Showing posts with label William Lane Craig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Lane Craig. Show all posts

Psychic Epistemology: The Special Pleading of William Lane Craig

A new paper of mine was appropriately published at Halloween, over on Internet Infidels.

My focus in this paper is to expose the special pleading of William Lane Craig’s psychic epistemology (or spirit-guided epistemology) as I correctly call it—rather than reformed epistemology as it’s known. I consider this to be an extension of a book of mine, where I offer good advice to the Christian apologist. In part one, after questioning the need for apologetics and warning about the monumental challenges to it, I tell apologists to become honest life-long seekers of the truth, to get a good education in a good field of study, to accept nothing less than sufficient objective evidence, and especially to determine how to know which religion to defend. I offer good solid tongue-in-cheek advice for apologists.[1] LINK.

The Demon, Matrix, Material World, and Dream Possibilities


Below is Appendix C from my book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End (Pitchstone Publishing, 2015), pp. 257-271. You're welcome! Given the influence of Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, I doubt very much believers have heard these issues discussed like this before. I share it in hopes you'll like what I write enough to read the whole book. 

The Demon, Matrix, Material World,

and Dream Possibilities,

by John W. Loftus

The Intuitive Faith Path. Reviewing Mittelberg's Book "Confident Faith" Part 14

On January 2018 I started a series of posts on Mark Mittelberg's book, Confident Faith. The first post introduced Mark and his book right here. [See the Tag "Mark Mittelberg" for more]. I stopped reviewing his book when I got busy on my final three books [See Link.]

So I'm back to Mittelberg. To briefly rehearse, Mittelberg begins his book in Part 1, "Six Paths of Faith", by speaking about approaches, or methods readers adopt to embrace their respective faiths (remember, *cough* he says we all have faith):

1) The Relativistic Path: "Truth is Whatever Works for You"
2) The Traditional Faith Path: "Truth is What You've Always Been Taught"
3) The Authoritarian Faith Path: "Truth Is What You've Always Been Told You Must Believe"
4) The Intuitive Faith Path" "Truth Is What You Feel In Your Heart"
5) The Mystical Faith Path" "Truth Is What You Think God Told You"
6) The Evidential Faith Path: "Truth Is What Logic and Evidence Point To"

"This is crucial" he says, "because the method (or methods) you use in deciding what to believe has a huge bearing on what those beliefs will actually be, as well as how confident you'll be in holding on to them." (p. 9) "Most people never consider this" he goes on to say. "They just arbitrarily adopt an approach--or adopt one that's been handed to them--and uncritically employ it to choose a set of beliefs that may or may not really add up." (p. 10)

To his credit, Mittelberg does something intellectually respectful, that William Lane Craig does not do. Mittelberg discusses other ways of knowing the truth about faith and religion. Craig participates in debates about apologetics but he only defends his own particular view in them. It's like he's forever in debate mode!

So far I only got to method 3. Given my emphasis lately on William Lane Craig's Spirit Guided Epistemology, it's time to compare and contrast Craig's views with Mittelberg's.

The Fatal Flaw In William Lane Craig's Psychic Epistemology

William Lane Craig has said, "Communicating my understanding of the proper basicality of certain Christian beliefs grounded by the Spirit’s witness has proven to be extraordinarily difficult." Source. Craig also said, "What we know is that people make up their minds for all sorts of non-rational reasons unrelated to the evidence." Source.

Craig should listen to himself. Complexity is needed when obfuscation is the goal. Craig should pay heed to the author of Colossians who wrote: “See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy" (2:8)!! Brilliance in the servitude of obfuscations, special pleadings, red herrings, and non-sequiturs has nothing to do with an honest search for truth.

Let's take a look at Craig's podcast on Religious Experience: Subjective or Objective?:
It is very important to understand that the witness of the Holy Spirit is not just a subjective religious experience. It is a witness which God himself bears with our spirit. It produces an awareness of the truths of the Gospel, assurance of salvation, conviction of sin, things of this sort.

It is the claim that you can know that God exists and that Christianity is true wholly apart from arguments simply through the inner testimony of God to your heart. So don’t think of this as an argument from religious experience. Rather, it is the claim that for the person to whom God bears witness by means of this spiritual testimony, such a person can know with confidence that Christianity is true because of the witness that God bears to him.

The fundamental, ground level way in which I know my faith is true is through this inner self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit which assures me that I am a child of God. That entails, of course, then, that God exists and the great truths of the Gospel are correct.

On Plantinga and Craig's Psychic Epistemology

William Lane Craig's Favorite Hymn!
Plantinga and Craig are prime examples of what philosopher Stephen Law said, “Anything based on faith, no matter how ludicrous, can be made to be consistent with the available evidence, given a little patience and ingenuity.” (Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2011), p. 75. Or as anthropology professor James T. Houk said, “Virtually anything and everything, no matter how absurd, inane, or ridiculous, has been believed or claimed to be true at one time or another by somebody, somewhere in the name of faith." (The Illusion of Certainty. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2017), p. 31.

In what follows is an excerpt from my chapter 6, "The Abject Failure of Christian Apologetics" in The Case against Miracles (pp. 190ff).

5 Things That Disqualify People As Trusted Experts In Religious Matters

1) Denying the need for sufficient objective evidence. Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig have argued that Christian believers do not need objective evidence for their faith. So they are disqualified from being experts in religious matters. They are clearly deluded no matter how brilliant their rhetoric is. Other Christian believers disagree with them on this, even highly noted apologists Norman Geisler and Paul Moser. If Geisler and Moser cannot be convinced then why should anyone else?

2) Rejecting the need to overcome the cognitive biases keeping us away from the truth. The only way to overcome these biases is to require sufficient objective evidence for truth, period. I wrote a post on Why Doubt Is The Adult Attitude And How Science Helps Us. In it I have complied a long list of books that prove this point. The evidence is overwhelming that our brain is uninterested in the truth, but rather primarily concerned in protecting its host. So we must require sufficient objective evidence for what we think is true. Plantinga and Craig brazenly eschew an objective standard that applies to everyone with Reformed Epistemology!

3) Rejecting the non-double standard requirement to approach all religious faiths with the same standard, as an outsider, a nonbeliever. Here is a primer on why we need it. Anyone who rejects this is not worthy of our trust as an expert.

4) Rejecting, denying, or denigrating science in general. The highest degree of trust we can have is when there is a consensus among scientists about an issue. See these posts for more.

5) Refusing to accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution disqualifies someone from being an expert in religious matters. That's because evolution has a significant bearing on religious matters. If anyone rejects evolution they are ignorant, willfully ignorant, and unworthy of trusting as an expert. Evolution is an issue that has achieved a consensus among scientists around the globe from those working is different fields. Start reading Charles Darwin's, On the Origin of Species. Then read the books by Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution Is True, and Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.Do not just read the works of Christian creationists, who themselves were indoctrinated to believe what they do. Go to the source. Compare the evidence yourself. Along this same line read Robert M. Price and Edwin Suominen's wonderful book, Evolving out of Eden. They will show you the inescapable implications of evolution: There is no original sin, no need for a savior, and no need for salvation.

Agreed? If not you're in too deep.

The Cannibal Dreams of the Puppet Minister

Ronald William Brown had a dream .  He wasn’t content with just doing a Christian children’s TV puppet show, and warning about the evils of porn. 
He wasn’t satisfied by working with the puppet ministry of Gulf Coast Church of Largo, Florida for 15 years.  He wanted more than just picking kids up for church in a van.  He longed for something more fulfilling than living in a trailer park, and running his Puppets Plus business.  To fulfill his dream, Ronald Brown wanted to kidnap, sexually abuse, murder, and cannibalize a child - a boy from his church!  

Private Subjective Experience is No Evidence At All: Against William Lane Craig's Inner Witness of the Spirit

Since I've written a lot against Craig's claim of the inner witness of the Spirit I've decided to gather together the most important posts about it here. Christians are claiming I am ignorant about what he claims. Nope, I'm not. That's a typical response. I understand that Craig is not claiming this inner witness is sufficient to convince other people to believe. He's claiming instead that this supposed inner witness is sufficient to convince him. Thomas Larsen even asked if I've read Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief, as if that would straighten me out. He said the questions I pose about this "are elementary and, frankly, quite embarrassing for you." But given the looks of Larsen he was still in diapers as I was taking a master's level class with Bill Craig at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on Plantinga's epistemology. And I have read through the important parts of Plantinga's book and dissected them in Why I Became an Atheist.

My argument in a link below is that it doesn't matter how you dress it up philosophically. A delusion is a delusion is a delusion. I'm arguing that Bill Craig is deluded to claim such a thing and that he should know better. I know he's not trying to convince anyone else that he experienced it. He distinguishes between knowing Christianity is true from showing it to be true. He claims to know it's true by the inner witness of the Spirit. I'm trying to disabuse him of this claim, as impossible as it is to do so with a deluded person. And even if I can't, there are more reasonable Christians listening in who might be persuaded against Craig. I'm trying to point out to reasonable people how deluded such a claim is, regardless of whether any Christian sees it for what it is.

Listen up, God spoke to Moses privately, and privately to Paul, and likewise to Joseph Smith, and to Mohammed, and to many Pentecostals, and to David Koresh, and to many of the prophets we read in the Old Testament. Why does God always speak to people privately? Why do most people claim to know God in a private way? A private subjective experience has no more evidence for it than none at all. Given that most people are delusional when they make such claims it's extremely probable Craig is too. The ONLY reason evangelicals buy into this is because they need to believe. They would never entertain Craig's claim if they were a Mormon, or Muslim, Catholic, or Jew.