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Tag: skepticism

Top 10 Reasons Not to Trust the Government

If you have been watching the main stream news, you will have recently noticed an uptick in reports about a situation that many of us have known about for months and months.  I am speaking, of course, of Benghazi.

Watching liberal, Obama sympathizers come out with what looks like disgust with the Obama administration suggests we’ve finally arrived, after much excavating and stripping away of layers of ideological commitments, to something passing as common ground.  (See here for an example.)

Listening to reports over the last couple of weeks, I was struck with the thought that it is really quite … continue reading...

On the muzzling of climate change skeptics and your gullibility

I came across an article yesterday that I thought was a bit revealing.  “UPROAR AS BBC MUZZLES CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICS” the article screams.

In the story, a professor of genetics apparently tasked with reviewing the objectivity of the BBC, concluded (shocker!) there is no sign of bias within the BBC.  Going further, he suggests to the BBC to stop getting the ‘opposite viewpoint’ from anti-global warming alarmists.  The BBC has nobly been doing this in its pursuit of journalistic fairness, but “where there is a “scientific consensus” it should not hunt out opponents purely to balance the story.”… continue reading...

Cheap shot skepticism, courage and cowardly ‘free thought’

Today I am enjoying the privilege of sitting in on some high school senior religion classes (through virtual conferencing software) and taking the role of non-believer, challenging the students on what they believe, especially in regards to the resurrection.

Some may think it difficult to take the role of the skeptic but I find it to be astonishingly easy.  So easy, it reminded me of some observations about skeptics and their arguments- or more precisely, the wind that carries them- that I’ll share now.

It’s easy to be a skeptic because it is much easier to not believe something as … continue reading...

Demanding Extraordinary Evidence for Extraordinary Claims Can Render You an Extraordinary Dupe

A couple of weeks ago my ministry hosted an online discussion (voice/text/vid) about the merits of the skeptical mantra, “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.”

One of my objections is right to the point:  any notion of what makes something ‘extraordinary’ is hopelessly subjective.  I for one find it deliciously ironic that our hyper-rationalistic scientific minded atheist friends so easily adopt such a weak standard for evaluating claims.  To measure the temperature of water, we’d use a thermometer.  For air pressure, a barometer.  These are scientific tools used by scientific minds;  I’ve never seen an instrument that can measure extraordinariness.

There … continue reading...

Knights of Contention Debate: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?

This ministry hosts a regular online round table discussing matters of substance and controversy.  Christians and NonChristians are invited but it is not necessarily an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate.  Past topics have included matters of controversy only amongst Christians and due to the flexibility of the discussion, topics can change on a dime.

The next discussion will be Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 9:30 p.m. CST.

The initial topic will be:  “Is it really the case that ‘extraordinary claims’ require ‘extraordinary evidence’?”

To learn more about the Knights of Contention debates and in some cases view past sessions click herecontinue reading...

Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte by Richard Whately against David Hume and Skepticism

Over the last three hundred years unbounded skepticism has been applied to religion and Christianity especially.  Atheist philosopher David Hume was one of the prominent voices calling for stringent criteria in evaluating miracle claims, and the like.  Not everyone thought very highly of this criteria.  One such person was the Reverend Richard Whately, who skewers Hume’s reasoning by showing how if it were applied consistently, one could not be reasonably certain that Napoleon existed- a public figure that was said to be alive and roaming Europe even as he spoke!

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Barker’s Rebuttal to Kingsley’s Easter Answer: A Dud

Not too long ago I posted a review of Stephen Kingsley’s The Easter Answer (Amazonwww.easteranswer.com) and at that time Barker had not yet issued his response.  And no wonder:  not to be outdone in any respect, Barker issued forth a 69 page answer to a book that was only 82 pages in the first place.   I am glad for Barker’s exhaustive treatment as it exposes a whole heap of flaws in Barker’s ‘Challenge’ and most importantly gives us explicit insight into how Barker analyzes potential answers.

Probably the fundamental issue exposed by Barker’s reply is that … continue reading...

Review of The Easter Answer (to Barker’s Easter Challenge) by Stephen Kingsley

My first exposure to Dan Barker was his so called ‘Easter Challenge.’  I had already emerged from my own crisis of faith and had already determined some principles for sorting out alleged Biblical contradictions.  The more I read Barker’s writings, the less impressed I was.  I put the Challenge to good use, though, having my New Testament courses take up the ‘challenge’ for their spring project.

It never crossed my mind to try to actually correspond with Barker.  I assumed the whole thing was just some sort of cheap shot.   Having read Kingsley’s book I see that was … continue reading...

Shouldn’t Christians Want to Save the Planet?

Last week I posted an entry challenging the notion that we can save the planet.   This generated some interesting comments.  One person pointed out that it was his understanding that Christians should care about the environment.  On this there is no dispute.  Since I rarely speak on this issue I thought something more definitive is in order.  Briefly.

There is no question that Christians should care about the environment.  However, the infantile notion that the planet needs saving or could be saved is not what that means.  This notion rests on the idea that the planet has some sort … continue reading...

NBC’s The Last Templar: A Christian Review and Response

NBC’s The Last Templar has concluded just now.  Sort of a The Da Vinci Code warmed over and softened up to be more palatable to believers, I have to confess I didn’t really enjoy the show.  I have no idea how close the movie resembles the book it is derived from, so I’m going to stick the blame on the writers of the show.  🙂  I’m sure they thought that they were doing us all a favor, dangling this document that could disprove Christianity in front of our noses only to have it destroyed before anyone could read it:  thus … continue reading...

Response to Online Presentation and Archive Link: Tradition without Empathy, Contemporary without Foundation

Yesterday I presented at an online conference.  My topic was “Can Christianity Survive the Internet.”  Or, otherwise titled, ‘The Death of Christianity.”

I will at some point obtain a simple mp3 of the presentation but in the meantime if you want to listen and observe the chat conversation you may listen via the archive link.

This morning I woke up to a follow up question.  I thought I would answer it on my blog.  Here was the question:

I often see two groups of people.

One is are involved in a tradition rich church with head knowledge of rules

continue reading...

Santa Claus is Real and so is Jesus

It is that time of year again when a holiday becomes the front in a culture battle.  I need not give examples- google Dan Barker and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.   It is not uncommon to find skeptics and secular humanists insinuating with a sneer that belief in God is exactly like belief in Santa Claus, the only difference being that people grow out of belief in Santa Claus.  Atheists who think this way have no problem being contemptuous punks because in their mind, given the similarities between the two examples (in their mind), a person who still believes in … continue reading...

What did Jesus mean by ‘Faith like a little child’? Dawkins on curiosity

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said:  “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:1-4

Christianity (and religion in general) is often maligned as being anti-curiosity.  Passages like the one I just quoted are often cited.  This understanding is fueled by two flawed notions.  … continue reading...

The Peanut Gallery Hurls Shells: Rational Man Retorts

My new ‘friend’ Rational Man (not to be confused with Hyperbole Boy or the Stalker) has fired off a response to my response one or two blog entries ago.  Here it is.

I have just a few points.

First of all, I loved the instant fixation on the fact that I am a creationist.  This is ‘inside talk’ among atheists for:  “And therefore any accusation against them is true.”  But in my original blog entry, my creationist positions were never mentioned, and for good reason- they weren’t relevant.   This is a common tactic, to be expected, I am afraid, … continue reading...