“I can see why a plenteously contended, drowsily complacent, temperamentally incurious atheist might find it comforting–even a little luxurious–to imagine that belief in God is no more than belief in some magical invisible friend who lives beyond the clouds, or in some ghostly cosmic mechanic invoked to explain gaps in current scientific knowledge. But I also like to think that the truly reflective atheist would prefer not to win all his or her rhetorical victories against childish caricatures. I suppose the success of the books of the ‘new atheists’–which are nothing but lurchingly spasmodic assaults on whole armies of straw men–might go some way toward proving the opposite. Certainly, none of them is an impressive or cogent treatise, and I doubt posterity will be particularly kind to any of them once the initial convulsions of celebrity have subsided. But they have definitely sold well. I doubt that one should make much of that though. The new atheists’ texts are manifestos, buoyantly coarse, and intentionally simplistic, meant to fortify true unbelievers in their unbelief; their appeal is broad but certainly not deep; they are supposed to induce a mode, not encourage deep reflection”
I recently joined “Facebook” for nerds (a.k.a Academia.edu)! I’ll be sharing my academic work in philosophy on my profile there. So, if you have nothing to do today and are feeling slightly nerdier than usual, I strongly recommend you take a look.
I uploaded the first draft of a paper I’m working on entitled Logicism, William Rowe, and the Mystery of Existence. Here’s the introduction to wet your appetite (the full paper can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF on the link below):
Why is there something rather than nothing? Theism is often put forth as an answer tothis question but is by no means the consensus view. One major opponent to the theistic explanation is William Rowe who not only contends that theism is unable to explain the existence of contingent states of affairs, but concludes it is impossible to provide an answer. In so arguing, Rowe appears to have undermined the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR).
In this essay I suggest Rowe is guilty of logicism; i.e., employing logic to answer what is fundamentally a metaphysical question (Gilson, p8-16). More pointedly, I argue that Rowe has incorrectly formulated the theistic solution to the mystery of existence. Rowe expresses the mode of God’s existence in the form of modality De Dicto when theist’s express the mode ofGod’s existence in the form of modality De Re. By drawing attention to this error I hope to show (1) we need not abandon PSR and (2) theism can explain why there is something rather than nothing.
“Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism. If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly – especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time. But if it means anything more, it means that there is no such thing as an ape to change, and no such thing as a man for him to change into. It means that there is no such thing as a thing. At best, there is only one thing, and that is a flux of everything and anything. This is an attack not upon faith, but upon the mind; you cannot think if there are no things to think about.”
As many of you know, my family and I came into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2013. This momentous event took place at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Mission in Raleigh NC – an Eastern Catholic parish of the Byzantine Rite.
Most of my Protestant friends and, surprisingly, the majority of Roman Catholics I know, have never encountered the eastern Church. In fact, most assume “Eastern Catholicism” is just another name for Eastern Orthodoxy.
This common mistake is understandable. Practically speaking, Eastern Catholics are Orthodox – they use the same liturgy, and share a common theological and spiritual tradition. Like the Orthodox, Eastern Catholics utilize icons and incense in their worship and have married priests.
The only substantive difference is that Eastern Catholics are in full communion with Rome and the Pope. That means that they are fully Catholic.
If you find any of this interesting I encourage you to watch the video above! Also, I would urge you to read this powerful apostolic letter written by St. John Paul II: Oriental Lumen.
Thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to listen to William Lane Craig at this years Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham!
Dr. Craig lectured on the challenge that “heavyweight” Platonism – the idea that abstract objects, like numbers, sets, and possible worlds, exist and are as real as concrete objects like cars or persons – poses to Classical Theism. He surveyed the range of possible responses available to the Theist and put forth several arguments against the traditional notion that abstract objects exist in the mind of God.
Ultimately, Dr. Craig advocates an anti-realist approach to abstracta; which is quite a controversial position for a Christian philosopher to adopt. While I can appreciate why he is making this move, I’m not convinced it’s the correct one to make.
Nevertheless, it was a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to meet a great scholar. Here’s a picture featuring WLC with my dear friend Tyler McNabb (a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow) and yours truly:
Periodically, I’ll share some news about my studies at the University of Birmingham. Like, right now . . .
The next seven weeks are going to be intense. I’ve got three major essay’s to write and my dissertation proposal needs major revision! Here are my essay topics:
(1) In the frist essay I’ll be arguing against David Benatar’s controversial thesis that existence is always a harm in favor of the Eastern Catholic view that existence is good. Once establishing this ontological principle I will demolish Benatar’s “qualified defense” of suicide.
(2) In my second essay I’ll be arguing against David Lewis’s form of modal realism. I will also argue in favor of an Aristotelian/Thomistic conception of modality.
(3) Finally, in essay three, I’ll make the case that natural rights theories of human rights are compatible with agreement theories. Both theories have drawbacks and merits but are often juxtaposed. My aim is to show that the theories are not mutually exclusive.
My thesis, which I will explain in greater detail later, will involve arguing for the incoherence of ontological physicalism. It should be really fun!
In addition to all this writing, I’m very much looking forward to meeting William Lane Craig in a couple of weeks. He’s delivering this years Cadbury Lectures.
Well, that’s all for now. More updates to come soon!