Saturday, May 28, 2016

What is Metaphysics?

If you go into a local bookstore and look in the section titled "Metaphysics" you are likely to find books on psychics, crystals and mysticism.  Sadly, the term has been hijacked and in this post I want to clarify just what metaphysics is.

Technically speaking, metaphysics is a discipline within philosophy.  According to H. Wayne House and Joseph M. Holden in their book Charts of Apologetics and Christian Evidences, metaphysics "literally means 'after physics' in Greek.  This thought process was named by Andronicus of Rhodes to designate the unnamed books that appeared after Aristotle's Physics.  Through the use of the term 'beyond' or 'after,' the term metaphysics has come to be known as beyond the physical, a study of being or reality.  'What are the ultimate, objective constituent of reality?' 'What is the nature of space and time?' 'Must every event have a cause?'"1

Author Dave Sterrett explains metaphysics as follows:

“Metaphysics has been defined as the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things…Metaphysics also applies to concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.”2

So don't confuse "pop" metaphysics with the real thing!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. H. Wayne House and Joseph M. Holden, Charts of Apologetics and Christian Evidences, Chart 14.
2. Dave Sterrett, Aborting Aristotle, p. 13-14.  Our review is here.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dude, What's Your Standard?



The title of this blog post was “borrowed” from the Morality chapter of Frank Turek’s book- Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. I thought of it recently while seeing Twitter feeds from prominent atheists promoting a cause to stop the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China.  The event, held annually in June, leads to the deaths of over 10,000 dogs.  When I read descriptions of the festival and see images, I wholeheartedly agree this appears to be a very inhumane event. 

I was reminded of this quote from Dr. Turek-

“Atheists are caught in a dilemma.  If God doesn’t exist, then objective moral rights don’t exist, including all those that atheists support.  If God does exist, then objective moral rights exist.  But those rights clearly don’t include cutting up babies in the womb, same-sex marriage, and other invented absolutes contrary to every major religion and the “self-evident” natural law.”1

I am sure there are those who may want to debate whether or not dogs should be used for food, similar to how cows are used for beef.  But as an atheist, what is the standard that tells you whether or not it’s wrong to torture dogs?

If you want to see Dr. Turk defend a challenge to the moral argument for the existence of God, click here for a brief 8 minute video. 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.  If you happen to see someone who serves or has served in our Armed Forces, take a moment to thank them for their service!

God Bless,

The Other Chad

Footnotes: 
1: Stealing from God p. 107

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The 10 Commandments of Logic

These are not original to me; however, I have seen them around the internet and find them most helpful.  May all of us strive to obey these in our interactions and discussions!

1. Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad hominem)

2. Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)  

3. Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization) 

4. Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (Begging the question) 

5. Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause) 

6. Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy) 

7. Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum) 

8. Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal) 

9. Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Non sequitur) 

10. Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Argument from Efficient Causality

In their short book the Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli share the following argument:

We notice that some things cause other things to be (to begin to be, to continue to be, or both).  For example, a man playing the piano is causing the music that we hear.  If he stops, so does the music.

Now ask yourself: Are all things caused to exist by other things right now? Suppose they are.  That is, suppose there is no Uncaused Being, no God.  Then nothing could exist right now.  For remember, on the no-God hypothesis, all things need a present cause outside of themselves in order to exist.  So right now, all things, including all those things which are causing other things to be, need a cause.  They can give being only so long as they are given being.  Everything that exists, therefore, on this hypothesis, stands in need of being caused to exist.

But caused by what?  Beyond everything that is, there can only be nothing.  But that is absurd: all of reality dependent- but dependent on nothing!  The hypothesis that all being is caused, that there is no Uncaused Being, is absurd.  So there must be something uncaused, something on which all things that need an efficient cause of being are dependent.

Existence is like a gift given from cause to effect.  If there is no one who has the gift, the gift cannot be passed down the chain of receivers, however long or short the chain may be.  If everyone has to borrow a certain book, but no one actually has it, then no one will ever get it.  If there is no God who has existence by his own eternal nature, then the gift of existence cannot be passed down the chain of creatures and we can never get it.  But we do get it; we exist.  Therefore there must exist a God: an Uncaused Being who does not have to receive existence like us- and like every other link in the chain of receivers.

So what do you think of the argument?  If you are still scratching your head, you can watch J.P. Moreland unpack it here

Please feel free to share your comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 20.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament

From February 19 through May 6, 2016, TheBestSchools.org hosted an in-depth dialogue on the historical reliability of the New Testament between biblical scholars Bart D. Ehrman and Michael R. Licona

The dialogue is now complete and comments are still open on each portion of the dialogue so feel free to join the discussion!

The dialogue is as follows:

Interview with Bart Ehrman (February 19, 2016)

Interview with Michael Licona (February 19, 2016)

Major Statement by Bart Ehrman (March 12, 2016)

Major Statement by Michael Licona (March 12, 2016)

Detailed Response by Bart Ehrman (April 12, 2016)

Detailed Response by Michael Licona (April 12, 2016)

Final Reply by Bart Ehrman (Friday, May 06, 2016)

Final Reply by Michael Licona (Friday, May 06, 2016)

To learn more about this dialogue and the participants, go here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, May 23, 2016

Craig and Moreland on the Importance of Philosophy

It is not just scholars and ministers who will benefit form training in philosophy, but also laypeople who need to be intellectually engaged if our culture is to be effectively reformed. Our churches are unfortunately overlying populated with people whose minds as Christians, are going to waste...they may be spiritually regenerate, but their minds have not been converted; they still think like nonbelievers. Despite their Christian commitment, they remain largely empty selves. What is an empty self? An empty self is a person who is passive, sensate, busy and hurried, incapable of developing an interior life.  Such a person is inordinately individualistic, infantile and narcissistic...if wee as the church are to engender a current of reform throughout the culture, then we need laypeople who are intellectually engaged with their faith and take their Christian identity to be definitive for their self-conception.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
Craig, William Lane and Moreland, J.P. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Pages 5 and 6.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Michael C. Sherrard on Religious Pluralism

"What is painstakingly ironic about religious pluralism…is that the moment you have evidence for religious pluralism you can no longer have religious pluralism. The evidence would point to its religious claim being right, which leaves many other religious claims to be wrong. It becomes exclusive. It makes a claim about God that should be believed and thereby states that all opposing beliefs are wrong. When religious pluralism has a good reason to be believed that causes one to reject other religious claims, namely the religious claim that there is only one way to heaven, it ceases to be pluralistic."


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Note: Religious pluralism is the belief that all religions are true.

HT: The Poached Egg

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What is Intelligent Design? by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer


In this talk, Dr. Stephen Meyer gives an introduction to Intelligent Design.

Meyer is the author of Signature of the Cell and Darwin's Doubt.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad