Saturday, November 25, 2017

Barron and Craig event

On Saturday, January 13, 2018, the Claremont Center for Reason, Religion, and Public Affairs will host “A Conversation with Bishop Robert Barron and William Lane Craig” at Claremont McKenna College.  The moderators of the discussion will be Stephen Davis and Edward Feser.  The event is free but registration is required.  More information here.

Further details forthcoming.


  1. Well this is going to be extraordinary. Can’t wait to watch the streamed version.

  2. Feser ought to push the Catholic/Protestant question

    1. That would be fair if John MacArthur or James White were participating instead of Craig, who goes out of his way *not* to attack Catholicism.

      Peter Kreeft said that Catholics in the west are abandoning traditional teachings, and he gives an example that 70% of such Catholics do not believe in the transubstantiation of the mass. If this is true, I guarantee that the cause of this is not Protestantism.

      Craig has agreed to team up with Bishop Barron to fight the Modernist encroachment on traditional Christian teachings. We should all be happy about this.

    2. Craig doesn't do a very good job fighting it, in my opinion.

      I'd love to see a question asked about how many converts each man's evangelization has roughly yielded. I'd bet that Barron has reaped by far the bigger harvest.

    3. Why do you say that about Craig? Or to put the question a different way, what do you think he should do better? (Is it the redesigned website? :) I like the old better! But I digress)

    4. I don't think that you could even attempt to quantify the converts each man has made. In any case both will have influence people in different ways e.g. Dr Craig has had a far greater influence on me than Bp Barron, It was hearing about Dr Craig through Evangelical friends that first got me interested in Christian Philosophy. Now since reading Dr Feser's work I have come to reject the moral argument and the Fine Tuning of the Universe as arguments for Existence of God as I don't think that they are very good ones. However I still think that the Kalam argument has a great deal to it, and whilst Dr Craig's current formulation is vulnerable to naturalistic accounts of the Universe's beginning (such as those offered by Alexander Velinken) I think that on A-T Metaphysics those objections cease to have any relevance - my fiancé is currently writing a paper proposing just such a modification to the argument.

    5. What's the issue with the Fine Tuning argument? I was never big into it, but after seeing how utterly terrible most objections were -- some with implausible assumptions, i.e. "necessity", and some like "anthropic principle", "multiverses", "universe too big", none of which is really successful as a response... -- I started taking the argument more seriously. There is an objection by McGrew that is more interesting, but Robin Collins seems to have replied to it also.

      The charge that "we don't get to the classical God, only to an intelligent designer" that a few thomists make is also completely irrelevant. Who will take it to be some kind of demiurge anyway? And the existence of such a designer would be enough to 1) refute naturalism and 2) open up the possibility of miracles and interventions (and with that, raise the probabilities of e.g. arguments from the resurrection for Christianity).

      Plus, I consider design arguments (including the fine tuning) to be a good way of bridging the "gap problem" in cosmological arguments and identifying the necessary being/first cause as what we call God.

      I think people like Craig and Robin Collins do provide a strong fine tuning argument.

    6. To be very honest I haven't read much of the literature on the subject other than Thomist critiques(I will get round to Collin's piece in the Blackwell companion one day).

      I guess that (on my current knowledge) I would consider it to work only by piggybacking on a cosmological argument. That being said I find the concept intriguing and I'm open to further argumentation.

    7. Looks like we've officially taken a detour towards talking about arguments for the existence of God, under a blogpost that talks about philosophers whose job is to talk about arguments for God meeting together to talk about points of doctrine.

      Oh, well, might as well take advantage of the opportunity...

      Are there any other basic arguments for God that don't require much background metaphysics, other than Leibnizian contingency ones of course?

      I think that the Augustinian argument may be another very basic argument for God, especially when we consider it can be applied to many different scenarios of how the world works, as well as the fact that it looks like it could work even under different theories of logic and propositions (say, under a theory where the law of excluded middle is false and propositions can be more than just either true or false, due to the fact that all that is needed to ground the argument is realism about universals and the rational "aboutness" of such objects).

    8. I don't think so, at BEST I suppose that you could argue that Realism shows that scientific materialism i.e. matter and energy are all that exist is false (which to be fair is pretty self evident), but that's about as far as I think you can carry it without going into deep metaphysics. Having said that I don't know much about the Augustinian argument.

    9. There is no "the" fine-tuning argument. There are a few different variations and it has changed over the years due to various objections.

  3. You should see if Bishop Barron can get you in touch with Dave Rubin for a spot on his talk show.

    1. lol Dave Rubin, really? Pass.

    2. The point is not Rubin per se, it's to get mainstream exposure for classical theism.

    3. Yes, getting Feser on the Rubin Report would be excellent. Dave Rubin has a unique audience mainly of open-minded seculars. The close minded ones remained with TYT after Dave left.

      I believe Feser would have a great impact doing an interview with Dave.

  4. Dr. Feser what are your thoughts on the new Netflix Punisher show? What do you think of the Punisher in general?

    1. I was so excited when I saw this post, but now I'm impatiently waiting to see Feser's thoughts on the Punisher

  5. Would you be willing to sign my copy of your book on the death penalty at your event on the first?

  6. Dr. Feser,

    What are your thoughts on this paper that says that immanent teleology wasn't at all clearly endorsed in the medieval period?:

    This runs against your usual thesis that the key revolution of modern philosophy was it's rejection of immanent teleology.

    What do you guys think?

    1. Joe D

      I can't speak for Dr Feser, but reading the abstract I think that several points naturally arise:

      1) What does the Author mean by 'medieval'? In my experience such estimates, especially in regard to the end range from the early 16th to early 17th centuries.

      2) Within this timeframe the competing philosophical lenses in Europe were Plato and Aristotle, the classic cases are Aquinas the Aristotelian and Bonaventure the Platonist. Naturally there is going to be some disagreement around the exact theory of Realism, but the idea of an out and out disagreement is tenuous at best.

      3) As is widely known (amongst history of Philosophy students anyway) there was widespread rejection of Aristotle amongst St Thomas's contemporaries because of the interpretations popularised by Islamic philosophers. Has the Author taken this into account?

      4) Who is it who the author claims rejected Immanent teleology and for what reason? Dr Feser has freely admitted that the likes of William of Ockham and other late scholastics rejected teleology for bad reasons, that Luther, Calvin et al rejected it because it had been put to use defending points of Doctrine which were explicitly Catholic and Descartes et al rejected it because their knowledge of teleology was a caricature.

  7. Now since reading Dr Feser's work I have come to reject the moral argument and the Fine Tuning of the Universe as arguments for Existence of God as I don't think that they are very good ones.

    Why, out of interest, do you reject the Moral Argument per sey as opposed to just Divine Command formulations of it? (The Fourth Way is arguably a case of reasoning from moral properties to a supreme good).

    1. I don't object to the premises of the argument, I just think that its a stretch to get from the premises to the existence of a being with the traditional Divine attributes (although Dr Craig would say that his case is a cumulative one with each argument building on the next). As for the fourth way I'm not that familiar with it so I can't really comment.

    2. Not that guy, but speaking for myself, I reject traditional moral arguments because I am convinced that we can have coherent, binding and objective morality based on classical natural law. We can know that some things are truly wrong because of how they go against human nature, they are irrational acts. We have to be rational, and if we can establish that it is objectively irrational to, e.g., murder innocent people, then we already have an objective moral account.

      In the end it may be impossible for there to be objective morality without God, but only in the sense that it is impossible for ANYTHING to exist without God, including natural teleology and the transcendentals (true, good, one...). But technically we do not need to know God exists in order to recognize natural teleology and the transcendentals.

      I think a deeper "moral argument" could be made, however, from the absurdity of life (as understood by the existentialist philosophers, for example). But not the simple "there is no objective morality without God".

  8. Not that guy, but speaking for myself, I reject traditional moral arguments because I am convinced that we can have coherent, binding and objective morality based on classical natural law.

    This bears out what I suspected (not meaning this as a personal attack btw). I don't accept Classical Natural Law for a number of reasons (I have a nasty suspicion one of the reasons it became so codified in Christianity was because it kicked all the knowing God stuff upstairs to the realm of Grace)

    In the end it may be impossible for there to be objective morality without God, but only in the sense that it is impossible for ANYTHING to exist without God, including natural teleology and the transcendentals (true, good, one...).

    Once I gave an argument that Natural Law theory only implies the existence of God as much as, say, Utilitarianism does (because that later requires agents qua contingent beings and by cosmological argument reasoning contingent beings imply God).

    In the case of the Transcendentals though it’s different though. A Moral Argument typically follows the course of arguing from the existence of a value property qua value property to the existence of God, which is what the Fourth Way/argument from Transcendentals does.

    A couple of other points:

    1. I doubt physical substances can be identified with moral agents, which presumably the non-theist Natural Law theorist would want to do. The theist Natural Lawyer moves too quickly from the claim that we as spiritual beings necessarily have the property of embodied beings to the claim that we have some exclusive necessary link to our human bodies (so their ends are our own)

    2. Classical Natural Law theory might not get away from directly involving God after all. Even on atheistic equivalent of Natural Law, like that given by Quentin Smith, the realization of Man's specific nature qua rational being is to understand highest intellectual object (Smith takes this as answering an ‘ultimate’ question such as why is there something rather than nothing). If this is the case does it prevent Brute Fact atheists from accepting accounts which equate goodness with the realisation of rational nature?

    3. Classical Natural Law theory might require a deeper more basic notion of Good. Does ‘rationality’ on anything like a Scholastic epistemology require explication in terms of the Transcendentals e.g. convertibility of being and truth? If so I doubt one can define goodness as the realisation of an essence.

  9. As there is a discussion of Thomism and moral arguments going on, I would share this paper I was recently reading maybe you guys would find it worth reading too.

  10. I just hope this awesome event is recorded!

  11. Robert Barron has the nice cozy library with books and makes a decent living. Happy. William Lane Craig makes a good amount of money, and has a wife who cooks him three hot meals a day.

    Two ivory tower elitists talking to each other and smiling about God, who have no idea what it's like to, say, live in the inner city working 50 hours a week, eating Ramen noodles, etc.

    1. Just some kid in his mother's basement complaining about people who do productive things with their lives and whose arguments he can hardly understand let alone hope to refute, citing people whose work ethic pus his to shame, and who, large number anyway, belive in God in any event.

    2. Sean's reply is just as absurd as the post he is replying to.

  12. I live in my parents' upstairs, not their basement. I do understand "God" to be an incoherent idea, and so atheism must be true. I wrote a book on the subject.

    1. Looks like Sean nailed it.

    2. Could you please share the title of the book and where someone might be able to purchase it?

    3. Is your argument in the book better than 'Look at you dumb theists living in comfort'?

    4. wait... aren't atheists on average higher earners and more educated than us simpleton theist hicks? Aren't "people in the inner city" more likely to be church goers than those who are not? Aren't the wealthiest nations these days with highest per capita earnings also the least religious? Which one is it? Is religiosity tied to wealth, or is it tied to poverty?

    5. @Mary Angelica

      "On average" is key. I am unemployed and have nothing but a high school diploma. If my book doesn't get published, I'll end up working fast food or clothing the rest of my life.

      It's easy to follow Catholic morality when the circumstances are going good for you. For example, if you're rich, you don't have to live in fear of going to Hell for using contraception. You get to have sexual relief whenever you want, because you can afford more children. But if you're poor and try to obey Catholicism, you'll be driven to guilt, ruin, despair, and depression trying to "control" your pelvic desires.

      Even though I am an atheist, I acknowledge that religion gives people hope, and I have no desire to take that hope away. Everyone lives on and needs hope. I have hope in the Messianic Age. However, religions with a doctrine of Hell...that's where I draw the line, and I will spend the rest of my life attacking religions that hurt people.

    6. Is it Hell as traditionally understood, or divine judgment as such? Would a conditionalist view be more acceptable to you?

      Also, as an athiest, what do you mean by the Messianic Age?

    7. A Counter Rebel: you'll be driven to guilt, ruin, despair, and depression trying to "control" your pelvic desires.

      Uh...... okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...

      I will spend the rest of my life attacking religions that hurt people.

      See, I — and most other people in the universe — are less concerned with whether a religion is supposedly "hurtful" than with whether it's TRUE. You might think it's "nice" to tell people they can go around sticking forks into electrical outlets whenever they feel like it, but the truth is that it hurts, so I — and, again, most other people — are going to say so. We'd rather people be uncomfortable with the truth than "comfortable" with a lie.

    8. I'm also concerned with the truth. The truth is that New Testament theology hurts people and makes them miserable. I was on the verge of suicide.

      "Is it Hell as traditionally understood, or divine judgment as such? Would a conditionalist view be more acceptable to you?"

      Eternal torment is eternal torment, whether or not the "fire" is literal. I don't see the need for apologists to sugarcoat Hell. Back when I was a traditional Catholic, I never sugarcoated it.

      "Also, as an athiest [sic], what do you mean by the Messianic Age?"

      Order out of chaos. Eventually, Sentience will learn to stop making irrelevant distinctions. We're all sentient. We all want to be happy, and that's all that counts.

      "We are all one consciousness experiencing itself, subjectively." -Bill Hicks, comedian

    9. CR,


      So what do you find wrong with it, that it is eternal or that it is retribution?


      That seems like a long shot, but, if you're an atheist and the existence of the universe is inexplicable as is the existence of life, maybe that's par for the course. In any event, it isn't a hope for you are me, but maybe some living things eons from now.

    10. Some reason the quoted section of text didn't appear. I was commenting on your objection to eternal punishment and the atheistic 'messianic age'.

    11. The universe is not inexplicable. Quentin Smith refuted that nonsense. He's more intelligent than you could ever dream of being.

      My problem with Hell is that it is painful and based on a primitive and stupid notion of "justice."

    12. A Counter Rebel: I'm also concerned with the truth. The truth is that New Testament theology hurts people and makes them miserable.

      The truth is that sticking forks into electrical sockets hurts people. Surgery hurts people. Even going to school can hurt people. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Are you against medical operations and education too? Of course, there are billions of Christians who aren't killing themselves, so obviously "the New Testament" is the not the problem here; there's something else going on.

      I was on the verge of suicide.

      I am genuinely sorry for that. A site for analytical philosophy is probably not the best place to get support for a problem like that; there are other sites, or even better, find a sound local therapist or clergyman you can talk to. However, clearly you were severely misinformed as to what Christianity and Catholicism are all about, so if you have serious questions on the intellectual side, people here will be happy to help you understand what the Church really teaches.

      We all want to be happy, and that's all that counts.

      "All"? So when you said you were concerned with the truth, you meant truths that make you happy. Too bad.

  13. Dear Anonymous

    I can empathize up unto a point.... I too live 'upstairs' although my fiancé, my mother and I decided that it was probably the best scenario given.....

    a) the cost of buying / renting a home near to good public schools in our area
    b) the cost of childcare.

    The idea is that we'll continue to work, my mother takes care of our future children and we take care of the house. In a sense everyone wins, we are not burdened with a mortgage, our childcare costs are nonexistent, so we can both work, mom isn't alone and we live 200 yards from outstanding state school.

    Your characterization of +Barron and WLC is a classic case of poisoning the well, even if it were true. That being said I remember going to a lecture by WLC once where he described his precarious financial position whilst he was a graduate student so you're entire point falls flat on its face.
    I would be very interested in your book as our host has written several books (aimed at different audiences) demonstrating the exact opposite.

    1. I'll withhold final judgement pending hearing any actual arguments he has, but given the quality, or lack of same, in his/her first comment, I detect a strong whiff of troll.

    2. I'm trying to get my book published through Prometheus Books. He did receive the manuscript. Waiting for a response.

      As far as the idea of me being a "troll," it seems like that is an excuse for people to ignore (or even delete) comments that refute their positions.

    3. You started with a well-poisoning fallacy that ignores any arguments Barron and Craig might make, then you say you find the idea of God incoherent (without telling us why), and then you tell us that you've written a book, with no more details beyond that it's an atheist work. What arguments are you making here? What is there to ignore or refute?

      Despite the absence of those arguments, you've received replies and your comments haven't been deleted. If you want to argue, go ahead--maybe a fruitful discussion can be had--but you have to supply the arguments first.

      As whether or not they (Barron and Craig) "...have no idea what it's like to, say, live in the inner city working 50 hours a week, eating Ramen noodles, etc.," what do you actually know about their backgrounds, besides what you can learn on Wikipedia or some other source? Also, how is their condition any different than the majority of scholars and academics, religious or irreligious? As a priest, Barron would've taken confessions, visited the sick and dying, and worked with poor of the community, which is near the core of a diocesan priest's work. For that matter, you might talk to some Dominicans, Franciscans, or Sisters of Charity--among numerous charitable and teaching orders--whose work often takes them into the poorest parts of neighborhoods all over the world, some much poorer than the American inner city. Among those religious orders you can count many philosophers and theologians.

      Note, I don't find your atheism repugnant, nor do I want to howl and gnash my teeth at you. You have to understand, though, that whatever your sincerity and integrity, so far you've simply come off as obnoxious and ignorant. I'm willing to accept that's unintentional, but onus is on you to fix it.

    4. David Marcoe,

      I just wanted to point out the high, comfortable positions of Christian apologists. It's easy for a man having three hot meals a day to gloat about the problem of evil being unsound (which it isn't) and to say that it's merely an emotional issue. How callous. And even if Bishop Barron has come into contact with the poor, he himself is not one of those poor people. And he believes in a God who allowed those people to be poor, and who said "the poor will be with you always." What kind of a "Messiah" is that? I long for the Jewish Messiah who will make the wolf lie with the lamb.

      The logical argument of evil is sound, as my book will prove. It doesn't matter how many philosophers *think* Alvin Plantinga refuted it. He didn't.

      I also have a whole chapter dedicated to Edward Feser's new book, that shows how he fails to answer the problem of evil, and how he fails to prove that God exists, or is even coherent.

    5. Wait a min.... is this Stardusky's new pseudonym?

    6. I am not Stardusty. But even if I were, that's not a logical reason to dismiss what I say. The origin of a point doesn't matter. The point does. Talk about poisoning the well.

    7. “I just wanted...”

      Again, how is this different from any number of tenured professors or professional scholars who don’t live in grinding poverty?

      “It's easy...”

      First, how does debating the soundness of the argument from evil amount to “gloating”? Second, where has Barron or Craig said that the argument from evil is merely an “emotional issue”? Please note that polemics about suffering, absent rational discourse, is not synonymous with the *argument* from evil. Third, asserting that the argument from evil is sound is not demonstration or counter-argument. You’ve simply declared it.

      “And even if Bishop...”

      Then I guess we have to condemn pretty much anyone who’s ever done charity work, or a kind thing, or anyone not born into poverty, as any degree of prosperity must thereby invalidate any statement that they ever make on suffering, regardless of evidence or logical content. Or to put it simply, we are allowed to disregard an argument when it comes from a particular arguer. That’s a logical absurdity.

      But my original point was that you or I don’t know enough to say whether or how they’ve personally confronted suffering. Further, I pointed out that those who make it their job to share the burdens of the poor and alleviate suffering also say much the same thing as Barron or Craig. The accusation that those people are insulated by comfort doesn’t hold.

      “And he believes...”

      The same Messiah who healed the lepers and the blind, who went amongst the poor and the despised, who allowed himself to be subjected to a humiliating death for the forgiveness of all of mankind's sins, and who said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but also said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

      Let’s I have a friend who’s getting married and we take him out to a bar. A buddy of ours could say, “That’s a waste! Why don’t you donate that money to charity?” Likely, my answer would be, “My friend’s only getting married once and we want to celebrate.”

      This is essentially the same complaint the disciples made when a woman came to pour an expensive jar a perfume over Jesus’ head, in a sincere act of love and devotion. What was Jesus’ full reply? “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” If God is he in whom all things find their end and whom we should love with all with our whole being, then the woman’s act of devotion was entirely proper.

      As to the point of God allowing poverty, that merely goes to the debate over the problem of evil. An attempt to disregard Barron, Craig, and others from the outset falls a little flat when it’s the very point being argued.

      “The logical argument...”

      What relevance does Plantinga have here? Boethius wrote an entire book, one of the most famous in Western philosophy, treating the problem of evil, back in the 6th century. Most Christian theologians and philosophers throughout history have dealt with the subject. Naturally, the vast majority of them don’t rely on anything Plantinga has ever said.

      “I also have a whole chapter dedicated...”

      I also have a book, where I disprove everything you say in the introduction...See how sketchy that statement reads? I don’t doubt that you’ve written a book, but I don’t have telepathy or a time machine. I don’t what arguments you’ve made or can make for your position, until you make them.

      Note: Had to cut down the quotes to fit the character limit.

    8. A Counter Rebel said:"It's easy for a man having three hot meals a day to gloat about the problem of evil being unsound (which it isn't) and to say that it's merely an emotional issue. How callous."

      Calling Craig's treatment of the problem of evil "callous" shows you are being emotional about it. Calling an argument "callous" is an emotional response.

      Would you prefer Craig to give a response that is emotionally comforting ("nice" rather than "callous")?

    9. So far, the only position your comments have refuted is that you have made anything resembling an argument for or against any position at all. Now you get defensive and accuse people who point that out of being intellectual cowards afraid to face your "arguments." Seems to me I remember hearing about a word for people who engage in that type of behavior on the interwebs. Oh yeah, the word is "troll."

    10. @David Marcoe

      "Then I guess we have to condemn pretty much anyone who’s ever done charity work...."

      I'm not against helping the poor. I just point out that to defend God's allowing of suffering is a callous attitude when you're not the one suffering in the worst ways. People in poverty don't get to sit in comfortable chairs making excuses for God's permitting of suffering.

      "The same Messiah who healed the lepers and the blind, who went amongst the poor and the despised"

      He healed *some* lepers and the blind. He didn't have the suffer the pain of falling into sin, and fearing eternal torment, as I did when I was a Catholic.

      "who allowed himself to be subjected to a humiliating death for the forgiveness of all of mankind's sins"

      Lots of people die in a painful way. Lots of people are humiliated. Anyone who went to public high school has been the subject of pain and humilitation.

      "who said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” "

      If I love my neighbour, I don't torture him forever if he does something 'bad'. I rehabilitate him instead.

      "What relevance does Plantinga have here?"

      He was the one who responded to J.L. Mackie's argument from evil. He failed. I don't care if 98% of philosophers say he succeeded. He didn't.

      I grant that gesturing towards a book I have written is not a real argument. I just don't want to post my book in a comments section. I'm trying to get it published. If it doesn't get published, then I'll post it on the Internet for everyone to see. Until then, feel free to shoot me an email/message, and then I'll let you read my arguments if they don't get published, or, I'll link you to where you can buy the book if it does get published.



      "Would you prefer Craig to give a response that is emotionally comforting ("nice" rather than "callous")?"

      Yes. I would like it if people acknowledged the ivory tower they live in, and show compassion for the suffering and the poor.

    11. "I'm not against helping the poor..."

      Nor did I suggest it, but again, you've (1) made assumptions about the experiences of the people making the argument and (2) conflating the people making the argument with argument itself. It is entirely irrelevant whether they sit in comfortable chairs or mud huts. The argument stands or falls on its own. Moreover, to accuse someone of callousness in posing such an argument is merely begging the question: "You must be callous, since the presence of suffering cannot possibly be defended!" But this the very point being argued. You can't disqualify before they've made their case and you can't know what regard they have for those who suffer until you know more about their character. And if there are compassionate people in the world who make the same argument, do we then accuse them of callousness?

      "He healed *some* lepers and the blind..."

      And he'll heal all wounds and maladies at the Second Coming, but the point was that you can't interpret a quote (or half a quote) in a contextless vacuum.

      "He didn't have the suffer the pain of falling into sin..."

      Which would kind of defeat the purpose of pulling mankind out of sin. But of course, what kind of pain is inflicted in taking the world's sins on himself? That's a metaphysical question I don't have the answer to.

      "Lots of people die..."

      The point is that he surrendered the advantage of his divinity to live, suffer, and die as man, for creatures who are beneath him, with no need to do so, being as he is perfectly self-sufficient.

      "If I love my neighbour..."

      Then you deny his human dignity by denying the moral worth and importance of his actions, treating his sin as mere pathology. You also deprive of his agency as you subject him to this rehabilitation, with no principle of just deserts to place a limit on where and when it will end.

      If by rehabilitation, though, you mean modelling good actions and generally attempting to lead him to a better way of life, then how is that different than "loving the sinner and hating the sin"?

      As to hell, so much of our stock imagery of perdition is inherited from sources like Dante, but what most people miss about his "Inferno" is that the punishments sinners are subjected are merely their sins unmasked, stripped of illusion. Lewis put it rather nicely, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" Hell is ugly because sin is ugly.

      "...feel free to shoot me an email/message..."

      Thank you for the offer. I know we may not see eye to eye, but I do wish you well.

    12. Our host has told us not to respond to SP, his sockpuppets, or lookalikes. Counter-Rebel certainly is at least one of these, plus is clearly an imbecile and troll. They are all banned. Stop feeding them.

    13. When you resort to insults, you lose. If you don't like my comments, don't read them and don't respond to them.

    14. Ok, how about this? Regardless of who, what, or where you are, regardless of whether you are a genius or a moron, regardless of whether you are or are not a wonderful human being, your comments are imbecilic and trollish (not to mention juvenile). Better?

    15. CR isn't like SP, he's just yet another example of "I really want to get my rocks off, therefore God does not exist".

    16. I'd wager the responses would be something like "free will does not exist, therefore Plantinga's free will defense does not work!", which of course presupposes determinism, which by itself already presupposes a physicalist (and false) conception of human beings, and is of course dismantled by many different defenses of free will. Yves Simon's account and defense of free will is especially lucid, for example.

      Or it could be "we have grounds to hold that the suffering we see is unnecessary suffering!" which, of course, can only be employed in a dialectical context. The theist could agree with that and simply point out to how the conclusion that God exists and is good is still more plausible than the conclusion of the argument from evil.

      We could also count Stewart Goetz's theodicy based on infinite goods... And so on.

      Just saying, a lot of smug atheists don't realize these topics have already been debated a thousand times before by people much smarter than them. There is no way an atheist could "refute" theism because the only possible denial of theism rests on the assumption of brute facts or pantheism, for example. And the assumption of specific and controversial views in the philosophy of mind. And so on. There is no "refutation" of natural theology's traditional arguments.

    17. I love how you put refutation in quotation marks. The arguments have been refuted, but you theists will just keep repeating them over and over. That is, until people read my book and realize the bankruptcy of them. Then theists will finally be ignored, and priests and Catholic philosophers will have to find real jobs that help people, instead of torturing young people by telling them they can't use birth control.

      And you make the common "oh it's been dealt with before" when it comes to the argument from evil. So what? If I have a sound argument from evil (which I do), you can spill oceans of ink defending God's allowing of child rape, but oceans of ink can't refute a sound argument.

    18. If you don't like our hosts rules go somewhere else. He has told us not to respond to the likes of you and has banned you (it was specifically you who he called a sockpuppet or lookalike of SP)

      Everyone, stop feeding the troll.

    19. "He has told us not to respond to the likes of you"

      And you keep shooting yourself/ves in the foot by responding to me. I don't have a problem with that, but if *you* do, you don't have to respond to me.

      If you want me to stop replying, then do the same: stop replying. But if I'm prompted to make a counter-point, I will do so.

    20. Straight from the horses mouth everyone: don't feed the troll!

    21. I was correct, after all. It is yet another delusional atheist who thinks he has "refuted" theism without realizing that there can be no refutation, there are only certain assumptions to make and they need to insist on 1) brute facts; 2) determinism; 3) materialism; among others.

      CR from your posts I can already tell that your book probably won't be very good, and won't be very impressive or influence anyone in the philosophy of religion. You act just like the type of guy who begs 15 questions per second and enjoy equivocation fallacies. I was hoping it'd be more than "I really want to get my rocks off, therefore God doesn't exist", but your responses were very disappointing. Not to mention you sound immature. I shall ignore you from now on, good luck with your irrelevant book.

    22. I really don't believe CR is a sock puppet of SP. For all his stubborness and intellectual blinders, at least SP had the brains to make stuff up that sounded vaguely scientificalistic. This guy's got nothing. He also sounds much more adolescent than SP. Well, regardless, out of respect for our host's requests, I'm done.

    23. Has anyone in this thread mentioned
      that WL Craig has a withered arm? I've had the opportunity to be in the same room with him a couple of times and its one of the first things you notice. I don't think he talks about it much (or didn't, I don't closely follow him these days). It's not grinding inner city poverty, but hardly ideal.

      Also, in at least one edition of Reasonable Faith he criticizes C.S Lewis's approach to the problem of suffering as lacking depth, and recommends Evangelicals dig into Karamazov.

      Those facts of course neither commend nor refute any particular argument he makes. And I get that he can come across a but stilted. But I hardly think he's personally or professionally glib on the question of suffering.

  14. Feser has written about scientism before, but it would be fun to watch him tackle this blog post...

    1. Funny stuff. According to him, science is the only way of knowing. But this is self defeating given this is not something science can tell us. (At least not without circular reasoning)

      And there is plenty of knowledge we have other than scientific knowledge - E.g. logical, mathematical, semantic, moral etc.

      I'll leave this here:

      The easiest way to refute scientism is simply cite these sources of knowledge...most of which science presupposes!

    2. That guy thinks all of them are just part of science.

    3. He's a moron, as is any proponent of scientism. If you go by the simple working test that "science works", you are already presupposing a philosophical stance, namely, one with a pragmatist bent; and if you are to take broad conclusions from it into laws or principles (as science does), you'll already be presupposing some sort of metaphysical analysis. By the same token we could establish, for example, the principle of sufficient reason and thus the existence of a Supreme Being.

      It *really* is too much to expect proponents of scientism to understand all its flaws. They are, unfortunately, too stupid for that, and blinded by the cultural establishment. Please remember, folks: it took Western philosophers a few DECADES for them to realize that logical positivism was false and self-contradictory. All the while, these guys were insisting that whatever was not analytical or empirically verifiable was just meaningless -- WITHOUT understanding that the very principle would then be meaningless, and also that the very idea of verification was ill-defined and problematic. It took us DECADES to realize this type of kindergarten error. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes us decades to get out of the scientistic mud, either.

      We'll get out of it, but it will take a while.

    4. Read his defense of logical-positivism.

    5. What does he mean by "part of science" as in, discernible via the scientific method, or does he broaden "science" to triviality, so that anything counts as scientific?

  15. Yes, and how does that solve the problems I just pointed? The moment we start taking the epistemological stance of seeing that something "works" with reality and gives us reliable results, we are already taking a philosophical stance (with a pragmatist bent). Our recognition of this as something with an epistemological relevance is logically and necessarily prior to what we could call scientism; indeed, proponents of scientism depend on it in order to defend scientism. This is one problem. There are further problems:

    1) this conclusion of an epistemological stance depends on the principle of non-contradiction and the principle of identity, insofar as it takes ontological and logical consistency to be an important and necessary factor in concluding that what we experience -- what we can see that actually works -- is something and not something else; it works instead of not-working; etc. This would be presupposed also if one were to argue for PNC and PI from their "workability". On pain of the proposed scientism becoming absolutely meaningless, it must make way for PNC as an absolutely true self-evident proposition that we come to understand not by virtue of experience, but by intuition. Denial of this fact makes the proposed scientism *even worse* than logical positivism;

    2) The very method of seeing what "works" and "makes sense of reality", ultimately affirming certain simple principles, could also (as I argued) be used to establish the principle of sufficient reason. This would lead us to the metaphysical understanding of being as intelligible. This would lead us also to the existence of a Supreme Being to explain any observable facts;

    3) Science without metaphysical concepts of causation, form and even teleology is just sterile. We assume metaphysical concepts of this kind all the time in science;

    4) Qualia form an evidential counter-example to scientism that we know through experience. That is to say, empiricism leads us to the conclusion that something exists which cannot in any way be made sense of through natural science; qualia is a destructive anomaly for scientism.

    5) If we do not grasp universal and determinate concepts, or we are able to understand determinate meanings of words based on usage and not physical characteristics, or perhaps that we our thoughts are not caused by other thoughts by virtue of propositional content instead of physical properties, to conclude scientism is true would be itself invalid;

    6) if we understand language as the understanding and use of conventional signs with meanings dictated by common and public use (a very plausible view of language), it seems like its origins could never be explained naturalistically or scientifically, as it is not something that someone can create as "an instrument" without first already having language, and also cannot be created "by accident" as if someone could accidentally follow rules of language. See Anthony Kenny on this.

    These are all additional problems for scientism. It is absolutely hopeless. Proponents of scientism are morons -- I know it sounds harsh and blunt, but it's true; proponents of logical positivism were also morons. But as I said, it will take us quite a while to extiguish scientism. Eventually logical positivism became virually extinct; the same will probably happen with scientism, but it might take decades for people to understand the obvious. As it happened with logical positivism.

    1. I just went through lots of posts on that blog, Apparently (and as per anon) the guy's idea of scientism is just bunch of doctrines he finds respectable (materialism,Physicalism,nominalism,atheism,empiricism,naturalism etc) and whatever ways they are justified , He seems inclined to label anything "science" which vindicates them (repeatedly formulates his thesis as "All knowledge is empirical"). Not necessarily what we would normally count under "science".

    2. So his "scientism" is just triviality after all, and one could in principle consider theism, dualism, hylomorphism, teleology, essentialism or anything else to be validated and "science" according to his own epistemology.

      Anyway, case in point: scientism is moronic.

    3. He might respond that those don't aren't "empirical" or they don't "Work" the way iphones,tablets,Airplanes,spaceships,mri etc do.

      Anyway, what do you think about his response to self-defeat objection?

    4. And something seems wrong with the combox today,these big spaces aren't from me, don't appear in preview.

    5. @Miguel,

      "This would lead us to the metaphysical understanding of being as intelligible. This would lead us also to the existence of a Supreme Being to explain any observable facts;"

      Don't we already understand being as intelligible in virtue of the laws of logic?

      Or, if one wants to bracket off the laws of logic and consider explanation a seperate question about being, don't the laws of logic (which are inherently self-intelligible) point to the conclusion that questions such as "how" and "why" are also intelligible?

      Otherwise, we would be stuck with the idea that one aspect of being is completely self-intelligible (the laws of logic) while another is unintelligible (the why and how of existence), which sounds like a fair amount of hoopla.

  16. "He might respond that those don't aren't "empirical" or they don't "Work" the way iphones,tablets,Airplanes,spaceships,mri etc do. "

    He can only do that by invoking a scientism that would be subject to the objections I made.

    And his response, well, I think it's shit because he still requires PNC in the sense I explained, and is already engaging in a specific epistemological stance that goes beyond the method of pragmatic scientism. Not to mention all the other problems.

  17. It says the event sold out and that I'm on the waitlist. Should I still show up?

    1. My friend told me yesterday he couldn't go. So I have a spare ticket. If you want to go but still don't have a ticket, message me via Facebook, you can use my spare. I won't cancel the spare yet.

    2. My understanding is that there will likely be space for people who show up without tickets, though they will be allowed in only after ticket holders are already admitted and we get a sense of how many further people can be accommodated.

    3. thanks Sean! I'll pass. I'm attending with a couple of friends so I wouldn't want to attend if they can't. But we'll try given what Dr Feser said.

    4. and awesome, thanks Dr Feser!