Testing worldviews: the definition of the “naturalistic” world view

A Christian commenter who goes by the handle “schooloffish” has invited us to review a recent blog entry of his on the subject “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?.” He seems nice enough, so let’s drop by, shall we?

Everyone has a world view, which is best described as the way you see the world. There are as many world views as there are people, but in general, there are three specific world views that I will be analysing with this article. These three world view categories are religious, naturalistic, andrelativistic world views. Of course there are many subcategories within these three categories that we will cover as well.

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TIA Tuesday: Ageism and own goals

Having finished (as he supposes) with Sam Harris, Vox is ready in TIA Chapter 8 to move on to atheist number 2 in his erstwhile hit list: Richard Dawkins. As is typical with Vox, he spends the first few pages psyching himself up with a rambling, undocumented rant about how nasty and disgusting his adversary is, and as is even more typical, he does not fail to accuse the atheist of “sins” which he himself is no stranger to. He begins, however, with a canard that is as peculiar as it is mean-spirited:

A California researcher has estimated that the mean age of a biologist’s first noteworthy contribution to science takes place when he is 29.4 years old. So, at sixty-six, three decades after publishing the controversial bestseller The Selfish Gene, it’s clear that Richard Dawkins is well past his scientific expiry, and his latest book, The God Delusion, offers copious evidence that Dawkins has become as careless as he is crotchety in his old age.

You read that right: Vox Day, ad hominem virtuoso, is seriously suggesting that Dawkins’s work has gone downhill because he’s over 30!

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(Mis)understanding science

One of the problems with defending science in modern society is that a lot of people just don’t get it. For example, in referring to a recent article in New Scientist, conservapundit Vox Day complains:

This is just absurdly pathetic. The entire article is nothing but a list of excuses for why the model simply can’t do what New Scientist disingenuously insists that it can. Suggesting that something that already took place might perhaps maybe possibly have happened a certain way is not a prediction.

This kind of objection betrays a fundamental ignorance about how science works, and what it means for a particular theory or hypothesis to make “predictions”. In genuine science, it’s not only possible, but often necessary, to make predictions about things that have already happened.

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The cost of questioning your faith

Via Grrlscientist, the story of a creationist who learned, and who has paid the penalty for learning.

Reading this article makes it easier to understand why religious fundamentalists of all faiths have so much difficulty in accepting the truth since they stand to lose everything, including their very identity.

Contrast this with Mike Adams’s claim that “Accepting Christianity… is far more likely [than Islam] to have come from a rational appraisal of the evidence. And it is far less likely to have come from the threat of the sword.” But there are other threats besides swords, and more compelling.

 
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Posted in Recommended Reading, Science, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

XFiles Friday: What we “learn” from the cosmological argument

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 8 )

Chapter 8 marks a major turning point in the book, as Geisler and Turek begin to assume that from this point on they can take God’s existence as a given. They begin the chapter with a quick review of all the things they think they’ve accomplished so far.

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Third Letter to a Secular Nation: How to miss a point

Mike Adams has a third “Letter to a Secular Nation” over at townhall.com, and begins with a superb demonstration of the art of missing someone’s point.

I must admit that before I became a Christian I was also guilty of over-simplifying the arguments of believers…Nonetheless, statements like the following still grab my attention:

“Consider:every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian.”

That is indeed a provocative statement. A thoughtful Christian might appreciate the opportunity to explore his own faith by comparing his motivations with those of someone whose doctrines are different and not presumptively infallible. Such unbiased inquiries, however, often lead to liberalism and apostasy. A much safer alternative is to use those same doctrinal differences as an excuse to avoid the question altogether.

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Adams’ Second Letter to a Secular Nation

Mike Adams has three “Letters to a Secular Nation” over at townhall.com (so far), and I thought today we might take a look at the second.

Sam Harris says it is well known that “the beliefs of conservative Christians now exert an extraordinary influence over our national discourse – in our courts, in our schools, and in every branch of government.” The key word is “now,” which is inserted to create the false impression that we are a nation moving away from secularization – perhaps even towards a theocracy.

It is difficult to imagine how anyone with an IQ above room temperature could imagine that we are not becoming an increasingly secular society – witness, for example, the accelerated and largely successful efforts to remove prayer or any mention of God from the classroom.

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TIA Tuesday: Fit accompli

We’re just about done with Chapter 7 of TIA, or as I like to call it, Road Rage on the Information Superhighway. Vox Day wants so badly to prove that atheists are factually wrong, but on the one issue that really matters—God’s existence—real world facts fail to support him. So instead he treats us to a long, spiteful rant in which he hurls every accusation he can think of against atheists in hopes that at least some of them will stick. Sadly, even if he succeeds in discrediting unbelievers, God still does not show up in real life. In the end, TIA is just an exercise in vindictive futility.

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Letter to a secular nation

Writing for Townhall.com, Mike Adams makes one of the sillier arguments I’ve seen in a while, in attempted rebuttal of Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. In particular, Adams seems offended by Harris’s remarks about the hate mail he got after writing The End of Faith.

[Harris] has this to say about the worst of it:

The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism.

Such a statement would be alarming to Christians were there not a fundamental logical error involved. One way to grasp that error is to imagine me starting a book with the following:

The most hostile of my communications have come from homosexuals. This is ironic, as homosexuals generally imagine that no lifestyle imparts the virtues of love and tolerance more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be liberated by alternative lifestyles are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism.

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XFiles Friday: Prelude to the rest of the book

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 8 )

We come at last to a turning point in Geisler and Turek’s apologetic for Christianity. Up to now, we’ve seen their argument for why we ought to conclude that God exists (points 1-3 of their original outline). Chapter 8 is set to tackle points 4 and 5, but before we get into that, there’s something a bit odd about the structure of their outline that I think deserves a closer look.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 1 Comment »