Posted November 20th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Advanced-Phil., Conversation, No Equations, Physics, Religion.
Let me ask a question to all you atheists out there: if some sort of God didn’t create the universe (or at least the laws behind it), then what did? How did our universe get here? And, by the way, the answer, “It’s always existed,” isn’t an answer at all. After all, that’s the same as saying, “God’s always existed,” and if a good atheist can’t believe that, then he shouldn’t believe “the universe’s always existed” anymore!
It wasn’t exactly aimed at me, but I love the sound of my own voice/keyboard so much that I couldn’t resist answering. (more…)
Posted November 12th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Conversation, Intermediate-Phil., No Equations, Physics, Religion.
I once noticed a (presumed) atheist make the following statement during an unrelated discussion about Buckminster Fuller:
Fuller did contribute some interesting stuff but some of his ideas were unworkable. That’s pretty common for most contributors/geniuses. Look at Einstein: some cool research, but he was highly disruptive in other areas (eg. quantum mechanics or putting religious beliefs before science).
Einstein was one of my childhood heroes so I wasn’t about to let that go unchallenged: (more…)
Posted January 2nd, 2009 in Philosophy. Tags: Introductory-Phil., No Equations, Pedagogy, Quickie.
I have a tendency to get attached to my beliefs, because in a very real sense they’re the only possessions which can’t be taken from me. I’ve poured countless hours of effort into them, whether I derived the belief independently or found them in another person’s writings. I find it easier to be an intellectual parasite in this sense, because independently deriving beliefs is much harder. But some beliefs can’t be easily falsified, so critically examining them is often just as difficult as independently discovering them. Either way, the prospect of abandoning any of my beliefs is painful because it involves admitting I was wrong. I always find that difficult; the shame of admitting my mistake and the difficulty of re-aligning my worldview pose serious challenges. (more…)
Posted November 29th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Introductory-Phil., No Equations, Pseudoscience, Quickie, Religion.
When I was a college freshman, a fiery preacher named Tom Short would stand in a courtyard, evangelizing and arguing with any pedestrian who challenged him. More often than I’d care to admit, I found myself in that courtyard listening to him. It was like watching a car accident– horrible but so fascinating that I couldn’t look away. He spent a lot of time talking about Hell. He casually dismissed accusations that his homophobic rhetoric was indirectly responsible for a recent tragedy– the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard— by suggesting that Matthew was actually killed by other homosexuals. Other frequent topics included the pack of atheistic lies called “evolution,” and the argument that the Earth was only a few thousand years old.
Then one day, I heard him say: “Brontosaurus never existed.” Someone immediately responded: “That’s ridiculous! Of course (more…)
Posted October 21st, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Intermediate-Phil., No Equations.
Art is “good” or “bad” only in a subjective sense, or so I’m always told. But is there really no objective measure by which to judge the merits of a work of art? I believe that there is a limited sense in which art can be objectively evaluated, provided certain definitions are agreed upon.
I think all acts of artistic creation are motivated by a universal human desire for personal expression. Therefore, I propose the following definition for art: “A work of art is an object or performance which is created primarily as an outlet for creativity.” For example, a bucket isn’t a work of art because it’s simply a tool designed to carry water. A painting, on the other hand, is created to capture an emotion or reproduce a scene; it isn’t useful in any utilitarian sense and can therefore be classified as art. (more…)
Posted November 26th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Intermediate-Phil., No Equations, Pedagogy, Religion.
I don’t believe in anything with absolute certainty; I always allow room for doubt. How much doubt, though, depends on the type of statement:
Level 1 – Least doubtful
In my opinion, Descartes uttered the least doubtful statement ever: “I think, therefore I am.” I’d have no sense of self without making this assumption, so I definitely couldn’t inquire about anything else. (more…)
Posted November 28th, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Intermediate-Phil., No Equations, Religion.
I grew up in the southern United States, a region famous for religious fundamentalism. My parents are Roman Catholics, and nearly all of my extended family identifies as Christian. I went to a Catholic primary school and later attended a Catholic high school.
Given that history, you might be surprised to learn that I’d always found the concept of God confusing. I was 10 years old the first time I recall thinking about this subject. These thoughts usually took place at the top of an oak tree (more…)
Posted December 1st, 2008 in Philosophy. Tags: Introductory-Phil., No Equations, Pedagogy, Quickie.
I enjoy civilized debates, but only rarely get a chance to engage in them. That’s because in my experience nearly everyone assumes they’re correct, so they only debate to beat their viewpoint into the other person’s head at all costs.
In other words, most people argue to win… and I can’t stand it. Whenever I mention this pet peeve, the response is almost always “Oh, so you argue to lose, huh?” (more…)