The concept of an omnipotent being, namely a being with maximal perfection with respect to power, is sometimes believed to involve a contradiction. The most popular reductio ad absurdum case against the existence of omnipotent being is known as “the paradox of the stone.”
The paradox unfolds as follows:
1. If God exists, then He is omnipotent
2. If God is omnipotent then God can create a stone too heavy for anyone to lift.
3. If God can create a stone too heavy for anyone to lift, then God is not omnipotent since He cannot lift the stone He created.
4. If God cannot create a stone too heavy for anyone to lift, then God is not omnipotent since He cannot create the stone too heavy for anyone to lift.
5. Either way God is not omnipotent.
6. Therefore God does not exist. Continue reading →
The journey from atheism to theism is different for each person who makes it. My journey began with science, then made a turn onto the path of ethics and morality. Webster’s Dictionary defines ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.” Webster’s defines morality as “a moral discourse, statement, or lesson, a doctrine or system of moral conduct.” Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary defines morality as “beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, the degree to which something is right and good, the moral goodness or badness of something.”
As an atheist I would have argued that I was an ethical person. For example, I believed strongly in journalistic ethics and in ethical behavior as it impacted news coverage and the First Amendment. But what was the source of my ethics and ethical behavior? Did that source of ethics affect my personal life? No. I bent personal ethics to suit my selfish interests. What was the source of that behavior? same source? different source? no source?
This is Part 1 in a 3 part series on evolutionary theories of cognition. This part discusses C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Reason. Part 2 will examine Alvin Plantinga’s Argument from Proper Function and part 3 will cover Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
No matter how contentious an intellectual debate may appear, both parties agree on at least one thing. They both assume that rationality, if properly used, leads to true conclusions. The laws of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle, for example, accurately describe reality.1 If human perceptions about these basic truths were incorrect, then it would be impossible to reason to any conclusion.
Theists argue that this necessary presupposition is incompatible with a naturalistic worldview. If naturalism is true then rationality is not reliable, undercutting all beliefs including acceptance of naturalism itself. Arguments of this genre are coined “arguments from reason.”
In Philo, the Society of Humanist Philosophers published journal of Philosophy, Theodore M. Drange presented 10 incompatible properties arguments against the existence of God. In this article I explored Drange’s 7th argument, namely the incompatibility of a nonphysical person.
Drange outlined “The Nonphysical-vs.-Personal Argument” as follows:
If God exists, then he is nonphysical.
If God exists, then he is a person (or a personal being).
A person (or personal being) needs to be physical.
Understandably, atheist and writer, Susan Jacoby, is exasperated:
“At the endless talk about faith in God as the only consolation for those devastated by the unfathomable murders in Newtown, Conn.” (NYT Sunday, 1/6/2013, 6)
Newtown seems to expose atheism’s irrelevance and inadequacy in the face of life’s tragedies – death and suffering. However, Jacoby feels that atheism has much to offer the suffering: Continue reading →
Is it really true that there are no atheists in foxholes? The saying entered American parlance during World War II when war correspondents saw soldiers turn to God after facing enemy fire. On a hot July 4th about sixty years later, a few dozen veterans gathered in rural Alabama to dedicate a monument declaring it wrong. The Monument to Atheists in Foxholes, a stately six-foot granite obelisk overlooking scenic Lake Hypatia near Talladega, was erected in 1999 by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to honor those soldiers they believe were unrecognized atheists in foxholes.
Lake Hypatia has become a sort of southern outpost for atheism in America. Here the Alabama Freethought Association, which director Pat Cleveland calls “a kind of big old family,” meets the third Sunday of each month for an 11 a.m. social hour, covered dish lunch at noon, and speaker at 1 p.m. The association also hosts an annual Independence Weekend celebration called the Lake Hypatia Advance (not retreat, Advance) filled with camping and camaraderie with fellow freethinkers. Meet the down-home contingent of nonbelief in America. Continue reading →
Many skeptics of theism accuse theists of “god-of-the-gaps” argumentation when it comes to providing evidence for God’s existence. Many theists claim that naturalists are guilty of using a “naturalism-of-the-gaps” argumentation to explain away evidence for God’s existence. Others prefer to remain agnostic and simply, “I don’t know, one way or the other.” Yet, still others will say, “No one can know.”
I’ve noticed a pattern here (I’m sure I’m not the first, though). We all know that we are not omniscient – none of us knows everything. Which means that everyone has gaps in their knowledge, and we fill those gaps with something (there are no exceptions, as I am about to show). As mentioned in my previous posts, “What is Faith?” and “Do You Rely on Authorities?” we tend to look to past experiences to determine what to put our trust in to fill those gaps.
Michael Palmer’s The Atheist’s Creed records the first article of faith, which characterizes what I call religious atheism, namely “I BELIEVE THAT the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.”(Palmer 2012:5, emphasis in original), which is contrary to modern cosmology. I recommend reading the first part: Cosmic Beginning And Grousing Of Religious Atheists, before reading its second.
In The Beginning And Religious Atheists’ Fear
Religious atheists’ fear, as echoed in Steven Hawking’s prerecorded speech played on his 70th birthday, is that “[a] point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” (Grossman 2012: 6).
In a recent debate with the Christian apologist William Lane Craig, the atheist philosopher Alex Rosenberg put out a challenge:
“If Dr. Craig could provide me with any kind of logical, coherent account that could reconcile the evident fact of the horrors of humanity…with the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent agent, then I will turn Christian.” Continue reading →
After leaving atheism for theism 42 years ago, I’m answering some of the most-asked questions from atheists: What happened to me? Did I lose my mind? Was I on drugs? How can an atheist possibly become a theist? Was I just a bad atheist? Is that what happened?
I admit that I brought this on myself. In 1970 I “dared” God to appear on my radio talk show if He “really” existed. God did not appear on my show that day, but He did several months later. I asked God to convince me He existed and He did just what I asked Him to do. He began the process of revealing Himself to me on my radio show.
I interviewed Dr. Henry Morris in early 1971 for the purpose of making fun of his belief in a worldwide flood and the existence of Noah’s Ark on a mountain range in Turkey. What Dr. Morris shared with me that day led to months of investigation to find out if what he told me was true.
We’ve already looked at serious questions about the Theory of Evolution and considered the Cosmological Argument, the Teleological Argument, Cosmic Fine-Tuning, and the Law of Causality. Today, we’ll look at The Laws of Thermodynamics.