Be sure to check out Goodness Over God, the counter-apologetics podcast hosted by myself and philosopher Michael Long!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Goodness Over God counter-apologetics podcast

I'm pleased to announce that philosophy graduate Michael Long and I have successfully launched the counter-apologetics podcast Goodness Over God, where we tackle religious and philosophical issues on a weekly (more or less) basis. We would like to have guests as often as possible, including but not limited to religious believers who wish to defend their views in a civil and friendly environment. So if you would like to participate, feel free to drop us a line at the following email address: GoodnessOverGod@gmail.com

Here is a list of the episodes so far:

Episode 05 (2011 Apr 30) - God as an Explanatory Hypothesis and Causality (with special guest Rachael Morris)

Episode 04 (2011 Apr 23) - Easter, Miracles, and History

Episode 03 (2011 Apr 09) - Hell and Justice

Episode 02 (2011 Apr 05) - Secular Ethics, Theistic Ethics, and Faith

Episode 01 (2011 Mar 31) - Plantinga's Modal Ontological Argument

(Please note that we originally started under the name "Truly Free," so we introduce ourselves that way in our first three podcasts.)

You can also check out the Goodness Over God blog, where we discuss various issues related to the podcast.

If you don't like downloading mp3s, you can stream the podcasts directly from the website, or from right here!



And remember, if you want to be a guest, go ahead and email us at: GoodnessOverGod@gmail.com We can discuss just about anything religion- or philosophy-related. The format is also flexible---we can either have a nice informal conversation, or we can have a more structured (but still friendly) debate, and everything in between. It's up to you!

Enjoy the shows!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why should we believe that we will experience the force of gravity on earth a second from now? I have not listened to the entire podcast on causality, but I have not heard this very simple question answered there in what I have listened to thus far. Thanks.

hatsoff said...

Anonymous,

You asked a good question, "why should we believe that we will experience the force of gravity on earth a second from now?" The most immediate answer is, because gravity has held on earth in our past experience, and inductively we infer that it will continue to hold into the future. But of course that's probably not going to be satisfying, because it raises additional questions. These additional questions are multiple and complex, and I can't anticipate them all in a single comment post, much less respond to them. So if you wish for me to address a specific one of them, please feel free to let me know and I will do my best. In the mean time, I can give you a general outline of my view:

(1) As Michael pointed out in the podcast, we don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter of whether to use induction or not. We can be inductive skeptics in a limited sense, but in the end none of us really deny that, to borrow your example, gravity is going to hold through the next day. It's just a psychological fact about us that we trust inductive inferences.

(2) Also as Michael pointed out in the podcast, we haven't got any alternative to induction for developing strategies of living. If we want to be actors in the world, induction is the only game in town. So, again, it's not as if we have much of a choice for whether or not to use induction, because there aren't different alternatives to choose between!

(3) Induction informs our standards for justification. (Michael alluded to this in the podcast but we didn't really explore it too much.) So, induction is part of what we MEAN by justification, just like deduction is also part of what we mean by justification. Not too many folks doubt deduction, though, because we can't even conceive of deductive inferences failing to hold. But just because we can conceive induction failing us isn't reason enough to toss out induction as one of our canons of epistemic justification.

So I hope that helps. If you have any other concerns feel free to let me know, and I will address them as best I can.

--Ben

Anonymous said...

"The most immediate answer is, because gravity has held on earth in our past experience, and inductively we infer that it will continue to hold into the future."

I am not asking *if* we inductively infer that it will, I am asking *why* we inductively infer that it will (assuming that we do this inductively to begin with). You did not answer the question.

Why should we believe that we will experience the force of gravity on earth a second from now?

(1)

a. It is odd to say that we don't have a choice to use induction. This is just patently false and wishful thinking on Michael's part.

b. How do you know that none of us deny that gravity will continue to hold? I highly doubt that you have asked everyone the relevant question to determine this, so why are you making claims about things you have no knowledge of?

c. It is certainly possible for a person to deny that gravity will hold in the future!

d. It is also not a psychological fact that we trust inductive inferences. I could think of all sorts of examples of people not trusting inductive inferences. I don't trust your inductive inference about the psychological fact you cite here.

(2) Contrary to Michael's claim, there are many other ways to reason than inductively. One can rely upon intuition, or deduction, or any number of other methods of reasoning for developing strategies of living, so again Michael is mistaken.

(3) Assuming I have understood you correctly, this is viciously circular.

Recall my question: Why should we believe that we will experience the force of gravity on earth a second from now?

I do not mean to be rude, but you have not even begun to answer, and it only confirms my suspicions after having listened to the podcast. You all do not seem to be familiar with the relevant literature on this subject, and it is hurting your credibility. There is a lot of rather amateurish hand waving and repetition of the same statements over and over again without a substantial response to the problem that got brought up. HTH

hatsoff said...

Anonymous,

First of all, my apologies for your difficulties with the comments. Apparently blogspot.com interpreted them as spam, and I didn't until just now discover that spam filtering is active on this blog. (Apparently it is a default feature.) I suspect it would be better to post under a non-anonymous username. But in any case I'll be checking my spam filter from now on.

Now onto your response...

Your initial question was:

"Why should we believe that we will experience the force of gravity on earth a second from now?"

I answered this question in a very straightforward way:

"...because gravity has held on earth in our past experience, and inductively we infer that it will continue to hold into the future."

I then anticipated that you probably have ADDITIONAL questions. Sure enough, you did:

"...I am asking *why* we inductively infer that it will..."

But depending on the sense of "why" you have in mind, it seems to me that one of (1), (2) or (3) should serve very well as an answer to this question. If you think they are inadequate, then we can discuss that. But if you think they don't even address the question at all, then perhaps you could clarify what kind of an answer you're looking for, since I can't see how else to interpret your question but as seeking a response such as I have already provided.

In your response to (1), it sounds like you think I'm saying that people ALWAYS trust induction, which of course would be ludicrous. Instead, I'm only pointing out that we can never rid ourselves entirely of relying in some way on induction. In other words, we can minimize our use of induction, but we can never completely eliminate it.

As for (2), you point out that we can use deduction and intuition as alternatives to induction for developing living strategies. However, I don't see how it would be possible to use these intellectual tools wholly apart from induction. Everything I know about the world seems dependent in some way on inductive inferences which I have drawn. These inferences may be intuitive, or involve some deductive component, but that makes them no less inductive.

Finally, regarding (3), you claim that I am guilty of some kind of vicious circularity, though you decline to specify *how* my observations are supposed to be circular. Unfortunately I don't see why you would think that. So until you clarify your concern, there's not much I can say, here.

You close your post with the following remarks:

"You all do not seem to be familiar with the relevant literature on this subject, and it is hurting your credibility. There is a lot of rather amateurish hand waving and repetition of the same statements over and over again without a substantial response to the problem that got brought up."

I take some exception to this. Although Michael does have a graduate degree in philosophy, neither of us is trying to pass himself off as some kind of academic authority, here. We expect arguments to be treated with skepticism no matter who presents them---including us. Now, if you think I've overlooked some important philosophical literature which bears on the subject, you're welcome to let me know, and time permitting, I'll be happy to read it. Until then, I can only respond to your specific criticisms as they come.

Thanks for your comments.

--Ben