Archive for September, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 2.02.04 PMLawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University,  penned an article with The New Yorker.  It is provocatively titled “All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists.”  Not just an atheist, but a militant atheist.  Krauss, has risen in fame in the past few years, penning such books at The Physics of Star Trek and The Universe From Nothing. In an interview with Sam Harris, he describes himself as “as an anti-theist rather than an atheist.”  Krauss has had multiple debates with William Lane Craig here in the United States as well as in Australia (here and here and here).  He even did a movie with Richard Dawkins titled The Unbelievers. Dr. Craig did a series of podcasts commenting on the film.

In his September 8 article in The New Yorker, Krauss claims that “it’s inevitable that [science] draws people away from religion.”  Oddly enough he just merely asserts this claim without any evidence or argument.  Are we to just believe him on blind faith.  If science inevitably draws people away from religion how does he explain Francis Collins, Sarah Salviander, John Lennox, Neil Shenvi, Ray Bohlin, Michael Strauss, John Polkinghorne, or Alister McGrath.  Or how the book True Scientists, True Faith explores how twenty of the world’s leading scientists explain how their science enhances their faith and their faith undergirds their science.

Even more oddly is his focus in the article on issues that have nothing to do with science at all.  In eleven full paragraphs a total of seven were on social issues like Kim Davis, Hobby Lobby, the shame people feel for questioning their parents faith, and Planned Parenthood.  As Edward Feser says in his article Krauss discusses “matters of public controversy entirely irrelevant to either science or the question of God’s existence.”

He surely has a right to express his opinion on issues entirely outside his domain of expertise, but they carry no more weight as a business student has in expressing his views on the background radiation in the cosmos.  When he does he reveals aptly how sophomoric his reasoning is on the issue of God and science.  As Plantinga said about Dawkins and his book The God Delusion I believe the comments apply to Krauss as well:

Dawkins [and Krauss] is not a philosopher (he’s a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune [i.e., naive, simplistic, and superficial]. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class.

Below are some articles that react to Krauss:

“Scientists Should Tell Lawrence Krauss to Shut Up Already” by Edward Feser in Public Discourse The Witherspoon Institute, Sept. 28, 2015.

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Feser is as entertaining as he is educational.  A partial excerpt:

The closest Krauss comes to justifying his thesis is in the following passage:

science is an atheistic enterprise. “My practice as a scientist is atheistic,” the biologist J.B.S. Haldane wrote, in 1934. “That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career.” . . . In my more than thirty years as a practicing physicist, I have never heard the word “God” mentioned in a scientific meeting. Belief or nonbelief in God is irrelevant to our understanding of the workings of nature . . .

Is this a good argument? Only if this parallel piece of “reasoning” is also a good argument:

Checkers is an atheistic enterprise. My practice as a checkers player is atheistic. That is to say, when I move a game piece across the board, I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my career as a checkers champ. In my more than thirty years as a checkers player, I have never heard the word “God” mentioned at a checkers tournament. Belief or nonbelief in God is irrelevant to our understanding of the workings of the game.

So, it isn’t just science—even checkers proves atheism! Who knew?

“Why Can’t These Guys Stay on Topic? Or Read?” by Edward Feser at Edward Feser Oct 4, 2015 – Here Feser responds to some criticisms of his critique of Krauss.

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My wife loves detective or crime shows on TV.  From Matlock and Monk to Psyche and Sherlock.  She actually likes serving on the jury in court.  For those who have special place for detective shows or even crime novels you need to check out J. Warner Wallace.  Wallace, a cold-case detective, was an adamant atheist until Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 10.40.39 AMhe was thirty-five.  In fact, he cases have appeared repeatedly on NBS’s Dateline.  As Wallace puts it, “cold case detectives examine events in the distant past for which there is often no living eyewitnesses andScreen Shot 2015-09-25 at 10.42.58 AM little, if any, forensic evidence.  The gospels also record an event in the distant past for which there are no living eyewitnesses and no forensic evidence.”  He used his skills as a cold-case detective to determine if the gospel is true.  These skills are utilized in his first book Cold-Case Christianity. He has recently turned his skills to the existence of God in God’s Crime Scene.  The video below is a lecture he did in which he examines “How the Cosmological Evidence Points to the Existence of God.”  The lecture actually begins at minute 2:45.  He introduces the lecture by describing a cold case principle of “staying inside the room” or “going outside the room.”  When as a detective, coming upon a crime scene in a room, he had to determine if the evidence pointed a cause inside the room or outside the room.  Think of universe as a “room.”   As one looks at evidence, can it be accounted for by staying in the room or does one have to go outside the room in order to better explain the evidence.  The proverbial “room” is the universe.  As he says in the introduction of his new book God’s Crime Scene “my investigation of the natural universe required me to look at the characteristics of the ‘room’ and determine if they could be explained fully by what already existed within the ‘four walls.’  Was there any evidence inside the universe pointing to the existence or intervention of a supernatural being outside the universe?”

Both books are well worth the read as well as the video below.

Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy

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I love quotes. I also read widely, and in the process save many quotes that are relevant, and thought provoking. It may come to the surprise of many readers that it is actually the mainstream scholarly position that the disciples, and skeptics alike, came to believe in his resurrection because they were were convinced that Jesus had appeared to them. Here I include quotes from atheist, Jewish, Christian, and other non-Christian scholars.

Secondly, the most common naturalistic hypothesis today that attempts to describe these appearances is the hallucination hypothesis. At the end I include more quotes that show this hypothesis to be faulty, hence why it has failed to convince many scholars in the field.

Disciples, and skeptics were convinced that Jesus had appeared to them after his death:

  • “In order to work, the Jesus tomb hypothesis has to claim that the disciples died for something they knew was a lie—in fact, something…

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