Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Ethical Naturalism

Ethical Naturalism: is a reductionist view that holds that ethical terms (goodness, worth  and right) can be defined by or reduced to natural, scientific properties that are biological, psychological, sociological or physical in nature. For example, according to ethical naturalism the term right in "X is right" means one of the following: "What is approved by most people"; "What most people desire"; "What is approved by an impartial, ideal observer"; "What maximizes desire or interest"; "What furthers human survival." The important point here is that these moral terms and moral properties are not irreducibly moral in nature. Moral properties (e.g., worth, goodness or rightness) turn out to be properties that are biological or psychological.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Quote: Martin Luther on the Gospel

"If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning."
- Martin Luther

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Review: The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture by Scott Klusendorf

I have been quite excited to read Scott Klusendorf's The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (paperback, Kindle, Video Trailer, Interview, Life Training Institute). From my elementary school days, I have been exposed to pro-life Christians who have faced ridicule, fines, physical harm, and even jail time for their commitment to the unborn's right to life. It was not until my exposure to Christian apologetics that I became aware that the fight was more than each side just emoting at one another. In this book, Klusendorf provides the scientific case for the humanity of the unborn and the objective moral wrongness of killing them. He addresses many common and powerful challenges to the prolife position. The book is divided into four parts and is 243 pages in length. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary then conclude with my comments.

Part 1- Pro-Life Christians Clarify The Debate
Chapter 1- What Is The Issue?
Klusendorf begins by clarifying that there is one issue that is up for debate- the one issue that will make or break the case for the pro-life position. He explains that every other issue in the discussion is a red herring if this one issue is not resolved first. The key question that anyone must ask before they decide to act on something is "What is it?" In the context of the pro-life/abortion debate the action is killing and "it" is the unborn. We must determine if the unborn are human or not before we decide if it is justifiable to kill it. Klusendorf points out that if the unborn are not human, then there is no more justification needed to remove it than is necessary to remove a tooth (and any efforts to lower the number of abortions is really worthless); however, if the unborn is human, then no justification is sufficient to deliberately kill it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (04/04 - 04/11)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Paradigm

Paradigm: comes from the Greek paradeigma: evidence, example, pattern, model, archetype. In linguistics, a paradigm provides an example of a conjugation or a declension. In philosophy, its meanings include an archetype, a standard of measurement, a typical case or suggestive example, and a dominating scientific orientation. The term paradigm is frequently used in the social sciences. In popular understanding, paradigm often simply means a collection of ideas, a cluster of theories, models or actions representing a guiding idea, or a conceptual framework. (read more...) 1

1. Antje JackelénEncyclopedia of Science and Religion.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (03/28 - 04/04)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul

The Soul Hypothesis is a collection of 9 essays from authors of diverse backgrounds (i.e., philosophy of mind, philosophy of physics, brain science, linguistics). While this sort of eclecticism often leads to very uneven work, this is most definitely not true in this case. The editors and authors do an excellent job of maintaining continuity among the essays, primarily by providing ‘bridging’ commentaries between the chapters which allow for the reader to see the emerging themes. In attempting to replicate this thematic consistency, I’ve been forced to discuss the book’s contents in an ‘out of order’ fashion.[i]

Themes. It will be helpful to first sketch the two main themes of the book. The first theme is that there is no one soul hypothesis (henceforth SH).[ii] This means that falsifying one version of the SH does not entail that no version of the SH is true. [iii] This also means that the extent to which “the” SH is judged plausible will vary according to which specific SH is being proffered. Likewise, there is no single version of the materialist hypothesis (MH) [iv]. Arguably, as with the SH, this means that falsifying a version of the MH does not entail that no version of the MH is true, nor that all versions of the MH will be judged equally (im)plausible. Despite this caveat, I will for simplicity of exposition use ‘the’ SH or ‘the’ MH language, and relegate finer-grained discussion to the last footnote of this review. However, at various points in the text the authors argue against the ‘softer’ forms of materialism as well.[v]

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (03/21 - 03/28)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Falsifiability

Falsifiability: In opposition to the verification criterion of the logical positivists, Austrian-born philosopher Karl Popper (1902–1994) defended the idea of falsifiability. According to Popper's falsification criterion scientists should develop theories that can be falsified by observation. They should then try to falsify them, and those that survive testing should then be tentatively accepted and regarded as corroborated, that is, as closer to the truth than theories that have been falsified. The criterion was intended to demarcate science from pseudo-science. In the mid-twentieth century these ideas and their consequences for religious beliefs were at the center of the science/religion debate, but because of doubts about whether science itself could satisfy Popper's requirements, issues of falsifiability have had a less prominent place in the debate since the 1980s. 1

1. Mikael StenmarkEncyclopedia of Science and Religion.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Pain by Michael J. Murray

In Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Pain, Michael J. Murray outlines and assesses the adequacy of various defenses of theism in light of ‘the Darwinian picture’. The Darwinian picture consists, roughly, of the following claim:
For hundreds of millions of years—long before man arrived on the scene—non-human animals capable of experiencing real and morally significant pain have inhabited the earth.
The conflict between the Darwinian picture and theism I shall henceforth call ‘the problem of animal suffering’ (or PAS). PAS is, in Murray’s estimation, worth investigating because it a version of the problem of evil that has been relatively untouched in philosophy, because it makes suffering a central component of the development of life[i], and because he thinks that the standard responses to other versions of the problem of evil are largely impotent when it comes to animal suffering.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (03/14 - 03/21)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
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Canada here. UK here.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is based on the observation that all the stars and galaxies of the universe are in motion and not stationary. The American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889–1953) discovered in 1929 that the light of all visible stars was redshifted. Hence the movement of the myriad of galaxies is not random but everything is moving further away. If all galaxies are now racing away from one another then at one point all matter must have been clustered together in an infinitely dense space and its present motion might best be explained by an original explosion of matter. Hence the term Big Bang. The 1965 discovery by Arno Penzias (b. 1933) and Robert Wilson (b. 1936) of the background radiation produced by the intense heat of this "explosion" served to further confirm the theory. The Big Bang Theory brought to an end the idea of a static universe and made respectable again discussions of the beginning and possible creation of the universe. 1

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review: The Message Behind the Movie

Movies are an interesting part of today's culture. They address hot issues by connecting to people through the arts. They are the products of fallen people created in God's Image thus they will contain both good and bad elements, with imbalances on both sides. Many Christians do not think very deeply about these realities of this form of entertainment, so they often take extreme views of either over-indulgence or avoidance, and few see movies as open opportunities to discuss the Gospel with skeptics.

In his book The Message Behind the Movie: How to Engage With A Film Without Disengaging Your Faith Doug Beaumont attempts to address these issues. He divided the book into three "Acts" that deal with cinematic theory, evangelical application, and personal application. The book is subdivided into eleven chapters and is a mere 159 pages. This review is intended to be a chapter-by-chapter summary to give the potential reader a taste of the book's content.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links ( 03/07 - 03/14)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Subjectivism & Cultural Relativism

Subjectivism holds that moral statements convey information about the speaker of the moral statement. According to private subjectivism, "X is right" states the psychological fact that "I like X." This differs from emotivism. Emotivism holds that moral statements merely express feelings. Private subjectivism, however, holds that moral statements do not express feelings but describe the psychological state of the speaker. An expression of feeling cannot be false. But if person A says "I dislike x," then this can be false if A really likes x but does not want to admit it. Cultural relativism is the view that statements like "X is right" state the sociological fact that "We in our culture like x."1

1. William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p. 400.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Book Review: Four Views on the Historical Adam

Editors Matthew Barrett and Ardel B. Caneday offer yet another installment in Zondervan’s Counterpoints series.  This one is on the historicity of Adam with essays by Denis O. Lamoureux, John Walton, C. John Collins, and William D. Barrick.

Lamoureux kicks off the discussion with his evolutionary creation view and the rejection of a historical Adam.  He sums up his beliefs saying, “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created the universe and life, including humans, through an ordained, sustained, and intelligent design-reflecting natural process” (37). The author dismisses scientific concordism, that is, the assumption that the facts of science align with the Bible.  He asserts that statements in Scripture about nature are from an ancient phenomenological perspective and that “Holy Scripture makes statements about how God created living organisms that never in fact happened” (46).  Does this mean that God lied?  No, he says.  It means that “the Holy Spirit used the biology-of-the-day as an incidental vessel to reveal inerrant spiritual truths” (57).

Friday, March 07, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (02/28 - 03/07)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Terminology Tuesday: Verification Theory of Meaning

Verification Theory of Meaning: Theory held by logical positivists, summarized in the slogan "the meaning of a proposition is its method of verification." Logical positivism, popularized in English by A.J. Ayer, held that all propositions that have cognitive meaning (are either true or false) are either analytic (true or false solely because of the meaning of the terms) or else verifiable by sense experience. The heart of the view is the claim that all nonanalytic propositions are empirically verifiable. The positivists believed this would show that religious and metaphysical propositions were meaningless. Unfortunately for the positivists, it was soon noticed that the verification theory of meaning does not pass its own test for meaningfulness: it does not seem to be true by definition, and it is not empirically verifiable. It also was discovered that many propositions of science were not directly verifiable. But when the theory was weakened to allow such propositions meaning, it was easily shown that theological and metaphysical propositions were also meaningful on the weaker criterion.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 120-121.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ken Boa on Two Kinds of People

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who seek God and those who seek to avoid him... and both will be successful."

- Ken Boa

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Review: Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation

Adler and Van Doren said, “Many books are hardly worth even skimming; some should be read quickly; and a few should be read at a rate, usually quite slow, that allows for complete comprehension.”[1] Upon first reading this book, I wrote a review. After writing it, I thought, “I really should read this book again to understand it better.” So I did. And then I wrote a second review. It was ten pages long. Then I thought, “This book deserves one more reading.” So I gave Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation a third and wrote this review.

This book deserves a thorough reading because of the rarity of its inclusive nature among evangelical works on the topic. Unfortunately, scholars who disagree about the interpretation of Gen 1–2 often spend more time talking about each other instead of talking to each other. This book brings together five distinct perspectives on these chapters from scholars who all hold to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. The chapters derive from papers presented at a symposium at Bryan College in late 2011. The papers have been updated to include more recent discussions among evangelicals and each of the other contributors have been allowed to write a brief response appended to the end of the five main chapters. It also includes two chapters concerning the teaching of Gen 1–2 and unresolved chapters in these passages by two professors from Bryan College and a fine introduction by prominent Old Testament scholar Victor Hamilton.[2] The structure promotes dialogue but might have been improved by the addition of a brief final response by the chapter’s author.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (02/14 - 02/28)

Here are this week's recommended apologetics links. Enjoy.
• Shopping via Amazon? If you use this link, a bit of your purchase goes to fund Apologetics 315. Thanks for those of you using the link, as it helps Ap315.
Canada here. UK here.

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