Archive for August 15, 2010

Naomi Young talks about the conference and voice activated vs regular laptops

Her blog title very slightly is back from hiatus.

Gary Gutting who teaches philosophy at the University of Notre Dame puts up, at of all places the NYT online, a pair of spectacular philosophical pieces on belief, non belief and agnosticism.

The first from Aug 1st is called Philosophy & Faith:

At this point, the class perks up again as I lay out versions of the famous arguments for the existence of God, and my students begin to think that they’re about to get what their parents have paid for at a great Catholic university: some rigorous intellectual support for their faith.

Soon enough, however, things again fall apart, since our best efforts to construct arguments along the traditional lines face successive difficulties. The students realize that I’m not going to be able to give them a convincing proof, and I let them in on the dirty secret: philosophers have never been able to find arguments that settle the question of God’s existence or any of the other “big questions” we’ve been discussing for 2500 years.

One of the things that Dawkinsites tend to forget is that great thinkers and scientists and people of reason have been debating, writing on and discussing the existence of God in general and the truth of Christianity and Catholicism in particular for centuries before Guttenburg’s first bible rolled off the presses. Their image of the believer is a straw man.

His second part went up three days ago to respond to the Dawkinsites who were dismayed at his critique of the man they follow (we Christians are used to it, part of the job description you know) another peek:

My August 1 essay, “Philosophy and Faith,” was primarily addressed to religious believers. It argued that faith should go hand-in-hand with rational reflection, even though such reflection might well require serious questioning of their faith. I very much appreciated the many and diverse comments and the honesty and passion with which so many expressed their views. Interestingly, many of the most passionate responses came from non-believers who objected to my claim that popular atheistic arguments (like popular theistic arguments) do not establish their conclusions. There was particular dismay over my passing comment that the atheistic arguments of Richard Dawkins are “demonstrably faulty.” This follow-up provides support for my negative assessment. I will focus on Dawkins’ arguments in his 2006 book, “The God Delusion.”

For “unbelievers” they sure get their knickers in an uproar when someone questions what they think.

As I’ve written my own Catholicism is primarily based on experience, reason and history leading to my conclusion that it is true as a fact. The faith part of my equation is pretty weak by comparison and I need to work on it.

It’s worth noting that Gutting doesn’t argue for God but looks at the various arguments being made. Argument and rational debate are very important in this field, because if your arguments are worthwhile, they will stand up under fire. If you are unwilling to brave that fire then you might want to take another look at those beliefs.

I’m sure there will be later chapters that I have more issue with but that is the beauty of debate and through. Can’t wait for them. And to those who think it’s the wrong way to go I say anyone who thinks Christianity can’t be reached through reason or that Christians should not embrace reason needs a stronger faith and/or a more open mind.

Catholicism has stood this fire for 20 centuries and will likely be doing so for 20 more.

One of a series of occasional posts containing interviews with people from local businesses concerning their area of expertise:

Ray Tower has known Tires for longer than I’ve been alive. He talks about the incredible advances in tire technology in his lifetime and some of the big mistakes that people make where the rubber meets the road:

You can find him at Viola’s Fitchburg Tire. Stop by and tell him DaTechGuy sent you.

about the Ground Zero Mosque:

Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade. If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive “cross-cultural engagement” and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven’t they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite? Mr. President, why aren’t you encouraging the mosque developers to accept Governor Paterson’s generous offer of assistance in finding a new location for the mosque on state land if they move it away from Ground Zero? Why haven’t they jumped at this offer? Why are they apparently so set on building a mosque steps from what you have described, in agreement with me, as “hallowed ground”? I believe these are legitimate questions to ask.

I would suggest that Democratic Candidates prepare to answer that question too, because each one will be asked it, and not all places in the US vote as Ann Arbor does.

In one respect it might help them. A lot of candidates need to put some distance between this administration and themselves and here is one way to do so.

Memeorandum thread here