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.
I have to admit I got a chuckle from the McGrews response to Luke Muehlhauser and John W. Loftus: “One of the hazards of writing technical philosophy is the risk that someone who lacks the appropriate expertise will attempt to critique it.” Of course, you can come to your own conclusions.
A study published in the journal Liver Transplantation suggests that religiosity is associated with prolonged survival in liver transplant recipients. From the study:
This study shows that liver transplant candidates with high religious coping (defined as seeking God’s help, having faith in God, trusting in God, and trying to perceive God’s will in the disease) have more prolonged posttransplant survival than patients with low religiosity.
Via Ana, the story of Daniel Ekechukwu, who was apparently dead for three days before coming back to life. From the account:
Mr. Manu showed me his ledger where he enters important information concerning every corpse that is brought to his mortuary. It contained hundreds of entries. He showed me Daniel Ekechukwu’s name listed there, and the date his corpse was received was recorded as November 30, 2001. The date recorded that the corpse was taken by the relatives was December 2, 2001. Mr. Manu related to me the story of the arrival of Daniel’s family with his body, and how he injected embalming fluid into Daniel’s fingers in order to keep them straight. He also related how he had twice attempted to cut Daniel’s inner thigh to inject embalming fluid, and the shock he twice received. The second time his arm became partially paralyzed, and remained so through the night. He told me about the worship music that emanated from his mortuary during the first night Daniel’s body was lying there, and the light, “something like little stars” that floated above Daniel’s head when he searched for the source of the music in the mortuary. He told me how he located Daniel’s father the next morning, and urgently requested that he remove Daniel’s body from his mortuary because of the strange occurrences. He told me how Daniel’s father came early Sunday morning, December 2, with Daniel’s wife to take the body to Onitsha. He said that he had dressed Daniel’s body in a white suit, stuffed his nose with cotton, and laid his body in a coffin that the family had purchased.
Then he told me something I hadn’t known. Mr. Manu had gone in the ambulance with Daniel’s wife, son and father to the church in Onitsha. He was in the room when Daniel came back to life, an eyewitness!
I added Ana’s blog to my links: A Little More Sentience.
An interesting article about the decline effect.
Those interested in the “eternal torment” vs. “eternal annihilation” discussion might appreciate Jeremy K. Moritz’ Hell: Eternal Torment or Complete Annihilation.
From Reuter’s: Faith Rites Boost Brains, Even For Atheists.
Lastly, I came across these on the Gallup website: Very Religious Have Higher Wellbeing Across All Faiths, Very Religious Americans Lead Healthier Lives, Very Religious Americans Report Less Depression, Worry, Religious Attendance Relates to Generosity Worldwide, Worldwide, Highly Religious More Likely to Help Others, and In More Religious Countries, Lower Suicide Rates.
Sorry for the relative lack of activity around here lately. One reason is that I’ve been busy with some side jobs. I’ve also been reading a lot, and I do mean a lot. I’ve read over 20 books in the past two weeks. Recovering from a surgery provides ample time. Another reason is that I discovered an old friend; no, not booze, I’m talking about old-fashioned pen and paper. Up until a few years ago, I wrote exclusively on that medium. I would fill notebook after notebook of notes, snippets, stories, rants and whatever else came to mind. While I’m not going to get all high-and-mighty and go on a, “real writers use pen and paper” crusade, I will say there are very distinct differences between analog and digital medium, and I suggest that writers get the best of both worlds.
That said, in lieu of a “real post,” here are some interesting links I’ve come across in the past two weeks:
Courtesy of Victor Reppert, Archaeology and the Bible, parts 1 and 2. Part 2 was probably the single most persuasive rebuttal I’ve read to those who make variants of the claim, “Archaeology has falsified the Bible.”
Richard S. Hess, Ph.D., reviews Kenneth Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament.
In my experience, most of the comments at Debunking Christianity amount to partisan atheist rubbish, but a few commenters stand out from the crowd by having something intelligent and non-vitriolic to say. Adam Lewis is one of them, and he recently wrote on Why Religion Is Persuasive.
On a Google search for Psalm 34:8, I found this blog, which contained a link to this conversion story, which I think we all should read. The author tackles the problems of varying Bible interpretation with a critical mind, and details his experience with an in-depth chronology of his own personal beliefs. I found it fascinating, and, I’d imagine any (a)theist can find something of value therein.
Here is a link to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.
Though it wasn’t to my article, John W. Loftus finally gave me a response that doesn’t amount to handwaving or snide denigration, here. Kudos to him. I have yet to respond, because, well… Debunking Christianity is, like I said: more casualties of the culture-wars as opposed to intelligent discussion. I’ll get back over there, though, as soon as I get in the mood. For me, commenting there is not unlike cleaning a toilet: something I’d rather not do, but, at the same time, something good to do.
From the Cornell University Library: “…fine-tuning data does not support the multiverse hypotheses.” Bayesian Considerations on the Multiverse Explanation of Cosmic Fine-Tuning [PDF 188KB].
Along these lines, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ponders Teleological Arguments for God’s Existence.
From Rick E. Berger, A Critical Examination of the Blackmore Psi Experiments.
Lastly, I enjoyed the following admonition from Karla.
I’ve been doing some housecleaning around here, and noticed quite a few random links and snippets in my notes, so I figured, why not share them as I find them? Hence, new category on the blog: Miscellaneous. This will be where I post, well… random links and snippets.
Other links I had laying around included, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology, and Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers. Perhaps of some interest to you, perhaps not.
A while back, I read this paper titled The Law of Cause & Effect: The Dominant Principle of Classical Physics, by David L. Bergman and Glen C. Collins. Note the authors’ use of the phrase — wait for it — Common Sense Science. It makes some points pertinent to the natural / supernatural dilemma that comes up time and again in (a)theist discussion.