March 10, 2013
If you commented or read at CSA much, you might remember a commenter that went by the name of Martin. Well, Martin recently informed me about his new book titled Evidence for the Existence of God, written under the pen name James Kelly and available in Kindle edition for $1 on Amazon. The book is available for free Sunday March 10th and Monday March 11th. I especially liked how he addresses various objections to each of the arguments he presents, which are essentially just recaps on the classic Thomist arguments. For example, in reference to a common atheist retort against Aristotle’s argument from kinesis:
Objection: What about virtual particles? Virtual particles pop into existence without a cause. Or beta decay, where atoms decay without any cause.
It’s far from clear that there is no cause. There are at least a dozen different interpretations of quantum mechanics, and about half of them theorize that there is a cause and half do not. This objection relies upon a simplistic understanding of causation. If all causation is “billiard ball” causation, like little balls or particles bumping into each other, then perhaps quantum mechanics might provide some evidence against it. But causation is not like that. The sun causes plants to grow, magnets cause metal to move, volitions of agents, water freezing or melting, and so on are all examples of causative relations that are not simplistic billiard balls knocking into other billiard balls. So the observation that there is no particle bumping into an atom causing it to decay is not evidence that there is no cause at all.
I sent Martin a few questions, which turned into a mini-interview of sorts. Enjoy, and download the book!
What prompted you to write your ebook?
Two things. I feel that the arguments for the existence of God are considerably better than most people (theists and atheists) think, and they are at least worth chewing on, even if they are still not quite at the level of “proof” many people want. Also, I feel that theists of all stripes have largely abandonded what was once a strong intellectual tradition on their side of the fence. Compare Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and other classical theists with modoern apologists like Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, and I’m puzzled how Chrisitan philosophy and apologetics (and other forms of religious theism) ended up at such a sad state.
Which do you think are amongst the strongest theist arguments?
Definitely the ones of old. Thomistic arguments are at the top of the list, and anything from early Christian philosophers. The weakest one is by far the biological design argument, which for some reason is extremely popular among modern protestants. They have so much better material at their disposal, I’m frankly baffled at the obsession with such weak and easily refuted arguments.
What do you think are amongst the strongest atheist arguments?
The argument from evil comes to mind of course, but most atheists probably lean more towards “Occam’s Razor” style objections. The natural world seems to work perfectly fine without a god intervening, so why postulate one? Of course, the former is controversial and not clearly sound, and the latter is easily shattered with Thomistic-style arguments.
What do you think of CSA when it first started as opposed to when it ended?
One of the few places on the Internet where reason seemed to prevail strongly in the Internet atheist community. Not without its major hiccups here and there, of course, but Luke was quite good at interviewing both theist and atheist philosophers, and provided the closest thing to balance that I was able to find. I did not find much difference at the end than at the beginning.
Do have a blog?
Are you commenting on many blogs these days? If so, which ones?
The main ones I hang around are Victor Reppert, Edward Feser, and Maverick Philosopher.
What do you think of the current state of (a)theist blogging?
Ugh. It’s hard to find anyone who seriously engages with the theistic arguments. They mostly have already written off what they think are theistic arguments but are really just very weak straw men. I would like to challenge anyone to find a serious atheist blogger who has the slightest inkling on how the Thomistic arguments work. They are few and far between. But if so, then how can one have a truly objective look at the evidence? It seems to me that they’ve already decided, and now just look for evidence to back up their beliefs. The same mistake they say religious believers make.
What are your interests outside of theology?
Mainly philosophy, which is directly tied to my interest in theology.
Who would you rate as some of the more influential bloggers and writers on your life?
Professional theist and atheist philosophers, such as Quentin Smith.
Would you consider yourself religious?
I’m a seeker. If I’m a theist at all, I’m a non-religious theist at the moment, but that could change.
Do you have any plans for follow-up books? If so, what topics?
Yes. Immortality is next!