Sunday, October 29, 2017

Problems Debating Catholic Arguments

In my Facebook feed I saw a suggested post about an upcoming Unbelievable podcast hosted by Justin Brierly that brought up a concern:

So the next episode will have Ed Feser and Arif Ahmed debating moderated by Justin Brierly - what is there to be concerned about? After all I think Justin is a fair host of a good show, I've got a high opinion of Arif, and I think Ed is one of the best defenders of Thomistic arguments for belief in a god.

Well the main problem is that debating the kinds of arguments Ed Feser has in his new book isn't really about debating the arguments themselves at all.  Much like Aquinas's famous "Five Ways" arguments, it's more about whether or not you accept the Thomistic/Neo-Aristotelian metaphysics that is assumed by the arguments - not the actual form of the arguments themselves.

So debating "two arguments" of the kind Feser espouses is kind of silly, the debate should be focused on his underlying metaphysic.  Far too often in debates with Thomists atheists go at the arguments without really focusing on the underlying metaphysic and so miss the mark. This lets Thomist defenders rightly point out how the atheists have got things all wrong.

Arif is a Cambridge philosopher and from what I've seen of his debates before, he a good one at that. My concern is whether or not the debate format itself will constrain him into a way that makes it hard to attack the core of what is wrong with the kind of arguments Ed is offering.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Insidious Indoctrination in our Pledge of Allegence

When it comes to “movement atheism” there are a few things that I regarded as pet issues that the movement would collectively try to take some action on that I considered superficial or silly.

One of those things is the inclusion of “under god” in the pledge of allegiance here in the US.

Our original pledge went: 

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
It was amended in 1954 to interject some religion into it because of the Red Scare of godless communism:
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Of course they also changed our national motto from “E pluribus unum” (Latin for out of many, one) to “In God We Trust”, which is now printed on our currency.

When movements to remove reference to the imaginary deity from our supposedly secular government pledge or currency failed, I didn’t consider it to be that big a deal. I mean, who really cared, there are bigger fish to fry.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Conservative Chrsitian Lies About Consent Based Sexual Ethics

Sometimes it’s staggering to me to see how misrepresented non-Christian moral codes are in Christian and rightwing media outlets.  

The latest example is by David French in the National Review in what’s now a right-wing trope that tries to use the Harvey Weinstein scandal to repudiate non-Christian moral codes when it comes to sexual behavior.

What’s worse is that French’s central premise is based entirely on his misrepresentation of consent based sexual ethics.