Showing posts from 2012

Sungyak Kim on faith and reason

Seminary student Sungyak Kim has an unusual vision of Christian apologetics. Quoting Soren Kierkegaard, he laments the existence of that apparently typical apologist who naively attempts to "deal with every accusation, every falsification, every unfair statement, and in this way is occupied early and late in counterattacking the attack." And who exactly does he have in mind, here? Well, it's hard to say exactly, but at the beginning of his piece he drops the names of William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga.

C-objectivity and Craig's moral argument

Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has developed and defended an increasingly popular forumlation of the moral argument for the existence of God: (1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. (2) Objective moral values and duties do exist. (3) Therefore, God exists. ( Reasonable Faith , p172.) His principal defense for premise (2) consists in pointing to our moral experience, where he thinks we apprehend the objectivity of morality. However I will argue that while there may be a semantic sense in which our moral experience does offer evidence for the objectivity of morality, nevertheless Craig has in mind a different, specialized sense of objectivity which involves the existence of a concrete exemplar, and which is unsupported by experience.

More on Rasmussen's New Argument

Recall that Joshua Rasmussen in his "New Argument for a Necessary Being" (2011), argues that (1) Normally, for any intrinsic property p that (i) can begin to be exemplified and (ii) can be exemplified by something that has a cause, there can be a cause of p's beginning to be exemplified. (p1) When I expressed concerns with his published defense of (1), he (first privately, and later publicly ) offered the following supplement (my paraphrase): Consider mundane intrinsic properties of the form being an apple , or being aluminum , etc., which can begin to be exemplified. Clearly such properties possibly have a cause for their exemplification, and so inductively we infer (1).

Why did God want Jesus to suffer?

Christians face an interesting theological challenge regarding the crucifixion of Jesus, insofar as we want to know why Jesus had to suffer in order to save the faithful. God, being omnipotent, appears to have the power to save the faithful, regardless of whether he also sent Jesus to suffer on the cross. In order to explain why it was better for him to do so, we might be tempted to invoke the notion of justice. However, if we want to appeal to God's favorite system of justice to explain why Jesus had to suffer, then we must know why that system is ultimately good for us. Since we do not in fact know how God's rules of cosmic justice are ultimately good for us, then no appeal to those rules will serve as a satisfactory explanation.

two objections to Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism

The complexity of philosopher Alvin Plantinga's well-known evolutionary argument against naturalism (hereafter EAAN) affords the skeptic a variety of avenues for criticism. Of these, I prefer to focus on the objections that, first, we cannot be rationally obligated to stop depending on our cognitive faculties since it is quite impossible for us to rationally do so, and second, the sort of skepticism which Plantinga describes, if indeed it poses any danger at all, applies as well to the theist as it does the naturalist unless we already have reason to suppose that theism is true.

premise (1) of Rasmussen's new argument for a necessary being

Joshua Rasmussen in his "New Argument for a Necessary Being" (2011), argues that (1) Normally, for any intrinsic property p that (i) can begin to be exemplified and (ii) can be exemplified by something that has a cause, there can be a cause of p's beginning to be exemplified. (p1)

Reasonable Doubtcasters on Van Tilian presuppositionalism

The Reasonable Doubtcasters have produced two marvelous episodes critiquing Van Tilian presuppositionalism: episode one and episode two .

Craig and actual infinites

William Lane Craig uses Hilbert's hotel in an attempt to illustrate the impossibility of an existing actually infinite multitude, but I find several serious gaps in his arguments which, in my judgment, prevent them from having any force. His approach takes two forms: First, he claims that certain logical contradictions follow from the existence of actual infinites; second, his intuition tells him that an existing infinite multitude is absurd. In response, I want to resolve the alleged contradictions, and argue that intuition is an unreliable guide to the possibility or impossibility of an existing actual infinite.

an observation on William Lane Craig's divine command theory

WLC suggests we characterize objective morality in terms of God's nature. In particular, he suggests a form of DCT, that "God's own nature is the standard of goodness, and his commandments to us are expressions of his nature" ( On Guard , pp135-6). The obvious reply here is that we can conceive a God whose commandments are morally wrong; so for instance we can envision a God who expresses his nature by commanding, say, a father to sacrifice his son. Clearly this would be an immoral act, and since definitions are true essentially it shows that morality is not defined by God's nature. WLC anticipates this sort of objection, but complains that the envisioned scenario is "logically impossible," on par with suggesting that a square can also be a circle (p136). On his view, of course, that's true enough---but if the contradiction only manifests when we assume DCT in advance, then that just goes to show that DCT is wrongheaded. Since we know human sac