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.
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.”
I am currently reading the book “True Reason” by Tom Gilson and others (the book’s official website can be found here). This isn’t a traditional apologetics book per se. Rather, it is a collection of essays by authors responding to the new atheists’ cooption of the term “reason” to describe their worldview. The contributors are not so much concerned with making an affirmative case for Christianity as they are illustrating how so many of the techniques used by the new atheists can be described as anything but reasonable.
In surfing Facebook recently, I came across this picture attempting to present an argument in favor of the pro-choice movement. As I read it, I could not help but see some parallels between the issues raised in “True Reason” and the tactics employed by those advocating in favor of abortion.
In talking with skeptical students around Boston, I have learned that few things drive them as crazy as Christians with a blind faith. They are perplexed: “How can your core convictions be completely divorced from reason and logic?”
Three examples, just from the past year, illustrate the problem: Continue reading
So many times I have heard people say that faith is believing something despite evidence against it. I have heard skeptics of Christianity deride faith based on this, and I have heard Christians claim a higher level of spirituality because they possess this kind of faith. But is this what faith really is? Let’s look at it a little more closely.
When Person A states that they have faith in Person B, they are stating that they trust Person B. Since trust is the issue here, let’s focus on that. In order for Person A to trust, there must be a foundation for that trust. Usually, Person B has established in the past that they are trustworthy (usually by verification of the truth of claims and/or following through with promises). Also Person B knows something that Person A does not know. In order for trust to be exercised, there must be a foundation to establish trust, and something that is unknown to justify acting upon the foundation of the person’s trustworthiness.
“Don’t be surprised to find out that there are atheists and agnostics in your midst,” Ted said to me. He’d been railing against the evils of organized religion. I got the impression he expected some kind of shocked reaction from me.
But he didn’t get one. He’d already said he was a humanist, and I knew the two kind of go together. Besides, I’m not horrified over atheists. I relish fielding their objections. I took the bait.
“So, I get that you have problems with organized religion, Ted. But human organizations aside, do you believe there is a God? Or do you believe there is not a God?”
Ted didn’t give me a straightforward answer, though. Instead he referred me to Sam Harris, one of his favorite authors. He pointed me to an article where Harris takes issue with some Catholic teachings and other Christian ideas about God. That was all fine and well for Sam Harris, but Ted hadn’t answered for himself. So I put the question to him again.
Photo Attribution: http://twitpic.com/ajwh7p
Yet another tactic that I see atheists use against God and religion, is visualized in the picture above (You’ll have to click on it a few times to read it) This picture is apparently trying to convey that the quality of life in these societies is better because they’re some of the least religious countries in the world. Such reasoning is quite problematic however, for various reasons. I think one of the biggest issues is finding/proving the causation for this assertion. I would like to know how they linked the two together. Did this study (or studies) take into account: the various cultural, economical, or social issues etc?
Does it follow that since the people in these countries are irreligious, then they are automatically atheists? Were such people specifically polled about their apparent atheism or just their non religious status? To be fair, this might not be the point of the picture (rather, that lacking religion equals a better way of life) but does this make a case for atheism if these people are just not religious, yet not atheists either? It could conceivably be a case against organized religion while being silent for the case of atheism. I know tons of people that don’t consider religion important at all, yet still maintain their religious status (when pressed; yet in a nominal fashion) of their heritage or upbringing. Was this scenario taken into consideration?
Read this Razor Swift article in its entirety at Razor Swift
In recent years, many atheists have prominently championed their allegiance to intelligent thought. For instance, there is “The Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science” and Sam Harris’ book “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.” Atheists sometimes refer to themselves as “freethinkers” and “brights.”
The public perception that these atheists are working hard to strengthen is the idea that there is a cavernous divide between “faith” and “reason” or between “faith” and “progress.” The strategy is obvious: atheists are to champion their love for reason and progress while highlighting stories of religious people who evidently hate reason and fight for culturally regressive values. Over time, this strategy is intended to further displace religion and develop a far more secular perspective around the world. Continue reading