Posts

Showing posts from October, 2010

Reason and the First Person -- sauces, ganders and geese

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the first for chapter 18, can be found here.]

[This entry continues chapter 18, "Atheism and the Justification of Non-Justification Ability". It also continues the fictional dialogue started in chp 17.]


(Picking up from the end of the previous part...)

Reed (the theist): And this automatic, non-rational rearrangement toward better efficiency could happen to either of us.

Chase (the atheist): ... Well... yes. In principle.

R: Including the possibility that your "idea" (for want of a better word) about atheism might be rearranged to a "belief" (for want of a better word) in God.

C: ...Maybe. I suppose I have to agree that's possible. But I'm confidently willing to take that chance.

R: No, you aren't.

C: Excuse me?

R: No, I won't. We're just automatically reacting here, according to this new proposal of yours. You're not "willing to take that chance"; tha…

Reason and the First Person -- can evolutionary non-rationalism be sufficiently rational?

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the last for chapter 17, can be found here.]

[This entry starts chapter 18, "Atheism and the Justification of Non-Justification Ability". It continues the fictional dialogue started in chp 17.]


(Picking up from the end of the previous part...)

Reed (the theist): I repeat: if we stoutly presume that it is possible for us to reason, then that ability must ultimately come from a rational cause.

Chase (the atheist): ...sigh. No, not necessarily. We don't have to begin by presuming that it is possible for us to reason.

R: What would we begin by doing?

C: That's the answer: "we" wouldn't "begin" by "doing" anything. Your argument only works if it is possible for us to reason.

R: Are you really sure you want to go this route?

C: Just listen! It's true that--

R: True?

C: No, forget that. ... Behaviors reflect reality. Yes?

R: Seems true. Are you sure you want me to forg…

Reason and the First Person -- a shared criteria in favor of reason (and theism!)

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the third for chapter 17, can be found here.]

[This entry concludes chapter 17.]


(Picking up from the end of the previous part...)

Reed (the theist): Evidently, we both share some kind of criteria as a fairly reliable clue when we're no longer talking about our human ability in general, but about particular instances of that ability instead. Let us see if we can put our common agreement into play. I claim that Christianity is true; and let us say that I claim this because of automatic knee-jerk reactions to the cultural stimuli that have pummeled my mind since childhood. Any comments?

Chase (the atheist): I seem to recall already addressing this example.

R: Indeed, you yourself introduced it earlier! What did you say back then? Or what would you say now? Would you say my belief, under these conditions, is rational or non-rational?

C: As a rational agent myself, I would judge your belief to be, at best, irrat…

"Story of the Empty Tomb, Dated Mid First Century," My Article Published in Defending The Resurrection

Image
Holding's new book. Defending the Resurrection.   It's an excellent compilation of articles from different independent scholars and laymen, in answer to the Secular Web's Anthology The Empty Tomb. See the Article "Story of Empty Tomb Dated Mid First Century," by Joe Hinman.

J.P. Holding (Tekton Apologetics) is despised by atheists. They hate him, they go out of their way to heap abuse on him. They say that he is an arch-fundamentalist. Since 90% of the atheists have no idea what a fundamentalist is and don't know the difference, and since atheists slandered me constantly and many have called me a fundie, I figured Holding might not be such a bad guy. Actually I began contacting him and exchanging views year ago, way back in the 90s when I first discovered internet apologetics. I still don't know him very well, but he accepted my article. I was kind of hurt the he didn't ask me to contribute to his anthology on the Jesus Myth since I have so many articl…

Reason and the First Person -- the sceptical threat

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, the second for chapter 17, can be found here.]

[This entry continues chapter 17, part 3 of 4.]


(Picking up from the end of the previous part...)

Reed (the theist): Why should I agree that your evaluation of those clues is rational?

Chase (the atheist): What?! That's rather rude!

R: Pardon me; let me try a different approach. Would you say you have drawn some reasonable conclusions, about the development of our sentience from non-purposive Nature, from these clues?

C: Yes. Would you like some examples?

R: No, thank you; it isn't really necessary.

C: You aren't even going to look at the examples for yourself!? That seems rather like you're afraid you'll find something that disarms your point!

R: It could only disarm my point if the inferences drawn from those clues could possibly be rationally established.

C: I assure you, they can.

R: Really? Would you mind explaining again why we would be drawing …

Reason and the First Person -- the cardinal difficulty of atheism

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, beginning chapter 17, can be found here.]

[This entry continues chapter 17, part 2 of 4.]

The previous entry ended with: "I will illustrate this formal problem underlying the connection between atheism and human justification attempts, by presenting an imaginary dialogue between Chase (whom I will arbitrarily assign to the atheist role) and Reed (whom I will assign as the theist, using a variation of the theistic Argument from Reason)."

(As with all my dialogues, unless I have specifically said otherwise, this one is fictional--I am arguing against myself, in both directions, as an illustration of the application of the principles I have been discussing. I will add parenthetical notes like this on occasion however.)


Reed: So, you claim that reality is, at bottom, non-rational.

Chase: Yes, I do; in the sense of being "non-sentient".

(Note: Chase is not using 'non-rational' to mean inva…

Reason and the First Person --atheism and rational action further considered

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, concluding chapter 16, can be found here.]

[This entry starts chapter 17.]


A philosophy that posits that the Independent Fact (the ground of all other facthood and the base for all reality) devises purposes, makes plans, initiates events or otherwise takes action, will fall into one of two mutually exclusive philosophical branches: ‘theism’, or perhaps better for our present purposes, 'not-atheism'.

'Atheism', by contrast, posits that the IF behaves only automatically, nonpurposefully, noninitiatively. An atheist could be (but usually is not) supernaturalistic. She could even (but usually doesn't) propose that the IF is 'alive' in some sense. Neither of these posited IF characteristics necessarily entails that the IF acts. An atheist might even allow that a Most Powerful Thinking Entity exists, which could without gross abuse of language be considered 'a god' and which migh…

Reason and the First Person -- defenses against the implications of real action

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, starting chapter 16, can be found here.

This entry concludes chapter 16.]


[The previous entry ended with: "If the proposition 'reactions produce actions' is nonsense, then either atheism is false, or we might as well treat it as false because it can never, in any legitimate way, get going even as a live proposition (much less as a possibly cogently defended one). Atheism could still be sheerly asserted; but a sheer assertion is not a reliable conclusion upon which to form a subsequent belief."]


There are two categories of defense against this deduction that we should reject atheism being true.

da.) The proposal 'reactions produce actions' is not nonsensical.

db.) Defensible arguments (such as, for instance, atheism theories) can be produced purely by automatic reactions without actions.

Adherents of the first defense would proceed by one of the general following methods (with variations…

Reason and the First Person -- the key implication of real action

[Note: the contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, chapter 15, can be found here.

This entry starts chapter 16.]


You and I can act. I think we also react; but evidently we must presume, for the sake of our own arguments, either that we can also act or that somewhere someone else (who can judge our proclamations) can act.

This is why, for instance, we have mental competency hearings in our legal system. A person or group of people who are presumed not to be utterly and automatically reactive to environmental stimuli, sit in judgment to decide whether a given person (not themselves) is or is not utterly (or at least significantly) reacting to the environment: a decision that carries subsequent conclusions about notions such as 'ethical responsibility' (although I must defer that particular issue until Section Four). The jury may say 'This man was not responsible for his actions'; what they really mean, however, is that although the man is respon…