Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Progressive Non-Contradictions - Responding to Elijah

On Twitter I saw a Elijah, an apologist I've had pleasant interactions with in the past go off on his own created hashtag called #ProgressiveContradictions. He's compiled a list of them in a post on his website.

I was a bit disappointed at reading some of these because frankly I expected better from Elijah. In very few cases did he highlight any actual hypocrisy that could be traced to the larger progressive movement.  But the vast majority of cases were going after the most superficial kinds of supposed contradictions - either interpreting statements in the worst ways, or ignoring underlying philosophy which underlies most of the statements and renders it non-contradictory, or just simply presenting views from two sides of the spectrum within progressivism and pretending that individuals hold both views on a topic that is internally contested. 

Honestly this is some kind of bush-league Fox News talk show kind of stuff that you wouldn't expect an educated thinker to engage in.

I pointed out how if an atheist or liberal did this, then Elijah would go nuts and pen blog posts detailing how wrong or stupid the critiques were. Like lets say:

Conservatives say they're pro-life, but for the death penalty! #ConservativeContradictions

Christians believe their god is perfectly mercifuly and perfectly just, but they're mutually exclusive! #ChristianContradictions

Christians say they believe in a god who is three persons, but there is only one god. #ChristianContradictions

Christians believe Jesus was fully man and fully god, but a being can't be completely two different things! #ChristianContradictions

In each case the conservative/christian can give an underlying philosophy or understanding to resolve these problems. While I may not agree, that doesn't mean the statements are inherently incoherent.

Elijah challenged me to show how his examples were not contradictory, and so that's where I intend to get to work.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Responding to Cosmic Skeptic on the Kalam

Recently I saw an apologist I enjoy interacting with throwing some heat at a video by atheist YouTuber Cosmic Skeptic on his latest video about the Kalam.  Since I’ve got a deep history with the argument I wanted to check it out.  You can view the video here:

In short I think Alex is correct that the Kalam is unsound, but he’s right for the wrong reasons in a few cases, and he makes a few other errors along the way. I mentioned this to him on Twitter and he kindly asked me to expand – hence this post.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Atheism and the Intrinsic Value of Human Beings

During a Twitter exchange yesterday I brought up the idea that atheists could account for the intrinsic value of human beings in order to counter the idea that only theism could account for our intrinsic value.

The atheist compatible basis for intrinsic human value is fairly simple: The capability to value anything at all is intrinsically valuable.

Since some human beings have the capability to value something, those that do are therefore inherently valuable.

This idea was challenged by an apologist and theologian I happen to respect and interact with fairly often Stephen J. Graham.

Stephen asks: "Why is the ability to value necessary for possessing intrinsic value?" (Emphasis his)

There is a response to this question, though at first I should make an important point.

The question is somewhat malformed, because like any question for the basis of value, or why something has value - you eventually come to a terminus of your explanation to which one can always ask "but why does that give something value?"

This is as true for theistic conceptions of value as it is for atheistic ones. After all, even if theists say that god simply is defined as being valuable, one could ask why we should consider a being like that to be valuable?

So at some point we reach an explanatory ultimate with regard to value.  The best we can do is evaluable whether or not we consider that explanatory ultimate to be sufficient.

My Answer