Consider the Following – Ham Vs Nye Debate

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (the ‘Science Guy’) debated whether or not creation is a viable model when it comes to the question of origins. The debate happened last night (Feb. 4th, 2014) and the blog-o-sphere is erupting with people tossing their opinions in.
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I’ve read a lot of these blog posts and I’m going to point you to several that I think are quite good. However, you should watch the debate first.
You can find it here.

Why are they debating? Great question.
It is because Bill Nye said some stuff about creationism that Ken Ham didn’t agree with, and the stork came and delivered a debate.
The debate was announced on Ken Ham’s Facebook page on Jan. 1st.

My first impression was that this debate was going to be rather silly, because neither Ham nor Nye are known for their good debating skills. Ham is an unwavering young earth creationist whose approach is unapologetically presuppositional. Nye was the frontman for a kids’ science show and is currently a science popularizer.
– I would have rather had people a little more qualified talking about this topic.
– I was afraid that people might assume all Christians agree with Ken Ham’s approach.
– I was concerned that this would continue the false “science vs god” dichotomy.
But! The world doesn’t revolve around me, so the debate happened anyway. Continue reading

Just Give Me Evidence! EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE!

Hi everyone.6a00d8341bf68b53ef01348624d3f9970c-800wi
As usual, yet another blog post is being inspired by twitter conversations. Twitter gives me such great #BlogFodder

If you’ve spent any time discussing the existence of God or the truth of Christianity online, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is how it might go:
1. An atheist (or group of atheists) will demand evidence for God.
2. You respond by giving them evidence for God.
3. They just label it a fallacy (or worse, say that ‘arguments are not evidence‘) and repudiate it.
4. They ask for evidence again.
5. You reply with, “I just gave you evidence, you didn’t address it. What do you mean by evidence?”
6. The atheist(s) reply, “STUPID CHRISTIAN! DON’T TRY TO REDEFINE EVIDENCE! GIVE ME EVIDENCE!!!11”

Remember that conversation you had with that one [group of] atheist(s) that sounded just like that? That was incredibly frustrating, wasn’t it?
I know that feel, bro.
Continue reading

Please Stop Arguing Definitions, Thanks

Ok, everyone. Lend me your ears!

Many atheists want to define atheism as “lack of belief in god(s)” and faith as “believing without evidence”.
Many theists want to define atheism as “the belief that god does not exist” and faith as “confident trust based on knowledge”.

Definitions-demotivator

… aaaand the conversation starts and stops there.

The goal of a conversations is NOT to strong-arm the other person into accepting your definition of a word. The goal of conversations is to discuss the issues reasonably and ultimately… discover the truth.

Stop it.
Stop this senseless bickering over definitions.

I can’t imagine someone thinking, “faith is belief without evidence? Christianity is a lie!” or “atheism is the belief that god doesn’t exist? Christianity must be true!”

If someone says they have faith, ask, “what do you mean by faith?”
If someone says they’re an atheist, ask “what do you mean by atheist?”

Accept their definition and move forward.

In this particular instance, suspend your inner analytic philosopher and channel your inner pragmatist.

This is a plea to everyone.
Let’s all work to move the conversation forward. Stop getting stuck arguing definitions. And stop defining your opponents position into irrationality.

– ElijiahT

Ps. This is not some kind of post-modern “words don’t have definitions” appeal. Words do have meaning. But we want to continue the conversation, not stop it because we can’t agree on the basics.

“… the Christian God almost certainly doesn’t exist” – Debate!

Hello you handful of delightful subscribers and wonderful random visitors!
I have an announcement: I’m going to be debating the topic of God’s existence this upcoming Thursday, Jan. 9th, at 7:30pm (EST).
The debate won’t be a face-to-face; it’ll take place here, a forum called AtheistAndSecularDebate (you can find the details there as well).

The title of the debate is:
“This house believes that the Christian God almost certainly doesn’t exist”
… and I am going to be arguing against the motion (as you can imagine). J. D. Brucker is going to be arguing for the motion, saying that the Christian God almost certainly doesn’t exist.

His information:
@JDBrucker is is twitter handle
JDBrucker.com is his blog
And he wrote a book called, “Improbable: is there any reason to believe in God?” (and yes, I bought it on Kindle)

Similar to my last debate, he seems to have a bit more experience with this kind of stuff than I do, but hey! I just really like having these conversations.

The debate will be moderated by @SkepticismFirst and will last 2 hours.
We’re the only ones who can comment here, but this is where discussion can blossom during and after the debate.

Tune in! Or read it afterwards!
Or both. Yes both.

ElijiahT

Confessions of a Christian Freethinker

What is a freethinker? What is free thought?

For whatever reason, the term freethinker has become associated exclusively with being skeptical of religious claims. No more. No less.
If you are skeptical of religion… then congratulations, my friend; you are thinking freely.
The presumption is that if you look at the world through a critical lens, you will undoubtedly agree with the atheists and conclude that “There’s Probably No God”.

There seems to be something inherently wrong with this idea, and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that not all atheists are freethinkers, and not all freethinkers are atheists.

Being able to ‘think freely’ shouldn’t commit you to any position. If it did, in what way would it be considered free? Freethinking, it seems to me, is more of an approach to knowledge… an epistemological endeavor. Like skepticism, ‘free thought’ should be thought of as a methodology, not a goal.
Continue reading

Upcoming Debate: Is the Bible God’s Word?

Hey everyone!debate2-1024x711

I have been invited onto the Faith and Skepticism Podcast for a live debate where I will be discussing “Is the Bible God’s Word?” with atheist Kile B. Jones. Kile has a much more impressive resume than I do, having a Bachelors of Theology, a Masters of Sacred Theology and is currently a PhD student in Religion. Kile is the director of a super cool organization called “Interview an Atheist at Church Day“. He’s been published in a bunch of philosophical, religious and secular journals, spoken at conferences in the US and in the UK, as well as being the  Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Claremont Journal of Religion.

As for me, I’m in my final undergrad semester! I almost have a degree in biology (with a minor in philosophy). I’ve also taught/discussed apologetics at a few local events (retreats, conferences and church classes). And I contribute to this blog!

If you’re on facebook, here is the event page.
If not:
The discussion will be on Friday, October 25th, 2013.
It will start around 8pm. We’ll be doing it via google hangout and you can watch it live on YouTube! You can also contribute to the conversation via twitter by tagging your tweet with #fasdebate and we’ll address many of the questions as they come in.

I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
You should join us! Faith and Skepticism will provide a link to the debate the day of.
Set your calendar! Tell your friends! I’m looking forward to it.

Here is the video of the debate

God of the Gaps? Really?

God of the gaps quote

You’re just shoving your god into the gaps in our knowledge.
They used to do that, you know… about thunder and lightning.
As our knowledge of the world increases, the room for your god decreases.

Yes, people used to marvel at thunder and lightning and come to unreasonable conclusions. They did not know what was going on, and they concluded that god (or gods) must be responsible.
This is a ‘gap reasoning’.

But when a logical argument concludes with “therefore, God exists”, it is not a god-of-the-gaps conclusion.

If someone says, “I don’t know… therefore X”, that is gap-reasoning.
If someone says, “here are several reasons why it is reasonable to conclude that X”, that is not gap reasoning.

Continue reading