Friday, February 21, 2020

Video- Yes, Rhett and Link! There WAS an Exodus by Ted Wright


For those who haven't heard, the famed Youtube pair of Rhett & Link recently announced that they have taken steps away from the faith of their youth and childhood.  Ted Wright (above) of Epic Archaeology writes:

"They are not alone! Many people who grow up in the church also walk away from their faith as adults because there was never a solid foundation on which their faith was placed. At Epic Archaeology, we believe that there is amazing evidence that the stories in the Bible are true, and we can demonstrate this through historical, apologetic and archaeological research."

Checkout Mr. Wright's above response to Rhett and Link!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Featured Resource: Epic Archaeology

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Philosopher Alvin Plantinga on Atheism


"...lack of evidence, if indeed evidence is lacking, is no grounds for atheism.  No one thinks there is good evidence for the proposition that there are an even number of stars; but also, no one thinks the right conclusion to draw is that there are an uneven number of stars.  The right conclusion would instead be agnosticism.  In the same way, the failure of the theistic arguments, if indeed they do fail, might conceivably be good grounds for agnosticism, but not for atheism.  Atheism, like even-star-ism, would presumably be the sort of belief you can hold rationally only if you have strong arguments or evidence."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Responses to the Puddle Analogy against the Fine-tuning Argument for God


In this featured video, Cameron Bertuzzi of Capturing Christianity responds to the Puddle Analogy that is sometimes offered as an objection to the fine-tuning argument for God's existence.

Further, philosopher William Lane Craig has responded to the objection (offered here) as follows:

As stated, the objection embodies a number of confusions. First, in asserting that “the universe is not fine-tuned for life,” the objector seems to misunderstand the term “fine-tuning”. This is a technical term for the fundamental constants and quantities of nature’s falling into a very narrow life-permitting range. But the objector seems to take the term to mean “designed”. He wants to say that just as the hole in which a puddle exists is not designed for the puddle, so the universe is not designed for us and is therefore not fine-tuned. This is just wrong-headed. The term “fine-tuning” is a neutral term that says nothing by way of explanation of the observed fine-tuning. Otherwise attempts to explain the fine-tuning of the universe by chance or necessity would be self-contradictory. The fact that the universe is fine-tuned for embodied, conscious agents is well-established in physics and so scarcely disputable. The question is how best to explain fine-tuning: necessity, chance, or design?

The further claim that “life is fine tuned to the universe” is unintelligible to me. The objector cannot mean “designed,” lest he subvert his objection. But then is he saying that in order for the universe to exist, life’s parameters must fall within a narrow universe-permitting range? That doesn’t even make sense. I suspect that the objector’s assertion is just a catchy but meaningless slogan.

The reason you couldn’t find anything on the puddle analogy is not because of “a 'bad job' searching,” but because you didn’t recognize this old objection in fancy new masquerade. The puddle analogy is just our old friend the Anthropic Principle again. One is appealing to a self-selection effect in order to eliminate surprise at what one observes, however improbable. The anthropomorphized puddle can be surprised at its own existence only if the hole exists. So it shouldn’t be surprised by how well the hole and it fit. If the hole were not there, the puddle would not exist to be surprised about it.

There are multiple failings of the analogy. For example, the analogy suggests that we are trying to explain why this universe (this puddle) exists.[1] But we’re not. We’re trying to explain why a life-permitting universe exists. The analogy would be asking why puddles exist. Puddles can be any shape or size, so that there is no fine-tuning for puddles to be explained. The analogy collapses.

Moreover, proponents of the Anthropic Principle recognize that the principle can be legitimately employed only in conjunction with a World Ensemble (or multiverse) Hypothesis. The multiverse may be tacitly presupposed by the objector, since there are obviously a multitude of puddles in existence, coming in different shapes and sizes. But now the objector has launched his barque into the metaphysical deep and will need to defend his World Ensemble Hypothesis against objections.

Finally, and most importantly, the supposed self-selection effect for embodied agents is vacuous. As Robin Collins has explained, there’s no good reason to think that only fine-tuned universes have observers in them. This is the point of the famous Boltzmann Brain problem. Worlds which consist of a single observer with an illusory perception of an external world about him are physically possible. So how can the objector prove that we are not in such a Boltzmann Brain world? Since he has no way of doing that, his claim that we, like the puddle, can observe only worlds fine-tuned for our existence fails and with it his objection to the argument for design.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
[1] The objection also seems to presuppose that the shape and size of the puddle are essential to its existence, which seems false.

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Is Our Universe Simply the Winner of a Universe Lottery?

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Thursday, February 06, 2020

Sanctity of Life Sunday Message: Chad Vaughn

I (The Other Chad) had the privilege recently to speak at my home church on Sanctity of Life Sunday, 2020.  The message I presented focused on the following-

  • What the Bible says about the value of life, including those in the womb.
  • Recap of the February 2019 debate on abortion between Dr. Willie Parker and Dr. Mike Adams.
  • How does the Good Samaritan really apply to followers of Christ?
  • Resources for learning more about the how to defend the life of the per-born.  
The Sanctity of Life message begins at the 18:20 point of the video.



Additional Resources:
God Bless,

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Does the Bible Support a Just War? by Norman L. Geisler

This article originally appeared in The Apologetics Study Bible, p. 995.

While the Bible doesn't approve of war for every cause, and while it encourages peace with all persons (Rm 12:18), it nonetheless indicates that peace and justice sometimes require war (Mt 24:6).  This is made clear from many considerations.  First, the Bible does not prohibit all taking of life.  For instance, killing in self-defense is justified (Ex 22:2), as is killing in capital punishment (Gn 9:6).  Government is divinely authorized to use "the sword" (Rm 13:4), as Jesus Himself recognized (Jn 19:11).  Second, under the law, God spelled out the rules of warfare for Israel (Dt 20).  Third, while Jesus forbade His disciples from using a sword for spiritual purposes (Mt 26:52), He urged His disciples to buy a sword if necessary for protection (Lk 22:36-38).  Fourth, John the Baptist did not say that armies should be abolished and did not call for repentance from serving in the office of soldier (Lk 3:14).

The Bible commands Christians to obey their government (Rm 13:1-7; Ti 3:1; 1Pt 2:13-14).  However, there are limitations to such obedience.  When the government commands worship of idols or a king (Dn 3:6), forbids preaching the gospel (Ac 4-5), or orders the killing of children (Ex 1), then it is a believers's duty to disobey.  Likewise, if government engages in unjust warfare, believers may dissent.  However, like Daniel (Dn 6), the three Hebrew young men (Dn 3), and Peter (Ac 4-5), those who disobey government must accept the consequences meted out by the state.

Several conditions for just war are given in the Bible.  First, it must be declared by one's government (Rm 13:4).  Second, it must be in defense of the innocent and/or against an evil aggressor (e.g., Gn. 14).  Third, it must be fought by just means (Dt 20:19). 

In addition to the above reasons for a just war policy, biblical arguments for total pacifism are flawed.  For example, Jesus' command to turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39) refers to a personal insult (like a slap in the face), not to bodily harm.  Indeed, even Jesus refused to turn His cheek when smitten unjustly (Jn 18:22-23).  The exhortation to love our enemies does not preclude the use of force to restrain them from killing us (cp. Paul's instigation of government intervention for is protection in Ac 23). 

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Tuesday, February 04, 2020