Posts

William Lane Craig doesn't understand the importance of moral epistemology

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Here's a blast from the past: a Christian friend of mine on Facebook was posting about the Biblical description of the slaughter of the Canaanites; now, this person is a Randal Rauser type who essentially views the Old Testament as a messy attempt by relatively primitive people to understand God -- in other words, God didn't really command that . His post reminded me of William Lane Craig, and Bill ain't letting the Word of God off that easily. He's devoted several Question of the Week  segments to addressing this thorny topic, so I tossed a link to one to my FB buddy -- mainly so he could have a laugh. This is the link I sent him: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-re-visited/ In this response, Bill Craig manages to cram together an impressive amount of ad hoc reasoning and logical fallacies, and with his own arguments proves that he doesn't believe in his own moral ontology. Let's talk about that! Take a st

So, yesterday was pretty crazy, huh?

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When a mob of pro-Trump extremists broke into the Capitol building yesterday, it was both surreal and strangely unsurprising. It was the logical culmination not just of Trump's presidency, but of the increasingly insular and radical conservative media ecosystem. Trump was the match, but the kindling has been laid ever since Fox News rose to prominence with its slogan "Fair & Balanced" - implying, of course, that other networks were neither. In the last few years, I and many people I know have lost relationships with family and friends as they descended down an increasingly extreme and bizarre rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and identity politics. Recently I sat quietly as my girlfriend's dad explained, without a hint of irony, that George Soros and the Rockafeller family were funding BLM and Antifa in an attempt to install communists governments in "liberal" cities, and that "Hollywood" is in cahoots with congressional Democrats in a child-k

How evangelical culture and porn warped my idea of male sex drive

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A lot of men my age (I'm 40) get on some kind of sex-boosting pill. Snake oil supplements promising to improve your manliness quotient by 4000% are a dime a dozen. Testosterone replacement clinics are popping up all over the place (which I actually think is a good thing, but not necessarily for sex). At my work, there are basically two types of commercials on the radio: car dealerships promising easy credit approval, and male-enhancing clinics or supplements. Here's the thing about "erectile dysfunction": it's a made-up syndrome used to sell pills. There's no medical criteria for ED; essentially, a man just goes to his doctor and says he's not getting hard when he wants or expects to, or he's not staying hard as long as he wants or expects to, or he's not ejaculating as soon as he wants or too soon or not as often or not at all. Essentially, ED means "I'm not performing the way I expect to be." But where are those expectations comin

Randal Rauser on religious consensus

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It's been a really long time since I wrote a post on one of Randal Rauser's arguments. But as luck would have it, it's a lazy Saturday, I was perusing his blog, and I found a recent post of his in which he links to the following video: Do watch the video before continuing, because I'm not going to explain what it's about. Instead, I want to systematically address his arguments as well as discuss his response to me on his blog. Just a heads-up on my own position: I think that the lack of a consensus is a serious problem for Christianity, for several reasons. First, it stands to reason that if holding true belief is integral to one's salvation, and if God loves all his human creations and wants them to be saved, it would be woefully counterproductive for God to allow humans to stumble into a vast number of schisms that often result from disagreements over basic doctrinal beliefs. Sure, some Christians disagree about which day of the week the Sabbath is supp

What conservatives think liberals believe vs what liberals actually believe

You can't throw a rock at conservative media right now without hitting some kind of fear-mongering about socialism . You see, the liberals are coming, and they're all socialists who want to tax you into oblivion, create dependency on the government, and make the government as large and intrusive as possible. Conservatives paint themselves as business-friendly by advocating for deregulation, tax cuts, fiscal responsibility, and privatization. It doesn't take much effort to look at the history of conservative governance to see that this idealism doesn't play out. "Deregulation" is essentially code for "erosion of consumer protections to favor the profiteering of multinational corporations." The advocates of "fiscal responsibility" don't seem to mind that Trump is running a nearly $1 trillion deficit. I could go on, and on. But I want to talk about the fear-mongering over liberalism, because it's not new. The notion that liberals c

Is the media liberally biased?

As long as I can remember in my 40 years on Earth, conservatives have claimed that the "mainstream media" is liberally biased and cannot be trusted to be objective. This has spawned a sprawling conservative media ecosystem - Daily Wire, Daily Caller, Brietbart, Fox News, Pluralist, The Federalist, etc. - which views itself as a bulwark against the onslaught of liberal media. There's a really big problem with that claim, though - there's really not much evidence for it outside of peoples' own perception. You probably would not be surprised to learn that most of what is viewed as "biased" depends strongly on one's political leanings. Worse, it's essentially an unfalsifiable claim. During the 2016 elections, Snopes was widely derided as a "liberal" news source despite the fact that it's simply a fact-checking website that cites all of its sources in every article. Conservatives even think Wikipedia is liberally biased , and I'm

Ben Shapiro and the culture of conservative privilege

I remember reading the quote in which Ben Shapiro said "People who are poor their entire lives are just bad with money." Then there was the classic that if sea levels rose and started flooding homes in coastal cities, people could just "sell their houses and move" because apparently Aquaman is in the homeowners market (thanks, hbomberguy ). And then recently was the comment that if a job isn't paying a living wage, you should just go get a higher paying job - like higher incomes are something you just go out and get, like milk and cheese or a MAGA hat. Shaprio called working for less than a living wage " a you problem ." The stupidity and willful ignorance of such comments should be so obvious as to not even require discussion. And yet, here we are. And tempting though it may be to pin Shaprio as uniquely obtuse, these comments show a trend that's prevalent in right-wing media: the struggles of the poor and working class are consistently framed as