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…The End

the-endAfter years of discussing the reasons for my theism, both in this blog and elsewhere, I think I’m done.

This is not to say that I’m giving up on the subject. I continue to read a great deal about philosophy and theology. Nor is it to say that I don’t see the point in such interactions, I think engagement, discussion, and debate are fine things.

Rather, I think that I, personally, need to move on from this blog.

This is partially due to changes in my personal life, but it is, at least as much, due to the fact that it has been so long since I’ve learned anything from online interaction on the subject. I seem to have encountered the basic objections one encounters in these debates often enough to have memorized them, and to have memorized responses for them.

Whether or not one, at the end of the day, agrees with my position, I think it is only reasonable that I leave the popular-level conversion for a greater focus on academic reading.

But, to those who have interacted with me, both here and elsewhere, I am grateful. I’m fully aware that I only know as much as I do because of a long string of individuals willing to discuss and challenge my views, and help me to think. I’m doubly grateful to those who did so in a spirit of mutual exploration.

I hope that those others have continued their philosophical journeys, setting aside rhetoric and fallacy in favor of real seeking after the truths of the reality we experience. I was privileged to assist in a few of these cases, and hope that I’ve at least provoked thought in the remaining cases.

I’ll try to make a point to respond to future comments, of course. But I doubt I’ll be putting up additional posts of my own or commenting on others. I’ll likely continue to lurk those blogs that I find interesting, but will almost certainly keep my opinions to myself.

So, as it may be my last chance to say so, I wish each of you (whether we agree on these issues or not) only the best.

I hope your journey leads you to great things.

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Coming Back

comeback041309

Apologies for the long absence!

It does, however, appear that I’m now in a more stable routine, and will be able to start posting again shortly. I’m going to venture a promise that I’ll have something up by tomorrow evening.

Until then, best to all of you out there.


Leave of Absence

I just wanted to apologize to everyone who is interested for not having anything up today.

I’m moving out of country this week, and it might be a few days before I have anything else written.

Other than that, and whether or not we happen to agree on things, best to you all.


Philosophy isn’t Science (and Other Non-News)

ImageIn continuing on with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, I’d like to reference a common objection given to it: the claim that it this sort of argument isn’t good science.

Of course, I agree that the Kalam isn’t good science (because it is not science at all), but this is hardly detrimental to the argument.

There are many variations of this floating around the internet. But they essentially claim that, because the argument concludes something that is not physically testable and/or because it does not reason inductively (as scientists do in establishing a theory), it is not a valid argument.

This is clearly an invalid objection, but I think it is significant in that I see this sort of mistake being made with respect to many arguments. That is, deductive arguments being treated (either implicitly or explicitly) as if they are scientific hypotheses.

For instance, I’ve heard the objection that the Kalam is worthless because it does not increase knowledge, but merely posits God rather than offering a more scientific explanation of the cause of the universe.

Of course, this is not true (there is an advance in knowledge here–with the opportunity for much more exploration and study), but that is not the key point. The more significant issue is that “this doesn’t advance our knowledge” is not a reason to think a conclusion is untrue. At most, that makes it simply unpleasant.

And that is the thing to remember. The only ways to refute a deductive argument is to offer a good reason why one (or more) of the premises is false, or show a flaw in the logic. Whether we like the conclusion, think it advances knowledge, or find it to be in line with the way science is done are immaterial points.

Of course, one could always offer reasons why the conclusion is false. But, as this would require rejecting one of the premises, these reasons would need to be stronger than the premise(s) being rejected. But, in the context of debates over theism, there are very few positive reasons given which even purport to establish the non-existence of God.

That being the case, it really is a matter of the premises to the arguments for God that are key. Other elements to the debate are significant, of course, and all of it is interesting. Still, much of what is said against these arguments has no purchase–because it misunderstands the nature of deductive reasoning.

But, there are still some questions about the argument’s conclusion. More on this in the future.


Sex and Equality

Black CatThis week, I’d like to step a bit out of my typical range of content into the matter of the public view of sex.

That is, I ran across a blog this week about the sexual exploitation of women in comic books. The observation is nothing new, of course, but there is a very interesting element to it which is culturally recent.

That is, the article didn’t object to the idea of super-heroines being portrayed as sexual. It objected instead to them being portrayed more sexually than men, and to them being in weak positions in relationships. Essentially, this is the old argument against objectification, but one that takes pains to say that women being sexualized is not the problem.

This is not the first time I’ve seen this distinction drawn, and it goes far beyond comic books. Somehow, apparently, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to flaunt her sexuality so long as she’s in control of the situation. To make her desperate or passive is the problem.

At the risk of being that most reprehensible of things: old-fashioned, I find this extraordinary. Could contemporary feminists really not have predicted that insisting on their right to sexual independence (which generally means, in practice, to sexualize themselves) was going to open the door for objectification? Did they really believe the popular media would pause to reflect carefully on their message before grabbing at the chance to print pornographic images?

Rather than insisting that women should take a powerful role in sexual imagery, feminists should insist on their right to be seen as something other than sexual. No, there’s nothing wrong with having sexual desire, or a wish to be found alluring. But I see no gain in announcing this desire loudly, or taking pains to satisfy it publicly.

We need a movement, not for silence about sex, but for a balance about it – to put it in its place. Popular media will make images of women as completely sexualized (and, therefore, objectified) as the surrounding culture allows. So long as feminists support, rather than attack, this tendency, there will be little to nothing left of respect or liberation in popular images of women, which are all incidental to advertisers’ goal of making pornography.


New Blog

I hope to have some content up soon.

It will mostly be centering on the issues of theology and ethics, though deviations will almost certainly occur.