Skip to main content

The Current Agenda

As the sub-title of my blog suggests, my goal is to fairly exposit the arguments of christian apologists, and then to fairly evaluate them. I ask those who wish to join me to please stick to the arguments of the actual apologists themselves, and not to discuss those of your own, or those you've seen floating around the internet. I also ask that you refer to the relevant apologetics book and its author. I promise I'll do my best to do the same.

To borrow a scale from the apologists in the Suggested Reading lists in their books, the range of authors discussed will be wide -- from "entry-level" authors like Josh McDowell, to "advanced-level" authors such as Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne. I plan the sequence of discussion of apologetics arguments to begin with the philosophical arguments of natural theology and reformed epistemology. Then, I'll shift focus to historical apologetics, which will include arguments involving the reliability of the New Testament and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Finally, I'll shift to a discussion of scientific apologetics. This will include discussion of the critique of evolution, the case for intelligent design, as well as general issues in the philosophy of science (e.g., the scientific status of creation science and intelligent design, and the nature of science in general). I will probably occassionally jump out of sequence, but this will be the general pattern of discussion.

My posts in the foreseeable future will involve some preliminary discussion of the standard arguments of natural theology (e.g., a representative sampling of the common versions of the cosmological, teleological, ontological arguments for the existence of a god). I'll start with some cosmological arguments.

I should note that my posts may be slow and intermittent, as I am trying to hurry and finish my graduate studies this year -- I'd hate to run out of funding before I finish! In any case, my ideal for discussion would be to post or comment on something no more than a couple of times a week. After all, this is just a blog; our family, our friends, and our jobs should come first.

Regards,

exapologist

Comments

Bill Curry said…
I have a request for a topic. Robert C. Koons wrote an article entitled "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism" found here. His arguement seems a variation on the theme of the argument from reason (C.S. Lewis and Victor Reppert). However I am not a philosopher and have fallen for bad arguments in the past. I would like to know your take on it.

Again the scope of his argument is limited. He is arguing that if a certain interpretation of science is true, and science gives us knowledge, then there is a cause that is not normally considered part of the physical universe so naturalism should be presumed false. Of course even if his conclusion is true, it has a long way to go to show that this cause should be identified as God and even further before it can support the historical claims of Christianity.
Bill Curry said…
sqyyI have a request for a topic. Robert C. Koons wrote an article entitled "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism" found here. His arguement seems a variation on the theme of the argument from reason (C.S. Lewis and Victor Reppert). However I am not a philosopher and have fallen for bad arguments in the past. I would like to know your take on it.

Again the scope of his argument is limited. He is arguing that if a certain interpretation of science is true, and science gives us knowledge, then there is a cause that is not normally considered part of the physical universe so naturalism should be presumed false. Of course even if his conclusion is true, it has a long way to go to show that this cause should be identified as God and even further before it can support the historical claims of Christianity.
exapologist said…
Hi Bill,

That's an interesting paper. It's now in the collection of papers, "Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal". We can talk about that in a bit, if you like
Bill Curry said…
I have the book, although I didn't read all of it. I would love to see a critique of some of the articles. I am not asking for a critique of the entire book. Some of the articles seemed hard to follow. Moreland’s article seemed really weird to me. (I may not have had the background necessary to understand it though.) I remember being impressed by Koon’s article. I also liked Dallas Willard’s article, although that didn’t seem as strong.

I find Koon's article persuasive but admittedly I haven't read any response to it either. Anyway, I would enjoy a discussion on the any of the topics in the book that interest you. Topics related to epistemology are of particular interesting to me. Thanks
Dave Armstrong said…
Sounds like this has the potential of being a fun place for discussion, for a chap like me (a published and full-time apologist). Hope I'll be allowed to post here and interacted with, sans the personal attacks that have happened in every other similar place I've ever been.

It looks to me like you can easily do it (from the relatively little I have read of your stuff thus far; I was impressed with your fair-mindedness and sense). I've known many other atheists who can also do so. But I've never seen a venue where all the atheists present could refrain from the overwhelming temptations of personally attacking Christians en masse as idiots, mindless, gullible, mentally-ill, infantile, pie-in-the-sky, holier-than-thou, etc. (all the usual negative stereotypes).

I would be extremely delighted to see you pull off this most worthy goal of civil, constructive discussion. I assure you that this goal is just as precious to me as it is to you. On that we can agree. On love of meaty, enjoyable, truth-seeking, non-"triumphalistic", good-natured discussion and dialogue we can also wholeheartedly agree.

You've probaby heard the saying, "if you have four Jews in a room, you'll have five different opinions." I would say, "if you have five atheists in a room, discussing Christianity, you'll have two to three of them personally attacking Christians and committing the ad hominem fallacy repeatedly."

And of course Christians often subject atheists to the same treatment (in roughly equal proportion; perhaps even greater). I think it is more of a general human "psychological" failing, that spills over into both our camps, almost regardless of ideology.

This will be your task to minimize on your blog. My very best wishes to you in that endeavor . . .

Dave Armstrong

Popular posts from this blog

Epicurean Cosmological Arguments for Matter's Necessity

One can find, through the writings of Lucretius, a powerful yet simple Epicurean argument for matter's (factual or metaphysical) necessity. In simplest terms, the argument is that since matter exists, and since nothing can come from nothing, matter is eternal and uncreated, and is therefore at least a factually necessary being. 
A stronger version of Epicurus' core argument can be developed by adding an appeal to something in the neighborhood of origin essentialism. The basic line of reasoning here is that being uncreated is an essential property of matter, and thus that the matter at the actual world is essentially uncreated.
Yet stronger versions of the argument could go on from there by appealing to the principle of sufficient reason to argue that whatever plays the role of being eternal and essentially uncreated does not vary from world to world, and thus that matter is a metaphysically necessary being.
It seems to me that this broadly Epicurean line of reasoning is a co…

CfP: Inquiry: New Work on the Existence of God

NEW WORK ON THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
In recent years, methods and concepts in logic, metaphysics and epistemology have become more and more sophisticated. For example, much new, subtle and interesting work has been done on modality, grounding, explanation and infinity, in both logic, metaphysics as well as epistemology. The three classical arguments for the existence of God – ontological arguments, cosmological arguments and fine-tuning arguments – all turn on issues of modality, grounding, explanation and infinity. In light of recent work, these arguments can - and to some extent have - become more sophisticated as well. Inquiry hereby calls for new and original papers in the intersection of recent work in logic, metaphysics and epistemology and the three main types of arguments for the existence of God. 


The deadline is 31 January 2017. Direct queries to einar.d.bohn at uia.no.

Andrew Moon's New Paper on Recent Work in Reformed Epistemology...

...in the latest issue of Philosophy Compass. Here's the abstract:
Reformed epistemology, roughly, is the thesis that religious belief can be rational without argument. After providing some background, I present Plantinga's defense of reformed epistemology and its influence on religious debunking arguments. I then discuss three objections to Plantinga's arguments that arise from the following topics: skeptical theism, cognitive science of religion, and basicality. I then show how reformed epistemology has recently been undergirded by a number of epistemological theories, including phenomenal conservatism and virtue epistemology. I end by noting that a good objection to reformed epistemology must criticize either a substantive epistemological theory or the application of that theory to religious belief; I also show that the famous Great Pumpkin Objection is an example of the former. And if a copy should make its way to my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!