February 18, 2006

The following essay was recommended to me by Paul Draper. The paper is not a defense of the fine-tuning argument, but he regards it as one of the best critiques of the many worlds explanation of fine-tuning:Roger White, “Fine-tuning and Multiple Universes,” forthcoming in Noushttp://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/white/papers/ftmu.pdf (PDF)Here is some info about the author:ROGER WHITE, (Ph.D., MIT), Assistant Professor of Philosophy, specializes in philosophy of science, epistemology, and metaphysics. He is currently focusing on epistemological issues in the philosophy of science, particularly… Read more

February 18, 2006

In the Carrier-Wanchick debate, Carrier gives an argument for naturalism from the fact that minds are embodied in brains. As part of the setup, he writes:If BT [Biblical theism] is true, then (a) a brainless mind is possible, (b) God could have imbued humans with one, (c) no mind exists that was not deliberately created or allowed by God, and (d) in choosing what to do or allow, God would have obeyed the same moral code that a majority of… Read more

February 17, 2006

Here’s one that belongs in the category, “I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.”When people see the words “Catholic priest” and “stand trial” used together, they will probably assume that the priest is either being prosecuted or sued for some sort of alleged sexual abuse. A recent court proceeding in Italy, however, provides an amusing, if not irritating, exception to that trend. CNN recently reported that Luigi Cascioli, an Italian atheist, had petitioned the local court to force… Read more

February 17, 2006

Victor Reppert here provides an assessment of the Drange-Wilson debate on the existence of the Christian God. Read more

February 16, 2006

Imagine a man, Tom, who likes sweets but not ice cream. He has no personal disagreements with anyone who does eat ice cream; he just chooses not to eat ice cream himself. In fact, Tom is friends with several people who will eat ice cream, but no other dessert. Suddenly, out of nowhere, comes an editorial from a prominent TV personality and ice cream lover making all sorts of accusations about people like Tom who don’t eat ice cream. According… Read more

February 16, 2006

I’ve been following developments in the cognitive psychology of religion over the past few years. I think they’re very interesting, and obligatory reading for anyone seriously interested in questions concerning the truth of supernatural and paranormal claims. I’ve come across a few accessible articles lately that are good introductions: Paul Bloom’s “Is God an Accident?” in The Atlantic, and Jesse Bering’s “The Cognitive Psychology of Belief in the Supernatural” in American Scientist. I’ve included half a chapter on this subject… Read more

February 14, 2006

Speaking as a physicist, I think our biggest problem in science is being boring. Easily 95% of what we publish is ho-hum stuff, perhaps interesting to a handful of fellow experts in a sub-sub-subspecialty, but almost no one else. My own work has been no exception.But as a physicist who is interested in religious and paranormal-related questions, I have to mess with philosophy as well as science (see my books). And I suspect that the problem with a lot of… Read more

February 10, 2006

I’d really like to know how some science-related myths enter the public consciousness, sort of like urban legends. There is a lot that concerns physics and religion that, whenever I run across them, I have to wonder how people come up with this stuff. And when I was browsing through an interview recently, I ran across two of my favorites within a couple of sentences of each other.One has to do with Einstein. Just about everyone knows of him as… Read more

February 8, 2006

It’s a couple of days old now, but it’s rare that I find an op-ed piece that I can so wholeheartedly agree with, so I urge everyone to look at Matthew Parris’s comment in The Times.I realize that the whole Muslim-outrage-over-cartoon situation is more complicated than a matter of free speech versus fanaticism. Still, the whole “we must always respect religious beliefs” bit bothers me. My interest in free speech is largely academic, in the sense that I want everything,… Read more

February 6, 2006

Paul Manata, in a comment on the post about Dan the agnostic who claims there aren’t really atheists, linked to a paper he wrote arguing for a similar conclusion. The position he takes in that paper, following Greg Bahnsen, is that atheists really do believe in God–everyone does–but that they have a second-order belief about themselves that they do not believe in God. That is, they are self-deceived about not believing in God, and their professions of atheism are based… Read more

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