Category Archives: Atheism

Debating Dr. Hugh Ross

Atheism, philosophy, religion 4 Replies

You know that moment that you discover that something that was lost forever wasn’t? I was just idly checking The Wayback Machine to see if any of the posts from the previous incarnation of this site survived, and lo and behold they did. This makes me happy. I’ll be reposting a few, once I’ve edited them and cleaned them up a little. Here is the first.

 

So on April 17th [2010], I debated noted Christian Creationist Dr. Hugh Ross. The debate was operated by the Centre For Inquiry in Vancouver, and Dr. Ross’s organisation, Reasons to Believe.

I’m going to embed Dr. Ross’s speech here, and I’m going to analyse his opening in detail under each video. His argument doesn’t actually meet the criteria for ‘an argument’, as he fails to justify his conclusion at every turn. I want to apologise for the quality ahead of time, unfortunately CFI still hasn’t uploaded their video of this to Youtube, so I’m working with what’s available (courtesy of the Crommunist ). My initial presentation can be found on my Portfolio page.

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Implications of Intelligent Design

Atheism, philosophy, religion, science 4 Replies

I’ve gotten involved in a fairly lengthy discussion of Intelligent Design on reddit as a result of posting my review of Darwin’s Doubt there. Most of the discussion has centred around a couple of key points, that my interlocutors seem to insist on repeating, ad nauseum.

The first point is the inherent implausibility of Evolutionary Theory with regards to explaining speciation, and the second is their refusal to accept that Intelligent Design is an implicitly religious argument. These two points are critical problems in their treatment of this argument.

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Review: Darwin’s Doubt

Atheism, Book Review, philosophy, religion, science 7 Replies

An acquaintance suggested I do a review of Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer. My approach here will seem odd to folk who are opposed to creationism Intelligent Design being taught in high schools, as their approach is usually to attack the biology-related claims in the book. And it’s fair to say that there’s a lot of false claims about biology (and Evolution) in the book. But I’m not interested in any of that.

What I am interested is, if we just take all the lies and deceit to be true, whether the whole argument hangs together, or not. The subtitle of this book is “The explosive origin of animal life and the case for intelligent design”. Meyer is, according to his biography, someone with a PhD in Philosophy, who specialised in Philosophy of Science. I intend to meet him on that ground, stipulate to all of his claims, and see if this supports the argument that he ultimately makes.

Short version? No, his argument isn’t supported by his claims at all.

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Evidence For ‘Religion Causes People to do Evil’

Atheism, culture, philosophy, religion, skepticism 4 Replies

I’ve been thinking about religion being the cause of people doing evil a little more recently, and I’ve been trying to think of what would make a more compelling argument. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely anti-religion, but I’m also anti-crappy-argument. (Although some people I’ve discussed this with online have taken my latter stance to mean that I’m actually a religious moderate. Words fail me. Them too, I guess)

Data would make “religion causes people to do evil things” a lot stronger, rather than the typical post-hoc religious arguments that people make. So here’s a sociological observation that would bear that out.

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You can’t measure love

Atheism, philosophy Leave a reply

A thoroughly odd argument that gets sometimes trotted out falls along the following lines:

  1. Love is a real thing
  2. Science can’t measure love
  3. Therefore [insert nonsense here] is real

This is typically brought to bear by someone whose interlocutor(s) is/are proposing an evidence-based view. While it seems that the “easy” option is to just laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the argument, this is a mistaken approach: this fails to explain the problem and, at worst, declares to the world that you are unable to assail this position.

While it’s certainly the case that some people are going to be shamed or embarrassed by such an approach, if you’re dealing with someone who is honestly arguing for their position, I’d contend that it’s far better to take them seriously and help them understand the problems with their argument. Hence this blog.

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