very interesting discussion with a Christian correspondent who calls himself “Veritas.” Discussions of this sort all too often generate far more heat than light, so let me first note that in our interactions the contributions by Veritas have been consistently intelligent, courteous, and candid. The focus of our conversation has been a particular scriptural passage, I Samuel 15: 1-3. For convenience, let me quote these verses:“Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoi … [Read more...]

What *Is* the Logical Structure of Mackie’s Anti-Moral Realism Argument?

Although the contemporary metaethics literature contains many references to (and discussions of) the late J.L. Mackie's arguments against moral realism, I've never seen anyone formally analyze its logical structure. (If I'm mistaken and someone has done that, please provide a citation in the combox.) The goal of this post is to try to take first step towards filling that lacuna.The primary source of Mackie's argument(s) against moral realism may be found in his classic book, Ethics: … [Read more...]

Michael Ruse’s Argument against Moral Realism and for Error Theory

Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology and an atheist who is well-known for his writings about evolution. In various writings, Ruse has argued against moral realism by appealing to (Darwinian) evolution. Instead, he argues, the scientific facts about evolution justify the conclusion that moral error theory is correct. In this post, I want to assess Ruse's argument against moral realism and for error theory.In his 1989 book, The Darwinian Paradigm, Michael Ruse argues that evolution, … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 2

In a previous post I pointed out three different problems related to the third argument in Richard Swinburne's systematic case for the existence of God.  The third argument is the final argument of his arguments from the nature of the universe.  It is his Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (hereafter: TASO):(e3) There is a complex physical universe that is governed by simple natural laws and the values of the constants of the laws and of the variables of the universe’s initial cond … [Read more...]

Biblical Genocide and Village Atheists

This post springs from an interesting discussion I had with Scott Scheule in the comments section of an earlier post. The issues there are important enough to deserve a deeper look.Quoting the Bible against believers is one of the hoariest weapons in the freethinker’s war chest. It has been done many times, never more cogently or eloquently than in Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Robert Ingersoll’s Some Mistakes of Moses is another fine instance of the genre. The tactic cites cruelties, hor … [Read more...]

Quote of the Day by Paul Draper

"Suppose Wykstra is right that, if there is a God, then we shouldn't expect to know what God's reasons for producing or allowing certain evils are. Then it follows that our ignorance of those reasons (i.e. the failure of the project of theodicy) is not strong evidence against theism. It does not follow, however, that the evils themselves (or other things we know about them) are not strong evidence against theism, nor does it follow that the Humean is mistaken in claiming that the observed … [Read more...]

Did God Create Nuclear Weapons?

Naive View

Christians and other believers in God often say, 'God created everything.'  If we take this literally, as a young child would do, we might start thinking of some objections or possible counterexamples: 'Did God create nuclear weapons?' 'Did God create the ebola virus?' etc.  The doctrine of divine creation leads quickly to the problem of evil.A common response to such an idea would be to say that 'God created humans, and it was humans who created nuclear weapons--not God.'  So, God is one … [Read more...]

This Is What It’s Like to Lead Atheists

This video says all that needs to be said. … [Read more...]