Saturday, July 19, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What is it like to be one of Boghossian's students? "I wrote what I had to to 'agree'.

Here is what a student wrote on a paper in Boghossian's class.

"I wrote what I had to ‘agree’ with what was said in class, but in truth I believe ABSOLUTELY that there is an amazing, savior GOD, who created the universe, lives among us, and loves us more than anything. That is my ABSOLUTE, and no amount of ‘philosophy’ will change that."

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/07/192/boghossian#ixzz37ffInOeL
Inside Higher Ed

Now think about this. A student feels she has to write certain things to pass a course which are contrary to what she believes. As teachers we have the power of the grade. I would certainly feel I had done something wrong if a student felt she had to take certain positions she did not believe in because she was afraid of flunking if she disagreed with me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What kind of a person do you want to be?

A post by Unkle E, a frequent commenter here.

Should the Establishment Clause Apply to Atheists as well?

Here. 

The majority view seems to me that it should be. If this conclusion is drawn, then what happens to Peter Boghossian, who uses his position as a professor at Portland State University, to promote atheism?

Is there a double standard in the way that academic freedom is typically understood? If I made it my stated purpose to convert my students to Christianity, and said so, (something I would never do) would I be more likely to get in trouble with administration than someone like Boghossian, who does what he does?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thomas Nagel's account of reason

A redated post.

Reason, if there is such a thing, can serve as a court of appeal not only against the received opinions and habits of our community but also against the peculiarities of our personal perspective. It is something each individual can find with himself, but at the same time it has universal authority. Reason provides, mysteriously, a way of distancing oneself from common opinion and received practices that is not a mere elevation of individuality... not a determination to express one's idiosyncratic self rather than go along with everyone else. Whoever appeals to reason purports to discover a source of authority within himself that is not merely personal or societal, but universal... and that should also persuade others who are willing to listen to it. The Last Word (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 3-4.

One way we might approach some of this is to ask whether reason in this sense exists, as I claim, it must if philosophical and scientific inquiry is to be truly possible, and second, what are the metaphysical implication of the existence of reason in this sense.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A new book: Trace of God by J. L. Hinman

I've been reading J. L. Hinman's book Trace of God, which is a discussion and defense of the argument from religious experience. In one passage he quotes a passage from someone named Gracely on Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence in which Gracely admits that if ordinary evidence were only required, some paranormal claims would prove to be defensible. It really does look like moving the goalposts to me. This passage is blogged here. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

There is no science, only sciences

Is this an accurate statement?

John Schellenberg's argument from hiddenness

  1. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.
  1. No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.
  1. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists (from 1 and 2).
  1. It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief; God is hidden.
  1. It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God (from 3 and 4).
  1. If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
  1. It is not the case that God exists (from 5 and 6).

What, if anything, do you think is wrong with this argument. It seems to underly a lot of atheist argumentation these days.