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Are Metaphysical First Principles Universally True?

Today, certain lines of attack against classical proofs for God’s existence, such as St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, seek to undermine foundational metaphysical first principles such as causality, sufficient reason, or even non-contradiction.1 Such attacks employ, for example, claims that (1) David Hume’s critique of causality is definitive, (2) the existence of the cosmos is simply a “brute fact,” needing no explanation, and (3) modern physics shows that the principle of non-contradiction... Read More

What would you ask a Catholic philosopher about God? (#AMA with Dr. Edward Feser)

In a few days, Dr. Edward Feser will release his newest book, titled Five Proofs of the Existence of God (Ignatius Press, 2017). You probably know Dr. Feser from his sharply reasoned posts here at Strange Notions, or from his popular blog, which mainly focuses on the philosophy of religion. Dr. Feser is the author of several acclaimed books, including: Neo-Scholastic Essays (St. Augustine's Press, 2015) Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction (Scholastic Editions, 2014) The... Read More

Does Conscience Point Towards the Existence of God?

Throughout the wide world of creation God has left all sorts of signs that point right back at him. Often these clues tell us more than that a divine being exists; they often tell us what kind of divine being exists. Some of these clues lie right before our nose in the world around us, whereas others lie deep inside of us at the level of immediate subjective experience. Among these interior signs is the conscience, which points not merely toward the existence of God but the existence of... Read More

Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?

Too often people have a parrot-like propensity to be seduced by a catchy saying, hold to it, and assert it repeatedly without thinking seriously about what they’re saying. They remember before they speak, but they don’t think before they speak. And the most astonishing fact is that all too often they really do believe they have said something wise. Chesterton provided an example when he critiqued the popular exhortation to “believe in yourself” in his classic Orthodoxy. “Thoroughly... Read More

Sean Carroll’s “Ten Considerations” for Naturalists

This is the final post in our long series exploring physicist Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016). In the book's penultimate chapter, which in my view is the book's strangest, Carroll offers an alternative to the Bible's Ten Commandments, what he calls his "Ten Considerations." They read like a mushy collection of Oprah-isms: Life isn't forever. Desire is built into life. What matters is what matters to people. We... Read More

The Power and Danger of Bayes’ Theorem

I've noted many flaws and points of confusion in Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016), but one of the strongest sections is its explanation of Bayes' Theorem. The Theorem is a quantitive way to express confidence in certain beliefs. It requires assigning credences (or probabilities) to events or statements, and then tweaking them based on new information. For example, suppose you're wondering whether a randomly... Read More

The Ultimate Jeopardy Question

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” In The Grand Design (2010), Stephen Hawking made headlines by denying the need for God to get matter to jump into being; the law of gravity was enough to do it. Then, Lawrence Krauss created a Youtube sensation and book called, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing (2012), that made the same case, including an afterward by Richard Dawkins who heralded it as a death blow to the last proof for the existence of... Read More

How to Prove that God Doesn’t Exist

There are a couple things I can appreciate about the “Who designed the Designer?” argument. Although it is rooted in a caricature of the kalam cosmological argument’s first premise ("Whatever begins to exist has a cause"), it is a positive argument for atheism, and it does attempt to deal with the God hypothesis in the only arena where God’s existence may be decisively confirmed or refuted: the arena of philosophy. The God defended by Christian theists is a transcendent,... Read More

Proofs of God: An Interview with Dr. Matthew Levering

In his newest book, Proofs of God: Classical Arguments from Tertullian to Barth (Baker Academic, 2016), leading theologian Matthew Levering presents a thoroughgoing critical survey of the proofs of God's existence for readers interested in traditional Christian responses to the problem of atheism. Beginning with Tertullian and ending with Karl Barth, Levering covers twenty-one theologians and philosophers from the early church to the modern period, examining how they answered the critics... Read More

The “3:10 to Yuma” Proof of God

“Yeah, that's why I don't mess around with doing anything good, Dan. You do one good deed for somebody...I imagine it's habit-forming. Something decent. See that grateful look in their eyes, imagine it makes you feel like Christ Hisself.” – Ben Wade “Virtue is not an act, but a disposition (a habit).” –Aristotle   Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft famously describes the “Bach argument for the existence of God,” wherein God’s existence is clearly posited by a) the... Read More

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