Questions for Atheists: Does Moral Law Exist in Itself?

This post is one in a series responding to Michael Egnor's challenge to New Atheists to explain what they believe.  And yes, I'm slipping the last answer in right before the year ends. Edited to add: WHOOPS!  I have two questions left.  One on Aristotle's four causes and one on subjective vs. objective experience.  Ah well. there goes my feeling of accomplishment.)For his question on moral law, Egnor set up his prompt as a dichotomy: Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of na … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: Why is there Evil (Part 2)

This post is part of a series written in response to creationist Michael Egnor's Eight Questions for Atheists.  You can check out all my responses to date at the series index.In part one of this answer, I wrote about evil that befalls people, and this half of my answer will focus on the evil committed by people. When I talk about evil actions here, I’m going to leave aside incidental evil – evil that is not deliberately willed, but which is the result of a lack of knowledge or a f … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists:Why is There Evil? (Part 1)

This post is part of a series responding to Michael Egnor's Eight Questions for New Atheists.  You can read through all my answers to Egnor's questions.I've not really even been that bothered by the problem of theodicy, so, unfortunately, I can't make good use of what I imagine Egnor though would be the most attractive question for atheists.  I think most discussions of evil/theodicy can be split into two separate categories: evil that befalls people and evil that is committed by people, so I … [Read more...]

Q&A: What counts as proof? What beliefs are provable?

This post is linked to a series inspired by Michael Egnor's eight questions for atheistsI buried some comments about my beliefs about epistemology and evidence for Christianity in the tail-end of yesterday's answer to the question "What Caused the Universe?"  The comments thread has been posing some interesting questions, so this post will serve as follow-up and extension of yesterday's thought. Lukas asked: Would it be fair to summarize this by saying that you think a theory … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: What Caused the Universe?

This post is one in a series responding to Michael Egnor's challenge to New Atheists to explain what they believe.Short answer: I don't know.Long answer:First, to be honest, I don't know whether I can apply my usual understanding of the word 'caused' to this problem at all.  I think of cause as something that connects events A and B when A occurred before B and B's occurrence was dependent on A happening.The trouble is, before the Universe, it's far from clear that ther … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: Why is the human mind intentional?

I'm still working on my series of posts answering the eight questions posed to atheists by Michael Egnor and some of the ones coming up have me a little baffled.  I'm digging up my notes from Directed Studies freshman year to be able to tackle the question about Aristotle's four causes, but when it comes to question six, I don't even know where to begin.  Here's the prompt:Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something … [Read more...]

Questions for Atheists: Why is there Anything?

This is part of a series of posts answering Michael Egnor's eight questions for atheists. I am taking the questions out of order, as suits my fancy, but you can see all questions and my responses here.On the question Why is there Anything? my answer is nearly identical to Luke's from Common Sense Atheism: I will say it has always struck me as an odd question. The assumption seems to be that non-being (“nothing”) is somehow more fundamental than being (“something”), and that we need an ex … [Read more...]