Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Creationism just as irrational as Young Earth Creationism?

I've had this topic in my head for a while, but I've never got the motivation to put bytes to webpages to write it until last night when I saw this tweet by one of my favorite atheists on the internet, Justin Schieber:

Normally this sort of sentiment would get my full endorsement.  The idea seems pretty straight forward, once you've gotten to a certain level of philosophical understanding anyway.  In the end I may be agreeing with Justin here, but I want to try and hash our my thoughts on the subject, and writing helps.  Jump below the fold for my thoughts.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

No Hemant, these aren't 5 Ways to be a Better Atheist

I really like Hemant Mehta, better known as the Friendly Atheist.  He's not really into philosophy, but he's got a good enough head on his shoulders to be able to avoid the general mistakes of superficial internet atheism, and at the same time call out the bullshit of religious apologists.

He's also great at blogging, and is a generally a solid voice of moderation in "online atheism".

So I was kind of shocked to see him (or his team) share this article on his Facebook page this morning, saying that he thinks it's "a pretty good list".  Since Hemant is a good guy who may be falling prey to a Golden Mean Fallacy, I wanted to write this post why I think he should re-evaluate the list.

EDIT#1: Hemant has kindly replied on Twitter. He didn't post the link himself, and agrees that many of the arguments are silly. He does think that atheists need to do a better job of communicating our answers to these philosophical questions.  This is a position I wholeheartedly endorse. You can read Hemant's updated comments on this on his Facebook page.

EDIT#2: I wanted to add an update based on what I'm seeing in reactions from someone I highly respect, Justin Schieber.  I can agree that for 3/5, probably 4/5 of these general principles are things atheists should do.  I think that they are actually things people in general should do (well 3/5 of them anyway).  We should make concessions, where warranted.  We should be open minded to the existence of the supernatural, when warranted. And we should admit the weaknesses of our position, when warranted.  This doesn't negate the fact that in the arguments that Patton tries to make following these general points are in fact terrible. Or that atheists are not following the relevant general principles.

Jump below to see why.

Monday, July 27, 2015

More back & forth with Blake!

Blake amended his post with another response to me (scroll down for Part 2).  He's gone straight for the meat and I shall return the favor in kind!

Necessary Beings & Theism

Blake says:
"I wouldn’t quite try to get to theism from NBE; that’s too bold even for on overzealous apologist like me! The relevance of NBE to theism is that it was one of theism’s entailments. With NBE confirmed, theism is to some degree less risky now--there are fewer ways for it to go wrong. At least in type, confirming < NBE > is to < God exists > as confirming < aliens exist > is to < red aliens exist >. I don’t think atheism had any such entailment, but either way, this makes theism more modest than it otherwise would have been. In Bayesian terms, doing this plays an important role in boosting theism’s “intrinsic probability."
 I can agree somewhat, in that I think theism is more unlikely than pure naturalism, since theism is a very particular subset of "supernaturalism" which per our conversation before is simply the claim that the fundamental nature of reality is mental instead of physical. So yes, if you're going to do the Bayesian game, then I can see the relevance of this step, though it's very minimal compared to what you were doing in the debate (ie. I still have strong issues with the arguments about NBE being personal, etc).

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Counter-Counter-Reply to Blake Giunta

In my last post, I put up a review of the debate between Matt Dillahunty and Blake Giunta where I largely was responding to the arguments Blake was making.

Blake caught wind of this and in replying to me decided to put up his own response to me on his blog.  This caught me at a decent time and he was very kind in his reply to me, so I decided to answer some of his questions that he posed as well as to respond to some of the things he said.

 Jump below the fold for my response!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Debate Review: Matt Dillahunty vs. Blake Giunta

After hearing that Matt Dillahunty was debating Blake Giunta, I was excited to see a YouTube video  of the debate go up and had it on as background for work this morning. 

I happen to like Matt and I actually like when I’ve heard Blake on various atheist podcasts, like Dogma Debate. He certainly comes off far better than the majority of popular apologists I’m familiar with.

I was prodded from my Blog/Video slumber to put something up for this debate, so here we go.  Let’s start with Blake’s case.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Quickie on Catholic Apologetics

Followers of this blog will have noticed how sparse things have been lately.  Short story is that work is insane and I'm gearing up for a move.

However, while looking at Reddit this morning, I stumbled across a post on /r/TrueAtheism that caught my eye and I ended up typing a reply there that should be put up as a post of its own.

The post on Reddit references this blogpost by a Catholic that is arguing for god's existence.  Below is my response from Reddit:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cheering for Justin Schieber

This weekend Justin Schieber of the Reasonable Doubts podcast is going to be debating Randal Rauser at the University of Alberta. 

These two fine gentlemen will be following up their debate the next day with a dialog on Belief and Doubt in the 21st Century.

Fortunately for those of us unable to travel that far, plans are to have at least audio, if not video of the debate and discussion available for public consumption online.  Hopefully it won't be long after the debate before it's available.