What sort of evidence are you looking for?

Is a question many atheists have been asked in one form or another. Many have given varied answers to the question and my contribution, though not new, is to say evidence that would be accepted by any reasonable person/observer.

But who is a reasonable observer/person?

Abstract philosophy and exercise is only suited for that person who is well fed and housed. The practical man or woman has use for philosophy to the extent to which it is relevant to their lives and until professional philosophers address issues of practical men and women, their works will remain in university bookshelves read only by other professional philosophers.

On free will

by Voltaire.

Before you say not again, Voltaire argues that all our actions are caused. And when there are two competing activities, the dominant idea will take precedence. He writes

The will, therefore, is not a faculty that one can call free. A free will is an expression absolutely void of sense, and what the scholastics have called will of indifference, that is to say willing without cause, is a chimera unworthy of being combated.

Free will by Voltaire

He concludes by saying we can only do what we will, but we can not will what we will do.

Schopenhauer in his essay on Freewill wrote

A free will would therefore be one that was not determined by grounds; and since everything determining something else must be a ground ± a real ground, i.e., a cause, in the case of real things ± a free will would be one that was determined by nothing at all. The particular manifestations of such a will (acts of will) would therefore proceed absolutely and quite originally from itself,without being brought about necessarily by antecedent conditions, and thus without being determined by anything according to a rule. In the case of such a concept clear thinking is at an end because the principle of sufficient reason in all its meanings is the essential form of our whole faculty of cognition, yet here it is supposed to be given up. However, we are not left without even a terminus technicus for this concept; it is liberum arbitrium indifferentiae. Moreover, this is the only clearly determined, firm, and settled concept of that which is called freedom of the will. Therefore one cannot depart from it without falling into vague and hazy explanations behind which lurks a hesitant insufficiency, as when one speaks of grounds that do not necessarily bring about their consequents. Every consequence of a ground is necessary, and every necessity is a consequence of a ground. From the assumption of such aliberum arbitrium indifferentiae, the immediate consequence that characterizes this concept itself and is therefore to be stated as its mark is that for a human individual endowed with it, under given external circumstances that are determined quite individually and thoroughly,two diametrically opposed actions are equally possible.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER Prize Essay on the Freedom of the Will

May you will what you will in this coming year!

If you have time, I suggest this post. The history of the free will problem

On the omnipotence paradox

Most times this paradox is formulated as can god create a square triangle? To which many apologists have said their god can only do things that are logical. They have further argued that this doesn’t diminish omnipotence but I am not persuaded. Same apologists believe an ass has spoken, a snake walked and a floor covered the entire earth surface.

Can god make a tall person short? Or a black person white? If not, why? Is there any logical contradiction in the above questions?

Or am I missing something?

If this is

As Leibniz wrote, the best of all possible worlds that god would have created, are we justified in trying to change it? Or should we say with the author of Tao that

Do you want to improve the world?

I don’t think it can be done.

The world is sacred.

It can’t be improved.

If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.

If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,

a time for being behind;

a time for being in motion,

a time for being at rest;

a time for being vigorous,

a time for being exhausted;

a time for being safe,

a time for being in danger.

The master sees things as they are,

without trying to control them.

She lets them go their own way,

and resides at the center of the circle.

Should one pray to have their situation altered if the world is sacred and this is the best possible world that the good god could make?

Is making a vaccine trying to change the world? If this is the best possible world, does it mean that a world without disease was not possible and to ask for such a world is to ask for too much? What does this argument mean for heaven then? Or hell for that matter?

Happy Holidays everyone.

Evidence for Christianity

The argument from truth

The author of the linked post intended, and failed, to show that atheism is not compatible with truth or to argue that atheists have a problem with truth. I argue, without fear of contradiction, that s/he has not proved their case. They didn’t even get off. We cannot, from reading their blog determine what truth is and how its existence is proof for god or an argument against atheism.

I will state, following Odera Oruka that all truths are contextual, where context is a tradition that determines the levels of understanding and the rules of rationality. Within a context, objectivity is implied and therefore, to argue that truth is contextual is not to commit to relativism.

After failing to make a coherent argument for truth as demonstrating that the Christian god exists, our interlocutor moves to morality and attempts to kill the horse that has been killed so many times there is no death left in it- is morality objective or subjective?- in their own words

What about claims that morality is relative? Someone may say one behaviour is acceptable and another not. If there is no God, then all our morals are a matter of personal opinion and not objective.

And as I have said of truth, codes of behaviour are context specific. And within a given context, whatever norms or codes that people live by are considered, they will be objective.

Our interlocutor then writes

If there is no God, then all our morals are a matter of personal opinion and not objective.

as if transferring the source of the opinion improves objectivity. Where gods have been claimed to have spoken, they have not been clear. Is it bad to kill? Not if they worship a different god. Or if it is as a sacrifice to a god. So that, if we are to follow the precepts laid down in the bible (our interlocutor argues for Christianity), we would not be certain on how to act.

We are told

However, if there is a God, and that God has defined right and wrong moral behaviour, then we have a standard outside of ourselves providing us with an objective standard for morality. If God does exist then we can have real objective moral truths.

and I ask which are these? Don’t eat shellfish? Take for example the command don’t kill. Why should we not kill? Because god has said. This, I argue, is unhelpful. It takes us to WLC philosophy of divine command theory where everything that god says is right. I am not sure Euthyphro’s dilemma has been successfully answered.

Most times when I read blogs by Christian apologists, I am left wondering why do they live in such small worlds. When a person writes

The Atheist must borrow the Christian worldview, to hold onto objective moral truths, but at the same time they want to reject the foundation for moral truth.

i ask is the world divided only between Christian and atheist? From whose world view does the atheist in Buddhaland borrow from?

If 1+1=2, the existence of god adds nothing to this. It is independent of gods. I don’t see how empirical facts help with the argument for existence of gods. Unless the apologist is able to demonstrate that the existence of god will change the value of 1+1, then using it as an argument to demonstrate the existence of god fails, unless I am missing something.

Freewill (again)

You have noticed there is a dearth of content here for a while now. I don’t know who to blame for this but I know it ain’t me. So I thought I could lighten matters here a bit by asking a few questions.

For those who believe we have freewill, how do you define it?

When men go to war as soldiers, do the rank and file have freewill or is it the generals who have it? And to what extent can we say the soldier acted on his own freewill? I am aware of the recommendations arising from the Nazi trials where it was agreed among other things that people must own their mistakes and cannot hide behind a chain of command.

A person who was born well and became mental, at what point did they lose their freewill? Do they get it back if they were to get well?

When do children begin to have it?

On free will

It is possible that I have shared this link before but I will share it again because it deals with one of those topics in which I have a very keen interest in especially as what it would mean to our legal systems to finally admit that there is no freedom of the will. What has piqued my interest today is

a weaker belief in free will correlates with poor academic performance.


Believing that free will is an illusion has been shown to make people less creative, more likely to conform, less willing to learn from their mistakes, and less grateful toward one another. In every regard, it seems, when we embrace determinism, we indulge our dark side.

which made me ask myself if this is really the case. I have no belief in the existence of freedom of the will and i find these findings don’t reflect my position. I know. Statistics and all. But I know there are a majority of my readers who are freewill skeptics. How do you judge yourselves? Poor academic performers? Lack creativity- Jeff I am lookin’ at ya?

I will conclude as Tolstoy does in War and Peace

It was necessary to renounce the consciousness of an unreal immobility in space and to recognize a motion we did not feel; in the present case it is similarly necessary to renounce a freedom that does not exist and to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious.

Tolstoy, War and Peace

Have a freewill free day.

Is it really the case that our laws

Laws and customs having the effect of law in our days can be traced directly to some powerful organized church or churches? That even in the US where they have an amendment separating church and state, the churches managed to have placed on the statutes the individual church’s code of moral taboos.

In his novel, For us, the living, Robert Heinlein writes and I quote

All forms of organized religion are alike in certain social respects. Each claims to be the sole custodian of the essential truth. Each claims to speak with final authority on all ethical questions. And every church has requested, demanded, or ordered the state to enforce its particular system of taboos. No church ever withdraws its claims to control absolutely by divine right the moral life of the citizens.

Robert A. Heinlein, For us, the Living

Such laws include but are not limited to tax exemption for church property, practically all laws pertaining to marriage and the relations between the sexes (laws against polygamy, adultery, birth control and others), censorship laws, laws prohibiting alocohol use, cigarettes.

In his book Genealogy of morals, Nietzsche makes the same argument and calls for a re-evaluation of morals. The difficulty I see is that after a while, these laws begin to have the form of common sense and thus their religious beginnings become obscured.

Do you agree or am i missing something?