Philosophy

I have a confession to make. I don’t understand Quantum Mechanics. Now there’s no shame in that; Richard Feynman famously said “I think it is safe to say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics.” But the reason I mention this is that I’m pretty sure that I don’t understand it less than I used to.…

Read More QM and the limits of intuition and "common-sense"

Over at Common Sense Atheism, Luke has posted an excellent commentary on the recent decision by several well-known philosophers (Keith Parsons and John Beversluis) to give up on the philosophy of religion: The problem is not that philosophy of religion has lower standards than other areas of philosophy do. The problem is that standards in…

Read More Bringing philosophy up to the standard of science

I forgot to mention that yesterday’s piece on truth came about because one of the temporary bloggers at Andrew Sullivan’s Dish, Zoe Pollock, saw fit to link to the original piece by Bill Vallicella. Apparently I wasn’t the only person who took exception to Vallicella’s nonsense: in today’s Dish, Pollock quotes from three critics of…

Read More Another easy demolition: "homicide bombers"

Over at Sentient Developments, Russell Blackford takes on the philosopher Massimo Pigliucci and his recent piece on the limits of skeptical inquiry. Russell’s comments in general are quite convincing, but one passage particularly caught my attention. I’ve been hanging out at various Christian apologist websites recently, contributing the odd comment here and there and scratching…

Read More Russell Blackford on "ad hoc" arguments

I’ve been commenting on a thread over at Thinking Christian about Sean Carroll’s Discovery piece on why science and religion are incompatible. It’s an odd kind of discussion: the resident Christians excoriate Carroll, and in the same breath they assert that Christianity is always, authoritatively correct, which seems to rule out science as a way…

Read More Values, science, and contingency

Larry Hamelin (the Barefoot Bum) just posted an important essay on two dichotomies which are frequently confused, identified, misidentified, conflated, linked, and generally misunderstood: Natural v. supernatural. Materialist v. non-materialist. He begins: There seems to be considerable confusion and equivocation about naturalism and supernaturalism. Naturalism is often confused with materialism, at the methodological and metaphysical…

Read More Larry disentangles naturalism and materialism

Observed from without, human beings obviously have a natural lifespan and cannot live much longer than a hundred years. A man’s sense of his own experience, on the other hand, does not embody this idea of a natural limit. His existence defines for him an essentially open-ended possible future […] Viewed in this way, death,…

Read More Quote for the day

The British government are gathering various points of view on “what it means to be British”, and the Humanist Philosophers’ Group (part of the British Humanist Association) recently submitted their position paper, A British Statement of Values. It begins: “The core value which we believe can bring people together in this country is the ideal…

Read More Being British: a humanist perspective

Andrew Sullivan considers the iconic role of traditional marriage for many conservatives in a very nice piece entitled Modernity, Faith, And Marriage. He writes of Rod Dreher, who… … longs, as many do, for a return to the days when civil marriage brought with it a whole bundle of collectively-shared, unchallenged, teleological, and largely Judeo-Christian,…

Read More The death of obedience