Posts Tagged by epistemology

Cheap shot skepticism, courage and cowardly ‘free thought’

It’s easy to be a skeptic because it is much easier to not believe something as to believe it. Skepticism has no non-arbitrary stopping point. That is, full blooded skepticism will naturally morph into cynicism. There is no objective point where any kind of argument, piece of evidence, or logical deduction must coerce belief. This is a point I raise in this post. Many skeptics construe their skepticism as an act of courage, as though being willing to question everything shows a brave streak that others do not have. To a point, there is courage… and in a way, yes, there is something to that.

However, if it is brave to question everything it is braver still to believe anything. Let me illustrate.

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Recording of this Tuesday’s Debate on Faith, Evidence, Atheism, Rob Bell, and Hell

At the last ‘Knights of Contention’ discussion this last Tuesday we began by talking about faith, evidence, atheism, and Christianity, of course and ended up talking about Rob Bell and hell.  Naturally.  🙂 Here is a link for viewing that discussion.  It was about 2 1/2 hours long. There will not be a discussion the […]

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Reader’s Guide to “Antony Flew Goes to Heaven.’

For background on why I believe that this reader’s guide might be helpful, please see the posts immediately prior to this one.  This guide pertains specifically to the story “Antony Flew Goes to Heaven” but the principles it discusses will likely be useful for the other stories, and interpreting literature in general. Reader’s Guide to […]

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PZ Myers Reviews “Antony Flew Goes to Heaven.”

The brilliant PZ Myers has ‘reviewed’ the second story in my short story collection, “Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa go to Heaven.”

As before, I have no interest in responding in any detail, although I might say some things when he is done. I will say: “PZ, what makes you think Antony awakes in a garden?”

After reading the last review and the comments it spawned it became apparent that a little extra help on my part is needed. There seems to be difficulty understanding the texts in question. Therefore, a reader’s guide for each story has been composed.

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Uncertainty the Only Absolute Moral Value?

From my experience dealing with secularists, ‘true believing fanatics’ is really a redundancy to them. A fanatic is, virtually by definition, someone who truly believes what they say they believe. ‘Humility’ in practice means, someone who doesn’t act on what they believe.

My response to the gent was brief:

Is your belief system a fact?

Clearly, if your belief is that all beliefs that claim to be fact must be debunked, then it is also true that this very belief that all beliefs must be debunked must be debunked.

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Religion (ie, Christianity) requires higher scrutiny because it demands massive commitments

In the last week or so I had two exchanges where the debate turned on why the atheist/agnostic was demanding a higher level of scrutiny for ‘religious’ claims than other kinds of claims. In one of the cases, the really odd thing is that the person(s) had admitted that science, being limited as it is to the natural order, is unable to touch the supernatural and yet continued to say that science nonetheless remains the best way to learn about the world. This is not coherent. When pressed, in this case they again admitted that science couldn’t prove or disprove the supernatural but continued to insist that we use science to investigate the question. Truly, this world leaves me scratching my head.

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No Scientific Proof? Well, that proves it!

We do not know that the measles vaccine causes autism. On the other side of the coin, nobody knows what causes autism. Unlike a piddly hundred and some cases of measles, cases of autism is on the rise. Check out some stats. In 1992 there were 15,000 reported cases of autism. In 2006, less than fifteen years later, there were 250,000 cases of autism, with each year in between showing more cases than the previous years.

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