Sunday School

Sunday School January 12th 2020.

This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    The god of the Christians is about to go on another killing spree according to Jim Bakker. However you can be saved if you love Trump.

    Evangelicals using religion for political gain is nothing new. What would it take for them to turn on President Trump?

    Which group represents the political views of the average American – Nones or White Evangelicals?

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    Religion has done more harm than good.

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    Atheists prefer cats, Christians love dogs, study shows.

    Can you find anything wrong with this argument for belief in god being rational?

    The attacks on Science by the Trump administration are a domestic threat to American security.

    The James Webb Space Telescope is on track for next spring.  Planet hunter TESS finds its first Earth-like planet.

    Here is a good article of wave particle duality. Observation probably has no effect in QM.

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    The medications that change who we are.

    What is new about the new atheists?

    The adversarial culture in philosophy does not serve the truth.

    Long Read: 100 Women vs. Harvey Weinstein.

    This week I am reading this book: The Sense of an Ending.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: The Refining Reason Debate. Your moral system is just based on what’s popular. 10 ways to have a better conversation.


    Have a great week!



    Thanks, Reg!



    Jim Bakker is the best ! He waits until threats of terrorism pervade the news media then he proclaims god has warned him about certain cities and then he rattles off every major coastal city in the US. What a genius.


    Yes, and he has an army of Christian morons following him. At least most of them will be eating well when it happens.


    The Catholic Church did not just forget about a few child sex abusers. They forgot about hundreds of them and therefore thousands of their victims. That Church is a disgrace to humanity.


    Simon Paynton

    Can you find anything wrong with this argument for belief in god being rational?

    What I find wrong with this argument is that it’s difficult to understand because it uses jargon without proper explanation (e.g., “anti-rational”) – more difficult than it needs to be.  Maybe the audience is professional philosophers who would know these terms already.  That is a shame because the general public would be interested a popular treatment of  this kind of thing too, like Aeon or Medium of Quillette or web sites like those, are so good at.  I have to suspect when I see dense wordy arguments like these that the author doesn’t understand them properly.


    Simon Paynton

    The adversarial culture in philosophy does not serve the truth.

    I’m finding the same with this one.  Maybe philosophers are just terrible at presenting their ideas – they don’t know what is relevant to the reader’s understanding of the topic they’re talking about.  They just seem to talk crap, in other words.

    Mathematicians, computer programmers, and psychotherapists make excellent writers of ideas in my experience.

    I notice that the Patheos article and its Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy link about analytical philosophy are both really clear and well written.



     They [philosophers] just seem to talk crap, in other words.

    This is something you regularly have to put up with in the study of philosophy. Think of people who say this, as the sort of “far-right” loud mouth know it alls of the hyper-rationalists. It doesn’t matter…you know…that it was philosophers who very well set up the whole concept of rationalism and who help maintain the separation of the empirical sciences and the emergence of more empirical social sciences (slowly improving I might add) but also extremely practical fields like in bioethics (the people who help the hospitals they visit devise the most balanced policies on patient rights, ethical practices etc) or with aesthetic theory, the people who have contributed towards the spectacular super-hero films they so love via study of human emotional engagement through art and the philosophy of cinema (a growing field as well). I could go on but it doesn’t matter…they don’t listen. It’s like trying to convince a racists the muslim family on the street isn’t out to get them.


    Simon Paynton

    Can you find anything wrong with this argument for belief in god being rational?

    When an idea is presented clearly, it’s a thing of joy.  I know there are plenty of clear-thinking philosophers around.  I’m wondering if Will Jones at The Conservative Woman is one of them.  I find his article unreadable, whereas the Patheos article is very clear, even if I don’t agree with it.



    There is absolutely NO doubt that there are terrible disaster branches of philosophy. Especially post-modernesque writers. Some (and only SOME) who deal with feminist/LGTB/colonialist/black studies can also defy comprehension. While you certainly don’t find as much stupid writing…you still find it in psychology and economics and even in the harder sciences…like theoretical physics when you get into string theory and multi-verse theory. Interstingly enough, much of it totally overlaps with philosophy (these topics are covered by some philosopher/scientists and yet, on the one hand a person can take it all seriously and respect it but then completely discount philosophy despite the thing they respect being half-implanted in philosophy itself. The same goes with medicine and even in enginerring. You can easily find bad articles by bad writers even in notable journals. That’s the thing about free inquiry and tenure. It’s there for a VERY good reason. But it also means you have to deal with and filter out the bullshit.


    Can you find anything wrong with this argument for belief in god being rational?

    I don’t think the article really mentions philosophy or philosophers in general. He is disingenuous when he argues that both Plato and Aristotle held that the existence of God to be logically reasoned.

    What annoys me with these arguments – as I have argued in another post – is that the God of the argument is not the god believed in.

    If he wanted to argue for a deist god he could refer to Plato and Aristotle. They never heard of his god. They were alive 400 or so years before Jesus allegedly made an appearance. They had no holy books. Plato argued not so much from solid logic but from inferring the existence of (a deist) God from natural objects. There “must” be a creator of these clearly designed objects. His theism was found on his concept of a “Universe of ideas”. This concept was demolished by Kant when he talked about existence not being a not a quality of an object, that it cannot be part of the concept itself, or “existence is not a predicate” as we have mentioned here before.

    From the time of Plato and up until the 17th century philosophy was welded to theology. Philosophers, like Kant and Hobbes destroyed that chain by destroying the ontological and teleological “proofs” (i.e. arguments) that had existed as certainties for 1500 years. Philosophy now exists in the secular realm although is still hijacked by religious apologists that know no better. Often they cannot distinguish between theology and philosophy.

    While I am at it, Aristotle was adamant that belief is always inferior to knowledge. We are always more certain of what we know than what we believe and when it comes to “solid logical reasoning” we should always strive to transform our beliefs into knowledge though logical reasoning. He never elevates faith about reason.

    Later in the article he writes “Rational evidences for the existence of God are not ‘self-defeating” and then proceeds to introduce the design argument and basically repeat it all the way to the end.

    The Design Argument? That argument is so weak and has been demolished so often that when I hear it, or any variation of it, I know I am meeting a lightweight. To still subscribe to it is to make intellectually weak arguments but to offer it as a “rational argument” for the existence of his god (or any god) is pathetic.

    The worst part is the last line which is a lie. John Lennox has lost many arguments, including with Hitchens. He recently totally misrepresented a debate he had with Dawkins. He also embarrasses himself so I would not finish an argument with him as the final prop.

    So just another mealy mouth average apologetic argument. It is about the best they can manage. And yet hundreds of theists will be stunned into silence and gasp in amazement at his intellectual prowess.


    @ Davis, I agree with what you say so you have saved me some writing. As I mentioned before it was Hegel who said that the study of philosophy is but the introduction to philosophy.

    To be a good physicist who can learn the theory of relativity without learning about the life and times of Einstein or how his thought process worked. Not so with a philosopher. You need “to walk in their shoes” before you can fully criticize their ideas or build upon them. by walking their ideas forward with your own shoes on.


    Simon Paynton

    You need “to walk in their shoes” before you can fully criticize their ideas or build upon them. by walking their ideas forward with your own shoes on.

    I think it’s necessary to fully understand ideas before we criticise them or build on them.  That’s why a muddled writer is not doing us a gift when they don’t explain their ideas clearly.


    Simon Paynton

    I actually think the article is reasonable – it was unfamiliar territory at first, but now I understand it – up until here:

    There is also mounting evidence of fine-tuning in evolutionary biology, predetermining the course of the development of life.

    God is also required to explain immaterial aspects of the universe, such as consciousness, morality and free will, which, as leading philosopher (and atheist) Thomas Nagel has pointed out, have no plausible explanation within a purely materialistic ‘neo-Darwinian’ framework.

    Jones is now assuming that the evidence of apparent fine-tuning is real evidence of real fine-tuning.  Also, Nagel is waaay out of date now, in his statement about this fast-moving field of “neo-Darwinian” moral philosophy.  Ironically, he contributed to what we have now.

    Now Jones is talking God of the Gaps, and using that to assume that God exists.

    we are rational animals, possessed of a reasoning mind, capable of recognising and responding to truth when we see it, including the truth of God.

    Assumes that the existence of God is true.

    ‘I now believe in a Creator God.’ That is the power of truth.

    Get out of town!

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