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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.

150 and 25

April 20, 2010

Hey Thomasites,

You all have been following the work I do for quite some time. I’m really working hard to establish a civil and good atmosphere for the Christian/atheist dialogue.

Here is the thing, it’s not cheap. I have a Mrs. Thomas and three little Thomasites to feed. I drive a beat up 2000 Honda civic. By most of the world’s standards, I live like royalty. I have no complaints. My kids aren’t starving. But, I’m not trying to make money off people, I really believe in what I’m doing. To keep doing what I do, it takes money, pure and simple. As you can guess, it’s often hard to get people to give to this sort of thing as most people don’t understand it.

So, if you really believe in what I’m trying to accomplish here, at Ohio State and around the country, would you consider being one of the 150 to give 25 dollars once a month?

If so, here is the link: https://secured.ccojubilee.org/donate/210-Weyer-Jonathan

If not, God is going to strike me with painful Athelete’ foot. Very painful Athelete’s foot.

Thanks for listening.

R.I.P. Anthony Flew

April 17, 2010

We will not see his like again, an honest, respectful scholar who followed where ever the evidence led him, regardless of the political fall out. The Thomas Society salutes you.

Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87

By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: April 16, 2010
Antony Flew, an English philosopher and outspoken atheist who stunned and dismayed the unbelieving faithful when he announced in 2004 that God probably did exist, died April 8 in Reading, England. He was 87 and lived in Reading.
Antony Flew renounced atheism, coming to see God as the divine watchmaker imagined by deists like Isaac Newton.

 

Mr. Flew, the son of a Methodist minister, embraced atheism as a teenager. “It just seemed flatly inconsistent to say that the universe was created by an omnipotent and perfectly good being,” he told The Sunday Times of London in 2004. “Yet there were evils in abundance which could not be put down to a consequence of human sin.”

The rejection of religious faith, he said, was the start of his career as a philosopher.

His philosophical interests were wide. He was an expert on the Scottish philosopher David Hume, about whom he wrote the indispensable “Hume’s Philosophy of Belief” (1961). But in more than 30 books he also explored topics as varied as evolutionary ethics, psychic phenomena, logic, education, crime and egalitarianism.

He was best known, however, for his books arguing against the existence of God and for atheistic principles. “Theology and Falsification,” a short paper presented to the Socratic Club at Oxford and published in 1950, brought him immediate attention. In a little more than 1,000 words, it argued that the idea of God is philosophically meaningless, since it cannot be falsified — that is, believers cannot posit an instance that would cause them to deny the existence of God. Genuine assertions, by contrast, can be falsified.

Mr. Flew elaborated his thinking about atheism and religious belief in “God and Philosophy” (1966), “The Presumption of Atheism” (1976) and “Atheistic Humanism” (1993).

In 2004, however, he announced on a DVD titled “Has Science Discovered God?” that research on DNA and what he believed to be inconsistencies in the Darwinian account of evolution had forced him to reconsider his views. DNA research, he said, “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.”

In “There Is a God” he explained that he now believed in a supreme intelligence, removed from human affairs but responsible for the intricate workings of the universe. In other words, the divine watchmaker imagined by deists like Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph of London in 2004, he described “the God in whose existence I have belatedly come to believe” as “most emphatically not the eternally rewarding and eternally torturing God of either Christianity or Islam but the God of Aristotle that he would have defined — had Aristotle actually produced a definition of his (and my) God — as the first initiating and sustaining cause of the universe.”

Antony Garrard Newton Flew was born on Feb. 11, 1923, in London. During World War II he did intelligence work for the Royal Air Force and spent a year learning Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

At St. John’s College, Oxford, where he received a master’s degree in 1949, he studied under Gilbert Ryle, whose linguistic approach to philosophical problems, derived from Wittgenstein, was a decisive influence. At the Socratic Club he also engaged in spirited debate with C. S. Lewis, the renowned Christian apologist.

After lecturing in philosophy at Oxford and the University of Aberdeen, Mr. Flew accepted a professorship at the University College of North Staffordshire (now Keele University) in 1954. He taught at the University of Reading from 1973 until his retirement in 1982.

Early in his career he edited some of the first anthologies of analytic philosophy, notably the series “Logic and Language” and “Essays in Conceptual Analysis” (1956), and wrote “An Introduction to Western Philosophy” (1971), widely used in classrooms.

In 1952 he married Annis Harty, who survives him, as do their two daughters.

Mr. Flew was a mild-mannered polemicist, respectful of his opponents and driven, as he often said, by simple curiosity and a determination to go where the facts led him. An early work, “A New Approach to Psychical Research” (1953), suggests an instinctive attraction to the inexplicable.

Politically, he was a conservative libertarian, opposed to immigration, egalitarianism and the European Union. He explored some of these interests in “Crime or Disease?” (1973), “Sociology, Equality and Education” (1976) and “The Politics of Procrustes: Contradictions of Enforced Equality” (1981).

Although rumors had been circulating for several years that Mr. Flew had begun to question his atheism, “There Is a God” came as a shock. For Christian apologists, it was a welcome counterblast to recent antireligious best sellers like “God Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris.

Some reviewers found Mr. Flew’s reasoning less than impressive. “Far from strengthening the case for the existence of God,” Anthony Gottlieb wrote in The New York Times Book Review, the book “rather weakens the case for the existence of Antony Flew.”

A long article in The New York Times Magazine by Mark Oppenheimer suggested that Mr. Flew, his mental faculties in decline, had been manipulated by his co-author and other Christian proselytizers. Mr. Flew, in a statement issued through his publisher, reaffirmed the views expressed in the book, which did not include belief in an afterlife.

“I want to be dead when I’m dead and that’s an end to it,” he told The Sunday Times of London. “I don’t want an unending life. I don’t want anything without end.”

Atheist/Christian Panal Discussion This Week

April 11, 2010

Hey Everyone,

Ashley and I are going to be doing an atheist/Christian panal discussion this Wednesday.

Atheist Christian Panel – April 14th at 9:30p
Westminister College – Berlin Lounge in the McKelvey Campus Center

New Wilmington, PA.

Atheist/Christian CCO Jubilee Dialogue, Part Two

April 5, 2010

Here is part two from Ashley’s blog.

Atheist/Christian CCO Jubilee Dialogue

April 5, 2010

Here it is, from Ashley’s You Tube Page

Easter for you doubters

April 4, 2010

 24Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

 26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas,  “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him,  “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:24-29, ESV