illogical atheism

Ken Perrott recently drew attention to a new book called The Six Ways of Atheism: New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God by Geoffrey Berg.

At the site related to the book, there are summaries of the (as the site says) “six improved arguments for atheism”.

Now, I’m terribly sorry, but if these are ‘improved’ arguments for atheism, then it would be embarrassing to see the ‘unimproved’ ones! :)  I’ve only taken an intro to philosophy class, and have never taken any classes in logic, etc., but these are poorly stated arguments, which would no doubt be embarrassing to proper atheist philosophers.

I’ve done a quick response in PDF format: 6 atheist arguments – quick response.  Enjoy.

(p.s. – I can give some time to responses to this, but I’m entering another busy semester, so don’t have time for too much.  Yes, I’m aware that these were ‘summaries’ and that the book would ‘unpack’ them further, but I still say they are poorly stated as is.)

teleology & ethics

The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term.  However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is.  It’s a common as anything.  Teleology is blindingly relevant.

Continue reading “teleology & ethics”

god and reality 2

…a somewhat better way to phrase the question (remember, words matter!) about god and reality, etc. would this:

Why does existence exist?

Answering the question by reference to any particular ‘thing’ that exists (a ‘force’, ‘singularity’, ‘multi-verse’, ‘string’, etc.) is to completely not pay attention to the question.  The answer cannot be in terms of any merely-existing thing, but must be in reference to some ‘more-than-existing’ kind of ‘more-than-thing’.  Phrases like ‘ground for existence’ or ‘foundation of the universe’ are appropriate attempts here.

The fact that these are metaphors shouldn’t surprise us.  (After all, even the most ‘technical’ and ‘precise’ terminology is metaphor at bottom anyway…)  It’s quite obvious that the universe doesn’t have a ‘foundation’ like a house; and it would seem obvious that ‘existence’ isn’t on top of some ‘ground’ in the same way that we might be at times.  But it remains that answering a question about why existence exists demands reaching for a category larger (or more ‘foundational’) than existence itself.  If asked ‘what is supporting that house’, could we really be satisfied with an answer that was in terms of house-ness?

evolution conference: june 25-27

Mark your calendars and register!

TANSA (Theology and the Natural Sciences Aotearoa) presents:

The Theological Meaning of Evolution

Conference to celebrate and interact with Darwin.

Thursday June 25th at 7pm to Saturday June 27th at 6pm

Key Note Speaker: Dr. Christopher Southgate, author of The  Groaning of Creation University of Exeter
Local Speakers: Assoc. Prof. Ruth Barton (Auckland), Assoc. Prof. John Stenhouse (Otago), Assoc. Prof. Peter Lineham (Massey), Dr. John Owens (Good Shepherd), Dr. Grant Gillett (Otago), Prof. Neil Broom (Auckland), Dr. Stephen Downs (Flinders), Rev.Hugh Bowron (Holy Trinity)  and theologians from Laidlaw Carey.

Contact Nicola @ nicolahc (at) laidlaw (dot) ac (dot) nz for details
Please click here for poster, and registration form.

(copied from here)

2009 gifford lectures

The 2009 Gifford Lectures, “A Fine-Tuned Universe: Science, Theology and the Quest for Meaning”, presented by Alister McGrath, are all up online in PDF format.

Lecture 1: Yearning to make sense of things – 2009 Gifford Lecture 1.pdf

Lecture 2: Why we still need natural theology – 2009 Gifford Lecture 2.pdf

Lecture 3: The mystery of the constants of nature – 2009 Gifford Lecture 3.pdf

Lecture 4: The enigmas of evolutionary biology – 2009 Gifford Lecture 4.pdf

Lecture 5: Natural theology and the quest for meaning – 2009 Gifford Lecture 5.pdf

Lecture 6: Conclusion: clues to the meaning of the universe? – 2009 Gifford Lecture 6.pdf

Also in book form: A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology

god and reality

The problem with questions like is God “real?” or does God “exist“? is that the most basic understanding of God (let’s assume monotheistic belief for the moment) is that the sum total of existing reality (the Bible says ‘all things’) was created (caused, desired, effected, brought about) by Him.

If this stretches the mind (not to mention language) – then one is actually beginning to grapple with monotheism.

((Related recent post at ‘Just Thomism’: Proof’s for God’s existence))

on science/faith blogging…

miscellaneous thoughts…

  • if the time we spend is to be at all worthwhile, we need to accept that words matter enough to use them and work at our use of them (some key words in science/faith include: ‘knowledge’, ‘evidence’, ‘explanation’, ‘natural’, ‘reality’, etc).
  • it occurs to me that aiming for mutual understanding is infinitely more helpful than aiming to ‘win’.
  • it seems a good idea to avoid the trap of straw-man argumentation, or presenting someone else’s perspective in its worst form – which is often (mostly?) done with little quips or with sarcasm (often the more sustained an argument is, the less ‘straw-man-ish’ it is).
  • don’t post a comment while you’re angry/frustrated (and this obviously does not mean that comments should be –or even could be– totally void of emotion).
  • that is all for now (and I don’t claim to do all these all the time)…