Side Comments on Faith Across the Multiverse

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #21

I have read the book.

I’m glad to hear you read it. Thank you. I’m sorry for inferring you didn’t. The reason why is that he certainly does make arguments in his book. You might disagree with the arguments, but he certainly makes arguments.

Here is an example of one:

Here is another explanation of the type of argument he is making…

Here also is another argument…

This seems related to presuppositional apologetics.

@theman8469 do you really hold that he is not making arguments? Are you really saying he is making bad arguments? Or that there are things in addition to arguments here?

(Andy Walsh) #22

Fair enough. I knew there was some amount of jest/sarcasm/playfulness in your comments. I still thought it might be worth clarifying for others who might be following along.

And while I know it’s an expression, the reality is that a book’s cover, including whatever blurbs and endorsements are there, are absolutely intended to help you judge the book. Which is why I am slightly bemused by how that whole process is disconnected from how the contents are created.

Sure, and I saw that @swamidass had already addressed that more directly. Still, I thought it was worth elaborating (again, mainly for others following along) why a relatively obscure outlet was chosen.

(Ashwin S) #23

Romans 1:18,19 goes as below-
18 For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth.

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God himself has made it plain to them.

Paul’s basic argument is that those who don’t acknowledge God deserve judgement. Because it is obvious. And hence God is just in judging them for suppressing the Truth about God.
I don’t see Paul leaving room for a “honest and sincere” mistake in this regard. Do you?

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #24

God’s wrath, God’s wrath … God sounds like a tyrant God. Please define wickedness in today’s society? And godlessness is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

(Ashwin S) #25

Well Patrick, it’s like this. When people break laws, for ex: teach religion in schools (only giving this as a culturally relevant example), they can expect to face the music with the law. As a diligent citizen, you could be the first to highlight such an event and go to courts seeking justice.
God also has laws. And breaking them leads to consequences. In biblical language, your going to court for such infractions (and rightly so) would be called the wrath of Patrick/the state…And the Christians would have been really wicked. Is it so hard to understand as a concept?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #26

Tyrants are not just. With the whole picture in view, God is just. Seeing only in part, He might seem injustice.

(Andy Walsh) #27

FYI - I just discovered that the book is available for 50% off at I think it’s a one day only sale.

(Daniel Ang) #28

If you could elaborate more on the findings of cognitive science that specifically raise doubts about the ability of our cognitive faculties to conclude whether God exists, that would actually be interesting discussion material instead of broadly attacking Andy’s book.

Additionally, if cognitive scientists can use evolution to argue that our faculties are not truth-tracking, how are they not immune from arguments like Plantinga’s EAAN?

Research by Elaine Howard Ecklund has painted a more nuanced picture than you might think. (Disclaimer: I haven’t actually read her book or papers in detail, only seen it mentioned and cited a lot.) I’m also always skeptical when faced with stuff like Ecklund’s research, atheists never mention it and instead go straight into the oft-repeated 93% atheistic NAS claim. It seems to be a form of cherry-picking data. What’s the implication? That being religious makes you cognitively unable to do high-level research? I’ve never actually heard someone advance a credible model of how this is supposed to occur. If we were being realistic and fair, we would start looking at other things that might correlate with scientific career success and might explain why religious people are less represented at the top. For example, perhaps religious people are more likely to value having children and raising a family, which may hinder career success. Or perhaps religious scientists might be more likely to take a teaching-intensive instead of research-intensive position. All of these hypotheses are more interesting than the crude but unspoken implication that NAS membership figures show that science necessitates atheism.

Can you show me the data for this? Not only that elite scientists are mostly atheists, but specifically that elite scientists think their religious colleagues are irrational, similar to scientists who are Nazis?

If this was the case, then when Collins was nominated to become director of NIH, why didn’t the majority of elite scientists (NAS, Nobel Laureates, etc.) complain? I’m sure there would have been many complaints if Collins was an unabashed racist, Nazi, or created an organization to advocate heavily for the harmony of astrology and science. Instead, the biggest complaints for Collins’ nomination were from militant atheists known more for atheism than science (such as Sam Harris), which is unsurprising.

There are some philosophically-inclined Christian students whose personal faith responds bests to rigorous argumentation like that of Craig, Swinburne, etc. For many others a less rigorous but more poetic and practical approach is more useful. Even a Christian philosopher like Craig would say that their faith is most fundamentally based on a personal relationship with Christ, not on any particular argument for God. That’s closer to assuming G than arguing for it. Arguing for G in a very technical manner only appeals to a small subset of the population who are philosophically inclined. Even many scientists would be turned off by that.

(Daniel Ang) #29

I understand the frustration of seeing Christians give bad or unclear arguments about the existence of God, but I just can’t see how this sort of attitude helps anyone. It’s a form of intellectual snobbery. Does it build the body of Christ to denigrate fellow Christians who are writing for a different, more popular audience? Even if Smith, Oppy and Carroll have better arguments, we’re not supposed to idolize human arguments. Instead, we are to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). As long as Andy is not severely misrepresenting science or philosophy or any other field of knowledge in his book in pursuit of his goals, I do not understand what you gain by saying that you would not desire to be with him in heaven. Even if you were joking, I don’t think that’s an expression to be used lightly.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #30

Lighten up Daniel, as the great American philosopher, Billy Joel said, “I rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints.”

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #31

When Dr. Collins was nominated to become director of NIH, his credentials, morals, ethics and values were never in question. The main question was whether Dr. Collins would run the NIH in a neutral/secular way as the law required. Dr. Collins both privately and publicly promised to run the secular NIH as a secular agency that it was. And from all indications this is entirely true. Dr. Collins has preformed admirably as the NIH director. I wish that other even higher levels of government (VP Pence, Sec Edu Devos) did their jobs like Dr. Collins does his - neutral and secular.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #32

That Christian website is just a come on. Its takes your money and promises you an eternity of bliss (but you have to die first to get it). Be careful with your credit card number there. Offer them your soul instead. I sold my soul three times already on eBay (four times if you count that Russian Porn site). I’ll stick to Amazon as it seems like the atheists have all the money now and Jesus always seems to be short on cash. :rofl:

(Theman8469) #33

Sorry for getting so late in replying to you. However I am done with this site. When Swamidass called me a liar, my interest in this site died. All the best.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #34

I did not call you a list. I asked if you read Andy’s book because it was so different than how you described. When you clarified I believe I apologized. If not I’ll apologize again here for jumping to that conclusion. You are welcome here and I did not call you a liar.

(Theman8469) #35

Apology accepted.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #36

This is hilarious. Sorry I am late but I quit. :rofl:

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #37

So are you staying or going? In any case please don’t be late. :rofl:

(Neil Rickert) #38

To be fair, it seems unsurprising that he would delay returning to the site where he felt he was slighted. So I don’t think we should be laughing at that lateness.

In any case, I hope he sticks around.

(Daniel Ang) #39

I don’t know exactly what Josh said to you or your past history with him, but he has apologized for accusing you falsely of not having read the book. As Josh himself said, he isn’t always the most polite person, but witnessing his interactions on his site so far with a range of people coming with a wide spectrum of views and levels of cordiality (or lack thereof), I believe him when he says he is seeking peace here.

Additionally, I genuinely feel that your comments on Andy’s book were also antagonistic and hostile. Even an atheist such as @Patrick did not react so strongly like you did. Strong words provoke strong reactions. Even though I don’t know @AndyWalsh personally, when I read your comments, I, too felt provoked that you were basically trashing someone’s sincere labor in front of their eyes. I, too, was tempted to attack you in kind as strongly. (And if my post came across as sharp, I apologize for that as well.) Even if you believe Andy’s book has flaws, is it really right to say that you would hate being in heaven with him? If that was a joke, could you imagine making such a joke in front of Andy in person? If I thought Andy’s book was that bad, I would just stay silent. Especially as Andy isn’t grossly slandering or misrepresenting people or ideas. His book is sincere.

I have not interacted with you much, but looking at your background in philosophy and previous posts, we all would benefit immensely from your contributions. In fact, I have already changed part of my views due to your posts - I read your post defending Craig’s understanding of cosmology and was moved to read more about the BVG theorem, sparking my renewed interest in the KCA - before that I was ready to conclude (rather hastily) that Craig didn’t know what he was talking about. You have the ability to contribute to the conversation, and you’ve already made some people think - so why not keep doing so in a more relaxed, friendly manner?

Please come back! :sob:

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #40

Here it is. That is what the dispute is about here. Looks pretty symmetric to me.