Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Estranged Notions: Can We Actually Know Anything About God?

Today's post:

Can We Actually Know Anything About God?

I need a stronger tag than “drivel”.

This one bases its argument primarily on the Aristotelian ‘principle of proportionate causation’, which Heschmeyer seems to think is “so basic that [it] ought to be uncontroversial”. But on the contrary, like many aspects of Aristotelian metaphysics, it's either vacuous or false, and arguments that make use of it rely on equivocating between the vacuous sense and the false sense.

Similarly, it's a fallacy of composition to assume that because something is present in the effect it must therefore be present in the cause, or that the cause must be ‘greater’ than the effect.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Estranged Notions: What is Classical Theism?

Today's post:

What is Classical Theism?

Nothing much of substance here, since this is Cothran's argument against a fellow theologian (Stephen H. Webb) who, at least as Cothran puts it, finds the classical-theism God—the immutable, omni*, etc. ‘ultimate ground of being’—to be inconsistent with (a) important aspects of Christian theology and (b) our current understanding of the nature of the universe.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Estranged Notions: Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

Today's post:

Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

As I believe I've mentioned before, I am, as an atheist, entirely in favour of the Catholic church (and other churches) harping on sexual issues as much as possible, because it's the most effective way of both undercutting their claim to moral authority and driving away many members. (The 2009 Pew survey showed that the top reasons given for leaving the Catholic church—all ranked above the abuse scandals—were the church's positions on homosexuality, abortion, contraception, and divorce, and the status of women.)

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Estranged Notions: Does “Atheology” Exist?

Yesterday's post:

Does “Atheology” Exist?

Feser correctly disagrees with Plantinga, though on a point which seems to me to be more about terminology than substance. Feser's mistake of course is in thinking that metaphysics (and hence ‘natural theology’) is somehow prior to science.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Estranged Notions: The Splendor of Thomistic Theism

Today's post:

The Splendor of Thomistic Theism

Blue Sky Nonsense: reviewing “Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity” pt. 1: The Quantum Sea of Light

Blue Sky God: The Evolution of Science and Christianity by Don MacGregor (book sources)

Zero Point Field

Zero point energy! We've had most of the other quantum-woo tropes, so I guess it's no surprise that we get this one too. Inexhaustible energy! Misunderstandings of what renormalization is! Invisible webs connecting everything to everything else!

A new wrinkle that I haven't seen before: the claim that the zero-point field contains a permanent record of everything that has ever happened in the universe. Huh, didn't see that one coming.

Our (or rather MacGregor's) sources for all this are once again Lynne McTaggart (who remember is just a journalist), Bernard Haisch, and Ervin László, though this time when referring to László's claimed nominations for the Nobel, MacGregor does at least mention that it's the Peace prize. (The nominations for Nobels are not made public for 50 years, and the nomination process for the Peace prize simply allows anyone from a long list of qualified positions to send in suggested names. Got a couple of friends in government or who are professors of social science or philosophy? You too could be nominated for the Peace prize!)

(An aside: several names in this chapter are misspelled, making it harder than usual to track down the actual researchers. Whether this is MacGregor's error or McTaggart's is not clear.)