Do you have challenging questions for Christians?

A Christian pastor wrote in at Friendly Atheist to ask for difficult questions his congregation could try to tackle in discussion groups.  He wants his flock to avoid isolating themselves from challenges (and I bet he'd like them to be better prepared for evangelizing).  I've had problems with the questions atheists pose to Christians (some of which seem rooted in the common misunderstandings I ran through on Friday.I've summarized and linked to my Why I Do Not Believe series, which was inspi … [Read more...]

Prep for a Case Study in Christian Thought

When people read my "Testing the Truth-Telling Thing" post in my Chesterton series, the first question everyone asked was: Which ethical beliefs do you have that fit better into a Christian context?  As luck would have it I recently gave a speech for my debating group that drew heavily on Christian ideas (even though I scrubbed them from the speech).  The speech is up at the Huffington Post, and if you go check it out, I'll be back this afternoon to explain how most of the ideas I expressed make … [Read more...]

The Purpose Paradox

My ability to recognize purposefulness is incredibly contingent on my ability to understand the natural world and to understand other minds.  I have to have a decent theory of the limitations of natural processes to be able to recognize objects/processes that transcend them.  Lukas's example of pulsars is apt.  Until scientists realized that there could be stars that naturally emitted radio wave bursts at regular intervals, many of them reasonably wondered if they could be a signal from an alien … [Read more...]

God as an Epileptic Tree

This is a guest post, part of a series of guest posts addressing the question of whether we can discern purposefulness in the natural world.  As such the opinions expressed below are highly likely not to reflect my opinions, as you're sure to hear in more detail later this week.Today's post is by Eli, who currently blogs at Rust Belt Philosophy.I've been asked to write today about whether or not we can "discern purposefulness, and from that infer a purposeful agent." Lukas believes t … [Read more...]

You Think You’re So Special?

This is a guest post, part of a series of guest posts addressing the question of whether we can discern purposefulness in the natural world.  As such the opinions expressed below are highly likely not to reflect my opinions, as you're sure to hear in more detail later this week.Today's post is by March Hare, who has previously blogged at Reasonable Doubt. You are a highly unlikely creature. The fact all your body works together is amazing, how is it all your cells know what to do and wh … [Read more...]

Establishing a Criterion of Purposefulness

This is a guest post, part of a series of guest posts addressing the question of whether we can discern purposefulness in the natural world.  As such the opinions expressed below are highly likely not to reflect my opinions, as you're sure to hear in more detail later this week.Today's post is by Lukas who has previously blogged at Mo-dernity, Mo-Problems.In response to Leah's post, I pointed to the article Anthropic Coincidences and put forward the following argument:Assuming c … [Read more...]

Identifying Purposefulness [Index]

 During the series addressing Michael Egnor's Eight Questions for Atheists, I spent a post discussing why there was regularity in nature, and whether that regularity had any implications about a possible design for the world or the existence of a Designer.Three commenters got into a lengthy argument/discussion in the comments section, and, this week, I've invited each of them to write a guest post explaining their take on the issue.  The discussion in the comments section was free … [Read more...]


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