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Showing posts from October, 2015

Jake vs. Lakoff: The Reckoning

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I haven't exactly hidden the fact that cognitive linguist George Lakoff, author of such books as Where Mathematics Comes From and Philosophy in the Flesh, has been very influential to my thinking. His writing challenged and ultimately helped shape many of my views on philosophy, metaphysics, and cognition — views which I have expressed in quite a few blog posts.

My comrade-in-blog and occasional sparring partner Steven Jake, who blogs at The Christian Agnostic, has — to put it lightly — not found Lakoff's views quite so persuasive. So much so, in fact, that he wrote a series of blogs posts on the book Philosophy in the Flesh which more or less lampooned it as a farcical attempt at philosophy by some guy who clearly doesn't understand real philosophy. You can read his three-part series on the book here, here, and here.

Speaking of putting things lightly, it would be fair to say that I was similarly unimpressed by Steven's criticism of the book. In my estimation, it was…

That time I responded to a Ray Comfort video

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A lot of my friends and acquaintances, across a broad religious and non-religious spectrum, consider Ray Comfort to be not really worth their time. His arguments are so consistently bad that two of them — the "crockoduck" and the banana-design — subsequently became popular atheist memes. Yet while he may not command the kind of esoteric prestige that someone like William Lane Craig or AC Grayling does, he's nonetheless a widely known voice in the evangelical community and his arguments reflect common talking points for everyday believers.

Case in point, this video on "How to Prove the Existence of God".

Of course, Ray thinks this is kind of superfluous, because he insists that everyone already "knows" God exists:

Why bother "proving" something everybody already knows? Apparently, to show the rational-thinking types that their secret belief is rationally justified. Or something, I don't know, honestly.

Anyway, let's go through a few key …

Does the existence of Christ even matter anymore?

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Orthodoxy has changed. I don't mean that so much in the obvious sense, in that what the church takes as accepted doctrine has changed; rather, the very concept of orthodoxy has changed so much as to become virtually meaningless. There is no "Christian orthodoxy" anymore; there hasn't been for a long, long time. Rather, Christianity is comprised of a myriad of denominations, subsumed under innumerable historical schisms, that all have their own competing orthodoxies. If you disagree with the orthodoxy of one denomination, it's a safe bet you can just find another that you do agree with. And if you can't? Just start your own! 
It wasn't that long ago in the span of human history that if you rejected the existence of Adam & Eve or denied the historicity of the Great Flood, odds were reasonable that you could be branded a heretic. Times have certainly changed — virtually the entirety of the Old Testament is historically dubious. We know that humans were …