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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mr. T gets it right again! Watch out Chuck Norris!



On so many anti-theistic and atheistic blogs there are tons of image jokes about theists. Just thought I'd ebb the tide a little bit.

Question about Evolution

Honest And Open Question

I have always had a question for evolutionists of the Neo-Darwinian persuasion that I have yet to have cogently answered.

I thought of it when reading Coyne’s Why Evolution is True. Coyne states,

“if evolution meant only gradual genetic change within a species, we’d have only one species today—a single highly evolved descendant of the first species. Yet we have many… How does this diversity arise from one ancestral form?” It arises because of “splitting, or, more accurately, speciation,” which “simply means the evolution of different groups that can’t interbreed.” - Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, pp. 5-6.

Here is my question, if speciation involves mutation that creates a new species that can no longer interbreed (since otherwise all life really would all be one genetic species with only varied morphology), then how does an advantageous mutation get spread?

If parent species A births an offspring B with such a significant mutation as to be a new species and incapable of breeding with species A, then how would B reproduce? Would there need to be the EXACT same mutation at the same moment in history and in the same geographical location so that male-B would find female-B and copulate?

I really do hope that someone can explain this since this is one problem with evolution that just seems so fundamentally flawed that I doubt no one has addressed it. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Logical Arguments for the Existence of God

There are many arguments for the existence of God that I believe are both valid and sound. However, some I think are more compelling (or should be) than others.

The following are what I believe to be the best logical arguments for the existence of God:



The Transcendental Argument:

1. Laws of logic exist and are binding on human thought.
2. If there is no God, 1 would not hold.
3. 1 does hold.
4. Therefore God exists.

(this is the abbreviated version. For a full version see: http://www.carm.org/transcendental-argument)



The Ontological Argument (Plantinga’s “victorious” model):

(Your understanding of this model will be greatly influenced depending on your understanding of modal logic.)

Definitions:

Maximal excellence: To have omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in some world.

Maximal greatness: To have maximal excellence in every possible world.

1. There is a possible world (W) in which there is a being (X) with maximal greatness.
2. But X is maximally great only if X has maximal excellence in every possible world.
3. Therefore X is maximally great only if X has omnipotence, omniscience and moral perfection in every possible world.
4. In W, the proposition "There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being" would be impossible—that is, necessarily false.
5. But what is impossible does not vary from world to world.
6. Therefore, the proposition, "There is no omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being" is necessarily false in this actual world, too.
7. Therefore, there actually exists in this world, and must exist in every possible world, an omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect being.



The Moral Argument:

1. Real moral obligation is a fact. We are really, truly, objectively obligated to do good and avoid evil.
2. Either the atheistic view of reality is correct or the "religious" one.
3. But the atheistic one is incompatible with there being moral obligation.
4. Therefore the "religious" view of reality is correct.



The Argument from Conscience:

This is actually not a formulated argument, but a follow up to the moral argument if someone objects to real or objective morality. We can then point out that they will all, no matter their convictions, universally accept that we should obey our conscience. Besides the fact that this actually functions as a universal, objective, obligation (“we OUGHT to obey our conscience”) we can still ask where did conscience get such an absolute authority—an authority admitted even by the moral subjectivist and relativist? There are only four possibilities.

1. From something less than me (nature)
2. From me (individual)
3. From others equal to me (society)
4. From something above me (God)

Let's consider each of these possibilities in order.

1. How can I be absolutely obligated by something less than me—for example, by animal instinct or practical need for material survival?
2. How can I obligate myself absolutely? Am I absolute? Do I have the right to demand absolute obedience from anyone, even myself? And if I am the one who locked myself in this prison of obligation, I can also let myself out, thus destroying the absoluteness of the obligation which we admitted as our premise.
3. How can society obligate me? What right do my equals have to impose their values on me? Does quantity make quality? Do a million human beings make a relative into an absolute? Is "society" God?
4. The only source of absolute moral obligation left is something superior to me. This binds my will, morally, with rightful demands for complete obedience.

Thus God, or something like God, is the only adequate source and ground for the absolute moral obligation we all feel to obey our conscience. Conscience is thus explainable only as the voice of God in the soul.



The Argument from Desire:

1. Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3. Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
4. This something is what people call "God" and "life with God forever."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Response to Werleman Post on Morality

A quick response to a blog posted by Courtenay Werleman on his blog (http://rationalists.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/morality-is-subjective-done/):

First, his summation of the theistic argument (known as the transcendental argument) is a poor representation (if “representation” is even a proper description) of the actual argument. Though any of you who are actually familiar with Werleman and his argumentation style should not expect anything else since he more often than not degenerates to ad hominems or straw men where he “summarizes” his opponents arguments in such a manner that makes them less than they actually are in order to be able to easily dismiss them.

Second, he then goes on to make his own hypothetical argument (I call it “hypothetical” because his premises do not function as premises but as unsubstantiable claims). He says that “if God exists, then it would would be in God’s interest and within his capacity for all human beings to know his ethics perfectly.” While it is within His capabilities, it is not necessarily true that it is “in his best interest.” This is something that Werleman would find convenient, but it is not a necessity.

It is also interesting that God HAS actually made his ethics known to all humanity. The fact that we do not know “God’s ethics perfectly” is precisely what, in Christianity, is called sin. Werleman wants to affirm heads while denying tails. The problem is that one comes with the other. God HAS revealed His will to all humanity AND we don’t know perfectly his will because of our sin. Werleman wants to create a false dichotomy that it is either one or the other when in fact it seems likely to be both.

Thirdly, Werleman shows that he claims to be a rationalist but in fact does not even understand basic logical forms. How so? When his 1st premise plays no function in the syllogism and is thus, by Occam’s Razor, unnecessary. Also his syllogism is set up in the following modus tollens:

1. If p then q.
2. Not-q
3. Therefore Not-p.

The problem is that premise 2 (not-q) is actually not a direct negation of q. Notice q is “then it would be in God’s interest…” while in premise 2, God’s interest is not mentioned. In order for the syllogism to be valid, premise 2 would have to be altered to read “It is not in God’s interest…”. This, while it would make the syllogism valid, however would make it blatantly unsound. It would argue that if God exists, it would be in his interest to do q. But in order to negate q, one must presuppose God’s interest in order to deny God’s existence. It would be unsound because one would necessarily presuppose God’s existence in order to say what is/is not in his interest, within an argument to deny his existence.


Fourth, Werleman argues that God revealing something to some and not to others is unfair and in contradiction to God’s benevolence. This again does not seem necessary. Justice does not always require uniform application to all people. Imagine the ramifications of this in our every day life if we really believed this to be the case. This is only a stipulation that skeptics pull out when they think it will help their argument. (Yet here we should again point out that God HAS in fact revealed his “ethics” to all both in the imago dei and in his revelation. Werleman wants us to ignore the 500lb gorilla in the room.)

Werleman then poses several dilemmas. By doing so he shows that he has actually not thought deeply about these issues and does not know the difference between objective moral values and situational ethics, where we have the dilemma of reconciling several objective moral values when they collide. See, what Werleman seems to miss is that these dilemmas are only dilemmas within a system of objective morals. Lets look at the Trolly example. Why is it a dilemma? Because we recognize that two objective morals are conflicting. But one could ask Werleman, who believes that morality is relative, WHY this is a dilemma if either response would be equally moral since both would be the absolute correct decision relative to the person? Werleman PRESUPPOSES objective morality even when he attempts to dismantle it.

Finally, Werleman shows, yet again, that he not only cannot dismantle the theistic argument, but that he really does not even understand it. Is the argument that the basis for morality is the Bible? NO! The argument is that the basis for morality is the ontological nature of God Himself. Werleman reveals nothing about the theistic argument or the nature of God, but rather that he is a fundamentalist for anti-theism who is completely unable, or maybe even simply uninterested, in dealing with the logical arguments, evidence, and reality that is placed before him.