Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Roughly Where We (sc. U.S. Citizens) Stand


At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's the citizen: the woman peeking up, the skeleton, the guy with his head off, or the people under the $ sign? What's the cross (/w the sword?) mean? I don't see any Imams there. . .

Off Topic: Philosopher/pastor James Moreland came out with a new book Kingdom Triangle, and in it he describes accounts of miracles happening all over the third world, and even recounts miracles happening to him and how at one point he sensed something dark in his classroom and prayed for the students, and later two of them independently thanked him later and felt something happen. What would you make of this? Do you think the spirit's power is alive and well?

At 8:55 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Since you asked: the citizen is the ass.

Moreland's a pretty good philosopher/theolgian.

Personally, I don't know whether the category "miracle" is legit, as I accept continuous creation. A miracle ends up being something like a deviation from what we have been led to expect, not a violation of a causally closed physical system, say. So, the Spirit operates in cellular division as well as in bizzare events contrary to natural law.

Anyhow, I think your question points up to a weakness in theological modernity (post Hume, influenced by Kant and Hegel): there is no significant problem of miracles to which theology must reply.

The real action would be around teh coherence of omnipotence.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess my question is this: Do you trust accounts of the spirit healing in the third world (Moreland cites a study by a grad student who found that, in something like 28 of 30 ministries in such places, their main contributor to conversions was healings in the name of the holy spirit).

If so, should such accounts be strong (or moderate) evidence that there is something divine? Or maybe even, should these accounts be accepted by believers who already have the metaphysical framework set up, or should strong scepticism be put into use?

At 12:49 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I just do not know enough about the phenomenon. But--I have a worry.

Suppose spirit healing overlaps with animism, so both Christian and Voodoo "spirit" healers could claim efficacy. Or worse: suppose spirit healing overlaps pre-Christian spirit praxis (as with African blood "sacrifice" to ancestor spirits)--what then?

I am just not sure how to evaluate the evidence.

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one last thing, sorry for going off topic again, but have you read anything on Victor Reppert's argument from reason (mainly in his book, CS Lewis's dangerous idea)? if so, what did you think of the force of his arguments?

At 6:55 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

An argument from reason--sounds interesting, esp. if it comes from CS Lewis.

Can you briefly summarize Reppert's version of the argument? I have not heard of him, but the idea of inferring the existence of God from the functioning of human reason is an old one, going back to Augustine at least. I'd be interested to see Reppert's take on it.

So go ahead and take a stab!

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For now, I can post these essay of Reppert: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/victor_reppert/reason.html It is from 1998, and the book is 2003, so I don't know how closely it follows the book. I know the book lays out 6 different arguments, all with just 2 premesis and a conclusion, so I could post those (although then the defense of each is missing)--I'll try something later.

here is a philosophy grad student's take on it, including several other AfR's: http://apologetics.johndepoe.com/afr.html

If you care enough and have the time, there's this essay against the arguments: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/reppert.html and this response: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/darek_barefoot/dangerous.html 9(and Reppert has some responses of his own on his blog http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/ and this more technical blog about the argument: http://dangerousidea2.blogspot.com/

At 5:59 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Thanks for this material.

I see all this and feel like there are a number of exciting, ongoing reformed and evangelical debates in religious philosophy/theology--most going on without me.

I have to get in!

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very glad I could point you to something new, and I'm sure your sharp intellect would make a great contribution if you chose to enter the conversation. One comment of concern in following reformed/evangelical debates: I know philosophers can be more open than most, but be careful, if you ever chose to, in approaching Intelligent Design (like alvin plantinga).

Here are the arguments from the book:

The argument from intentionality:
1. if naturalism is true,then there is no fact of the matter as to what someone's thought or statement is about
2. but there are facts about what someone's thought is about. (implied by the existence of rational inference).
3. Therefore, naturalism is false (Reppert, pg. 75).

the argument from truth
1. if naturalism is true, then no states of the person can be either true or false
2. some states of the person can be true or false (implied by the existence of rational inference)
3. therefore, naturalism is false

argument from mental causation
1.if naturalism is true then no even can cause another event in virtue of its propositional content
2. but some events. . . (do (1))
3. (3 above)

argument from the psychological relevance of logical laws
1.if naturalism is true, then logical laws either do not exist or are irrelevant to the formation of beliefs
2. Not (1) implied by the existence of rational inference)
3. therefore (3 above)

argument from unity of consciousness in rational inference
1. if naturalism is true, then there is no single metaphysically unified entity that accepts the premises, perceives the logical connection between them and draws a conclusion
2. but there is. . . (implied by existence of rational inference))
(3 above)

argument from the reliability of our rational faculties
1. if naturalism is true, then we should expect our faculties not to be reliable indicators of the non apparent character of the world
2. but (they do)
3. therefore naturalism is false

At 12:40 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Thanks, but flattery will get you nowhere.

These arguments, on the other hand, do seem to be going somewhere interesting.

The strongest ones on their face seem to be:

from intentionality,
from truth,
relevance of logical laws,
unity of consciousness

All of these prima facie seem sound--and ancient--indicators of naturalism's falsity. Their leading conditionals woudl have to be worked out, but in every case there is good precedent. One would not have to work ex nihilo, as it were.

You have me wondering whether to give a colloquium, say: The Falsehood of Naturalism, using a variant of the argument from truth.

warning though: these are at best only starting points to a cogent theism. They make conceptual room for it, but leave some heavy lifting yet to be done.

And knowing Plantinga, some would say the heavy lifting cannot be done.

Of course, that's not me.

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comment suggests I'm trying to get somewhere. I'm really just an interested observer in these debates.

Given naturalism's status in many places, I'm sure such a colloquium would illicit some pretty interesting responses.

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


and to see what I mean about ID, just look up someone like Rick Sternberg.

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking around and there are several other places one can look at aspects of the AfR of Reppert:

Book: In defense of natural theology p 253-270. Downers Grove, Ill : InterVarsity Pr, 2005.


C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason
Reppert, Victor
Philosophia Christi, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 375-377, Series 2 2004

Some supernatural reasons why my critics are wrong: a reply to Drange, Parsons, and Hasker
Reppert, Victor E
Philosophia Christi 5 no 1 2003, p 77-89.

And of course, the original replies by Drange, Parsons, and Hasker in Philosophia Cristi.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Thanks; I am in your debt.

At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To go off the topic of the AfR, when you first mentioned that "miracle" is a questionable category because of continuous creation, I wondered why you didn't just say conservation. Since then, I've come across this paper, http://www.nd.edu/%7Eafreddos/papers/conserv.htm. Do you think this reflects your views and makes a good case?


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