materialism

God’s Immateriality: Necessary Truth, or Rhetorical Device?

I’m in the middle of a discussion with hero4thought on his blog (go check it out, he has some good observations, and he seems like a really nice guy) where we are talking about the veracity of equating religion with relationship. I recommend reading his post (and the subsequent discussions that follow) in full, but the nutshell argument seems to be: Since we can’t really verify that God really exists, then any alleged “interactions” with Him wouldn’t really qualify as a relationship in the traditional sense — for relationships, as we are wont to think of them, don’t usually involve ambiguous or elusive parties. We know precisely who the parties are in most relationships, and there’s no question to a third-party observer that such a relationship, in fact, exists. This lack of corroboration when it comes to God, Hero says, makes the relationship claim dubious at best.

I can appreciate his reasoning, and I actually mostly agree — but I disagree that the difficulties presented by the situation are insurmountable or fatally flawed such that we should feel justified in shutting down the God-relationship hypothesis out of hand.  In any case, we have just gotten to the point on our discussion where we’re unpacking the question of whether or not a relationship is predicated upon both parties in the relationship existing in the material sphere. I would argue not, and my argument is based on the logical necessity that God be immaterial — and so following is my response to Hero: (more…)

Response to Comment: Are we SURE naturalism could find God’s fingerprints?

I have been incredibly pleased and delighted at the discussions that spun off from my last post about naturalism — in fact, my involvement therein can serve as a kind of explanation for my recent absence from writing, for the discussions have been engaging and taxing (in a good way!).  Deep thanks to both tildeb and Gino for raising the quality of this blog by weighing in with such incisive and insightful discussion!

And I’m not just blowing smoke, either — I am always most thrilled when met with individuals who are both capable and willing to engage in civil, rational discussion about something as divisive and provocative as religion — such individuals, in my experience, are rare, and I’ve has the immense privilege and honor to have engaged with several such individuals during my short course as a blogger.  My hat’s off to all of you!

I found these discussions and points about naturalism especially fruitful, so I thought I’d devote another post to summing up the results of these discussions.  I shall try to be as fair as possible when representing my opponents’ positions, and I give either of you full permission to castigate me vehemently if I misrepresent you 😉 (more…)

What IS naturalism, really?

A light bulb just went off for me.

There has been much talk lately (on this blog and elsewhere) about the respective merits of naturalism and theism as competing worldview philosophies — emphasis on competing, which implies that they are distinct enough as philosophies so as to be essentially mutually exclusive.  Now, I’ve been a part of this ongoing conversation for a little bit, and every now and then someone with whom I am discussing the issue will make a statement that stuck like a barb into my conscious mind — such as: (more…)

Brain vs. Mind

In my discussion of A.I., I concluded that the matter of the idea of artificial intelligence’s compatibility with the Christian God really comes down to whether or not there is an immaterial “mind” apart from the material workings of the brain.  Not surprisingly, modern psychology on the whole takes the materialistic position (as it is essentially constrained to do, might I point out); the “mind/brain identity theory” — called elsewhere the “psychoneural identity” (PNI) theory — seems to be the pervasive current working assumption in the scientific community. Sam Harris (noted neuroscientist and one of the infamous Four Horsemen of New Atheism) seems to think there are good reasons for adhering to this materialistic premise — however, I find his reasoning rather circular, at least as presented here: (more…)

"A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God." - Alan Perlis

God and A.I.

Apologies for not updating in the last few days — writer’s block! To tell you the truth, this Meaning of Life series has become more arduous than I anticipated going into it, and when I sit down to write more about it I invariably get fed up and go do something else. Also, I guess my perfectionism is catching up to me; I have two decent drafts almost, almost ready to go, and as of now I just can’t find it in myself either to be satisfied with them or to make them satisfactory.

So, if you don’t mind, I’ll table that topic for now and come back to it later, with a fresh set of eyes.

Now, for today, I would like to discuss a topic that I had never really thought about before.  The question was posed by John (both in a comment on my blog and in a post of his own) about whether it’s possible to believe in both God and artificial intelligence.  To quote him:

… god-belief doesn’t seem compatible with the idea that we humans can build a living, conscious machine.

Isn’t that a fascinating concept??  I love this kind of stuff! (more…)

Why do apologists exist?

makagutu commented on my post about intelligent design by asking:

Why, if god is self evident as most believers think it is, does it need apologists?

It’s a valid question.  And since makagutu has gotten on my case in the past for being too loquacious, I’ll try to keep my answer brief 😉

For one thing, though I can’t speak for others, I for one would not categorize God’s existence as something that is self-evident.  makagutu is right:  If such a thing were self-evident, there would be no need for argumentation, and reasonable people would be expected to believe without needing to be convinced.  I don’t think that is the case, though — though I believe there are good arguments for theism, they are still arguments nonetheless — it takes some effort to get there.

So, that’s the quick answer (so makagutu, you can stop reading at this point if you’d like 😉 ) — but I think there’s more to the issue.  I may be making a jump here, but I think the heart of the question is: If the case for God is compelling, then why are there reasonable people who don’t believe in Him? (more…)