Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Timothy McGrew. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Timothy McGrew. Sort by date Show all posts

Is Timothy McGrew An Expert When it Comes to Miracles?

Christian apologist Tom Gilson said: "Timothy McGrew is an international expert on epistemology and miracles. If Loftus has come up with a better defense than Tim has already encountered, that would be a miracle all its own."

John Loftus: If Timothy McGrew is considered an international expert on miracles and concluded a virgin named Mary gave birth to the second person of the Trinity, then he's not really an expert. He's certainly not a historian using the standards of the historical method, which is the kind of expert we should turn to for miracle claims in the past, not philosophers. Let's see him respond to this link to show that he's an expert. Can he respond or not? If not, then what atheist Michael Levine says is dead on.

Despite the condescending attitude of Jonathan McLatchie and the McGrews, I think they stand to learn from me. If you know anything about me you know I'm well-read. So I'm telling you there are plenty of critical things said in my book on miracles that I don't think they have considered before. See one of them below.

A Critical Examination of a Panel Discussion On The Resurrection

Christian apologists Tom Gilson, Jonathan McLatchie, Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew participated in panel discussing the resurrection of Jesus recently, and invited questions beforehand. So I obliged with two questions:
1. Would you comment on this quote: "The minimal facts approach is not a fair approach the data, to say the least. By virtue of any disagreements it’s not fair for their side to take off the table any “facts” the other side objects to. That is special pleading, pure and simple, in favor of Christian scholarship. So what is offered are “minimal facts, not all the facts”. What is needed is a sound argument for why apologists can arbitrarily exclude certain things from the discussion. Only if both sides agree to this can apologists Habermas and Licona go ahead and make their case. But skeptics atheists and agnostics don't.
Before the panel discussion Jonathan McLatchie responded:
John W. Loftus I find your objection to the minimal facts approach quite bizarre. The whole point of the approach is that it is tying one's arm deliberately behind one's back and limiting themselves to data that is granted by the skeptics -- i.e. starting from common ground assumptions. How is that "special pleading in favor of Christian scholarship"?
I replied:
Jonathan McLatchie WL Craig and others have said it frees the apologist from first having to defend the authority of the Bible. But defending the authority of the Bible is the major task of theirs. So it allows them to escape from the major task of theirs, which is special pleading.
My reply was not mentioned in the discussion. You can watch the video below.

Dr. Timothy McGrew's Sermon Response To Me About Prophecy

In my recent debate with Abdu Murray I had said:
Where’s the Prophetic Evidence?

There is none! I defy someone to come up with one statement in the Old Testament that is specifically fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that can legitimately be understood as a prophecy and singularly points to Jesus as the Messiah using today’s historical-grammatical hermeneutical method. It cannot be done. An expressed hope for a future savior is not to be considered a prediction, unless along with that hope are specific details whereby we can check to see if it was fulfilled in a specific person.
Looks like people were asking how I could say that, which in turn promoted Timothy McGrew to respond. It's long. One thing though. He did not deal with my arguments in chapter 17 of Why I Became an Atheist. McGrew said he has my book (1st edition I presume) but he shows no awareness of it, and he doesn't deal with the force of my arguments.

Throughout this "sermon" of his (really, this is not a lecture where students can ask questions!) he repeatedly says that I disagree with something, or that I say something different. I do yes. But I'm sure as sure can be he's special pleading based on the mother of all cognitive biases, confirmation bias. Surely as an outsider he would not treat any other holy book containing alleged prophecies this way. No, siree bob!

Quote of the Day On the Philosophy of Religion, By David Madison

Click here for more quotes from Loftus
Recently on Twitter Dr. David Madison said, "Everybody insists their own god exists and argues accordingly. Theism deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." Then he linked to my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. What's significant about this is that he's a biblical scholar, having earned his PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University School of Theology. He kindly blogs here at DC and is the author of Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: A Minister-Turned Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith, of which I was honored to write a Forward to it.

I've said repeatedly that I might be wrong, but no one can say I'm ignorant. After all, I have nearly the equivalent educational background of Dr. Paul Copan, the former President of the Evangelical Society. David Madison can say the same thing by the tenfold, especially seen in his fantastic book, online writings, podcasts and exhaustive reading list of atheist books in The Cure-For-Christianity Library. In his esteemed judgment, after years of studying it out, the evidence conclusively shows the Bible and any religion or theology or philosophy based on it, "deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." His most succinct case is made in a chapter for my recent anthology, The Case against Miracles.

Did You Know? Odds on the Resurrection of Jesus Are 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1

Yep. Convert sinner. With odds like these what are the odds that Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew are standing on solid ground? Sheesh. Idiots.

How Not to Be a Doofus about Bayes’ Theorem From Someone Who "Doesn't Really Understand Bayesianism"

The title is a response to two posts Richard Carrier wrote here, and recently here. If anyone disagrees with Carrier we're irrational, ignorant, foolish, and now with a newly released super-bad description, doofus/doofuses. 

I would like to catalog the variety of responses apologists and atheists have toward Bayes, but I won't. What I do know is apart from the people he mentions who "don't understand Bayes" he should also include David Hume, Apologist Michael Licona and Dan Lambert. One wonders if anyone could have argued for anything before Bayes given Carrier's praise. Pffft. What I know is that those who use Bayes come up with wildly different results with regard to the resurrection of Jesus.

--Apologist Richard Swinburne calculates the probability of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, given the existence of a god, is 97%. Swinburne should run that past a peer-review panel including Muslims Jews and Hindu's to see how that goes over. ;-) We know from a historian's perspective that's utterly idiotic! 

--Apologist Vincent Torley calculated that "there’s about a 60-65% chance that Jesus rose from the dead." Of course, that was before he read Michael Alter's book on the resurrection, which I recommended, that had no math in it at all! How could this happen without Bayes? Oh my! But it did. Apparently the shear evidence Alter presented was enough. Wow! Who would have thunk it. 

--Apologists Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew calculated the odds of the resurrection of Jesus to be 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. *Silence* *Awe* *Respect* Christians must revere them for coming up with the highest calculation any intellectual *cough* has done so far. Can anyone do better here? They need to go see a doctor and get some meds, quickly. Richard Carrier thinks Bayes helps. Okay then. Please tell us how such a useful tool can produce these wide diverse results. Tools are supposed to help. But even among apologists themselves it does no such thing. Carrier says Bayes helps us clarify where we disagree and by how much. Really? We already know this! Dressing up a delusion in math is still a delusion. Responding in kind only gives a delusion an undeserved respectability. This is a major point of mine in Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. Who's the doofus again? 

In Defense of David Hume, Part 4: Hume's Arguments are Not "Mathematically Fallacious" Nor An "Abject Failure"

Critics are saying Hume's arguments against miracles are "mathematically fallacious" per William Lane Craig, Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, John Earman and some others. The point of their criticism is that Hume didn't factor God's existence into the evidence for or against miracles. But when apologists do so the low probabilities of miracles (by definition) can be brought up to being probable after all, because with God all things are possible. Okay. But this isn't a fair criticism. At all!

Let's back up. What is mathematically fallacious about saying we must proportion our beliefs according to the strength of the evidence? Hume said that. Where the evidence isn't decisive we must suspend judgment. Hume said that too. In other words, we should think exclusively according to the probabilities. How can that be fallacious, mathematically or otherwise? It's just good sound sense. The reason apologists attack Hume is because he was right and they are wrong, and that's it. For if there was good strong objective evidence that supported their miracle beliefs they would tout Hume's praises. You know it. I know it. They should know it.

Now let's go deeper. Whatever inconsistencies you might think are in Hume's essay on miracles, his main contention is this concluding maxim: "Therefore we may establish it as a maxim, that no human testimony can have such force as to prove a miracle, and make it a just foundation for any such system of religion." (#98)

What Hume is aiming at throughout chapter 10 of his Enquiries is his twofold contention, not only that testimonial evidence for miracles is never sufficient enough to accept a miracle claim, but also that miracles cannot be the foundation of a religion. [Hume's targeted religion is Christianity, which requires a creator, revealer and sustainer god.] In other words, the testimonial evidence for miracles cannot show that this god exists and his religion is the true one, and by extension, other religions as well.

So Christian, just tell us where you start, other than from birth and childhood inside a largely Christian culture. If you want us to believe in your specific god and his religion then you have to present us with sufficient objective evidence for it. Where is that evidence? If you start by arguing the case for your god's existence first, then that's one thing, and Hume debunked this in his Dialogues. But if you start by arguing the case for miracles first, then that's another thing, and Hume debunked that in chapter 10 of his Enquiries. In this later case:

If you use Bayesian math to assess biblical miracles apart from god's existence, then you must do what you say you'll do by excluding god's existence from your calculations. But if you did what you say you do, god cannot factor in them to bring the low probability of a miracle up to a probability.
If your claim is that miracles provide sufficient objective evidence that your god exists and his religion is true, you cannot use your god in calculating the probability of any miracle. Furthermore, and this is very important, you cannot subsequently call Hume's arguments "mathematically fallacious" or an "Abject Failure." For if your claim is that the evidence for miracles provides sufficient objective evidence that your god exists and his religion is true, then your Bayesian calculations cannot allow god or his religion into any calculations of whether one should believe in his miracles. For the evidence on behalf of miracles is supposed to show your god exists and his religion is the true in the first place.

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The Delusion of Faith Produces Disingenuous Definitions of Faith

David Marshall:
The Christian meaning of faith is "holding firmly to and acting on what you have good reason to believe is true, in the face of difficulties." (As Timothy McGrew and I put it in "True Reason," summarizing traditional Christian thought.) I'd say 100%, or close to that number, of humans have faith in gravity in that sense.
One of my definitions of faith is that it's an irrational leap over the need for sufficient evidence. There are many others that accurately define what believers do. Christian apologists insist that our definitions of faith are faulty. This is a substantive debate, not merely a misunderstanding of terms. Non-believers define faith based on what believers actually do. Believers define faith disingenuously based on the need to appear reasonable when they're not. In the case of apologist David Marshall's comment on Facebook, summarizing his co-written book, it's never more clearly seen.

If having faith is having good reasons to conclude something is true, and if this is how reasonable people conclude we shouldn't jump off a cliff, then faith is equivalent to having sufficient evidence for a conclusion. If so, the word "faith" has no distinct meaning. Why use it then? That's the disingenuous part. It is patently obvious that believing a dead man arose from the dead 20 centuries ago in the superstitious past is not the same thing as knowing we should not jump off a cliff. Patently obvious! My claim is that faith so distorts the believing mind that it also forces believers to define it in disingenous ways that are patently false. If you're reading this and think apologists like McGrew and Marshall do a good job defending your faith on the factual issues, then you should take seriously my claim that the way they define faith is indicative of the way they defend their faith. If one is patently false and disingenuous, then so is the other. Let it be known that apologetics in defense of the Christian faith is all special pleading.

Christian Apologists Dishonestly Discuss Peter Boghossian's Method

In Boghossian's book A Manual for Creating Atheists,he talks about being a Street Epistemologist, which is a person who uses the Socratic method of dialectically asking a series of questions to get people to realize they are pretending to know what they don't know. Pretending. That's Boghossian's definition of faith. Believers are pretending when they claim to know with 100% certainty that what they believe is true. The antidote for this faith virus, as he calls it, is the Socratic method. Below is a video of what Tom Gilson and Timothy McGrew claim he's doing compared with what he's actually doing. What they claim is false, and the evidence that it's false is just not found in his book, but also in several video clips. More liars for Jesus. When evangelicals feel threatened why do they need to lie for Jesus? But they do. I'm hoping that by highlighting these liars for Jesus that honest Christians will look elsewhere for honest discussions of their faith, rather than paid apologists serving in creedal affirming evangelical colleges.

Defending the Christian Faith Makes Brilliant People Look Stupid...

Yep, just click and read through this. As you can see they don't like me. I entered the fray a bit later. Be sure to read my links. "Tim" is professor Timothy McGrew.

Matthew W. Ferguson to Join Us

Matthew W. Ferguson is a Ph.D. graduate student in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. He'll write for us here at DC for at least one planned post having to do with David Marshall's recent book Jesus is No Myth. Given the blurbs written for it by Craig Blomberg and Timothy McGrew, it looks like David Marshall is here to stay. I look forward to what Ferguson has to say.

Recently Ferguson opened up his life to us right here. At the end he wrote some encouraging and instructive words about living life in the shadow of death:
Life flies by quickly, and we never know when our last day will be. As someone who believes that our conscious experience is finite, it reminds me to make the most out of every moment. My life in this physical world is the only one that I will ever have, and I plan to cherish it to the fullest. I wish the same for all others who live with kindness and empathy.

Christian Criticisms of William Dembski's Design Inference

The following is a short list of articles (and chapters) critiquing Dembski's design inference. They are all written by Christian philosophers.

Del Ratzsch:
Appendix: "Dembski's Design Inference", in Nature, Design and Science. SUNY Press, 2001 (in the Philosophy and Biology Series).

Robin Collins:
“An Evaluation of William A. Dembski’s The Design Inference,” in Christian Scholar’s Review, vol. 30:3 (Spring 2001).

MIchael J. Murray:
"Natural Providence (or Design Trouble)", Faith and Philosophy 20:2 (July 2003), pp. 307-327.
-"Natural Providence: Reply to Dembski", Faith and Philosophy 23:3 (2006), pp.337-41.

Timothy McGrew:
"Toward a Rational Reconstruction of Design Inferences", Philosophia Christi 7:2 (2005), pp. 253-298.

Mark Mittelberg On 7 More Arrows That Point To The Bible, Part 18

I'm still working through Mark Mittelberg's apologetical book. It's a good one, better than most in that it's a unique, easily accessible one for popular readers, and better than Lee Strobel's type of books. Click on Mark's name below to see where we've been so far. Now on with the show for his chapter 11, where he shares 7 more arrows that point to the Bible as true. No, I'm not going to be comprehensive in responding here.

The Apologist Two-Step Dance--Timothy McGrew and David Marshall on Boghossian

Here's James Lindsay on this dance of theirs:
The two-step is their game. The way it's played is simple: give multiple characterizations for everything, including God, faith, Christian, etc., and then whenever someone calls you out for the problems in any one of them (and there are always problems), switch to another. Dance, dance, dance. Pretend, pretend, pretend. Whatever it takes to avoid having the cherished beliefs treated with intellectual honesty, which would destroy them. [Read this!]

David Hume's Argument against Miracles Cannot Be Disputed. I Prove It Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt!

The title to this post echoes the certainty of David Hume, known as the greatest English speaking philosopher. He said:
I flatter myself, that I have discovered an argument which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures. [Enquiry "Of Miracles" X (#86)]
I argue this is still true. Now I'm not sure why many Christian intellectuals ignore my books and my arguments. Many or most evangelical apologists know of them. So I'll say it. I think many of them have decided not to deal with them, or to give them any oxygen, because they cannot dispute them. It's so much easier to go after popular but low hanging fruit. Apologist Frank Turek, for instance, knows of my work but never addresses it in his daily posts at X (or Twitter). I find that very odd. So I must conclude he cannot dispute them.

Okay this sounds like I'm challenging apologists to a Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, so it makes me arrogant. But I have the goods. Others do as well. Is it really arrogant to say Christianity of the evangelical kind is bunk, when it is in fact bunk? No it's not, not anymore than it is to say Leprechauns don't exist. Many atheists, agnostics, deists, and even liberals agree with me on that score. But because I state the obvious many evangelical apologists will conclude I'm uniformed of the underpinnings of their faith, since they are so sure of it. They might also think this of the title to this blog. I can't change that now. But if they read just one of my papers they will see my scholarship. Check out just one peer reviewed paper, in defense of David Hume on miracles at The Secular Web. THIS ONE. Can you dispute it? I say you can't do it. Timothy McGrew, I’m looking at you.

Quote of the Day By Aron Lucas On Faith

Aron Lucas commented on something in the Keith Parsons vs William Lane Craig Debate. David Marshall and other apologists tell us faith is trust based on evidence. But we know differently.
Around 2 hours a Christian questioner defines faith as belief without evidence. Craig is very frustrated in his response. He defines faith as trust based on evidence. This shows a real disconnect between how academic Christians define faith and how common people define faith. In his debate with Peter Boghossian, Timothy McGrew speculated that the overwhelming majority of Christians would reject the idea that faith is defined as belief without evidence. I think this shows that he’s out of touch with regular Christian folk. The questioner in this video and many regular Christians have no idea that apologetics is even a thing and are happy to base their belief on “blind faith.”

"The Case against Miracles" Will Be Made Into An Audiobook!

Good news! I've learned that my anthology, The Case against Miracles, published by Hypatia Press, is going to come out as an audio book! I don't know how soon. If the chapters have different readers for effect, and why not, let my chapters be read by Seth Andrews. ;-) It's the book Timothy McGrew needs to consider before saying anything more about miracles.

What’s Wrong With Using Bayes Theorem to Evaluate Miracles?

In a previous post I spoke on the topic, Miracle Claims Asserted Without Relevant Objective Evidence Can Be Dismissed. Period! At the end I had some closing thoughts about Bayes Theorem and miracles. I'm highlighting it for thought below.
What’s Wrong With Using Bayes Theorem to Evaluate Miracles?
Now I want to end by talking briefly about Bayes Theorem. In his writings and talks Richard Carrier does a good job of explaining it.

Aron Lucas On "Hume's Maxim: How a 'Trivial Truth' is Too Strong for Christian Apologetics"

Aron Lucas earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2016, and is using his sharp legal mind to defend Hume's Maxim against apologists Michael Licona, Stephen Davis, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig and Timothy & Lydia McGrew. It's an excellent piece of counter-apologetics! David Hume's maxim is this: "That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish." John Earman faults Hume for basically stating the obvious, but Lucas shows that "if Hume is to be faulted for stating the obvious, many of today's leading Christian thinkers should be faulted all the more for failing to see the obvious." Excerpt below:

Miracle Claims Asserted Without Relevant Objective Evidence Can Be Dismissed!


I recorded a video talk for two virtual conferences this past Labor Day weekend, for the International eConference on Atheism, put on by the Global Center for Religious Research, and for the Dragon Con Skeptic Track. I'm very grateful for these two opportunities. That video will be released sometime soon. In what follows is the text of my talk. Please share if you want others to discuss it with you. Enjoy the discussion!

Today I’m arguing, along the same lines as Christopher Hitchens did, that “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” [God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York, Twelve. 2007), p.150.] Specifically I’m arguing that “Miracle Claims Asserted Without Relevant Objective Evidence Can Be Dismissed. Period!”

I think all reasonable people would agree. Without any relevant objective evidence miracle claims shouldn’t be entertained, considered, believed, or even debunked. I intend to go further to argue that as far as we can tell, all, or almost all miracle assertions, lack any relevant objective evidence, and as such, can be dismissed out of hand, per Hitchens.