Act now to protect Net Neutrality
The repeal of net neutrality rules potentially threatens your ability to access content you want (including this site). Call your member of congress: 202-224-3121 https://www.battleforthenet.com
Is Necessary Existence Necessary?
Consider the following argument for the existence of God. 1. Something exists. 2. Anything that exists must either exist contingently or necessarily. 3. It is impossible that everything that exists is contingent. 4. Therefore, there must exist at least one necessary being. 5. Only God could be a necessary being. 6. Therefore, God exists. I … Is Necessary Existence Necessary?
The Homeopathic Christ Problem
(A mostly silly puzzle about Holy Communion) The Christian sacrament of Communion can be viewed according to two main competing theoretical perspectives. The first can be called the “symbolic presence” account, according to which the bread and wine are nothing more than symbolic representations of the body and blood of Jesus. On this view, … The Homeopathic Christ Problem
Christianity without Belief in the Resurrection?
BBC News has a story describing an interesting survey. Several particular results stand out: Half of the respondents reported that they do not believe that the Resurrection happened. But of these, many also identified as Christians. About one-fourth of respondents who identified as Christians reported that they do not believe that the Resurrection occurred. So … Christianity without Belief in the Resurrection?
Is Pure Consciousness Possible?
Some practitioners of meditative disciplines or people who have had mystical experiences claim to attain a state of “pure consciousness” (PC). PC is supposed to be a state where one is conscious, but is not conscious of anything. That is, it is completely objectless, or if it has any object at all, the object is … Is Pure Consciousness Possible?
Intelligent Design: Get ready for another round
President Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is very likely a supporter of teaching Intelligent Design (ID) in public schools. Her husband, Dick DeVos, ran for Governor of Michigan in 2006 and explicitly stated his support for ID ( https://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/09/21/devos-and-intelligent-design ). It is not unlikely, then, that ID proponents will be emboldened to … Intelligent Design: Get ready for another round
Retributivism, Punishment, and Moral Value
In the comments on another post https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2017/01/05/memoriam-derek-parfit-1942-2017/ , the contrast between retributivist and consequentialist models of punishment came up. Here is a thought-experiment I present to my classes on this contrast. Suppose that in lieu of life-imprisonment for major crimes, the technology exists to plug offenders into a Matrix-like situation: they are to be imprisoned … Retributivism, Punishment, and Moral Value
Black Holes and the Problem of Evil
Data produced by the Hubble Space Telescope show that the brightest supernova ever recorded was actually a star being torn apart by a black hole in what is being called the ASASSN-15lh event. This has a high “coolness factor” for astronomy enthusiasts. But I couldn’t help but wonder a little whether there were any planets … Black Holes and the Problem of Evil
Consciousness and souls
Substance dualists insist that no matter what goes on in the squishy 3 pound lump of brain inside the human skull, none of it constitutes what is really essential to human cognition. Something else, an immaterial soul, has to be added to the brain in order for it to … well, to do something – … Consciousness and souls
Pseudo random thoughts on AA and free will
There are some atheists who would like to see references to God or a higher power dropped from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) materials. I think it is clearly desirable for people to have recovery resources available to them that don’t mandate adherence to religious doctrines. But that’s not what I want to focus on. Instead, I … Pseudo random thoughts on AA and free will