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The Thomas Society….The plans….

December 7, 2010

Hello Thomasites and Bleakers,

I have been overwhelmed by the response from all of you when I announced the return of The Thomas Society. Thanks.

We are coming back on Thursday, January 6th. As many of you know, this blog started out as the web presence of my campus ministry at Ohio State known as The Thomas Society. After I moved up in my organization, I could no longer keep up with this blog. I also had a novel coming out and I have been on tour for the past three months. It’s been awesome, but the blog couldn’t be maintained. Plus, frankly, I had gotten burnt out on the atheist/Christian dialogue.

We are not going to leave that behind, but we are going to expand the blog into other areas. My time has been crunched lately (more about that in the days ahead), so I have asked six friends of mine to co-host this blog. Their names and biographies will be added soon and they will be “editors” of each day.

So, how will this be done? It will follow a weekly schedule that will go something like this:

Sunday: Theology

Monday: Atheist day (edited by atheists with no oversight by me)

Tuesday: Politics (right and left)

Wednesday: Academics

Thursday: Cultural (I will announce that I’m the editor for this day)

Friday: Science

Saturday: Reviews, Guest blogs, etc.

So, there you have it. We will also have the return of the Attie awards in an expanded form. I know you all have missed them.

Why I’m a doing this? Well, there are a variety of reasons. I feel like there is a place on the web to expand the principles of The Thomas Society to a broader cultural discussion.  Our culture has flown headfirst into the cesspool of slime in the way we talk to each other. My hope is The Thomas Society will help us have rational discussion on topic even while we disagree.

And, to be honest, the atheist book I wrote (about my time with atheists) is now going to be shopped starting in January along with the continued interest in my novel The Faithful. I wanted to take advantage of my new fan base and make The Thomas Society into a larger vision.

I’ll announce the editors hopefully next week.

Until then, Stay Tuned…..More changes to the blog will be happening in the next couple of weeks….

Summa Theoblogica

December 1, 2010

Hey everyone,

Cruz here. I just wanted to let everyone know my buddy and I are going to be starting a blog on wordpress just for philosophical theology and philosophy of religion. We may add in some other stuff but it will mostly be focused around those two topics. So if you want to come on over and check out the discussions we will be starting those up here soon. I won’t be posting on the TS blog anymore so for any of you all interested in phil religion and theology check out our posts at: summatheoblogica.wordpress.com

Hope to hear from y’all soon.

Some clues on what is to come…

November 13, 2010

So, as I have said, The Thomas Society is undergoing a major renovation. I’m going to give you some clues on what is to come in the next few months. Here is clue one:

Sunday-Theology
Monday-Atheists
Tuesday-Politics
Wends.-Academic
Thursday-Culture
Friday-Science
Saturday-Guest blogs

That’s all you get for now….maybe, just maybe….an Attie award shall pop up…..

Stay Tuned…..

November 9, 2010

The Thomas Society is going to be back at the beginning of the year.

We have missed you all…..we will be back bigger and better than ever…promise….

Podcast Interview

May 13, 2010

Luke at Conversations from The Pale Blue Dot interviewed me and Ashley about work together. Check it out.

The fundementalist, the Righteous…. Attie Awards!!!!

April 26, 2010

Yes, I know Thomasites, it’s been awhile for the Attie’s. Sadly, isn’t because of the lack of canidates, but just from the lack of time. Turns out, having two books in the pipeline is not as romantic as it sounds. It’s a lot of hard work.

Anyway, this little event is just too good to pass up. Apparently, Liberty University has picked former Attie Award winner, Glenn Beck to address their graduating class.

Ummm, am I missing something here? Did Glenn Beck stop being a Mormon?

So, basically, what this says is, “Screw the fact that the Glenn Beck’s church doesn’t believe the basic doctrines of the Nicene Creed. We are gonna have him speak cuz he speaks for good ole fashion’  American values and the doctrine of the Incarnation be damned. We are gonna stick them political liberals in the eye by compromising Jesus. Yeehoooo.”

Liberty, I have never agreed with some of your positions, but at the very least, I thought we could count on you to uphold the basic Gospel. I guess we can no longer assume that, can we?

So, congrats, Liberty. You sold the Gospel down the river for a political statement. Well done.

St. Thomas, release the hounds for some good, crunchy, munchy Flames.

Cosmological Argument Part III: A Modal Argument.

April 23, 2010

Hey,

Sorry I’m so far behind on posting this. But here is the section of my paper where I give the modal cosmological argument:

Plenty of different thinkers have cast doubt on the premises of the cosmological argument from contingency, but I believe that one can make a cosmological argument that one can make which can avoid the problems of the argument from contingency. This argument weakens some of the premises of the argument from contingency by making use of premises that are making claims about some merely possible world. This argument may suffer from other different objections but this seems to be the fate of any philosophical argument. In this section I will first make this modal cosmological argument and then defend it from potential objections.

  1. Assumptions and Argument

There are three assumptions that I need to make in order for the argument to go through. The first can be formulated in two ways:

(6) Possibly, the sovereignty thesis holds.

Or,

(6*) Possibly, there is a sovereign being.

Now (6) and (6*) need some explaining. What is the sovereignty thesis (ST from now on)? And what does it mean for a being to be sovereign? The sovereignty thesis can be stated as thus:

(ST) There is an X such that for every Y such that YX, Y depends on X for its existence.

So what the (ST) states is that there is a being, which every being distinct from it depends on that being for its existence. We can then define what it means for a being to be sovereign. A being X is sovereign if and only if everything distinct from X depends on X for its existence.

Note that (ST) is a tenant of classical theism. Theists believe that God exists independently of everything else and that everything else in existence is dependent on Him for its existence. This does not mean that to prove that the sovereignty thesis holds is to prove the truth of theism. But I just wanted to point out the connection between the two positions.

The next assumption deals with the nature of dependence:

(7) For any X and Y: If X depends on Y for its existence, then if X exists so does Y.

(7) can also be stated counterfactually:

(7*) For any X and Y: If X depends on Y for its existence, then if Y does not exist, X does not exist.

What (7) says is that if one object depends on another object then the existence of the entity, which the dependent thing depends on, is a necessary condition for the dependents existence. So let’s say that I depend on the existence of matter for my existence. Then it is the case that if there is no matter in existence then I don’t exist.

There is one last thing to note about (7). Some people have offered (7) as definition for dependence, but I am not committing myself to this strong of a claim. Instead I am just committing my self to the claim that it is a necessary condition of two existing things that depend on each other that the dependent cannot exist without the thing it depends on.

This brings me to the last assumption:

(8) Some things necessarily exist.

This is just to say that at least one entity exists in all possible worlds. Presumably there are more, but all I need is for there to be at least one thing that exists in all possible worlds.

We are now in a place to make our argument. The first conclusion seems to be trivially true:

(E)  Either the Sovereign being is (i) a Necessary thing or is (ii) not a necessary being.

The truth of (E) follows from the law of the excluded middle, making it a logical truth. If we take (i) then the sovereign being necessarily exists and whatever necessarily exist actually exists, so the sovereign being actually exists and we have the conclusion we are looking for. Assume (ii) for reductio ad absurdum, then:

(F)  The sovereign being does not necessarily exist.

(6) and (8) entail:

(G)  There is a possible world where some necessary things depend on the sovereign being for their existence.

From (7) and (G) we get:

(H)  If the necessary beings exist then the Sovereign being exists.

But:

(I)  Necessary beings exist in all possible worlds.

Therefore from (H) and (G):

(J) The sovereign being exists in all possible worlds.

But this contradicts our assumption (F) so, this means that we must reject (F) and which gives us that the sovereign being necessarily exists.

The premises of this argument seem to be quite plausible. If theism is possibly true then so is (6). Further being committed to the truth of (6) commits one to a claim that is much weaker than just admitting the possibility of theism. Since (6) is a weaker claim it seems to just add more to its plausibility. (7) follows from most accounts of dependence. I have yet to find a view in the literature on dependence that does not at least have this as a consequence of the philosophers view. It seems to be a central intuition about what it is for one thing to depend on another. It seems hard to think of what grasp we would even have on the phenomena of dependence if the dependent thing could exist without what it depends on. (8) also seems to be quite plausible. It seems that mathematical objects must necessarily exist in order to provide a stable ontological ground for the practice. Many philosophers have also thought that propositions, states of affairs, and properties are other things that are necessary existents. It seems that if one wants to have an ersatz take on possible worlds we must hold that some of these things necessarily exist. So it seems that we have plenty of reason to hold that (8) is quite plausible.