Sunday School

Sunday School 9th May 2021

This topic contains 71 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Autumn 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #37601

    How much more praying do Christians do on National Prayer Day than on any other day? Why do they beg their God to change His plans for them?  Oh wait, who mentioned God?

    Atheists mess with Texas and win. Sarah Ray of Polk County Atheists in Florida gives another secular invocation which was not good enough for a vulgar official who decided to beg his Father, the creator of the Universe, for more blessings and guidance.

    Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, is being used by his imaginary god.

    In Poland the PM joins national bible reading day. Probably the only day of the year that most Catholics would bother to read it as I know many that don’t even own one. They get angry with me when I offer them a copy for free.

    World of Woo:  We need manly men to save Western society from mass feminization!

    Environment: China and carbon pollution.

    Can you spot one major flaw in this more sophisticated argument by a Christian apologist?  Does this argument show that we really do have freewill? It is written by a Creationist so maybe that is an answer in itself. It is just that such authors seldom tell you that about themselves beforehand.

    The Four Horsemen of Fake News.

    How faith groups feel after Biden’s first 100 days in office.

    The Big Bang remains the only modern theory in the context of General Relativity to explain our observations of the Universe.

    Stoicism was first considered by the Greeks in The School of Athens (on a Sunday, of course).

    The ‘bystander effect’ is real. The power dynamics of victim-hood.

    Child’s grave is the oldest human burial found in Africa.

    According to the Microbiome, you are what you eat.

    Science is learning more about human consciousness.

    Long Reads: The troubling pursuit of Human metrics. The power of placebo-based medicine.  In a world where purveyors of wellness can’t be still for even a second, do they ever get time to find their own “true authentic self”? Maybe they should hike the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail in winter to find out.

    This week I will order this book: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. (see podcast below).

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Podcast: Are we any better at managing disasters that the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted?

    Coffee Break Video:  Quantum physicists and their cats. “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty” (not a Thomas Jefferson quote). Ted: How to have constructive conversations.

    #37603

    Have a great week everyone!

    #37604

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks, Reg!

    #37605

    I would say that 98 percent of all philosophers would agree with me that essentially free will is a myth. It doesn’t exist. That ought to be shocking news on the front of every newspaper. I’m not saying we don’t look both ways before we cross the road; we decide not to leave it to luck as to whether a car is going to hit us. Nor am I saying that we don’t have responsibility for our actions: We have agency over the body in which our minds and consciousness dwell. But we can’t choose our brains, we can’t choose our genes, we can’t choose our parents.

    Stephen Fry, in a recent interview with the NYT.

    #37606

    Autumn
    Participant

    The free will debate largely stops making sense outside of a specific context. For instance, if I sign over my life savings to a stranger, it will be questioned if I’ve done so of my own free will, or if I was, perhaps, coerced. Or a question we should all be familiar with: if there is an all-knowing god who created us as we are according to a plan, can we have free will, or are we merely a predetermined offshoot of this god’s will? And that question makes sense in the context of, let’s say, Christian moral philosophy.

    But with out a context, it’s difficult to give much semantic weight to the term ‘free’. Free. From. What? In an absolute sense of the word ‘free’, the conversation will almost always be reduced whether causality exists. It would be difficult to argue that will could exist without causality in the first place. So we end up in this silly loop where our will is supposedly restricted by the thing that enables it.

    When I was in grade twelve or so, I came to a similar conclusion as what Fry stated up above. But as I grew older, I can’t help thinking that viewpoint is ultimately burdened by theological influence.

    #37607

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I would say that 98 percent of all philosophers would agree with me that essentially free will is a myth.

    Stephen Fry, in a recent interview with the NYT.

    I would say, in that case, that 98% of philosophers are dismissing the existence of something because they can’t explain it.

    #37608

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Can you spot one major flaw in this more sophisticated argument by a Christian apologist?

    how could we possibly trust our brain in thinking about such truths if it evolved out of a mindless, unguided process that selected not for truth at all but only survival and advantageous behavior?

    This is a classic case of “truth as utility” versus “truth as accuracy”.  The author, Andrew Sveda, through Alvin Plantinga’s argument, seems to say that truth as utility may be inaccurate.  According to Robert Wright (I think), there is a small brown beetle that tries to mate with brown beer bottles it finds on the ground.  So, truth as utility can be inaccurate.  But humans are sophisticated and so they generally know what or whom they are trying to mate with.  Humans are sophisticated enough that their efforts to find truth, aimed at increasing fitness, are scientific and accurate enough to work with.  We have the ability to choose between truth-for-increasing-fitness, and truth-in-itself.

    Sveda also claims that without God, there are no objective morals and no objective meaning.  These things we can live without, in the sense that he means.  His moral objectivity, i.e., realism, i.e., the idea that morals are baked into the fabric of the universe – is an illusion.  Objective meaning – I certainly don’t need.  Our objective (biological) purpose is thriving and surviving and for some, reproducing.

    #37609

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    As for a flaw – those are the flaws: relying on these “proofs” as evidence.

    #37610

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    The Andrew Sveda article is shot through with Strawman Fallacies about Atheists and the arguments for Atheism.  No Atheists I’ve ever heard have ever said: “God?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  (True though that is, a rational Atheist would at least explain why.)

    Then there all the begged questions of Sveda’s arguments e.g. The mere asking of the question ‘Does God exist?’ implies there is a God, the mere use of reason and logic means there is a God, etc.  So why is all that true?  No explanation.

    This guy’s like a three-year-old who learns a new word, then applies it to everything.

    Also, Theists who make the “Truth-as-utility” argument have it exactly in reverse.  You don’t accept a truth claim because of its utility, you accept a utility claim because it is true and you test a  utility claim based on its truth.

    The Theist is the one who blindly accepts a compass as an authority to give him direction.  A practitioner of Reason and Science only accepts the compass as a direction giver if the reading of the compass coincides with other known methods of direction-finding e.g. the North Star, the Sun rising in the East and setting in the West, the shadow of a stick between the big and little hand of a watch or clock, the readings of other compasses from the same batch, etc.

    The practitioner of Reason and Science would also use knowledge of how compasses work to determine whether to accept the compass.  For example, check for the presence of magnetic interference from things like motors, speakers, magnetite and magnetic conductors in the ground minerals, etc.

    But, yes, Sveda’s arguments are just variations on a tired, old, refuted theme.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Punctuation
    #37612

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    That statement by Steven Fry on free will was a pretty lame Argument from Authority and Argument from Popularity rolled into one.  And wouldn’t the 2 percent who disagreed be itself an argument for free will?

    #37613

    Unseen
    Participant

    It seems National Prayer Day is an official government “day.”

    The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation”. The president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.Wikipedia

    Isn’t it time for either a lawsuit to stop it or for The Church of Satan or The Satanic Temple? Alternatively, they could propose a National Blood Sacrifice Day.

    #37614

    Unseen
    Participant

    I would say that 98 percent of all philosophers would agree with me that essentially free will is a myth. It doesn’t exist. That ought to be shocking news on the front of every newspaper. I’m not saying we don’t look both ways before we cross the road; we decide not to leave it to luck as to whether a car is going to hit us. Nor am I saying that we don’t have responsibility for our actions: We have agency over the body in which our minds and consciousness dwell. But we can’t choose our brains, we can’t choose our genes, we can’t choose our parents. Stephen Fry, in a recent interview with the NYT.

    Careful, Reg, or Davis will issue a reading assignment.

    #37615

    Unseen
    Participant

    Reg, That statement by Steven Fry on free will was a pretty lame Argument from Authority and Argument from Popularity rolled into one. And wouldn’t the 2 percent who disagreed be itself an argument for free will?

    I think you’re mischaracterizing Fry, implying that his argument is offered as proof rather than, more likely, as evidence. You see, 100% of philosophers will think that consensus among philosophers is any sort of “proof.”

    #37616

    Unseen
    Participant

    @autumn

    One of the biggest problems of “free will” in any context is WTH does “will” mean?

    #37617

    Unseen
    Participant

    There is a (small) granule of truth to the article “The conspiracy theorists who believe ‘traditional masculinity’ is under deliberate, strategic attack.”

    The conspiracy part is nonsense, but I agree with a quote I heard once that went something like “When a bunch of mean bastards come over the hill intent on pillage and rape, you need a bunch of even meaner motherfuckers to go up and take care of business.”

    We need masculine men. We just don’t need them to be toxically masculine.

    I don’t think we’re in much danger of running out of them, at least as long as women like same.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
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