Monday, February 20, 2012

Who the bleep does she think she is?

This is JZ Knight. If you watched "What the bleep do we know" like I did, you'll recognize her as "Ramtha".

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Results for the Prosblogion survey

You can see them here. Pretty neat stuff. If I can make a quick criticism though- I'd have to question why Philosophy of Religion is so disproportionally represented in the survey. Sorry, but 33.8 percent of Philosopher's do not practice philosophy of Religion.  Furthermore, I am certain that 40.5% of Philosophers are not Theists. This is understandable, since this survey merely to get a rough approximation. Plus, it couldn't have been easy to get 802 people to do participate in it. What I don't understand, however, is why the author chose to focus on the lack of female Philosophers and not on sampling issues. How many Philosophers of science did she interview, or philosophers of metaphysics? Or, for that matter, cognitive scientists? What if the majority of non-philosophers of religion that participated in this survey were ones that sympathised for religious arguments? Plus, not to be rude, by why was a field as useless as history of Philosophy even considered? Still, I feel as though the results were interesting.

The least surprising outcome would probably be how Theist and Atheist philosophers viewed the problem of evil. I mean, has any other philosophical argument caused so many people to change their minds on God? It deserves its place as the highest rated argument overall. Furthermore, I cannot say I am surprised by the overall low ratings given to the arguments from beauty. Why they even bothered mentioning it here was beyond me. A better argument, in my eyes, was the argument from fine tuning- which they sloppily lopped together with intelligent design arguments as the "argument for design". I say this since I find the former arguments much more persuasive than the latter. I am most surprised, however, at the ratings Theist philosophers gave to the argument from miracles. I mean really, 2.82? Theists consider the argument from miracles better than the argument from inconsistent revelations and the argument from lack of evidence? The argument from miracles isn't a philosophical argument. And speaking of the argument from inconsistent revelations, why did it score lowest? If anything, I thought it would be second highest. Are Christians really that convinced that Satan exists, or that God will do miracles for some people and let them burn in hell forever?

I look forward to reading more on this issue now since I know about it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bayes Theorem and the Resurrection of Jesus

It seems like every few years somebody tries to make a Bayesian argument for the existence of God. Some of them argue for the divinity of Jesus, and some for other Philosophical arguments, like the argument from fine tuning. Richard Swinburne has made many of these arguments, and has now made a Bayesian argument for the Resurrection. So what, is he gonna prove that the odds the resurrection occurred are astonishingly high, like perhaps, Tim and Lydia's estimate of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1?

Now, as I have repeatedly said, I am not a philosopher by anyones standards. I can, however, check out his empirical claims, and see if they have merit. After all, a Bayesian argument is only as good as the facts plugged into it, right? For example, in the Mcgrew's essay, they attack the Hallucination hypothesis since there were too many to have occurred naturally. They also attack it because the hallucinations would have to have lasted for very long periods of time. The problem, however, is that this is only true of you accept that the details of the Gospel accounts are accurate, which they do. If you believe that the appearance stories are legendary, than all of a sudden these criticisms disappear. Furthermore, if you actually read the current information of bereavement hallucinations, you'd find that it is not at all improbable that, after Jesus' death, many people claimed to have seen him alive. I have argued this elsewhere, so I will not repeat myself.
So, I will have to pick up his book and see if he challenges naturalistic alternatives like the Mcgrew's do. From what little I've read on Amazon, the book mainly deals with Jesus' divinity, so I doubt there will be much of an attack against the hallucination hypothesis.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pat Robertson says that Twilight is demonic

I know Twilight sucked, but that doesn't mean it's evil.

Interesting survey on Prosblogion

I know I rarely discuss philosophy, but this is too interesting to pass up. I'll have to do a post discussing the results too- although I doubt they will be surprising. I mean, most Philosophers are atheists, remember? Still, it would be interesting to see just how many Theists still put stock in arguments for the existence of God.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Skeptic magazine defends Hallucination Hypothesis

You can read the article here. I have to admit, I am somewhat envious of this guy for being able to defend the hallucination hypothesis from a psychiatric perspective. I am happy that he avoids speculative group hallucinations, and uses the empty tomb to strengthen his case. Furthermore, I am happy that he decimates the often poor criticism of Evangelicals like Craig and Habermas. The problem with them, as I've stated elsewhere, is that they rely on outdated scholarship that knew next to nothing about hallucinations. Now adays, we know that hallucinations occur commonly to normal, sane people experiencing bereavement.

The thing, however, that impressed me most was his proposal that the disciples may have believed in the physical resurrection theologically and not on the basis of evidence. In other words, the disciples could have believed that Jesus could be touched and seen by many people, without actually having been seen/touched by many people at once. As an example, lets just say that the disciples were all sleeping together. One of them gets up and hallucinates Jesus. Another wakes up and also hallucinates Jesus. When the rest wake up, he disappears. Only two of them see Jesus- yet, only two of them were in a position where they could see him. This could lead an ancient to conclude that, had they all been awake at the same time, they could have all seen Jesus. But it doesn't follow that, because they all could have seen Jesus, they all did. This is an important point which hasn't been properly critiqued, in my opinion anyways.

One thing that did irritate me, however, was the authors denial of William Lane Craig's favorite argument- that there was no precedent to individual resurrection in the ancient world. Although it is true that, according to the gospels, Jesus raised the dead- these were viewed as resuscitation's, not resurrections. The formerly dead would not stay alive forever; Resurrected people, however, would enjoy eternal life. I can't fault this essay too much for this inconvenience, however, since many evangelicals agree with me. Habermas himself admits that he puts little stock in the argument since, according to many, prophecies of a dying and rising messiah can, in fact, be found within the old testiment.

Despite the small flaw, this essay is a very impressive one. I hope that eventually, serious biblical scholars will take notice.

HT to John Loftus