Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Progressive Non-Contradictions - Responding to Elijah

On Twitter I saw a Elijah, an apologist I've had pleasant interactions with in the past go off on his own created hashtag called #ProgressiveContradictions. He's compiled a list of them in a post on his website.

I was a bit disappointed at reading some of these because frankly I expected better from Elijah. In very few cases did he highlight any actual hypocrisy that could be traced to the larger progressive movement.  But the vast majority of cases were going after the most superficial kinds of supposed contradictions - either interpreting statements in the worst ways, or ignoring underlying philosophy which underlies most of the statements and renders it non-contradictory, or just simply presenting views from two sides of the spectrum within progressivism and pretending that individuals hold both views on a topic that is internally contested. 

Honestly this is some kind of bush-league Fox News talk show kind of stuff that you wouldn't expect an educated thinker to engage in.

I pointed out how if an atheist or liberal did this, then Elijah would go nuts and pen blog posts detailing how wrong or stupid the critiques were. Like lets say:

Conservatives say they're pro-life, but for the death penalty! #ConservativeContradictions

Christians believe their god is perfectly mercifuly and perfectly just, but they're mutually exclusive! #ChristianContradictions

Christians say they believe in a god who is three persons, but there is only one god. #ChristianContradictions

Christians believe Jesus was fully man and fully god, but a being can't be completely two different things! #ChristianContradictions

In each case the conservative/christian can give an underlying philosophy or understanding to resolve these problems. While I may not agree, that doesn't mean the statements are inherently incoherent.

Elijah challenged me to show how his examples were not contradictory, and so that's where I intend to get to work.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Responding to Cosmic Skeptic on the Kalam


Recently I saw an apologist I enjoy interacting with throwing some heat at a video by atheist YouTuber Cosmic Skeptic on his latest video about the Kalam.  Since I’ve got a deep history with the argument I wanted to check it out.  You can view the video here:



In short I think Alex is correct that the Kalam is unsound, but he’s right for the wrong reasons in a few cases, and he makes a few other errors along the way. I mentioned this to him on Twitter and he kindly asked me to expand – hence this post.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Atheism and the Intrinsic Value of Human Beings

During a Twitter exchange yesterday I brought up the idea that atheists could account for the intrinsic value of human beings in order to counter the idea that only theism could account for our intrinsic value.

The atheist compatible basis for intrinsic human value is fairly simple: The capability to value anything at all is intrinsically valuable.

Since some human beings have the capability to value something, those that do are therefore inherently valuable.

This idea was challenged by an apologist and theologian I happen to respect and interact with fairly often Stephen J. Graham.


Stephen asks: "Why is the ability to value necessary for possessing intrinsic value?" (Emphasis his)

There is a response to this question, though at first I should make an important point.


The question is somewhat malformed, because like any question for the basis of value, or why something has value - you eventually come to a terminus of your explanation to which one can always ask "but why does that give something value?"


This is as true for theistic conceptions of value as it is for atheistic ones. After all, even if theists say that god simply is defined as being valuable, one could ask why we should consider a being like that to be valuable?


So at some point we reach an explanatory ultimate with regard to value.  The best we can do is evaluable whether or not we consider that explanatory ultimate to be sufficient.


My Answer

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hemant gets the Moral Argument wrong, badly

It's generally rare that I want to write against an atheist, but here is a case where someone I really like, Hemant Mehta, gets things really wrong in a way that's damaging to how atheists are perceived.

Dennis Prager put out another one of his shitty Prager University videos that is just a conservative hack going through a presentation of the moral argument for god's existence.

Hemant tries to give a takedown of the argument and he mangles it - badly.

This in itself isn't really noteworthy - lots of atheists fuck up responding to apologetic arguments. I've done it tons of times. When that happens, I hope someone comes along and points out where I've made an error and that's what I'm attempting to do here for Hemant.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The last bit of advice for Michael Nugent

I've written two other posts for Michael Nugent on his upcoming debate with William Lane Craig.

Thus far I've focused on refuting Craig's arguments, which is largely my main purpose behind this blog/YouTube account.

But a debate with a prominent apologist isn't completely about simply showing that their cumulative case approach of arguments doesn't work.  A debate is as much about the show between two debaters, and the interactions on stage are going to sadly play far more of a role in viewers minds about "who won" rather than whether Michael was able to refute all of Craig's arguments.

So this is my final piece of advice: Attack! Attack! Attack!

How? Well lets get on to it.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Advice for Michael Nugent - Part 2

Last week I wrote a post dealing with a wide variety of problems for the Kalam Cosmological Argument as a piece of advice for Michael Nugent in his upcoming debate with Christian apologist William Lane Craig.

While I don't intend to go into nearly as much depth here, I did want to sketch a few objections I find to be very strong to the common arguments Craig presents: The Fine Tuning Argument and the Moral Argument.

So lets begin.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Randal Rauser convinces me on the rationality of specific religious belief

I've done a bit of posting on whether or not there is rational justification for belief in a specific religion.

David Marshall tried to get "inside" the argument and state that one could justify belief in specifically Christian miracles. My last post was a long reply about why that isn't at all convincing.

Randal however took the opposite approach, going "outside" the argument to reject my overall approach.

After some back and forth in his comment section, he's convinced me that the argument I'm going after isn't going to undermine rational belief in a specific religion. Here's the relevant text from his comment that really brought the point home:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

David Marshall & The Oppressed Faithless Disciples

A few days ago I put up a post questioning whether or not belief in specific religions could be rationally justified. I'm not completely sure that this argument works yet, and so I specifically requested rebuttals.


The first response I got comes from Christian apologist David Marshall.


Unfortunately for David, his response had quite the opposite effect - I'm now more convinced there's some teeth in the argument. Lets get into a number of misconceptions and problems with David's rebuttal.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Advice for Michael Nugent on Debating William Lane Craig

It was recently announced that Michael Nugent, the Chair of Atheist Ireland, will be debating Christian apologist William Lane Craig.

Michael reached out for advice over Twitter and while I gave him a quick bit of info, I wanted to put together a primer for him on a few key points he may want to use in his upcoming debate.  I figure this can possibly be useful for people looking for a quick overview on counter arguments to Craig's standard argument line as well.

Before I get into the grimy details, I wanted to note a few things.

Are there rational justifications for belief in a specific religion?



I’ve had this idea percolating in my head for some time, and a Twitter interaction with Randal Rauser has forced me to finally put words down in support of it.


My thoughts are fairly ambitious as far as Counter Apologetics goes, though I’m not yet certain the argument will work.  So consider this a request for rebuttals. 


The idea is that jumping from mere theism to belief in a specific religion is not rationally justifiable. This concept isn’t necessarily new.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Review: "An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar..."



“An Atheist and a Christian Walk Into a Bar..” is a collaborative work between atheist Justin Schieber and Christian theologian and apologist Randal Rauser

If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Justin’s work on the Reasonable Doubts Podcast and his new ventures in the Real Atheology YouTube channel which just transitioned into its own podcast.  I also happen to have a bit of a soft spot for Randal.  Randal is one of those apologists that strikes me as quite very honest about how arguments and the like work out, even if we disagree about the conclusions.  If I had to pick an apologist to go have beers with, Randal is one of the few I’d be happy to do so with. 

So those are my biases, coming in I happen to like both authors. Spoiler Alert: This is a positive review.