Saturday, November 2, 2013

Revision to Comments Section

I didn't know it until today, but the comments section of this blog was restricted to allow only commentors with google IDs. While I don't know if I'm entirely at ease with allowing anonymous comments here, I think allowing them will be better than allowing only a select few who go through the trouble of creating a google ID. I ask that all comments be respectful. I do reserve the right to delete comments or ban certain individuals, but I don't see this as very likely, as I tend to think that everyone has something valuable to contribute. Thank you all.

Daniel Smith

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scientism Schism

     It has been a long, long time since my last activity on this blog. The reasons for this absence are many and varied, and will no doubt be the subject of a future post, but for now I can do nothing better than to simply dive in where I climbed out. I want to discuss a topic which is ubiquitous in Christian apologetics but which is little talked about elsewhere. It is something called "scientism." Roughly defined, scientism is the view that the only way to gain knowledge is through science. This is often taken to mean the "hard sciences" like biology and physics, and, to some degree, mathematics. The reason it's important to know and to be able to interact with it is that it is the primary "ism" of contemporary popular-level atheism. Atheists like (you guessed it) Richard Dawkins paint a rhetorical picture wherein theists primarily know what they know through "faith" (which he interprets as believing in the absence of evidence, and even with disregard for evidence). For Dawkins, faith and science are very much competing and incompatible methods of arriving at knowledge. The insidious rot of this presumption is that it attaches with viral ferocity to the minds many unbelievers (and of many believers as well). It is my hope to explore scientism in some depth, and in addition, I hope to illuminate not only why scientism is false, but why it is dangerous.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

When Massey Goes a-Simplifyin': A Response to Chris Massey on Divine Genocide

               Somewhat related to the moral argument is the issue of what’s come to be called the “slaughter of the Canaanites.” This is the issue of certain commands presumed to have been given by God to the Israelites as they were beginning their conquest of the land of Canaan. According to Old Testament accounts, God commanded the Israelites to kill every man, woman, and child in the land, and even to kill the cattle; to leave nothing alive. It is a topic for another day whether the command was specifically to kill all those who were living in the land, or whether the command was to dispossess the inhabitants of the land and to kill any who did not flee. For the sake of today’s post, we can assume that God did command Israel to kill everything alive in Canaan, including women and children, and to have no mercy.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

James Croft on Fine-Tuning

On Saturday, October 06, 2012, an exchange between David Glass and James Croft aired on the radio program “Unbelievable.”  Glass is a lecturer in North Ireland, and Croft is affiliated with the Harvard Humanist Association of Harvard University. They were discussing Glass’ new book Atheism’s New Clothes, which is a critique of the so-called new atheism. Croft took issue with some of Glass’ analysis, and I’ve subsequently taken issue with some of Crofts. It rolls down hill, as they say. A great deal of their discussion pertained to the argument from fine-tuning for the existence of an intelligent agent behind the universe. I’ve not yet discussed this argument, although it is a popular one among many theists, because I’m not familiar enough with it to give it a serviceable defense, and I frankly have some nagging doubts about its soundness. At any rate, Croft’s nagging doubts about its soundness are, in my estimation, off-base, and here is why.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stephen Law and the Evil God Challenge: The Evidently Problematic Argument

                William Lane Craig recently completed his tour of the United Kingdom in which he participated in several debates and several lectures. The kick-off event of the tour was a debate with British philosopher Stephen Law, who is an atheist and is the editor of the journal Think, produced by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. In this post, I want to examine the main argument that Law offered during the debate, as well as to examine his subsequent defense of it in his radio debate with philosopher Glenn Peoples.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Objections to the Kālam Cosmological Argument

     One of my first posts in this blog was a post outlining and defending the Kālam Cosmological Argument. It is a very easy argument to understand, and it’s premises are generally accepted by the average person, which is one reason I regard the argument so highly. It is not, however, without its detractors, and I would be first in line to point this out. The KCA is a contentious argument. So I was not surprised to find a reader of this blog posting some objections to it in the comment section of that post. In brief, he rejects each premise as well as the conclusion. But in order to outline the objections he raises, I think it’s best to review the KCA a bit.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Richard Dawkins and Smoked Fish

     This is a slight deviation from my routine, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to comment on the epic controversial non-exchange of ideas set to not-happen at Oxford, England on the 25th of this month. There, philosopher, theologian, and world-famous Christian apologist William lane Craig has been invited to a public debate with former Oxford professor and world-famous atheist apologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins has for years refused to debate Craig, and has offered numerous reasons for this refusal, the most recent of which seems to be that he finds Craig’s view of the genocide commanded by God in the Old Testament to be morally repugnant. He claims that Craig is an “apologist for genocide” and that he (Dawkins) would rather leave a theatrically poignant empty chair at the Oxford debate than to share a platform with Craig. The organizers of the Craig/Dawkins debate plan to leave an empty chair on the stage in order to give Dawkins a chance, ‘til the final minutes before the debate, to change his mind. Presumably if Dawkins continues to refuse, the chair will remain empty on the stage as a reminder of Dawkins’ absence, and Craig will present prepared criticisms of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Evidential (Probabilistic) Problem of Evil: Part 2

In the previous post, I outlined the typical trajectory of the evidential problem of evil (EPE), and explicated the nature of what the non-theist alleges that it can show. Further, I explained that as an argument against the existence of God, the person making the argument assumes a burden of proof concerning the assumptions made by the EPE. This burden of proof holds regardless of whether the defender of the EPE acknowledges it. If she declines to defend the assumptions made therein, then the theist might justifiably decline to accept the conclusion of the EPE as probably correct.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Evidential (Probabilistic) Problem of Evil: Part 1

In the last post, I responded to a second defense of the logical problem of evil: that a benevolent being desires to eradicate all suffering and evil now. I noted that while this may seem true at first, there are a host of exceptions to this generalization, and it is therefore not necessarily the case. But since a benevolent being does not necessarily desire to eradicate all evil and suffering now, it follows that the evil and suffering now observed are not incompatible with the desires of a benevolent being. Thus the second major assumption of the logical problem of evil also fails. I further noted that some theistic philosophers have sought (successfully) to show positively that evil and suffering are consistent with the existence of God. Consequently, most philosophers, including atheistic ones, agree that the so-called logical problem of evil is in fact not problematic after all. It will no doubt take some time for the news of this to trickle down to lay-atheist apologists who have a tendency to neglect the study of views which differ from their own, so I should not be surprised to hear the claim, especially on the internet, that the existence of evil proves that God cannot exist. The continued insistence that this is so, it seems to me, is the result of ignorance (willing or not), and should not at all lessen the confidence of the theist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Logical Problem of Evil: Part 2

In the last post, I gave a brief overview of the logical problem of evil, and explained one possible way of defeating it. There is another way, however. You’ll remember that the logical problem of evil is the alleged logical contradiction between these two propositions:

1.       An omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent being exists.
2.       Evil exists.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Logical Problem of Evil: Part 1

In the last post I discussed the Kālam Cosmological Argument. I will likely discuss it further at a later date, especially concerning some additional objections to it, but for now I’ll move on to an objection to theism. It’s not my primary aim in this blog to show that God exists. Rather, what I’d like to do, at least what I’d be perfectly satisfied with having done, is to show that it is rational to believe that God exists. Such an endeavor will require not only some defense of the grounds for (rational) theism, but also an attack on some objections to theism. It will not be surprising to anyone familiar with the question of God’s existence that the first issue to be discussed is the so-called “problem of evil”. This problem comes essentially in two forms.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Kalām Cosmological Argument

It’s been difficult deciding on an initial topic. Most lay-level topics have been more or less sufficiently dealt with at numerous points and by numerous internet authors. For instance, the point at which I’ve decided to begin is a family of arguments for the existence of God known as “cosmological arguments.” These are arguments essentially for a first cause of the universe, and they take many forms. It is important to remember that a defeater for one argument will not necessarily be a defeater for another, even if both are cosmological arguments.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This is the maiden voyage for me. I have been encouraged many times and by many different people to begin a blog, but have hitherto failed to do so. The question may come up, "Why another blog about God? Has not everything which can be said already been said, and said better?" Perhaps. But as each new generation matures, it processes what has been said by others before it. It embeds old ideas in new contexts. There are as many ways to think about God as there are people to do the thinking, and I see no reason not to think about it myself, and to subsequently post those thoughts.