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 →
While on Facebook recently, I came across a picture that claimed to be outlining the differences between “Linear Thinking” (also known as “dualistic logic”) and “Systems Thinking (aka “holistic logic”).
It was presented from the perspective of approaches to teaching. The overall message of this particular Facebook page was that our educational systems should take a holistic approach and that the dualistic manner in which students are currently taught is deficient. Specifically, “Christopher” who posted the picture said:
This is a handout I made for a conference presentation entitled “New Paradigms in Education,” in 1997. I’d like to update it, maybe simplify and change some of the descriptions. Your feedback on what should be edited and what seems most interesting and important would be greatly appreciated.1
Upon reading through the “handout,” it became abundantly clear that it was really more of an advocacy piece than anything educational. The way it described “dualistic logic” used very negative terminology whereas “holistic logic” was presented in a positive, favorable manner. Continue reading →
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.”
One of the major obstacles that I come against in defending the Christian worldview is simply a misunderstanding of the worldview. So many times people tell me that they reject Christianity based on one thing or another that Christianity teaches. In the vast majority of the cases people are rejecting something that is not Christian but they believe is Christian.
In Has Christianity Failed You? Ravi Zacharias tackles this exact issue. If emphasis could be added in a title, I would place it on “Christianity”. He believes that it is not Christianity that has failed people, but what they think is Christianity. Ravi introduces his book by telling of an open forum on the topic where he spoke. The audience was eager to hear what Ravi had to say about the apparent failures of Christianity, intellectually and emotionally. This book is his thoughts on the issue.
One of the most famous (and supposedly devastating) criticisms of Anselm’s ontological argument comes from Immanuel Kant. It is virtually undisputed by those who mention the argument. One hears this criticism even on the Internet. In nearly every instance in which I have encountered this objection, an explanation is never provided. What is this criticism, and what does it mean?
Kant claimed that “existence is not a predicate.” To illustrate what this means, consider an apple (or a horse, or a pencil, or any other object). One may describe it as “red,” and “sweet,” and any number of things. All of these are in the predicate position in a sentence. They translate into properties of the object like being red or being sweet. Kant held that in order for something to count as a property, it had to tell us something about the object that added to its description. Kant’s argument is that two apples will be identical where they have all of the same properties, even if we stipulate that one of them exists. If that is correct, then existence is not a property after all. But if existence is not a property, then Anselm cannot be correct when he says it is greater for God to exist in reality than merely in the intellect (since the difference between the two would be only in existence). So, is Kant right? Continue reading →
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.
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).
The following is an interesting argument presented to me by a friend. The originator of the argument is unknown to me at this time, but seems to be an acquaintance or friend of a friend of a friend. In any case, it is interesting, and I evaluate it below.
D1: God is defined as omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent
D2: Revelation is Gods disclosure of Himself to His Creation
D3: Evidence is propositional knowledge
D4: Revelation is experiential knowledge
D5: Resistant nonbelief is a disposition to incredulity
D6: Nonresistant nonbelief is a disposition to credulity, while being unconvinced
The first article of faith in Michael Palmer’s “The Atheist’s Creed” is that he believes, echoing Carl Sagan, that “the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.” (Palmer 2012:5) “The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing and for nothing” (Smith 1993: 135), so we are told by Quentin Smith.
Was Bertrand Russell correct in deeming that “the universe is just there, and that’s all” ? Why are some atheists repelled by the concept of the cosmic beginning? It is time to ponder. Keeping my post short, I have divided this article in two parts, part I Cosmic Beginning and part II Cosmic Genesis.
Eternal Universe: Religious Atheists’ Article of Faith
Michael Ruse quoted Ernst Mayr’s noteworthy observation: “People forget that it is possible to be intensely religious in the entire absence of theological belief.” (Ruse 2003: 335) To avoid painting all atheists with a single stroke, an explanation of what I mean by the oxymoron “religious atheists,” as used in this article, is required. Continue reading →
The Kalam Cosmological Argument is one of the most popular cosmological arguments around today. The argument is fairly straightforward, and enjoys intuitive support. It goes like this: “Whatever begins to exist had a cause; the universe began to exist; therefore, the universe had a cause.” The argument has several common objections, and eleven of them are listed here, along with some of my comments. I believe each objection can be satisfactorily answered so that one is justified in accepting the KCA. Continue reading →