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Showing posts from July, 2011

Quote for the Day

(One of Richard Swinburne's criticisms of Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism:)

‘All this [i.e., a scenario in which organisms like us evolve in such a way that the beliefs in their belief/desire pairs are sytematically false, and yet they produce adaptive behavior] is logically possible. But it would require a very complicated mechanism of belief and desire production by our brains to bring it about. By far the simplest mechanisms ... for producing beliefs and desires will be two separate mechanisms, one of which produces beliefs and the other of which produces desires. So, for given beliefs different desires would lead to different behaviour; and, conversely, for given desires different beliefs would lead to different behaviour. Plantinga-type scenarios are not compatible with this ... It is much more probable that, if biochemical processes cause beliefs and desires and these cause behaviour, those processes would throw up simple mechanisms than that they wou…

The U.S. is a Low-Tax Country

Maitzen's New Paper

"Stop Asking Why There's Anything", Erkenntnis (forthcoming).

Here's the abstract:
Why is there anything, rather than nothing at all? This question often serves as a debating tactic used by theists to attack naturalism. Many people apparently regard the question—couched in such stark, general terms—as too profound for natural science to answer. It is unanswerable by science, I argue, not because it’s profound or because science is superficial but because the question, as it stands, is ill-posed and hence has no answer in the first place. In any form in which it is well-posed, it has an answer that naturalism can in principle provide. The question therefore gives the foes of naturalism none of the ammunition that many on both sides of the debate think it does.

Four Arguments in Craig's "The Absurdity of Life Without God"

Here are what I take to be the four main arguments in Craig's "The Absurdity of Life Without God". I've given each a label for ease of reference. Textual support for each argument can be found in the footnotes.

The Argument Against Atheistic Meaning and Significance[1]
1. If atheism is true, then there is no God and there is no immortality.
2. If there is no God and there is no immortality, then life lacks adequate meaning and significance.
3. Therefore, if atheism is true, then life lacks adequate meaning and significance.

The Argument Against Atheistic Moral Motivation[2]
1. If there is no God, then one’s ultimate destiny is unrelated to one’s behavior.
2. If one’s ultimate destiny is unrelated to one’s behavior, then one has no good reason to be moral.
3. Therefore, if there is no God, then one has no good reason to be moral.

The Argument Against Atheistic Morality[3]

Lazy Sunday

Rota on Evolution, Providence, and Gouldian Contingency

This interesting paper by Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas) came out a few years ago, but I recently noticed that it's now available online.

Abstract: Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that what we know about
evolution implies that human beings are a ‘cosmic accident’. In this paper I examine
an argument for Gould’s view and then attempt to show that it fails. Contrary to the
claims of Gould, Daniel Dennett, and others, it is a mistake to think that what we
have learned from evolutionary biology somehow shows that human beings are
mere accidents of natural history. Nor does what we know about the contingency of
evolution give us good reason to reject the view that human beings came to be
according to a divine providential plan.