Here there be Dragons [Reply to JT]

 So, JT asked: 3. You undoubtedly have a logical proof of some sort for a moral lawgiver. What is it? No, I definitely don't have a modus tollens, modus ponens style justification for my new position. I didn't have one for my old position, and I doubt JT's got one for his metaphysics.  As the name suggests, metaphysics are hard to test.So I end up approaching the problem from both sides.  I look for things I'm really confident in or that I'm willing to presuppose (e.g. other minds … [Read more...]

More Turing Strategies and Reflections

Jacob of The Thoughtful Atheist and Matt of Soul Sprawl have both written up their thoughts on playing in the Ideological Turing Test.Jacob (entries A12 and C1) - Ideological Turing Test Complete! ... you failed First, a brief description of my strategy: for my Athiest entry, I tried to describe reality as I see it if Atheism is true. I can't really be upset that most people found it not very compelling- I don't find it very compelling myself. But I do find it the most internally … [Read more...]

An Objective Immoral Moral Law

My friend Squelchtoad has posed another useful thought example up at his interblag.  I'm excerpting below, but you should pop over and read the whole set up.  It's targeted to people like me, who think morality exists in some objective, possibly neo-platonist way and therefore feel unsettled without a well-grounded moral philosophy.  Squelchtoad writes: Suppose I could demonstrate to you beyond all possible doubt that one of the following two propositions was necessarily true:There does no … [Read more...]

It’s a Fair Cop, Douthat

In a response to a lot of the debate that followed Jennifer Fulwiler's conversion story at Why I'm Catholic, NYT columnist Ross Douthat posed a question to atheists that I find hard to answer.  Jennifer wrote that she abandoned atheism because she thought she was required to be a nihilist in a world without God, and, of the three propositions:God is not real Atheism logically requires nihilism Nihilism sucks so bad it can't be trueShe thought she was most likely to be wrong about … [Read more...]

Checking my biases

Atheist to Catholic convert Jenifer Fulwiler has added a new zeroth step (“You Must be Willing to Lose it All”) to her five-part plan for seeking God, and it gave me the heebie-jeebies. Here’s how Jen summed it up: Here’s a rough analogy: Let’s say that a woman was seeking God, and she came across a belief system that taught that it’s morally wrong to own a car; something about car ownership, they said, was contrary to God’s nature, and therefore objectively wrong. Naturally, her first reaction … [Read more...]

Playing the Consistency Game

When I posted earlier on the blogfight unleashed by Jenifer Fulwiler’s post “Five Catholic Teachings that Make Sense to Atheists,” I focused on how to gauge the sincerity of a convert’s discarded beliefs. That was an argument about the author, and now I want to focus on the dispute over the logic of her post. Jen wasn’t offering a proof of Catholicism’s claims, she was trying to show that the system held together pretty well. PZ Myers wrote two posts rejecting the validity of this approach Does … [Read more...]

Testing the Truth-Telling Thing

  "This, therefore, is, in conclusion, my reason for accepting the religion and not merely the scattered and secular truths out of the religion. I do it because the thing has not merely told this truth or that truth, but has revealed itself as a truth-telling thing. All other philosophies say the things that plainly seem to be true; only this philosophy has again and again said the thing that does not seem to be true, but is true. Alone of all creeds it is convincing where it is not … [Read more...]