Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Answering the problem of evil (vs good)

L&FP, 53: Mackie’s concession regarding the deductive form argument from evil against the existence of God (answering CD et al.)

It seems there is still a feeling in some atheistical quarters that Mackie’s formulation of the deductive argument from evil has withstood Plantinga’s challenge. This recently came up here at UD. and led to an exchange: PART A: THE EXCHANGE IN THE MAGAZINE BIAS THREAD CD, 183: >>KF @ 174I found this an interesting aside: So, in an era with the Plantinga free will defence — as opposed to theodicy — on the table, what can be offered that makes God a suspect notion? ________ I think claims that Plantinga defeated the logical problem of evil are wildly exaggerated, if not downright wrong. For an excellent discussion of this, Raymond Bradley’s article is a must: The Free Will Defense Refuted Read More ›

L&FP, 48: [Former?] New Atheist Stefan Molyneaux and his “Universally Preferable Behavior” (2007) illustrate inescapably binding, intelligible and identifiable first duties of reason

I ran across this work, and find an interesting discussion, starting with a fairly roundabout way to show what a first, undeniable principle or truth — branch on which we all must sit stuff — is like:: Given that every human action – including making philosophical statements – is chosen in preference to every other possible action, arguing that preferences do not exist requires a preference for arguing that preferences do not exist, which is a self-contradictory statement. [p. 33] So, next, we have another roundabout way of summarising duties/oughts as universally prefer-ABLE behaviour: The proposition before us is thus: can some preferences be objective, i.e. universal? When I say that some preferences may be objective, I do not mean Read More ›

L&FP 44a: What is 2 + 2, Mr Smith? (1984 as demonstration of how first duties and first truths are inextricably intertwined)

1984 is a classic satirical novel on the nature of tyranny in the mass media driven, information age, totalitarian surveillance state. Accordingly, it is vital to appreciate the force of the Winston Smith on the Rack scene — yes, taken from the related movie — where the issue of the self-evident truth 2 + 2 = 4 comes up: First truths, in short, are inextricably intertwined with first duties, and both are equally self-evident. As one clear manifestation, gross injustice is always rooted in false, unreasonable, unwarranted, dishonest thinking. In case one is tempted to imagine that this is a dismissible satirical exaggeration, kindly ponder the sickening judicial torture-murder of Czech national hero and martyr, Milada Horakova and others on Read More ›

Does The Bible “condone” slavery, even as Darwin opposed it?

It seems, this issue is on the table here at UD again, and it needs to be publicly corrected for record. As a first step, I link a discussion in response to the oppression thesis used to try to discredit and marginalise the historical contribution of the Christian faith (and to create the false impression that due to “obvious” ethical failure, the gospel can be dismissed). It is also worthwhile to link my recently updated discussion on moral government, objectivity of ethics and law. (While we are at it, here is a summary response on the rhetorical challenge of evil.) Let me also again put up an infographic that has been featured several times here at UD in response to Read More ›

FYI-FTR: The answer given to attempts to undermine moral government (and to those that — even worse — suggest that Christians must become/are vigilantes)

A new accusatory talking point being used by one particular frequent objector, is that I am ducking answering what he imagines I cannot answer. This arose in connexion with his drearily raising yet again an obsessive theme that would drag threads into the sewer. Having taken time to deal with such in one thread, I refused. I took time to deal with the focal topic (currently at top of UD’s recent active threads) then I took time to answer objections as above. For corrective record, I now headline, and as the relevant thread is still open, discussion will be entertained there. First, 419 in the atheism warrant challenge thread, July 17 2019 at 11:54 am on blog timestamp: [KF, 419:] Read More ›

Logic & First Principles, 16: The problem of playing God (when we don’t — cannot — know how)

In discussing the attempted brain hacking of monkeys, I made a comment about refraining from playing God. This sparked a sharp reaction, then led to an onward exchange. This puts on the table the captioned issue . . . which it seems to me is properly part of our ongoing logic and first principles reflections. Here, the other big piece of axiology (the study of the valuable) ethics, with side-orders of limitations in epistemology. So, kindly allow me to headline: KF, 10: >>It is interesting what sparked the sharpness of exchange above: KF: Playing God without his knowledge base, wisdom and benevolence is asking for trouble. A78 is right: all I’m saying is proceed with caution we shouldn’t play God Read More ›

Logic and First Principles, 6: Reason/Rationality and Responsibility (i.e. moral government) are inextricably entangled

One of the common presumptions of our day is that facts and values are utterly, irreconcilably distinct. That is, that IS and OUGHT are irreconcilably separated by an ugly gulch that cannot be bridged. But, this is again one of those little errors in the beginning that have ruinous consequences as they spread out into our thinking and living in community. Let’s start with Hume’s Guillotine argument from his A Treatise of Human Nature: “In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I Read More ›

Responding to Sev: “Moral claims are not about what is but about how we ought to behave, primarily towards one another. They are not capable of being either true or false”

Again, it is vital for us to see what today’s evolutionary materialism, scientism, athiestical advocates and fellow travellers are thinking in their own words, and we must answer them on the merits. Where, as captioned, it is being argued in the intersubjective consensus thread, that there is no such thing as moral truth. This means, as our frequent objector Sev then goes on to argue in the same comment: SEV, 29:  >> a consensus morality is neither true nor false, right or wrong in any objective sense. If the consensus is that a society is made safer, more stable and generally beneficial by the voluntary adherence of all to agreed moral principles, then you could argue they are right in Read More ›

Answering AK: “who determines who is in the right? From my reading of your words, you obviously do not brook the possibility that you may be wrong.”

Where, of course, the very first self-evident, plumbline truth I have stressed is this: error exists. (The crucial diagnostically decisive error of cultural relativism here being exposed by the reference to WHO determines, rather than WHAT defines and determines the truth and the right.) It is one thing when we of UD say that we deal with a pattern of thought, talking points and behaviour; it is another thing entirely when we see it in action, live from the horse’s mouth.  Let me clip from the continued discussion in the correcting hyperskepticism thread: KF, 244:>> I have limited time, so let me clip the following from 229 and respond, as it seems to go to the heart of the matter. Read More ›

Answering AK’s claims [a] “[the so-called Gish Gallop is an] ID technique” and [b] “evil is a concept fabricated by religion”

Sometimes, one of UD’s frequent objectors makes an inadvertently telling objection that deserves highlighting in order to publicly document what we are up against. In this case, AK has provided us with TWO, as headlined. Accordingly, over the past several days, I responded in the Skeptical Review thread. This morning, on seeing doubling down, I have further responded and I now highlight for all to see: KF, 125: >> . . . let us go back to your context from 64 above: “the ID technique [–> that’s already a Big Lie agit prop tactic and slander] that you excel at called the Gish Gallop [–> diagnostic, terrible sign], made famous by Duane Gish and others [–> root-slander]” and again at Read More ›