Category Archives: philosophy

What Does It Mean For God To Exist, Think, And Act?

It’s always comforting to (seemingly) settle hard questions in thirty seconds. But as a matter of logic, if space-time is the condition for existence, and existence is bound up with space-time (as Einstein proposed), then in what sense could God … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, david hume, edward feser, Genesis, God, God, Lucretius, philosophy, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Spring (a poem)

SPRING   God gave me a rose. And God is love. The rose made me.   Sneeze. I have Asthma. The rose Landed.   Me in hospital. That can’t be right. If God is love   And gave me a … Continue reading

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Best Explanation, Ad Hoc Explanation, and Occam’s Razor

Best explanation vs. ad hoc explanation. A sign that you may not be seeking the best theory surrounding the truth of a matter, and instead protecting a favored theory—one you want to be true over all others—is if you’re doing … Continue reading

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Scientific Method For Poets: What Is Scientific Method, Exactly, And Can It Be Separated From Our Values?

Scientific method. If we’re not engaging in self-deception, trying to ad hoc our way across the bridge from logical possibility to the actual truth of a matter, we see that we have a variety of genuinely objective tools ready-to-hand to … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, beauty, david hume, edward feser, Lucretius, origins, philosophy, science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Jim Jones, Critical Thinking, and the Mass Suicide of the Mind

The problem. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the collective suicide of the Jim Jones cult. In 1978, over 900 people left California, set up a commune in Guyana in South America, and ultimately died there together, notoriously drinking … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, atomism, david hume, edward feser, philosophy, science, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Rhetoric, Critical Thinking, and Checking Your Premises

Rhetoric and critical thinking. In classical rhetoric, the central appeal is not to the emotions (pathos), but to reason (logos), and Aristotle’s rhetorical invention categories—his topoi—are heavily weighted to rational appeals (appeals to logic, evidence, comparisons, definitions, examples, and so … Continue reading

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The Tools of Manipulation vs. The Tools of Critical Thinking

In a recent article at The New York Times (“Why We Believe Obvious Untruths”), two cognitive scientists, Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, claim that dispersed knowledge is a ready and overriding explanation for why people profess belief in foolish things … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, atomism, Bernie Sanders, climate change, david hume, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, God, hillary clinton, philosophy, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

“A Neutral Color Or Yellow?” A Poem On The Problem Of Fence Sitting In The Age Of Trump

A NEUTRAL COLOR OR YELLOW?   If the emperor Says he has clothes, And has no clothes, Is silence suspended Judgment or cowardice? _____ Per Wikipedia: “On 10 May 1933, in an act of ominous significance, the students burned upwards … Continue reading

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What Time Is It? (Another Poem for Daniela Vargas)

WHAT TIME IS IT?   There are times When silence Does not mean Neutrality, Nor fairness, Nor indecision, Nor open-mindedness, But consent And approval; Indifference And cowardice. Our time is one Of those times.  

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Question (a poem for DREAMer Daniela Vargas, in the United States since age seven, arrested in retaliation for exercising her free speech, 2017)

QUESTION What does it mean If a tree falls In a forest On a person And no One makes a sound?

Posted in aesthetics, beauty, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, meditation, philosophy, poetry, Politics, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Can President Trump be Checked?

If liberal democracy is to survive this time of testing, we’re all agreed that Trump needs to be, at minimum, checked, but in terms of how to do that effectively, well, that’s a very difficult question. So far, the complexity … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, God, philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

A Checklist for Skepticism, Doubt, and Critical Thinking

We are all subject to flawed reasoning. Any one of us may catastrophically misread the landscape we’re navigating, whether literal or metaphorical, causing us to arrive at false beliefs that end in our deaths. We may also be thwarted in … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, donald trump, philosophy, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Atheist Bart Compolo, Meet Joseph Koerner

Pretty darn interesting. Bart Compolo, a former evangelical minister who evolved intellectually toward atheism, has discovered the world needs some of the same basic things that he did as a pastor, so he’s doing them in a low-key way at … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, beauty, david hume, God, philosophy, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This is Colonization, Not Immigration

In the video below, what we’re seeing is civilizational colonization, not immigration. Muslim men in France are literally driving women out of public spaces. Imagine a suburb of France that was majority Calvinist asserting the authority of Calvin’s “Institutes” over … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, brexit, david hume, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Information and Entropy for Beginners

Information. Physicist Brian Greene, in his book The Hidden Reality (Knopf 2011), gives a three word definition of information: “Information answers questions” (252). Curiously, in physics you can give a three word definition for entropy as well: entropy measures questions. (That is, … Continue reading

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Donald Trump’s Victory and The Ending of The Planet of the Apes

Well, I’m searching for something that reflects accurately the emotion evoked in me by this election result. When the past year was ongoing, it was the ending of Hitchcock’s The Birds that seemed the apt metaphor for what I was … Continue reading

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The Double Helix of Your Nightmares

An interesting floor mosaic at the University of Notre Dame memorializing the evolutionary biologist who coined the familiar saying, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” The image of the double helix of DNA recalls the … Continue reading

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Clit Rubbing Bonobos: A Clue to the Evolutionary Origin of Human Homosexuality?

Not to be crude, but gays and lesbians may function in humans as akin to the large clitorises in bonobos. In the bonobo female, the clitoris is unusually large, and it’s used to bond socially with other females. They rub … Continue reading

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Was It Right for Turkey’s Military to Have Tried to Remove Erdogan by Force?

I wouldn’t want to make an invidious comparison, but I think of how Hitler came into ever greater power (via democratic election and joining his party into an alliance with conservative parties), and then, when he became chancellor, how he … Continue reading

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A Christian Critique of Trump: Norman Vincent Peale Meets Nietzsche, Then Nietzsche Meets Mike Pence

A genuinely troubling piece by Matthew Schmitz appears at the Catholic magazine First Things (August/September 2016) on Donald Trump’s “faith,” which, it turns out, is in the positive thinking philosophy of Norman Vincent Peale, someone Trump interacted with personally when he … Continue reading

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