Tag Archives: philosophy

I Should Like To Say Two Things

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I Should Like To Say Two Things

I’m an admirer of the late Bertrand Russell — a philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate in literature. This week, I came across an interview with the BBC where he was asked. “Suppose, Lord Russell, this film were to be looked at by our descendants like a Dead Sea scroll in a thousand years’ time. What would you think it’s worth telling that generation about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned from it?”

I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral.

The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only, “What are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out?” Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. But look only and solely at what are the facts. That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say.

The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple. I should say, “Love is wise; hatred is foolish.” In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way. And if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.

Here’s the full interview.

Questions for Theists.

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Questions for Theists.

What follows is 10 questions aimed at theists, along with an explanation as to why the questions are meaningful. The questions are sincere, as they have been the stumbling blocks to many a conversation about religion. What is contained in the explanations that follow the questions is not meant to limit a theist’s response, and […]

https://allallt.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/questions-for-theists/

Spontaneous Abortion Argument – An Unsound Syllogism

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Spontaneous Abortion Argument – An Unsound Syllogism

I was inspired to write a valid but unsound syllogism after reading an excellent paper, called: The Scourge: Moral Implications of Natural Embryo Loss by Dr Toby Ord.

Why devote the time to write an unsound logical argument? Well, I judge the premises to be dubious, but other people, such as those who are not pro-choice advocates, for instance, should accept them as true. This leads to the consideration—if the syllogism is indeed valid—of an interesting conclusion. Thought experiments are fun, aren’t they?

Spontaneous Abortion Argument

Premise 1: From the time when an ovum is fertilised by sperm (conception), the resulting embryo [a] has a comparable moral status to that of an adult human being; it has, at least, the basic human right to life [b].

Premise 2: It is immoral to knowingly perform an action that has a reasonable chance [c] of resulting in the death, natural or otherwise, of an entity with the basic human right to life.

Premise 3: The majority of embryos die from natural causes (spontaneous abortion) within a few weeks of conception [d1-4].

Conclusion: Therefore, a man or a woman who pursues conception, and is informed of spontaneous abortion, is acting immorally. Read the rest of this entry

Why I Support A Woman’s Legal Right To Terminate A Pregnancy

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Why I Support A Woman’s Legal Right To Terminate A Pregnancy

I’m a long-time “pro-choicer” when it comes to a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. It didn’t require much contemplation, on my part, to reach this position.

That’s not to say that this topic is unworthy of contemplation—the contrary is true, of course—but rather, it’s obvious to me that the rights of an unconscious group of cells does not trump the rights of a conscience, thinking, feeling person. How could it!? It doesn’t have a nervous system or brain, and therefore, it can’t experience consciousness or feel… anything. It’s not yet a person. It’s a potential person, sure, much like my sperm, except with a much higher probability of becoming a person. Given the distress a woman will suffer—if she is forced to endure an unwanted pregnancy—not to mention the permanent physiological changes that come with childbearing, it’s unreasonable to value an unfeeling collection of cells over an actual person’s wishes and well-being. Remember, that consent to have sex is not consent to become pregnant, and a woman who chooses to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is, in fact, taking responsibility for her life. To me, it’s as simple as that—at least, in the early stages of pregnancy. Read the rest of this entry

Response To A Critique By Kevin Lane

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Response To A Critique By Kevin Lane

Kevin Lane wrote a comprehensive critique on my post On How I Became a Christian, called The Fruit of Believing a False Gospel and Refusing Answers, which I encourage you to read. This article is a response to his critique. As always, if you have an opinion, whatever it may be, you know where the comments are.

Who is Mr Lane?

Kevin is a Christian with a keen interest in Christian soteriology—the study of religious doctrines of salvation—having studied the topic for the last seven years.

He is a retired Canadian Forces avionics technician, and worked on such machines as the CH124 Sea King aircraft. He is a published author, professional photographer and musician, blogger, and he is @TheWordBowl on Twitter.

Lastly, he is married to Joanne whom he can’t stop bugging at work 🙂

Kevin is a clearly a creative and smart individual. I doubt that he and I could ever be friends, but apart from his annoying usage of LOL and exclamation marks, Kevin is a nice enough guy. He is Canadian, after all. LOL!!!! Read the rest of this entry

The Burden Is Heavy: Revisited

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The Burden Is Heavy: Revisited

The burden is heavy, but it is not mine to bear. So says the atheist, and indeed, so says the theist. The argument of who needs to provide the proof—to warrant belief in God’s existence or non-existence—often ends with both parties feeling like they had presented a superior case, and seldom ends with any party changing their position. This happens frequently in religious debates, which almost renders the pursuit pointless, were it not for the audience. People change their minds. Not often, but every so often, people abandon their presumption of being correct—and/or their fear of being in error—and evaluate an argument on its merits.

I will endeavour to unravel the subtleties of the Burden of Proof argument from my point of view as a disbeliever, with the hope that someone in the audience learns something. I’ll even explain atheists’ obsession with the fantastical; from ceramics in space, to colourful and unseeable horned horses, to carbohydrated terrors of the sky. I’ll curb my desire to wittily describe leprechauns and fairies, lest I lose you to sub-par humour.

Read the rest of this entry

The Tribe of the Collective Consciousness — Musings on Morality

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The Tribe of the Collective Consciousness — Musings on Morality

The respected Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias tells this amusing story:

I was giving a lecture at the University of Nottingham when a philosophy student interrupted me.

“There cannot be a God!” he said. “There is too much evil in the world.”

I replied, “Young man, please stand up. I’d like to converse with you.” He stood up, looking somewhat defiant and a little sheep-faced. “When you say there is something as evil, are you not assuming that there is such a thing as good?”

And of course he says yes.

“When you say that there is something as good and evil, are you not assuming that there is a moral law on the basis of which you can differentiate between good and evil?”

He uttered his second yes with less certainty, sensing perhaps that he had walked into quicksand.

“Young man, if you assume a moral law, you must posit a moral law giver. But, that’s who you are trying to disprove. If there is no moral law giver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, there is no good. If there is no good, there is no evil. What is your question?”

The student thought for a moment, and I promise you this is what he said, “What then am I asking?”

Despite the use of poetic license, my transcription does not do justice to Mr Zacharias’s authoritative oration. It’s easy to get lost in the narrative and easy humour. The premise—of lecturer silencing student, like a comedian dealing with a heckler—makes the argument all the more compelling. It makes it so easy to accept. Read the rest of this entry