Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is Religion? - audio lecture by Craig Hazen, from the Academy of christian apologetics

Quotes and comments;
- this is an excellent introduction to the subject.
- people talk about 'religion' all the time, but rarely define their terms. (This makes most talk about religion meaningless.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time; A review by Peter Williams of a book by Douglas Adams

Quotes and comments;

1. 'Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Adams drifted away from Christianity and into Atheism: "I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one." (p. 96.)
- people like Adams don't see any evidence for god because they put their experience of the universe through the 'shedder' called naturalism. This process (sometimes called materialism, or logical positivism) so distorts things that no evidence (intelligent message) can be seen.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Evolutionary arguments against naturalism - audio lecture by Alvin Plantinga

Quotes and comments;
- you'll have to scroll down the page.

1. If I can paraphrase the argument it seems to be; how can we trust an organ (the human mind/brain) that developed by random chance plus some kind of vague selection. (In deference to Dawkins we might call this a selectionoid.) If evolutionary theory were true, the purpose of man's thinking would not be the search for truth, but the quest for survival... Why then should we believe the ieas of this creature called man? (Apparently there would be no reason at all.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

History of Philosophy and Christian thought - audio lecture series by Ronald Nash. Available from Biblicaltraining

Quotes and comments:
- as I remember you have to sign up to be able to access the course; but it's free.
- you'll have to endure some bad jokes (the late dr. Nash fancied himself a bit of a humorist) but this is a worthwhile introduction to the subject.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Christianity, Space and Aliens - Peter S. Williams. An essay on the cosmic loneliness of life after God. From

Quotes and comments;

1. 'A related piece of atheological rhetoric suggests that: ‘SETI’s emphasis on the enormity of our cosmos attests to the tiny, and perhaps insignificant place we occupy in the cosmic scheme. . . The quaint little stories of our conventional religious teachings seem but musings of children at play."
- as usual in humanist thought we can see an inner contradiction at play in propositional claims. On the one hand size is related to insignicance. ie. the earth is tiny therefore it's insignificant. Well if that's true how much more true is it in relation to the brain of man? Being tiny (even in relation to the earth) it therefore must be highly insignificant. Being insignificant why should anyone believe any claim of such a minute organ? How can such a minute speck know anything about the cosmos? Know anything about ultimate reality or about god? On what basis is anything quaint? (By this definition any claim made by such a speck would be quaint.) Thus the materialist contradicts and defeats himself.

2. "It’s inevitable that if we discover life elsewhere in the Universe, it will change for ever our perspective of our own species and our own planet. . . Those people who cling to the idea that humanity is the pinnacle of creation, or that somehow we were made in the image of God, would I think receive a rude shock." - Paul Davies [25]
- well if that's true, I suppose the opposite must be true. ie. It's inevitable that if we Don't discover life elsewhere in the universe it will change forever the darwinian (evolutionary) perspective that life is the product of blind chance and thus must be ubiquitous in the universe. This would be quite a rude shock to people who claimed man was just another animal, a bit of matter with no importance.

3. Peter S. Williams has a fine website that can be found here. (You'd get more traffic if you got rid of the purple background Peter.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fraudulent reporting of a debate with Richard Dawkins

Since 2003, the anticreation organization American Association for the Advancement of Science has published false data on their website. This reprinted article entitled A Critical-Historical Perspective on the Argument about Evolution and Creation by John Durant discusses a 1986 Oxford University debate between the two evolutionists Richard Dawkins (Zoologist, Oxford University) and John Maynard Smith (Professor of Biology, University of Sussex) and the two creationists A. E. Wilder-Smith (Professor of Pharmacology and consultant) and Edgar Andrews (Materials Scientist & President of the Biblical Creation Society). The article, reprinted from a book, is on the website of the AAAS and it states incorrectly that the debate ended with the evolutionists winning by an audience vote of 198 to 15."

Quotes and comments;
- the real vote was either 115 or 150 for Wilder-Smith and Andrews.
- A.E. Wilder-Smith wrote some wonderful books I encourage everyone to read.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reality is Iconoclastic; an audio interview with Dr. Jerry Root (C.S. Lewis scholar) from Stand to Reason Ministry

Quotes and comments;
- to get the mp3 you'll have to go through the (free) sign up.
- an excellent discussion. (It's halfway thru a two hour radio program.)
- there's a great deal of useful information on the site. (Greg Koukl) This includes a several years of audio archives

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My favorite holiday music this year was; Morimur - J.S. Bach: Partita No.2 in d for Solo Violin, BWV 1004; 11 Chorales; Chaconne from BWV 1004 and "Auf meinen lieben Gott" realized by Helga Thoene for solo violin & four voices. Christoph Poppen, baroque violin. The Hilliard Ensemble: Monika Mauch, soprano; David James, countertenor; John Potter, tenor; Gordon Jones, baritone. Review

Quotes and comments;
- this has been my favorite cd over the holidays.
- it has one of the best covers I've seen. You can see it if you check out the review.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nihilism and the End of Law - an essay by Phillip Johnson

Quotes and comments;

1. "What Leff said is fascinating, but what he failed to say is more fascinating still. If there is no ultimate evaluator, then there is no real distinction between good and evil. It follows that if evil is nonetheless real, then atheism --i.e., the idea of the nonexistence of that evaluator or standard of evaluation-- is not only an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect, it is also fundamentally untrue."
- It's the atheist (and not the christian) who can't explain evil. Christianity explains evil by way of man's ability to choose to reject god; and to reject the moral in favor of the immoral. The atheist has no way to explain evil. If all is matter, as he claims, then evil can't exist, and is only an illusion. If the materialist admits evil exists he has just refuted his own worldview. How? To call something evil we must use an unchanging moral standard. An unchanging moral standard can't exist in a material, ever changing universe... as it's non-material, and unchanging.

2. 'In the same spirit, Yale Law School's Bruce Ackerman writes disparagingly of those who want to restrict abortions "on the basis of some conversation with the spirit world."
- this argument depends upon the spurious idea that humanism is not a religion. Secularists exploit the confusion over what constitutes a religion with enthusiasm. I prefer dumping all reference to religion, and replacing the term with the word worldview.
- Ackerman tries to disparage religion by defining it as 'conversation with the spirit world.' This isn't any definition anyone agrees on; it's merely humanist ridicule of theism. (It's simply an attempt to win an argument by using a private definiton; by defining terms in a private manner.)

3. 'Greenawalt concedes that "legislation must be justified in terms of secular objectives."
- one of the great games of secularism is to divide life up into the 'sacred' and the 'secular.' These are humanist concepts and categories; and to use them is to lose the game before you start. The bible knows nothing of these categories. As an example is peace a secular objective or a religious objective? There is no objective answer to the question; one can only answer it in terms of one's wview.

4. 'He (G.) assumes the modernist position that only secular reasoning can be completely rational, because he thinks that "a critical nonrational element" is always present in religious belief.'
- this is nothing more than secular bias. To the christian it's the atheist who's irrational. As an example; he claims to be a materialist, but then he wants to talk about ethics, moral law, justice, universals, logic, reason, etc. This is irrational as he has no basis for doing so. To argue in complete contradiction to your stated worldview can only be seen as irrational. (The classic tests of rationality include; non-contradiction and coherence.)
- all humanist critiques of religion in our day depend on the fallacious idea Humanism is not a religion. (Humanists themselves once demanded the right to be called a religion.)Without this distinction their arguments would fall to pieces like tissue paper. The distinction is illusory; based merely on a modern definition... one that was invented purely for polemnical and political purposes. All worldviews are religious in that they are based on unproven, unproveable presuppositions or assumptions. In terms of philosophy we say that because man is inherently finite and fallible he cannot be anything but a religious being. In christian terms man is inherently religious because he was made in the image of his Creator.

5. 'By implication, Greenawalt accepts the crucial modernist assumption that there exists a common secular rationality capable of resolving some important public issues without relying upon controversial and unprovable (i.e., nonrational) assumptions.'
- the claim reason is 'secular' is another game materialists like to play. There is nothing secular about man's ability to reason; as it's a gift from god, and related to the image of god within man. All men reason; therefore reason cannot be secular. (Does it surprise you a law professor would make such a blunder?)

6. 'What Greenawalt accepts as "rationality" is actually the irrational assumption that we can get along very well without employing any controversial assumptions about the nature of ultimate reality.'
- the secularist can 'get along very well' only if he's willing to be irrational; only if he's willing to employ an ethic and morality that he can't account for in terms of his own worldview.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Fallacy of Scientism as a Worldview; an audio lecture by Mikhael Stenmark, from the Faraday Institute

Quotes and comments;

- Stenmark defines scientism as; 'the belief all things can be explained (accounted for) in terms of (natural) science.' (ie. in terms of materialism.)
- if I understand him correctly he's saying; science becomes scientism when it attempts to be a complete worldview.
- we see evidence of scientism is the attempt by A. Comte to create a religion of science. (This was merely an overt example of what is today done covertly.)
- scientism claims that all ideas outside science are only opinions...
- scientism often claims science should replace religion... (We need to point out that this belief cannot be proved by natural science; so it's an irrational claim.)
- materialist science can't tell us what the limits of science should be. Scientific expansionism (the idea science can account for all things) therefore can in no way be founded on the materialist methodology of science. If Materialism were true to itself it could not be expansionist.
- a good Q+A.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

TS Eliot – Prophet of the European Wasteland; an audio lecture by Jerram Barrs.

- this is an introduction to Eliot, not an indepth analysis.
- Barrs reads a number of Eliot poems; his delivery is somewhat weak unfortunately.