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Materialistic Dogmas and Bad Conclusions

Yuval Noah Harari: What explains the rise of humans?

St. Thomas Aquinas, citing Aristotle, once wrote: “a small error at the outset can lead to great errors in the final conclusions.” What he means is that given the nature of reason, if any one of your premises is mistaken, no matter how trivial it may seem to your overall project, your conclusions may turn out to be wrong, very wrong. A great example of what St. Thomas means can be found in a TED talk by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. In “What Explains the Rise of Humans?”, Harari... Read More

3 Easy Steps to Show that Absolute Truth Exists

Filed under Belief

Gorgias the Nihilist, an ancient Greek philosopher, was said to have argued the following four points: Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood. Of course, if you can understand his argument, he’s wrong. So too, many modern thinkers hold to positions that, fall apart into self-refutation when critically... Read More

Why Materialism and Dualism Both Fail to Explain Your Mind

NOTE: This is a follow-up article to Patrick's post on Wednesday titled, "Body, Soul, and the Mind/Brain Question".     Having laid the foundation of the human soul in Wednesday's post, let us now turn to its proper character and function. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, man’s soul comprises all those powers proper to lower organisms, namely metabolism, sensation, and locomotion; however, a still higher power remains that is non-existent in all other soul-possessors—intellection.... Read More

Body, Soul, and the Mind/Brain Question

In addition to my recent article, “Atheism and the Personal Pronoun,” Strange Notions has featured several related pieces, “Exorcizing the Ghost from the Machine” by Matthew Allen Newland, and more recently “Exorcising Epistemology” by Matthew Becklo. True to the spirit of the Areopagus and mission of Strange Notions, these authors and I have approached the much-debated topics of the mind-brain problem and consciousness from different perspectives, arriving at subtle and nuanced... Read More

Irreconcilable Differences: The Divorce of Materialism and Truth

According to many today, the advance of the natural physical sciences continues to shrink the “space” for God. The “gaps” where someone can place God are decreasing, and therefore the “God hypothesis” will one day be swallowed whole by the progress of the scientific endeavor. Even more, the “space” where one could posit the human person as something more than just a complex, organized collection of matter and energy is said to have disappeared. While I find a materialist... Read More

Atheism and the Personal Pronoun

The overwhelming majority of atheists today are also materialists. Ousting God implies an evacuation of all things “spiritual,” leaving behind only blind, brute, bits of matter. Whichever one arrives at first—whether materialism or atheism—is really inconsequential; one usually follows the other. Concerning galaxies and stars, materialism seems unthreatening. After all, these are material, natural phenomena that we can understand, explain, and model according to material causes;... Read More

Molecules and Mourning

Materialism has always had a difficult time dealing with death, because it has to claim that death is not a big deal. If there is nothing more to life than the matter of the body, once the body dies there is nothing left to “experience” death. The ancient atomists were explicit in this claim, with Epicurus stating: "Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not." While it is debatable how... Read More

Demons, Playing Cards, and Telescopes

In 1949, Jerome S. Bruner and Leo Postman asked a group of 28 students at Harvard and Radcliffe to perform a simple task: identify playing cards. There were just two catches. First, these cards were shown very quickly: for 10 milliseconds at first, but increasing up to 1000 milliseconds if they struggled to identify the card. Second, the researchers were using a deck of four ordinary playing cards and six “trick cards” in which the card's color and suit were incongruous (red spades,... Read More

The Single Best Argument Against Philosophical Materialism?

Filed under Atheism

A Dilemma for Materialists   In my experience, it's often difficult for my intelligent atheist friends to seriously consider arguments for the truth of Christianity. An argument from the resurrection of Jesus remains implausible because their worldview fundamentally excludes this sort of event. In light of this, I'd like to engage one popular form of this worldview, namely philosophical materialism. Thus here’s my dilemma for materialists: 1. Either subjective experience, in its... Read More

So You Think You Understand the Cosmological Argument?

NOTE: Dr. Feser's contributions at Strange Notions were originally posted on his own blog, and therefore lose some of their context when reprinted here. Dr. Feser explains why that matters.     Most people who comment on the cosmological argument demonstrably do not know what they are talking about.  This includes all the prominent New Atheist writers.  It very definitely includes most of the people who hang out in Jerry Coyne’s comboxes.  It also includes most scientists. ... Read More

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