As just noted, a discussion thread on responding to abuse of the privilege of developing and implementing curriculum has been trollishly hijacked in what looks like an escalation of the tactics coming from a circle of objector sites. At the end, on a topic dealing with 12 year olds, sexually tinged vulgarity has been injected by word plays on a participant’s handle in an attempt to trigger a spiral to the gutter.
That is the sort of ruthless nihilistic amorality and domineering disrespect we have been seeing in answer to exposure and correction of patent education abuse — of 12 year olds in Critical Thinking class . . . as in: pretending and trying to enforce under colour of education authorities that ethical theism is little more than a culturally enforced, ill founded notion, i.e., only the ignorant, stupid, indoctrinated, insane, or wicked try to take the reality of God seriously:
That attitude is manifest in the trollish disruptive tactics resorted to and sustained in the teeth of correction.
Now, a specific tactic being used is parody of the Idea of God in Phil of Rel (including Natural Theology) and Sys Theol, both of which are significant academic disciplines with a significant base of findings — and yes, that is a fair quantum of onward reading. (Grudem’s Sys Theol MP3 lecture series is here.) Only the sophomoric and boorish would insist on strawman caricature mocking parody as an answer to serious arguments under these heads.
ADDED: Introductory material and articles, Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, an outline, and Craig’s podcast:
I will pause to link and clip from a 101 level response by TfT, as this will help the serious inquirer and will be able to serve as a FYI-FTR:
INTRO: >>. . . many atheists not only lack knowledge of Christian theology and the contents and contexts of the Bible but lack a basic understanding of natural theology / general revelation, which seeks to infer the cause of the universe from nature (nature not meaning biosphere alone but the universe as a whole).
Take a lack of knowledge of natural theology / general revelation – add to it a lack knowledge of Christian theology and the contents of the Bible – mix that with a typically early age rejection of Christianity – blend it with the early, Sunday School, age understanding of theology – and finally bake it in the presuppositional oven of self-professed erudition and what do we end up with?
We end up with atheists seriously arguing that the concept of God as postulated by Christian theology is on a par with postulating the existence of imaginary friends, fairies, celestial teapots, sky daddies or Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorns . . . .
FSM: >> . . . That we are left to discuss the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorns is only indicative of the deleterious effect of the New Atheist movement whereby belittling and clever quips pass for reason and dealing with arguments as our opponents proposes them.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorns are meant to be on a footing with theism and particularly the Judeo-Christian God . . . . In the first instance the shahadah may be stated as: “There is no god but the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Bobby Henderson (pbuh) is his messenger.” The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s adherent are known as “pastafarians.” . . . .
[There is a commonly used parody of Michelangelo’s] “The Creation of Adam” [which] is [inadvertently] interesting in that it brings to mind the original. In the original God is depicted as a Kenny Rogers looking man (after the facelift); a concept which is certainly not in the least bit biblical. However, I have discerned much truth in the painting which I expressed in my essay The Creation of Adam.
Since the Flying Spaghetti Monster is physical it is subject to the absorption and deflection of light particles and is therefore visible and particularly hued. Bobby Henderson did claim that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is “invisible and can pass through normal matter” and so either Bobby Henderson is a false prophet or the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows how to traverse dimensions.
Since the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s physical body consists of spaghetti and meatballs the constituents of the godhead are as follows: eggs, salt and pepper, flour, water, beef and or pork, basil, parsley, mushrooms, bread crumbs, oil, etc.
Since these physical entities must have, by necessity, preexisted the Flying Spaghetti Monster it cannot be the uncaused first cause. Moreover, the constituents of spaghetti and meatballs must have been amassed by an Intelligent Chef who not only had access to various physical ingredients and knew how to put them together just right, fine tuned them, but utilized cookware and some form of energy with which to cook the ingredients.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is made of the very materials which it is alleged to have created. It could not have created itself since it would have to have been in order to have created itself.
Since the Flying Spaghetti Monster is composed of various complex parts that were merged it had a beginning.
Since it is physical it is not immaterial.
Since it had a beginning it had a cause.
Since it had a beginning it is not eternal.
It experiences time and is not eternal.
It is limited by space. This is true even if it can pass though matter since it has to “pass through” it in order to make its way to another location. Therefore, it is not omnipresent.
Since it is composed of material objects it is a contingent being.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster does not pass the test of natural theology.>>
In short, the parody is a massive, sophomoric failure, only used in dismissive mockery, not in any serious minded discussion.
On discussion of ontology [nature and modes of being/non-being], our being under moral government and linked worldview foundational subjects, it is clear that the God discussed by ethical theism is: the inherently good Creator, a necessary, maximally great being worthy of loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accordance with our nature.
In a recent twist, there was an attempt to suggest that no, the FSM is not really material, contradicting the very description as given, and ending in self defeating incoherence. Of course, when this was pointed out, it was sustained by further strawman caricature rhetoric and mockery.
We can be sure that those who resort to such tactics are not serious interlocutors, and in fact they fall under exactly the warning about amoral, nihilistic evolutionary materialist factionalism long since given by Plato in The Laws Bk X, 2350 years ago — speaking in the voice of the Athenian Stranger with the ghost of Socrates standing at his shoulder:
>>Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .
[[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them. >>
Thradjacking and linked vulgarity etc are small signs of a much bigger problem. Indeed abuse of curriculum development privilege is actually a token of a much bigger manifestation of the problem of such amoral, nihilist factionalism.
If we are wise, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. END