Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 19: Premise (24) of the Feeling-Superior Argument
WHERE WE ARE For a brief summary of what has been covered in Part 3 through Part 15 of this series, see the “WHERE WE ARE” section at the beginning of Part 16 of this series. In Part 16 of this series, I argued that Kreeft and Tacelli’s first argument against Jesus being a lunatic FAILED because both premises of the argument are too UNCLEAR to be rationally evaluated and because Kreeft and Tacelli offer ZERO factual evidence in support of the SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS and HISTORICAL CLAIMS that are asserted in those premises. In Part 17 of this series, I argued that there was another serious problem with the first argument against Jesus being a lunatic: the available historical evidence is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions about Jesus having a high degree of practical wisdom. Then I moved on to analyze and clarify Kreeft and Tacelli’s second point against Jesus being a lunatic. Their second point actually includes two very similar arguments against Jesus being a lunatic. In Part 18 of thi ... Read Article
Review of *Not* So Fast: A Response to Augustine’s Critique of the BICS Contest: Stephen E. Braude, Imants Baruss , Arnaud Delorme, Dean Radin, Helané Wahbeh
see the article here: https://journalofscientificexploration.org/index.php/jse/issue/view/85 At times Braude et al's response to Augustine reads like a long lottery fallacy, the idea that since it’s mathematically absurd that I should win a major lottery, if I do win a miracle has taken place.  Against this, while it’s preposterous for me to think I should win when buying the ticket, given the probability cast in the light of the number of entrants it is certainly reasonable that “someone” should win.  Similarly, while it is highly unlikely that my health recovery should baffle medical knowledge, this doesn’t imply a miracle since in a planet of many billions of people unexplainable recovery, though ridiculously rare, are to be expected. One major flaw is the god of the gaps fallacy whereby an apparent gap in the scientific knowledge of the physiology of memory opens the door to something supernatural that has access to past lives: With regard to point (2) above, there are serious re ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 3)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tzfl1wTemM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6SNxNIV08 So, this is my last post on Augustine's "Defending the Indefensible" Essay I particularly liked Augustine's distinction between analogies that illustrate and analogies that argue, since we are all familiar with debates that are just opposite sides throwing illustrations at one another as though they are arguments (eg pro life vs pro choice; conservative vs liberal). It is a general point that there is a reason hospitals don't have faith healer teams on staff, or that psychics don't repeatedly predict and win the lottery. Augustine comments: Until survival researchers produce evidence of the sort that replicable positive results from properly controlled tests of survival would have provided, the rest of the world is quite justified in responding: “Call me when a medium gets even one hit out of dozens of vetted attempts to get an afterlife code, or when an out-of-body NDEr has actually identified a v ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 2)
Augustine feels the interaction brought out many things that needed to be said, particularly a more accurate representation of the best that the skeptical eye could bring to the table. Reber and Alcock had argued in Skeptical Inquirer in 2019 as to why physics makes psi impossible. Under Braude's final year as JSE Editor-in-Chief, either the whole issue or a significant portion of the JSE was devoted to refuting Reber and Alcock's arguments. Refuting arguments that "psi is impossible" is antecedently easy to do, since anyone claiming that a thing is impossible puts a large burden on oneself to show that. Saying that the evidence makes it highly improbable, or that science needs to reject psi as a working hypothesis in order to investigate things empirically at all, is a more nuanced and defensible position. It's also one that the echo chamber of JSE readers have likely not heard before (which is why lead author Braude's reply to Augustine missed the mark on so much--it seems like he's never even thoug ... Read Article
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending the Indefensible? (Part 1)
When Will Survival Researchers Move Past Defending theIndefensible?Keith Augustine The exchange between our Secular Web/Internet Infidels director Keith Augustine and noted "soul survivalist " proponents was published yesterday. I'll be blogging about it, but check out the exchange: https://journalofscientificexploration.org/index.php/jse/issue/view/85 HIGHLIGHTSThe survivalists’ response to the author’s skeptical review did notconfront the novel criticisms and arguments made against the BICS essayevidence. Such a candid and deep engagement with fundamental issues isneeded to advance the question of ‘life after death.’ ABSTRACTThe failure of five psychical researchers to confront my critique ofBigelow Institute contest-winning essays with counterpoints orconcessions responsive to its novel criticisms is disappointing. Theirdefensive and scattershot reply lost sight of whether the critiquedessays met their directive to provide “hard evidence ‘beyond areasonable doubt’” of the surv ... Read Article
The Myth of an Afterlife Chapter 10: The Dualists Dilemma by Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman
The Myth Of An Afterlife Chapter Ten:  The Dualist’s Dilemma: The High Cost of Reconciling Neuroscience with a Soul  by Keith Augustine and Yonatan I. Fishman One of the editors of the anthology, Keith Augustine, has provided a helpful brief analogy illustrating the case against the thesis that the mind somehow exists independent of the brain.  As a teacher, I think it would be an excellent hands-on activity for students.  He writes: Consider the analogy of two bins sitting on an office desk, one labeled outgoing mail, and the other labeled incoming mail. Re-label the bins "minds require brains to exist" and "minds do not require brains to exist" (i.e., "the dependence thesis simpliciter" and "the independence thesis simpliciter").Now imagine that you have a big bowl of succinct facts that scientists have discovered about the mind printed out on paper strips (like those in fortune cookies, or those printed out in old military teletype ... Read Article
The Myth of an Afterlife ch 6
Chapter Six No Mental Life after Brain Death The Argument from the Neural Localization of Mental Functions Gualtiero Piccinini and Sonya Bahar In a thorough, rigorously argued chapter, Piccinini and Bahar outline their position as follows: To make our case, we will sample the large body of neuroscientific evidence that each mental function takes place within specific neural structures. For instance, vision appears to occur in the visual cortex, motor control in the motor cortex, spatial memory in the hippocampus, and cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex. Evidence for this comes from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, brain stimulation, neuroimaging, lesion studies, and behavioral genetics. If mental functions take place within neural structures, then they cannot survive the death of the brain. Therefore, there is no mental life after brain death.  Before I get into the meat of their argument in my next blog post, I just want to highlight a methodological point they make Fou ... Read Article
The Myth of an Afterlife, Chapter Five: The Argument from Brain Damage by Vindicated Rocco J. Gennaro and Yonatan I. Fishman
This is a pretty meaty essay, so I'd like to cover it over a few posts.  Today, I'd like to talk a bit about this passage here: "There are, to be sure, several much-discussed objections to materialism, but most of them question the notion that materialism can currently fully explain conscious experience. And even if they are successful, these objections do not really dispute the dependence thesis. For example, Joseph Levine (1983) coined the expression “the explanatory gap” to express a difficuty for any materialistic attempt to explain consciousness. Although he doesn’t aim to reject the metaphysics of materialism, Levine gives eloquent expression to the idea that there is a key gap in our ability to explain the connection between conscious or “phenomenal” properties and brain properties (see also Levine, 2001). The basic problem is that it is, at least at present, very difficult for us to understand the relationship between brain properties and phenomenal properties in any explanatorily s ... Read Article
The Myth of An Afterlife 8: Chapter 4 on Wasting Away
The Myth Of An Afterlife Chapter Four Dissolution into Death The Mind’s Last Symptoms Indicate Annihilation David Weisman From previous posts, I’d like to make a distinction between the causal understanding of the unconscious and the frame mode.  For instance, we might say some repressed trauma in my younger life is causing dysfunction at my present age.  Put this way, it’s like saying expertly riding a bike would entail unconsciously experiencing one’s long gone training wheels as one expertly rides.  That’s not what I’m interested in here, but rather how the mind unconsciously frames experience so that these frames color the objects of experience.  So, for instance, the paranoid schizophrenic may experience the couple across the street as conspiring against him, but this depends on the schizophrenic’s mind presenting or framing the world to him in a conspiracy laden way.  The individual object of experience (the supposedly c ... Read Article
Blogging Through Augustine/Martin’s Anthology “The Myth of an Afterlife” part 7
The Myth of an Afterlife post 7: Personality Chapter Three: (pg 69) Explaining Personality: Soul Theory versus Behavior Genetics By: Jean Mercer  As I mentioned in a previous post, the guiding perspective we inherited from the history of Philosophy is the issue of Being, which has traditionally been interpreted in terms of essentia or questioning beings in terms of “what” they are, and existentia or questioning beings in terms of “how” they are. Even in Plato’s time, there has been an ambiguity in what we mean by “essence.”  On the one hand, if I ask after the essence of house, I’m asking for what is general or common.  By contrast, if I ask after the essence of Socrates, I mean what is central and unique about him.  Keeping these issues in mind, what is ownmost in Socrates, let’s consider the topic of personality. The introduction for this chapter reads: This paper explores the causes of the unique individual patterns of reaction we ... Read Article
Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 18: Evaluation of the 2nd Point Against Jesus being a Lunatic
WHERE WE ARE For a brief summary of what has been covered in Part 3 through Part 15 of this series, see the “WHERE WE ARE” section at the beginning of Part 16 of this series. In Part 16 of this series, I argued that Kreeft and Tacelli’s first argument against Jesus being a lunatic FAILED because both premises of the argument are too UNCLEAR to be rationally evaluated and because they offer ZERO factual evidence in support of the SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS and HISTORICAL CLAIMS that are asserted in those premises. In Part 17 of this series, I argued that there was another serious problem with the first argument against Jesus being a lunatic: the available historical evidence is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions about Jesus having a high degree of practical wisdom. Then I moved on to analyze and clarify Kreeft and Tacelli’s second point against Jesus being a lunatic. Their second point actually includes two very similar arguments against Jesus being a lunatic. THE SECOND POINT AGAINST JE ... Read Article
Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 17: The 2nd Argument Against Jesus being a Lunatic
WHERE WE ARE For a brief summary of what has been covered in Part 3 through Part 15 of this series, see the "WHERE WE ARE" section at the beginning of Part 16 of this series. In Part 16 of this series, I argued that Kreeft and Tacelli's first argument against Jesus being a lunatic FAILED because both premises of the argument are too UNCLEAR to be rationally evaluated and because they offer ZERO factual evidence in support of the SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS and HISTORICAL CLAIMS that are asserted in those premises. In this current post, I will say a little bit more about the first argument against Jesus being a lunatic, and then I will move on to a critical examination of Kreeft and Tacelli's second argument against Jesus being a lunatic. ONE MORE PROBLEM WITH THE 1ST ARGUMENT FOR (5B) Here again, is the first argument by Kreeft and Tacelli against Jesus being a lunatic: 19. Lunatics lack practical wisdom, tough love, and unpredictable creativity. 20. Jesus clearly possessed practical wisdom, tough ... Read Article
Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 16: The Arguments Against Jesus being a Lunatic
WHERE WE ARE In Chapter 7 of their book Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Christian philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli make a case for the divinity of Jesus. Here is the main argument they present in Chapter 7: 1A. Jesus was either God, liar, lunatic, guru, or myth. 2A. Jesus could not possibly be a liar, lunatic, guru, or myth. THEREFORE: 3A. Jesus is God. In Part 3 of this series, through Part 10 of this series, I showed that there are three INVALID inferences in Kreeft and Tacelli’s FOUR DILEMMAS argument in support of premise (1A). So, they have utterly and completely FAILED to show that this key premise of their argument is true, and thus this premise is DUBIOUS, at best. In Part 11 of this series, I argued that there are three clear COUNTEREXAMPLES to premise (1A), each of which shows that premise (1A) is FALSE. In Part 12 of this series, I revised the second premise so that it would not be obviously false and so that it would have at least some in ... Read Article
Kreeft’s Case for the Divinity of Jesus – Part 15: More on 2nd Argument Against Jesus being a LIAR
WHERE WE ARE In Chapter 7 of their book Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA), Christian philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli make a case for the divinity of Jesus. Here is the main argument they present in Chapter 7: 1A. Jesus was either God, liar, lunatic, guru, or myth. 2A. Jesus could not possibly be a liar, lunatic, guru, or myth. THEREFORE: 3A. Jesus is God. In Part 3 of this series, through Part 10 of this series, I showed that there are three INVALID inferences in Kreeft and Tacelli’s FOUR DILEMMAS argument in support of premise (1A). So, they have utterly and completely FAILED to show that this key premise of their argument is true, and thus this premise is DUBIOUS, at best. In Part 11 of this series, I argued that there are three clear COUNTEREXAMPLES to premise (1A), each of which shows that premise (1A) is FALSE. In Part 12 of this series, I revised the second premise so that it would not be obviously false and so that it would have at least some ini ... Read Article
The Historical Jesus and John The Baptizer
I just wanted to share this interview from today with Dr. James McGrath by Derek on Mythvision podcast. It's interesting because it shows how historical reasoning works when we try to sift through the evidence to find historical nuggets. So, for instance, of John the Baptizer Jesus was recorded as saying things like: “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28)"“The Law and the Prophets were until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is being proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force (Luke 16:16)" You can see the problem for Jesus mythicism here, since it's hard to imagine the early church inventing Jesus saying that John the Baptist was greater than him, or that the turning point in history was John, not Jesus. Anyway, it's a fun interview, so check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YA5_e9JhW4&t=4557s ... Read Article