TIA Tuesday: Consider the possibilities…

Here’s a warm up for today’s excursion into the wild world of TIA. Ready? How many answers are there to the question “what’s 2 plus 2?”

Right, it’s a trick question. There’s an infinite number of answers: 48, 823, 1, “walnuts”, and so on. But there’s only one correct and relevant answer: 4. In other words, there’s a difference between the number of imaginable possibilities, and the number of valid possibilities. We need to keep that in mind, because today Vox is going to try and take down Richard Dawkins by appealing to the anthropic principle. Let’s see if he makes out any better than Geisler and Turek did.

The anthropic principle has been an embarrassing problem for secular scientists in recent decades due to the way in which the probability of the universe and Earth just happening to be perfectly suitable for human life is very, very low. The extreme unlikelihood of everything being not too hot, not too cold, not too big, and not too small, to put it very crudely, has often been cited as evidence that the universe has been designed for us, presumably by God.

“Presumably” is right. This is an argument that is built on presumptions, but more significantly, it’s built on a failure to distinguish between imaginable possibilities, and valid possibilities.

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Posted in Science, TIA, Unapologetics. 11 Comments »

Dramatic drop in UK crime

BBC News is reporting that gang violence is about to drop precipitously. Or, well, at least, that’s what we can look forward to. The report states that the Brits have gotten so sick of the gangs that they’ve finally done something about it. They’ve asked God to stop it.

More than 6,000 Christians have met for an evening of prayer focusing on gang crime in Greater Manchester.

Police chiefs, community leaders and politicians attended the event at Manchester Velodrome, organised by church group City Links.

They were asked to pray for police forces and the reduction of gang crime.

…Chief Superintendent Neil Wain [said] “…By working and praying together to reduce crime and disorder we not only change the physical circumstances that affect people’s everyday lives but we change the spiritual circumstances.

“As a police officer and a Christian I know that this work can and will impact on our communities.”

Just keep watching those crime rate charts: the gang violence rate is going to plunge dramatically any minute now.

Aaaaannnnnny minute now….

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnny minute….

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Why Vox Day fails

I know it’s not TIA Tuesday, but this popped up recently on Vox Popoli, and it’s a really clear example of why Vox’s attempts at debunking fail so badly. He’d like to prove that he has the inside scoop, the intelligence, and the objectivity to see what other people miss, but what he really ends up showing is that he has failed to understand the material.

As I have mentioned before, anyone who repeats the common atheist talking point that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is demonstrating one of two things. The first option is that they haven’t actually thought about it; they’re simply echoing what they’ve heard before. The second is that they aren’t very intelligent.

There’s also a third option: they’ve realized that truth is consistent with itself, and therefore when you claim that extraordinary things are part of the real world, then we ought to be able to find these extraordinary things in the real world. That, however, does not seem to be an option Vox is willing to consider.

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XFiles Friday: The Divine Seal

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

The word “irony” appears frequently in critical discussions of Christian apologetics, and this is no coincidence. The stories men make up, no matter how clever or how elaborate, can never have the perfect self-consistency of real-world truth. Sooner or later, men are going to end up arguing against their own arguments. So it’s not surprising that Geisler and Turek contradict themselves in attempting to defend the Gospel. If anything is remarkable, it’s that they do it so often, and with so little concern.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 1 Comment »

Colson on ideology

Years ago, I used to belong to the Church of Christ. One of the distinctive features of this particular denomination is that they believe it’s wrong to have denominations. Christians should be a brotherhood united by their common, Bible-based faith, or at least that’s the theory, anyway. In practice, it turns out that the Church of Christ is the only denomin “brotherhood” that has managed to interpret the Bible correctly. While denying the validity of denominations in name, they make such strict denominational distinctions in practice that they tend to assume anyone who is not a member of the Church of Christ is not truly a saved Christian.

I was reminded of that contrast while reading Chuck Colson’s column, “Dwarves on the Shoulders of Giants,” over at townhall.com. Chuck argues that conservatism is not an ideology, and ought not to be approached ideologically.

Ideology—that is, the manmade formulations and doctrines of both the right and the left in modern American politics—is the enemy of true conservatism, as it is the enemy of the Gospel, which rests on revealed, propositional truth.

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The Fourth Epistle of St. Adams to a Secular Nation

Townhall.com columnist Mike Adams evidently hasn’t finished venting over Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. Today he complains that he’s having a tough time “deciding when [Harris] is expressing total ignorance as opposed to total dishonesty.” But misery loves company, and so he shares this gem with us, just so we can know what that kind of frustration feels like. Are you ready? (CAUTION: Do not read with your mouth full.)

Christians are more likely than atheists to oppose abortion. This is because we have always been more outspoken against racism than our atheist counterparts.

Oh, yes, ending racial discrimination is exactly what the pro-life movement is all about.

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TIA Tuesday: Dawkins on morality, theocracy, and psychological abuse.

Last time we saw how Vox Day tried to take a gross failure to understand Dawkins’s point and use it as ammunition against Dawkins. His succeeding two arguments are even more superficial and shoddy, to the point that one gets the impression he’s anxious to finish this part and get it over with as quickly as possible. He makes only passing references to “Dawkins said so-and-so,” and gives out isolated quotes, which in typical Vox fashion, he deals with by assuming that Dawkins must have meant whatever peculiar straw-man interpretation suits Vox’s purposes at the moment. But then we get to point number four and the much more interesting topic of morality. He begins, once again, with some slanted statistics.

It has been established that Christians give three times more to charity and are less criminal than the broad spectrum of atheists; experiments at the Economic Science Laboratory suggest that this might be because they believe that their actions are known to God. In variations on an envelope experiment designed to test random charity on the part of a subject who was given ten dollars as well as the opportunity to share it anonymously, the knowledge that the experimenter was watching increased the subject’s likelihood of giving by 142 percent and the amount given by 146 percent.

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No evidence? Hardly.

I may have blogged about this before, but Vox Day’s recent question got me thinking about it again. What should an atheist say when a Christian asks why they don’t believe in God? My response, of course, is that I do believe in God, and in fact I’ve got a better God (or Goddess) than they do. But for the truly die-hard atheist, probably the most common answer is “Because there is no evidence. Show me the evidence for God, and then I’ll believe He exists.”

I gotta tell you, and apologies if this offends anyone, but that’s just about the worst answer you could give.

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