My Interview on the Enlightenment Show

The Enlightenment Show: John Loftus and the Problem of Pain from FreeThought Fort Wayne on Vimeo.

10 comments:

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

I'm watching this vid in parts but the firned in adultery working the alter is something else...that was sad and he should have been ashamed and your statements on the relationship between punishment and forgiveness was a pretty powerful thought.

Superstition does not equal supernaturalism...you sneak in that little equation wich I think is the failure of yuor approach. Superstition has nothing to do with the Christian worldview.

I think more accurately the approach should approach this from a material/immaterial world view.

I'll get back with more.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

also in your analysis of pain and suffering you leave out the problem of sin as defined within the bible.

Short of the long you can't criticize God as it relates to pain without introducing the reason why he states that pain and suffering exists.

So you can generalize religiously, but for Christianity you can't skip over the problem of sin and hope to make an argument against God.

Power to stop something does not make one more morally obligated to stop it either...in other words a parent can stop a child fro doing many things at any age...but there comes a point in good parenting that a parent steps back and allows a child to have their own experience.

You say, well certainly a parent stops a child from death and dying...in that case the -parent also strips the child's free-will...

Example, I know of a parent whose son is a drug addict. The parent has done everything humanly possible to get him off drugs. Now they can take one more step and lock this fella up in a room and keep him there...Would that save this fella? probably. Would that destroy his free-will? Absolutely...

Now the question is, would that be good to take away the decision making ability that the person had to begin with or would that simply be another form of mind control?

There are many consideration that you don't make in this interview and in your book regarding this.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Lastly,

Your razor blade analogy...God gave man freewill and freewill was good there is no equivalency to a razor blade or something bad...man used it for bad...

Then racism, isn't solely based on skin...it's a heart condition. I propose that if all skin colors were esactly the same there would yet have been slavery and oppression of certain types of people...you have no allowance for this in your views.

Lynn said...

John,
I really enjoyed your video today. I know you are very capable of the complicated arguments with other well-educated people. But I think it is so good to have the down-to-earth approach as you did here. I could imagine regular people watching this and understanding it. I thought it was great.

Rob R said...

I'll agree with your statement on Hume's brilliance. He gave the west a wonderful gift. He destroyed the idea that that we could have knowledge without faith. To bad it didn't occur to him that we could have knowledge bolstered by faith.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Lynn!

Harvey, I think it's clear you have not read the book which this interview was about. In it I address your objections. What are you waiting for? Read it and then see what you think.

Anthony said...

John wrote: Harvey, I think it's clear you have not read the book which this interview was about. In it I address your objections. What are you waiting for? Read it and then see what you think.

Since Harvey refuses to read a book on the evidence for evolution I honestly doubt he will read your's either John. So smug is he in his religion, that he "knows" he's right and we are wrong. No evidence or logic to the contrary will convince him otherwise.

Rob R said...

post 2 of 2



In one of the other threads, you made the point that we ultimately have to simply trust that our senses are mostly accurate.

Well, maybe, but I wouldn't use exactly those words, that our senses are accurate (maybe I did, but here I'm clarifying). It's not that they are accurate that I emphasize, but rather, they effectively communicate an external world to us.

I agree with that statement, but I also think that the trust is not wholly unjustified.

You are right. It's not unjustified. That's my whole point. Trust/faith can be very justifiable if you allow for example existential concerns to have weight in considering truth. But the senses do not justify themselves in their display of an external world.

Evolutionary processes guarantee that our senses should give us a reasonably accurate representation of reality, since if they didn't we wouldn't have survived due to our faulty senses.

If evolution is the most reasonable explanation of the "facts" it is still just part of the narrative delivered by the senses that cannot stand alone to justify themselves hence it cannot be used to justify belief in an external reality.

FYI, Alvin Plantinga has an argument for God from evolution (though it could also be used against evolution as well). He notes that if beliefs or tendencies toward beliefs evolved, they didn't evolve because they are true but because they have survival value. This is a problem since false beliefs can have survival value. He gives an example of a a person who has evolved the desire to be eaten by a tiger combined with the false belief that every time he sees a tiger, it won't eat him, so he runs away from it. Perhaps an even better example of the potential for evolution to erode our capability of knowing truth is from Mike Judge's comedy, "Idiocracy." The setup for the movie explains the principle in a crude but humorous way. Plantinga's argument is that we are capable of perceiving truth is evidence that God guided the process.

So the idea that we evolved the capacity for truth is just one more area where faith is required (whether you believe God was involved or not). You might counter to suggest that this belief isn't unjustified, and I would say, but of course because faith is reasonable part of justification.

From my perspective, if you can't show that your knowledge of God is internally derived, then you are still making an additional leap that I don't have to make.

While I'm going a few extra steps, it's not so much that I'm making an unreasonable leap as it is that I am working from a richer and more robust epistemic approach, one that as been assailed on faulty grounds such as it's controversial or it can't be justified by the five senses or science.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: If evolution is the most reasonable explanation of the "facts" it is still just part of the narrative delivered by the senses that cannot stand alone to justify themselves hence it cannot be used to justify belief in an external reality.

Rob, I think what he's referring to is that, as a physical process, evolution requires an external reality to actually exist. Should there be an external state of affairs that has overwhelming impact our survival, then our acceptance of said state of affairs would strongly influence our ability to survive. But if one acts as if this external reality is merely an illusion, despite it's impact on their survival, then it's guaranteed that one will not survive without intervention from someone who does recognize the external world.

That we have evolved complex optical systems to perceive a three dimensional space from two dimensional stereo fields indicates that visual input from external world is very useful, even if it doesn't always reveal completely accurate real-world states. Should there be no external world, there would there be no external pressures that select some traits, but not others. Nor would there be random mutation of our genetic code to bring about new traits as would be no genes, etc.

Acquiring a number of false conclusions about an external reality is significantly different that assuming an external reality does not exist at all. Saying that the sun orbits the earth is not the same as saying there is no sun, earth or any external reality since everything we experience is an illusion.

While I'm going a few extra steps, it's not so much that I'm making an unreasonable leap as it is that I am working from a richer and more robust epistemic approach.

It's appears you're trying to level the playing field by saying that your approach is more rich. However, it's unclear what you mean by "rich" and "robust." Could you mean something you personally find more satisfying?

For example, which explanation would be richer: that God willed the universe into existence or that our universe was created by a natural process over a vast period of time?

If God is an infinite being, creating the universe would not a task which required much of any effort on his part. Even the description in Genesis would be considered a more "rich" as it depicts God taking several days to create the create the earth (but only a day to create all the remaining stars in the universe).

Now, compare this to our universe being the result of a vast natural process. One could say this account is far more rich than saying God did it.

As for your approach being more "robust," again, it's unclear that such robustness is actually reflected in the results of said epistemic approach.

First, if having a personal relationship with God was his ultimate reason why he designed us with a capacity for truth - and our salvation hinges on actually obtaining the true details about his nature - then we are clearly ill suited to find such truth. Many have died believing that some other God, such as Allah, is the one true God and would be lost. There are others who practice non non-theistic religions, such Buddhism, and non-theists who think that God is a creation of human kind to help understand that which was unknown. We also continue to discover evidence to this effect in the fields of neuroscience, etc.

Second, you seem to suggest that our capacity for finding truth came about through the intentional design of an pre-existing agent that also held the capacity for truth.

Where did this agent's capacity for truth come from? Where is this agent today? Should this agent actually exhibit a capacity for finding truth far beyond ours, why does it appear to reveal the kind if information we'd expect to learn on our own? Why does this agent's moral decisions change with human definitions of morality?

Anonymous said...

Rob R - you make mention of Alvin Plantinga. Here's an excellent intellectual essay called: A Refutation of Plantinga's Modal Ontological Argument - and why it even suggests a disproof of God - http://www.paul-almond.com/ModalOntologicalArgument.htm

If your intellect can cope, I'd also read Paul's other essays. They're a really good read.