I often hear people assume that a proposition is false or worth rejecting because some aspect of it might be difficult to explain. This seems fallacious. For any given proposition X with aspect Y, our inability to explain Y doesn’t justify the conclusion of ~X.
Though I’m a Christian of some sort, I believe moral agnosticism is the only honest response to the question of whether or not objective moral values exist. On my worldview, objective moral values are nothing more than God’s decrees. Sure, as a theist, I believe God and His decrees exist, and in fact I can “test” the truth of their existence by noting the results when I follow them and when I don’t, but I’m of the opinion that the question is not empirically resolvable – in short because you need to know if the valuer exists before you can know if their values exist.
Jeffrey Jordan wrote a thought-provoking response to Schellenberg’s Divine Hiddenness Argument (hereafter DHA). First and foremost, hats off to Jordan for producing such an interesting read. There is a wealth of material to chew on and incorporate into other (a)theist arguments contained in that post. I recommend reading it with a notepad or text editor handy, because it will get your gears turning for sure.
I intend to explore the DHA in further detail in upcoming posts, but for now I just wanted to share a little snippet that I find highly relevant and often overlooked in (a)theist dialog: the distinction between belief and acceptance.
A clear definition of “objective” temporarily aside, the question “do objective values exist” cannot be definitively answered until we know whether or not God or some “Creator” exists. If we think of values as nothing more than parameters for behavior, then objective values for morality are really no different than the objective parameters a programmer sets for his responsive web design. There are *real* rules that determine *real* behavior for *real* things in both cases. Subjectivity does not exist in web programming.
So this Peter Boghossian guy seems to be the atheist du jour since I went on hiatus. I’m not surprised that John W. Loftus sings his praises. Loftus has a penchant for finding bad atheist arguments and running with them, and his latest crusade to end philosophy of religion seems no different. In fact, it’s based mostly on Boghossian’s rhetoric. Why should we end philosophy of religion? Because faith is a failed epistemology! That, in a nutshell, is Loftus’ answer. If it seems laughable, don’t blame me. As usual, Loftus gives no good arguments, no evidence, no good reason, just… rhetoric.
After a long hiatus I decided to tighten up the code. Out with the old, in with the new. Since the blog still gets traffic despite being dead I figured I could at least make things nicer for mobile and tablet readers. I still need to add the categories and some flair, but the basics are up-and-running. As far as blogging goes, during my year-long blog hiatus the main thing I kept hearing about was this Boghossian guy and his ideas about faith. It doesn’t surprise me that Loftus is pumping this guy up. It seems the outspoken atheists still mis-characterize faith as a “failed episemology” among other things. I think they’re conflating faith and revelation, personally, but more on that later. I just wanted to make sure things still work around here tech-wise before ramping up again.
NOTE: this post was previously titled, “Why Aren’t the Laws of Science Evolving?” I changed the title after I realized that the previous title implies the very assumption being challenged :)
Rupert Sheldrake recently asked this question in his banned TED talk. I think it’s an excellent question that deserves serious inquiry. All observations I’m aware of converge: everything is evolving, except the laws that dictate the evolving! This ties right into the classic Aristotleian delineation: that which moves do so at the behest of something which does not move. Interesting, isn’t it?
Isn’t it weird that so many self-proclaimed “skeptics” and “freethinkers” seem so self-assured of everything they believe in, just like the “ignorant Christians” they spend so much time attacking? “Question authority,” they proclaim out one side of their mouth, while vomiting rigid and sometimes archaic scientific formulae out the other. “Think freely” they bark, only to chastise those who don’t live up to their (often contradictory) standards. In practical experience, very few atheists actually seem willing to question or think freely, when it really gets down to it. Just like true believers, atheists hold to plot points on a narrative–only their’s is backed up by evidence and reality (at least in their own minds). We’ve heard it all before, right?
Rather than rehash the obvious, let’s take a different approach.
I recently found an old printout of Theodore Drange’s 1996 critique of the so-called “Argument From The Bible.” Drange was an early contributor to Internet Infidels, and to this day I still hear atheists occasionally praise him as some sort of competent critic. When I stumbled across the printout, I asked myself why I’d saved it. After reading a few snippets, it all came back to me: I saved it because it’s another shining example of the illogic that passes for rational criticism in atheist circles. So, from time to time I’ll be addressing certain points in this article. First let’s take a look at Drange’s summation of the Argument From the Bible.
“Materialistic science, in its effort to gain knowledge of the world of matter and to control it, has engendered a monster that threatens the very survival of life on our planet. The human role has changed from that of creator to that of victim.”
—Stanislav Grof, HR Giger (Taschen Icon Series)