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Posted inUncategorized

The circularity of believing the New Testament

Reading Time: < 1 minute So here’s the thing. The Christian seems to historiographically rate the NT over and above the other biblical books so that the Gospels have hermeneutic priority over any other book. My last book (The Nativity: A Critical Examination), and my subsequent radio debate with Randal Rauser, showed that the only time the Gospels are verifiable – that they intersect with known facts and verifiable incidents – is during the nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke.

Posted inPhilosophy

Philosophy 101 – Plato Factfile

Reading Time: 5 minutes In doing the philpapers inspired Philosophy 101 series (found here and here, so far), touching on the questions asked in the largest ever survey of philosophers, I thought I would give some nice, basic factfiles explaining what some of the key philosophers have brought to the philosophical table. We hear so much about Aristotle, Plato, Hume and Descartes, but who […]

Posted inPhilosophy

Philosophy 101 – Socrates Factfile

Reading Time: 2 minutes I’ve been thinking. In doing the philpapers inspired Philosophy 101 series (found here and here, so far), touching on the questions asked in the largest ever survey of philosophers, i thought i would give some nice, basic factfiles explaining what some of the key philosophers have brought to the philosophical table. We hear so much about Aristotle, Plato, Hume and Descartes, but who the hell are they and what did they think (in a really short, easy-to digest manner)?

Posted inUncategorized

Heads You Win, Tails I Lose #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes When thinking about subjects like the fine-tuning argument it becomes apparent that the theist loves to have their cake and eat it. They thrive off a “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario.

What I mean by this can be exemplified as follows:

In the fine-tuning argument when a skeptic argues:

The universe is more fine-tuned for death than life. The size of the universe is so unbelievably and unnecessarily massive that it appears that it is not designed for human life.

Posted inUncategorized

Absence of evidence IS evidence of absence (in many cases)

Reading Time: 2 minutes I get annoyed at apologists and theists that trot “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” out as if it is some kind of unbreakable law. Nonsense. Not only is it the basis of a gazillion court cases, as well as carefully constructed scientific experiments, it is very useful to boot. It CAN be a fallacy when formulated as an Argument from Ignorance, but it is not strictly synonymous. John D. Cook, mathematician and statistician, sums it up well. Also, Carrier in Proving History deals really well with it as not being a fallacy in historical analyses. JohnM has recently being claiming this mantra incorrectly.

Posted inPsychology

Why do normal people believe ridiculous things?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Why, indeed, do normal people believe ridiculous things? We have heard much from John Loftus about the OTF – the Outsider Test for Faith – which essentially illustrates that religion is a (geographical) accident of birth. It claims that if believers used the same critical powers they use to assess, and dismiss, other religions and their claims, then they are obliged to turn those critical faculties on their own. If they did, John would claim, then they would surely end up dismissing the claims of their own religion (this is a simplistic view of the OTF, no doubt).

What is interesting to me here is not so much the fact that people do special plead their own religion in this way (though that is incredibly interesting and important in itself), but how this comes about. I will put forward a theory which is fairly well accepted anecdotally, and see what you think. I will use an example which I experienced the other night which should show the theory with clarity

Posted inUncategorized

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

Reading Time: 4 minutes I thought I’d resurrect this old chestnut. This was reported by the Secular Outpost some time ago:

“As reported by Christianity Today (see here), New Testament scholar Michael Licona has apparently lost both his job as research professor of New Testament at Southern Evangelical Seminary and been ousted as apologetics coordinator for the North America Mission Board (NAMB).

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Your problem here is that it is not a mantra designed to be talking about primary evidence. Primary evidence is the best evidence (usually, assuming sound of mind and not hallucinating etc). Your analogy fails because you are saying “If you could see both things with your bear eyes, then you would see they are both true.” However, this is a false analogy since we are talking about the standards of secondary and tertiary evidence.

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