Showing posts with label Real Atheology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Real Atheology. Show all posts

Real Atheology Wonders if Philosophy, Not Science, Is the Very Paradigm of Rationality


First off, it seems more than a bit arrogant to claim to be the real deal in atheist philosophy (Real Atheology, RA), but then there's nothing that can be done about that adopted name now. Nonetheless, on Twitter RA Tweeted this excerpt and asked, "Don't know where this is from, but thoughts on this?" If it were me I'd like to know where it came from, and I certainly wouldn't put something like this out there unless I thought it had some merit. Turns out it was written by Catholic apologist Edward Feser denouncing the boogyman "scientism" which we've written about before. About scientism I merely say that when it comes to the nature of nature, its regularities, and its origins, science is the only way to gain the truth. What other alternative is there?

It's disheartening that some thoughtful atheists think what Feser said is worthy of consideration. But this isn't the only time RA puts science and objective evidence in the back. They also highly recommended an essay where they agree with Christian apologist Matthew Flannagan that atheist Graham Oppy "repudiates evidentialism." They're reading and listening to the WRONG PEOPLE! I doubt very much that Graham Oppy "repudiates evidentialism" even if he may repudiate the verfification principle(s) whereby only propositions that have evidence for them are meaningful. Ask him. He should weigh in on this issue. Evidence, objective evidence, is paramount. Otherwise we are building ivory castles in the sky where the ONLY thing that matters in consistency.

When it come to philosophy almost everyone gets it wrong. Let me explain...

What Would Debates About Christianity Look Like If We Cut to the Chase?

My call for ending the philosophy of religion mirrors the late great Dr. Hector Avalos's call to end biblical studies as we know them. It was greatly influenced by anthropology professor Dr. David Eller.
But my call was required by understanding Dr. Peter Boghossian. I first heard of him in a video where he argued "faith based belief processes are unreliable". His target is against faith itself, faith without sufficient evidence, blind faith, which is the only kind of faith that exists. If faith involves trust, there is no reason to trust in faith. 
I concluded that it's irrational to reason about religious doctrines that have no objective evidence for them. Is it ever rational to believe a proposition that requires objective evidence but does not have any objective evidence for it? No! Is it ever rational to believe a religion that requires objective evidence but does not have any objective evidence for it? No! Just consider the gospel claim that a virgin gave birth to the son of a god, and you'll easily see this point. I've written about faith on multiple occasions, especially agreeing with what George H. Smith said about it.  
No wonder William Lane Craig doesn't want to debate me on this proposition: "There is sufficient objective evidence for the miracle assertions in the Bible." 
Is this claim too boring, too uninteresting for agnostics and atheists to focus on? Why are they focusing on anything else? Why? Curious truth-seekers want to know.

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Evidence Abounds against the Importance of the Philosophy of Religion

The evidence against the importance of the Philosophy of Religion is found exactly where we would expect it to be found. Just consider what it would take to be convinced that Christianity is true. The overwhelming answer is not philosophy. It's the requirement for sufficient objective evidence. See for yourselves in four definitive answers given by four different atheist writers. LINK. Our answers revolve around the five most powerful reasons not to believe. Spread the word, and don't forget to mention my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End.

The Crux of the Problem for Believers

The crux of the issue with regard to Christianity and other miracle based religions--especially when it comes to unverifiable and unfalsifiable miracles in the past--is this one. Dr. David Madison has repeatedly challenged believers to come up with a revelation from a god that has been verified for all. So far there are no claimants. The intractable difficultly is that there is no miracle claim in the Bible that has any--and I mean any--objective evidence for it at all! None! At all! Much less sufficient objective evidence. LINK. So I find it strange that anyone--and I mean anyone--takes the miracle claims in the Bible seriously, along with the apologists who defend them despite not having any--and I mean any--objective evidence for them.

How To Avoid Definitional Apologetics

I see Ben Watkins joined Jeffery Lowder and Johno Pearce [The Tippling Philosopher] in calling himself a "Philosopher." I have resisted calling myself a philosopher because I have held to a higher standard. No more. I am a philosopher. You can call me that. If they are then I am. If my degreed educational credentials and years of college teaching and published books on philosophical issues doesn't call for it then something's wrong. I don't say this to demean them. I say this to join them, especially when it comes to any and all disagreements on the PoR that we may have between us [See Lowder Ignorance Tag below]. In fairness, a lot of philosophers disagree with me on the value of PoR and the use of Bayes Theorem, so I'm not asking for agreement, only a discussion between philosophers in addressing what I say. I think internet atheists who are addressing PoR questions should stop what they're doing until they read my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. Full Stop. 
My case in point today concerns how to avoid Definitional Apologetics.
Over the last decade I have found that one bastion for Christian apologists has been philosophy, especially the philosophy of religion. The scholars have honed their definitional apologetics in such a fine-tuned manner that when engaging them in this discipline, it’s like trying to catch a greased pig. Or, to switch metaphors, trying to chase them down the rabbit’s hole in an endless and ultimately fruitless quest for definitions. What’s an extraordinary claim? What constitutes evidence? What’s the definition of supernatural? What’s the scientific method? What’s a miracle? What’s a basic belief? What’s a veridical religious experience? What’s evil? They do this just like others have done over questions like, “What is the definition of pornography?” And then they gerrymander around the plain simple facts of experience. I would rather deal in concrete examples like a virgin who supposedly had a baby and a man who supposedly was raised from the dead. [From Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End, p. 28]

Five One Chapter Summaries of My Case Against Christianity

Over the years I have written several summaries of my case against Christianity. The first one was based on my magnum opus, Why I Became an Atheist. It was written in 2008 called Why I Am Not a Christian: A Summary of My Case Against Christianity. The second one is found in my anthology, The End of Christianity, in a chapter titled Christianity is Wildly Improbable in 2011 (pp. 75-104). My third one is found in chapter 9 of my book The Outsider Test for Faith in 2013, titled Debating Christianity Based on the Test (pp.171-205). The fourth one can be found in a chapter for my book, How To Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, that summarizes the kind of arguments wannabe apologists should be forewarned about in their quest to be apologists. It's titled Realize in Advance the Monumental Challenges (pp. 39-51). I just finalized the fifth summary for my anthology, The Incompatibility of God and Horrendous Suffering, set to come out at Halloween. Boo! It's has nearly 15 thousand words in it and titled, "In Defense of Hitchens's Razor." In it I make two main points. 1) The Christian Faith Has No Objective Evidence On Its Behalf, and 2) The Christian Faith Makes No Sense At All. None of my summaries stress the same exact things. But they seem to keep getting better and better.

What Apologetics And Counter-Apologetics Books Do I Recommend?

I was asked for books I might recommend that would fall into the category of "best arguments for God/Christianity" and "best arguments against Christianity." I was asked because "I know you read and analyze these books fairly often, so I want to see the best both sides have to offer." My response follows. You may be surprised by it!

Dr. Jaco Gericke: "Christian philosophy of religion as nonsense on stilts"

In a previous post I responded to Thomas Nagel and Quentin Smith's claims that materialism isn't justified (Nagel), and/or A Vast Majority of Naturalists Hold To Naturalism Unreflectively (Smith). In it I mentioned Dr. Jaco Gericke's critique of Christian  philosophy of religion. I regard Gericke as having a singularly unique understanding of the relationship of biblical scholarship to the philosophy of religion, as he holds doctorates in both (see tag below). 
Of course, I'm honored Geicke recommended my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End, saying, “As an introduction to the ever-growing frustration with so-called Christian philosophy among many secular ex-Christian authors, Unapologetic is invaluable reading material for any reader interested in the wide variety of polemical issues it deals with.” My book is an extension of the same kind of arguments Dr. Hector Avalos used regarding Biblical studies in his masterful book, The End of Biblical Studies. Avalos also highly recommended my book Unapologetic.
I was similarly honored that both Gericke and Avalos wrote chapters in my aptly titled anthology, The End of Christianity. I've already posted an excerpt of Dr. Avalos' book, here. Since Dr. Gericke has recently posted his chapter online at, below is that same chapter as published in The End of Christianity. Enjoy.

Do A Vast Majority of Naturalists Hold To Naturalism Dogmatically and Unreflectively?

On a forum called "The Student Room" the question above was posed four years ago, reflecting on the musings of several "mainstream" scholars. It received no comments. Perhaps it's time.

Thomas Nagel caused quite a stir with his book attacking different types of naturalism and highlighted the significant problems that materialism in particular face. Nagel is an atheist. He is also, albeit a hazy one, a naturalist (though he is skeptical of materialism) he is not the first prominent naturalist to highlight the unreflective acceptance many have of materialism. 
Here are other examples:

In Defense of the New Atheists: An Excerpt From My Book "Unapologetic"


    It's time for atheist philosophers of religion to end their own sub-discipline under Philosophy proper. I explain in detail what I mean in my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End (2016). Below is an excerpt from it where I defend the new atheists Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Stenger from the philosophical elites. A few months ago I defended Hitchens' Razor. You can see the same dismissive attitude in both of these essays. I have no personal axe to grind. It's a principled disagreement. You can comment but before I'll respond you should first read my book.

On Keeping it Simple Stupid!

One of the highest compliments I've received from my work was written by biblical scholar Robert M. Price. Of my contributions in the co-edited book God or Godless?he said I write "with unpretentious clarity, common sense, and broad but inconspicuous erudition." If anyone wants to see how high a compliment that is then look up each word he used. Let me highlight just two of his words, unpretentious and inconspicuous.

Unpretentious: I don't seek to impress my readers with Bayesian math, or the technical philosophical, theological, or scientific terminology, nor do I use the original languages of the Biblical texts much at all. I remember teaching my first philosophy class in 1985 at the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois. I lost about half my class because the students could not understand me. Yep, that's right. Having just come from a Ph.D. program at Marquette University I didn't know how to bring the information down to college students. Over the years I learned how to communicate to the average person. My goal is to keep it as simple as possible, and no simpler. The problem with this goal is that there are some readers who think I'm ignorant, for if I was smarter and better educated it would reflect in my vocabulary. Smart, educated people, it's assumed, use the nomenclature requisite with their educational achievements.

Inconspicuous: Even though Price says I have a broad erudition, it's inconspicuous or unnoticeable. It wasn't inconspicuous to him. But it's inconspicuous to others. The people for whom it might be inconspicuous would be the uniformed and ignorant, Price intimates. [Another equally high compliment of my work, which mirrors what Price said, was written by biblical scholar Hector Avalos.] It's extremely gratifying to know some important people say such things.