Thursday, November 6, 2008

Divine Simplicity - an Introduction


One of the most difficult doctrines to understand and one that has continued to challenge theists and philosophers is ironically the doctrine of divine simplicity. Proposed by early christian thinkers like st. Thomas aquinas,st. Anselm and st. Augustine,the doctrine says that god is simple,with no components and he is identical with his attributes.

The doctrine has received criticism from both christian philosophers and atheists as an incoherent doctrine. The idea that god is the same thing as omnipotence,omniscience and omni benevolence has not gone down well with modern day christian philosophers. The strongest critic being well known christian philosopher Alvin plantinga.plantinga said the doctrine reduces god to a property.

Since God is identical with each of his properties and so by extension also each of his properties are identical with each other.

I must warn you guys that this topic is very complex and it involves a lot of philosophical terms. I am still trying to understand it fully and some of the solutions offered.

The doctrine can be represented by taking an example of one of God's properties,goodness:

1.God is good
2.God has a certain property called “goodness”
3.This goodness belongs to God
4.Therefore we can call it God's goodness.
5.God's goodness is identical to God.

The doctrine arose from the need of avoiding to think of God as dependent on his properties and also the need to think of God as not having components.(physical or essence components) if god had these properties contingently and separate from his nature,then it would imply that the combination of properties such as omnipotence,omniscience-benevolence made up God.

This would mean that God depended on these properties so as to be “god”.and to the early thinkers this would imply God is not a maximal being since he would depend on these properties for his essence or existence. And so another maximal being could be thought of,who did not depend on these properties but rather was identical to these(goodness,omnipotence-omniscience) properties themselves.

To get a clear picture think of a human being. A human being is made up of parts,the brain,heart and other vital organs. Without these organs a human would not function. So we can say a human is dependent on his parts. So if God was made up of omniscience,omni benevolence and omnipotence,he would then be dependent on these properties so as to exist,or so that he can have his nature.

But if God was identical to his properties,then he would not be dependent on anything.and thus maintain status of a maximal being. But this is where the problem starts.

G= God







If God is identical with all his properties,then all his properties are identical to each other God is a property a single property but properties don't create,they are not personal,in fact properties don't stand in any causal relationships. They are abstract. Just like the color yellow,or numbers. For example if God is goodness,then how can “goodness” create anything?if its just a property?if God is “just” or “merciful”,how can merciful do things like create,speak or do anything at all? this is clearly not the God of Christianity.

God is the personal creator and sustainer of every contingent being. No abstract object is a person or a causal agent. No abstract object can be omniscient, or indeed know anything at all! this is not the only coherence problem faced by divine simplicity. In the next thread i will post some of the other coherence problems. And finally the counterarguments to this criticisms. To be continued....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Euthyphro Dilemma revisted 2.

Post Continued From Here


So, Ernest seems to go along with the ideas expressed just above: by the fact that God is our Father, Creator, Sustainer, it follows that we ought to follow his commands and respect the laws that He lays down for us.

But, by the fact that God is our Father it doesn’t follow that we ought to do as he commands. By analogy, if a child’s parent (who is, in a perfectly analogical sense, the child’s Father, Creator, and Provider), commanded his daughter to go out to Central Avenue in Albany, NY and sell crack, the daughter would in no way be morally obligated to do so, just on the grounds that the command comes from her father.

A natural reply to this analogy would be that it fails because the girl’s father is a mere human being, whereas God is our Ultimate Author, the all-powerful being who is responsible for our existence. So, then, it is not God’s parental status, but more his omnipotence, that makes his dispositions unique such that they provide as an objective basis for moral conduct, when no other individual‘s desires, or set of desires, can.

Is there any reason to suppose that there is a relationship between moral obligation and how powerful a person is? There doesn’t seem to be any relation between these two things. In Wielenberg (2005), we imagine a contest between two people where the prize is omnipotence. The first competitor in this contest means to win his omnipotence and use it for the good of humanity. The second competitor plans to use his omnipotence for his own “selfish, nefarious purposes”. He “plans to slaughter most of humanity and force the rest to live in excrement pits where they will work themselves to death as his slaves and be subject to torture at his hand for his own amusement” (pg. 41-42). If the second competitor won this contest, and became all-powerful, would we have any moral obligation at all to make his desires come true? The answer is obviously no. We don’t have any obligation. So neither a person’s power or parental/creator status has any relation to what our moral obligations are.

So, it looks like there’s no bridge between “is” and “ought” for EDCT.

2. On God’s dispositions being necessarily fixed:

Originally Posted by “Ernest”
1.Conceptual Neccesity

Neccesarily God is Good.

Goodness being attributed to God can be thought of as a Propositional neccesity i.e Resulting from unpacking of a concept- the concept of God.By this I mean the very definition of God (in Christianity) is one who is all If someone is a bachelor, for instance, then he is bound to be unmarried by conceptual necessity, because the meaning of the word "bachelor" determines that he is.therefore Good is part of the definiton of what God is.But this shiould not be confused as meaning that God is the same thing as goodness,but only part of the deifinition of What God is.

God is neccesarily Good

This can be thought of neccesity De Re i.e "of the thing".Where the neccesity holds true of the being who is infact God.And is the expression of one of his essential properties.A property without which,He could not exist.This De Re necessity ties goodness to the very existence of God.

Necessarily,God is essentially Good

For a being who was ultimately vulnerable to evil,sin or weakness in any possible circumstance,he would not be the greatest possible being.On the conception of deity,part of what it means to be God is having the property of goodness and to have it essentially,and not contingently.


You’ve got some things confused. Here, you’re trying to provide a reason for why God is necessarily good. But you have defined “good” as “in accord with God’s dispositions”. So the more relevant question is: Could God’s dispositions be different? If there is a possible world in which God’s dispositions are not the same as you imagine them to be, then it follows that what is right and what is wrong would be different. Since we’re all in agreement that any moral theory that entails this has been reduced to absurdity, it becomes necessary for you to show that God’s dispositions cannot be different. You haven’t really tried to show this.

The closest you’ve come to an argument of this sort is your ontological argument. God cannot be different because then He would not be the greatest conceivable being. But as I implied in an earlier post, this particular ontological argument uses the term “greatest” in (apparently) a very subjective way. How are you defining the word “greatest” in your argument, and how does it directly relate to and have consequences for what God’s dispositions could be? "Greatest conceivable being" from which person's perspective? Can you demonstrate, as a matter of fact, that differences in God’s dispositions would entail that He would not be the greatest conceivable being, in any sort of objective way that we would all have to agree with?

I think that you've been able to come up with a good answer to Euthyphro’s Dilemma, in that you have attempted to make the basis for moral facts both non-arbitrary and based on God’s commands/nature. You have the “right idea”, in other words, in terms of what you have to argue in order to make the Euthyphro argument go away. But, as far as the discussion has shown so far, it looks like EDCT fails for at least two reasons: (1) It fails to provide an adequate answer to the is-ought dilemma; and (2) It fails to show that God’s dispositions are necessarily the way that they are, and could not be different. The criticism expressed in (1) is an independent criticism apart from the Euthyphro Dilemma. The argument in (2) shows (at least, IMO) that the Euthyphro Dilemma is a continuing problem for your moral theory.

Euthyphro Dilemma revisited:

Following my post about the Euthyphro Dilemma on my blog here and subsequent post at IIDB,There were several critiques of my post by a forum member AKA Deschain.Here is His analysis of what he called Ernest's Divine Command Theory.(lol)

He was responding to this:

Originally Posted by “Ernest”
I certainly did not chose horn number 2,i do think that there are reasons why God gives certrain moral commands,but it does not follow that this reasons are apart from God's nature.

As in,
1.God is Kind
2.God has a disposition against stealing
3.Because stealing causes losess to the victim,and its an act of cruelty
4.Cruelty is agaisnt God's nature of Kindness

If am correct,What Deschain and You have a contention with is that number 3 i.e reasons for stealing,would be independent of God's nature.God would need reasons indepedent of his nature to have moral commands.

But my position is,the reasons themselves are grounded in God's i have illustrated.

Then the question would be as Deschain pointed out,Would number 3 be evident enough i.e serve as a motivation by itself to humans without number 4?

Now at this juncture we have to discuss all the Atheistic/secular ethical moral systems.(which is a another discussion)

But if they all fail,then we have to move from 3 to 4,that it might not be self evident that Stealing is cruel without an Objective Moral standard,who is God.


1. On the Ernestombayo Divine Command Theory, actions that would normally be described as immoral can be considered objectively wrong because of certain dispositions that God has toward those acts. According to EDCT, it is not possible that God could have an alternative set of dispositions - i.e., God’s nature is strictly fixed and is as it is by necessity. As a result, it can never be the case that moral facts change; for example, it can never be the case that rape suddenly becomes morally permissible, or that charity becomes morally reprehensible, because God’s dispositions toward those acts can never change. The result of this is that, according to Ernest, we have an answer to Euthyphro’s Dilemma, which attempts to demonstrate that either: (1) morality is not founded on God; or (2) Morality is an arbitrary construct decreed by God. With EDCT, moral facts are not arbitrary because they are true by virtue of God’s unchanging dispositions toward morally-relevant actions. And with that, the dilemma seems to be answered.

Here’s why this doesn’t sound like a good theory to me: Why is it that God’s dispositions are sufficient to provide as a basis for moral facts, when no other individual’s desires (say, the dispositions of Wittgenstein, or Satan, or Whoopi Goldberg, or Boy George) are able to do so? What is it about God’s personal dispositions that provide us with an objective theory, when, according to Ernest's rejection of secularly-based ethical theories, using anyone else's dispositions as a basis for moral conduct leaves us with moral subjectivism?

Different believers that I’ve talked to have different perspectives on this. Some say that God’s dispositions are unique in that God is our Father, our Creator, and so we must do what he commands and desires of us. Others say that it is because God is all-powerful. Others say that it is because he is omniscient and therefore knows what is right and what is wrong, and so it is important that we follow him as our (much wiser) guide for moral behaviour. Ernest himself wrote that:

"From a Christian theological standpoint, if God has created us and sustains us in existence at every moment and so all good things of life come to us through his agency or permission, we have some obligation to please him and so conform to his commands and forbidding."

Continued on the next post.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Euthyphro Dilemma Part 2

In my last post i wrote about the Euthyphro dilemma.Read about it here.
An objection of the Divine command theory(That which is moral is moral because it is commanded by God), is that moral truthts become arbitray.
An objection to this claim is that God is necessarily good, and that the source and standard of the Good is God’s very nature.This avoids the assertion that morality is arbtriray since morality can now be shown that its grounded in an objective moral standard which is God's very nature of goodness.

But an opponent of the Divine Command theory can ask."If God’s nature rejects the raping of little children, but it is not an arbitrary rejection (rejected for no reasons), then would this not mean that God’s nature is good in accordance with good reasons?"

Then can we not say that God's nature is neccesarily opposed to such acts as rape and murder because there are good reasons not to rape and murder?

So God's nature to call an act wrong or good,must be grounded in "good reasons".This implies that in a world where rape does not cause any suffering or injustice to the victim,then God would have no reason to call rape wrong.But someone wopul say,that,there is no possible world where rape does not cause suffering or injustice.Then wouldn't this still mean that God's nature of goodness is grounded in reasons.Making God's nature of goodness a slave to "reasons" for being good.

It seems clear that for God to escape the charge that morality is arbitrary i.e something IS just good,or something IS just bad,then it must be grounded in reasons.

The question becomes,would this reasons exists if God did not exist?Would we see reasons not to rape,if God did not exist?If the answer is yes,then it means that "reasons' not to rape and by extension,.morality exists outside of God.

What are the problems raised with this type of objection?from Christian Philoaspher's site,William Lane Craig, reasonable faithe he says.;

"The position is that God’s moral nature is the paradigm of goodness; what is good or bad is determined by conformity or lack thereof to His nature.First, we can give good reasons for why God commands what He does,eg rape ir wrong because it is injurious and unjust.But that doesn’t imply that there should be good reasons why love, kindness, and patience are virtues, and why greed, cruelty, and hate are vices apart from the nature of God.

Second, I think we should not confuse being ultimate with being arbitrary. If something serves as one’s explanatory ultimate, there can be no further explanation why that thing is as it is. But that doesn’t imply that it is arbitrary in the sense that it could have been otherwise and so just happens accidentally to be the way it is. God’s nature, like Plato’s Good, is ultimate, it is not arbitrary. Nor is taking God’s nature as paradigmatic of the Good arbitrary, for He is the greatest conceivable being and it is greater to be the paradigm of goodness than merely to exemplify it."

Craig sums it up nicely for this dilemma that has troubled philosphers for ages.


Reasonable Faith - - William Lane Craig.
Philosophical Logic - Sybil Wolfram
Euthyphro dilemma - Wikipedia

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Euthyphro dilemma

Euthyphro Dilemma is found in plato's dialogue "Euthyphro".In montheism its simply asks "Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?"

1.What is commanded by God is moral because its moral in/by itself.

This implies that morality is independent of God and, indeed, that God is bound by morality just as his creatures are. God then becomes just a messenger for morality.

2.That which is moral is moral because it is commanded by God

This is commonly known as the Divine command theory.Which says that an act is obligatory if and only if, and because, it is commanded by God.

There are several objections raised against the divine command theory(DCT).

a)It implies that morality is arbitrary. If divine command theory is true, morality is based merely upon God's whim. Divine Command Theory, this objection runs, entails that if it is morally obligatory to do x then this is in virtue of God's commanding that we do x.

If God would have commanded us to rape,then it would have been moral good.

b)Secondly, it implies that calling God good makes no real sense,rather God is just being consistent with his nature.

Most theist will say that this nis a false dilemma,and DCT is obvioiusly true.Now what about the objections ?

a)It implies that morality is arbitrary. If divine command theory is true, morality is based merely upon God's whim. Divine Command Theory, this objection runs, entails that if it is morally obligatory to do x then this is in virtue of God's commanding that we do x.

If God would have commanded us to rape,then it would have been moral good.

1. Some theist agree with the point the critic is making but arguing that it is not a problem with the theory. God could have commanded us to commit murder, and then it would have been obligatory — but he didn't, so it isn't.But this is a potenital problem because it suggets that their is a possible world where God's commands on moral values are completely different.

2.A theist can say that God is necessarily good, and that the source and standard of the Good is God’s very nature.This avoids the assertion that morality is arbtriray since morality can now be shown that its grounded in an objective moral standard which is God's very nature of goodness.

to be continued....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Craig on Absurdity of Life Without God

Having finished listening to william Lanes Craig lecture on absurdity of Life without God,it made me see life and existence in a totally new light.

Watch Here


For a moment what is the purpose of existence if there is no God?

If there is a God,then there is continuity of life through eternal existence with God at the end of this mortal existence.

But if God does not exist then why do humans live life as if it matters?

The earth's resources are diminishing,and environmental degradtion is killing our planet.
The sun is dying,in 3-5 billion years from now it will obliterate the earth and most if not all of the inner planets.Life will cease to exist on earth.

The universe itself as we know it is finite,a time will reach when the universe will be empty space.All stars having died and matter reduced to small quakes.


Whats the point of people being good or bad?if ultimately everyone will die and there will be no human race?

There is no ultimate difference between hitler and mother teresa.At one point in the future,no one will be there to account for their deeds.They were simply two organisms which acted differently and ceased to exist.

All the charity organizations,food programmes,hunger walks, and special programmes to help the needy and suffering in society are pointless in the long run.Everyone will die.

Our justice system is if no use,since the murderers,robbers and the good people all have the same fate.

Meaning of Life

Another question we can ask is,what is the ultimate significance of a persons life?If a person lives and ceases to exist,then that persons existence has no ultimate meaning.Ultimately,it would have made no difference if he lived or not.

But you might say,"he's or her life changed peoples lives,made a contribution while he was alive."

But thats only a relative significance.He's life was only meaningful for a certain period,and besides since everything that he ever influenced will also cease to exist,then this significance is still meaningless.Its like a death row convict advising a fellow death row convict not to commit suicide on the eve his execution.

The human race is really not special after all.Mosquitos and flies and roaches all have the same fate.Human beings do not ultimately have any special existence compared to bacteria or worms.all our fates are the same.

All our efforts of science,knowledge,medicine and technological advancements are all in vain.We build cities,towns,better drainage,try to create efficient systems,end poverty, but all this is of no use if they will all cease to exist.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Two World Theodicy for the Problem of Evil

Theistic philosopher David Wood had a debate with Atheist John W Loftus last year on the Problem of Evil.
This debate was an exchange,rather than a formal debate type.It was on the infidel guy radio show
and here is the link to listen to it.


I think David Wood's Two- World theodicy was very well thought out.

What kind of world should we expect an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good being to create? Wood handles the question by suggesting that a world in which human pleasure is maximized and human pain is minimized is not what would be expected of this type of Creator.

He posits a two-world theodicy in which ‘good’ is maximized: this world with its goods, eg Courage,Compassion,endurance etc, and the next world (heaven) with its goods.lack of suffering,and the full presence of God—the latter being the ultimate good.

Neither world can contain all of the goods (since some of them are mutually exclusive).Eg You can't have Courage in heaven since there is there are no threats that would compell an act of courageousness.

And therefore the best possible situation is one with both worlds, in which the world of greater goods is eternal and the world of lesser goods is a limited world.

Loftus asks why didnt God then just put us into heaven,if the ultimate goal is for humans to go to heaven.Wood says in order to maximize good, this world could not be by-passed, for there are goods in this world that cannot be achieved in the heavenly world in God’s full presence.Wood gives several examples of the goods of this world, including the choice of whether or not we will follow God, morality, and virtues such as courage and compassion.

Full review here

very intresting debate.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

William Lane Craig's Critic of Dawkins

Well known Christian Apologist and Philosopher William Lane Craig took a swipe at Dawkins reasoning in the God delusion book.

He addresses the "who designed the designer" question.


Richard Dawkins was criticizing the design argument for God.He asked if the universe is designed,then who designed the designer(GOD).But Craig shows that in no-way does the question make the argument fail.Its simply a question out of the blues.Consider the premises of the argument below:
  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, it is due to design.
Dawkins has totally ignored the whole argument.He has not attacked any of the premises,or even the conclusion.So in essence he's acknowledging that the argument is valid and successful.

Craig says that we do not need to have an explanation for the explanation.If X is the best explanation for Y,we don't need an explanation for X.
The lack of an explanation for X does not negate the fact that X is still the best explanation for Y.

A good example would be,if you found a book on the beach and you exclaimed"this book must have been written by a writer".then your friend quips in and says," that cannot be,then who created/designed the writer?".
The origins of the writer are a non-issue as regarding the best explanations for the source of the book.As long as you agree that the book was written by a writer,then the lack of explanation of where the writer originated from does not negate the fact that the book was written by a writer.

In short if we needed to have an explanation for the explanation of everything in the universe,then we would never be able to explain anything.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Witchraft is incompatible with Christianity.

Witchcraft/sorcery is an age-old practice in many African societies. And its still very rife in modern day Africa.
What is amazing is that many African Christians believe in the powers of sorcery and vodoo.
What is even more amazing is that educated pastors will preach that witchcraft is compatible with the teachings of Christianity.

Witchcraft/sorcery is the believe that a person(witch) possesses magical powers which can influence other peoples behaviors or bring good fortunes to people. Despite the lack of concrete evidence for the claims of sorcerers,people will still be ready to grant that witchcraft works.

The problem with witchcraft is the lack of concrete evidence. Mostly hearsay and circumstantial situations. Epilepsy or schizophrenia are automatically labeled as proof of bewitching.

Christianity preaches that demons do exist. Matthew 8:28-34 records an instance where Jesus casts out demons and sends them to the pigs.

People normally do not know the difference between evil spirits/demons and the ability of a person to control someones else's life through magic. Is it possible then that someone can "send" bad spirits to someone else so as to be possessed?

There is no teaching in the bible which records such an instance. The bible records demon possession,but not the possibility of someone being jinxed.
If witchcraft is true,then it rubbishes most of Jesus's teachings.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

If someone has the power to control someones behaviors eg drive someone mad,then what happens to Free-will?what do we make of the teachings that God gave man the ability to chose his destiny through his works,whether to go to heaven or hell?

whats the point of judgment day?how will God judge those who were "possessed"?
If witchcraft is true,then Christianity is inherently false. Salvation through Jesus Christ is a myth.

What about ghosts?Ghosts are believed to be dead people who have come back in the form of spirits .The possibility of ghosts directly contradicts the teachings of God. The bible teaches of every human having only two places to go after death,Heaven or Hell. But it seems then Earth is a third choice!ghosts hang around haunted houses and buildings. Isn't there judgment for them?Can i become a ghost after i die so as to avoid going to hell or heaven?

The above are believes which do not hold any water in Christian theodicy. They bring up contradictions within the teachings of Christianity. And so either witchcraft is true or Christianity is true,but not both.

Dead sea Scrolls to be displayed in Jerusalem Museum

One of the most important biblical archaeological find in the 20th century will be on display in Jerusalem this week as Israel celebrates its 60 years of independence.The dead Sea scrolls were discovered in the qumran caves in 1the 1960's.

The scrolls contained almost all of the Old testament books found in the Bible.And even contained a complete book of Isaiah.The Dead Sea scrolls were dated to the year 150 BC.
The significance of the scrolls was that it confirmed that the modern day Hebrew bible had never been altered or changed as many critics claimed.
For example the book of Isaiah on the scrolls is completely similar to the book of Isaiah on the modern day Hebrew bible.

The scrolls also play a significant role for Israel as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.They show that Israel as a nation existed for many thousands of years in the disputed land.Ruled by many Kings and eventually the Romans.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dinesh D'souza VS Peter Singer Debate

Dinesh D'Souza debates Peter Singer at Biola University. They will address the topic of God’s existence and it’s meaning for human flourishing.


A debate between well known Christian Apologists Dinesh D'souza and atheist Peter singer on a wide range of topics touching on God's existence problem of evil and suffering etc.

I must say i was very disappointed by dinesh's performance on this debate.Peter singer's arguments were nothing new.The classical arguments against God's existence.mainly focusing on the problem of evil.
Dinesh seemed not to have a proper grasp on the counter arguments of the problem of evil,and he did miserably in defending his position on the matter.

Dinesh did not even use the free will defense by alvin plantinga to properly argue against the problem of evil.Even at one time saying that he did not know why there is evil and suffering.

Peter singer in my own view,was ok.In fact he's a very "mild" atheist. But dinesh did not capitalize on the opportunity.Instead he opened his speech on a totally unrelated topic about the problems of atheism,the injustices of former atheists,and the dangers of eliminating religion from society.I agree with some of his points,but that was not the topic of discussion.The topic was on God's existence and he should have started off with arguments in support of this position first.

When the question time from the audience reached,D'souza answered well,but at times strayed off the topic of the questions asked.He sometimes had very long answers to the questions.

Peter singer,well,there is really nothing much i can say about him,he wasn't exceptional,he was not the crowd's favorite.Compared to very loud Christopher Hitchens,the vial spitting Richard dawkins and other prominent atheists,Peter singer was rather dull.

In conclusion,Peter Singer was more on point than Dinesh.Peter failed to account for the source of moraliy in an atheistic worldview.Dinesh failed to substatially mount good arguments for God's existence.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Theory of Knoweldge and Wordlviews

In the very first philosophy classess one of the major topics taught is Epistemology.Which focuses on questions like "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", and "What do people know?".

This is a very important subject because people shape their lives and world views on their epistemology.Some people have suggested that inorder to choose between world views eg to choose between determinism and free will,atheism and theism,you have to have a certain epistemology or theory of knowledge(which is free from any metaphysical prejudices) and then apply it to the facts of experience or nature and then decide what reality is all about.

It may seem reasonable to say that we should ask ourselves how we know what we know,and then proceed to compare with what we know,so as to get a grip on what is reality/factual.
One of the respected Christian Theologian the late Greg Banhsen showed that its impossible to develop an epistemology without already presupposing something about reality.

An example he gave is:

Imagine you have an Apple farm.Inorder for you to sell your apples you will need to sort the good apples from the bad apples..So you decide to develop the first ever Apple sorting machine.
This machine will sort the good apples from the bad apples.This machine is a method of apple sorting.

The big question is,would you be able to develop such a machine if you did not know in advance a good apple from a bad apple?
The answer is obviously no.You need some prior knowledge of good apples from bad apples.

The same applies to almost all metaphysical questions.If you do not know something about reality,then you cannot devise a method which "sorts"truth and false about reality.Therefore you cannot even devise an epistemology.

Banhsen shows that everyone begins with a worldview and conception of reality.So neutrality is illusionary.
Philosophical methodism,which is the view that method takes precedence over every other consideration in philosophy.
One first gets a method of "knowing" then you argue about ethics and metaphysics.The apple sorting machine shows the impossibility of philosophical methodism.

Watch Banhsen's full lecture here.Very interesting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

William Lane Craig Versus Frank Zindler Debate:

Finally The William Lane Craig Vs Frank Zindler Debate is On youtube.This debate was held some few years back.William Lane Craig is a professor in Philosopher and New Testament Scholarship.Frank Zindler is Professor is Biology,zoology,linguistics and psychology.

The Topic of Discussion was Atheism Vs Christianity:Where does the evidence lead.

The moderator is the famous Atheists turned theist Lee Strobel who has produced the Case For Christ and The Case for a Creator.

Watch The Debate Here

You can easily navigate to the rest of the parts.

I'll post a short review of the debate later.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Atheism and Definitions revisited

It seems i have to spend more time on definitions of Atheism. I got an e-mail from one of the readers saying that he did not quite agree to my definitions of Atheism.
And i do not blame him. Because if he had read my post clearly,then he would have noticed that i tried to show the different definitions used. Even atheists themselves disagree on the best definitions for an atheist.

A reader recommended this video to me and others who would want to see a "clearer" distinction.


I watched the video and i agreed to most of the content,though i found it a bit misleading.

Atheist comes from the Greek: a- "without" + theos "a god".

So a direct translation would be, "without a god".The "A" is a negator.

Consider the word Symmetry.A negator would be Asymmetry. Simply meaning without symmetry.If i was to say, Asymmetry means object lacking symmetry,it would be technically accepted in English grammar.But it would be obvious that i have imported a new word.The word being " object".

So saying atheism is "lacking the belief in god",is importing the word belief. The initial meaning was "without gods".

Meaning that even Babies or infants are atheists due to their undeveloped brains which are unable to comprehend matters such as gods.They lack the belief in gods.

But someone would ask,in which context can we use the words "without gods"?isn't it obvious that we are speaking of peoples beliefs?Not necessarily.

There are scientists who adhere to materialism.Matter is all that there is.So the universe in this case would be "without gods".In other words,the universe is materialistic in nature.Then We can say the universe is atheistic.or a-theos.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Atheism and The Burden Of Proof part 1

Most religious people have come across a person who does not believe that God exist or any gods exists. Kenya being a country where atheists numbers are negligible it would be hard to find a religious person who has been challenged by a skeptic.
But for Kenyans who reside outside the country especially in European countries like Germany,UK and Sweden where Atheist are a significantly high number,then a debate with an atheist starts with asserting certain positions.

The most important one being to ask, Where does the burden of Proof lie? Who should be proving to the other what?

Atheism definitions have slowly started to evolve in the hope of leaving the theist with 100% burden of proof.
A simple and most accepted definition is, The belief that God or gods do not exist.
Another definition which is called weak atheism is, The Lack of Belief that God exists.

The strong Atheism position can be defined as:
Atheism, as a philosophical view, is the position that either affirms the nonexistence of gods or rejects theism.

To know who bears the burden of proof of whether God exists or not,then we have to work with one of the definitions.

Agnosticism is also another position that should not be confused with Atheism. Most agnostics state that agnosticism is to not know whether a deity exists. Some go further and claim that agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible for any person to know whether any deity exists or not.

It seems weak atheism is a form of
agnosticism. Weak atheism says that a person simply lacks the belief that God exists.This may be because he has not seen any evidence of such a Being.Agnotism also claims that there has not been sufficient evidence to convince him a God exists or a God does not exist.

There are two positions to consider,Either God exists or God doess not exist

So weak atheism can be described as,

1.There is no convincing evidence of a God
2.So I lack the belief that God exists
3. I take the position that God does not exist.

agnosticism can be formulated as:

.There is no convincing evidence of a God
2.So I lack the belief that God exists
3.I take no position

Simply saying that "I lack the belief that God exist" does not make the weak atheist escape the ultimate conclusion that he will have to choose a position at the end of the day.

But Weak atheism commits a form of argumentum ad ignorantium or Argument from ignorance.
which is a logical fallacy where it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false or is only false because it has not been proven true.

Something is currently unexplained or insufficiently understood or explained, so it is not (or must not be) true.

Weak atheism claims that the proposition God exists has not been proven to be true,so automatically it is false.But the atheist has not even attempted to prove that the proposition God exists is false.

A good analogy would be, "You can't prove God does exist, so God doesn't exist"

To Be continued......