Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Today I read two articles critical of Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism. The first was an exercise in frustration. It took passages in the Bible which say God sent a deceiving spirit or something similar, and use this to argue that the Judeo-Christian God lies. In this case, Judeo-Christian theism gives one a defeater for the belief that their cognitive faculties are reliable just as much as naturalism allegedly does. It was exasperating to read this just because the authors' exegesis was so painfully bad. One of the foundational rules in exegesis -- in exegeting any text, not just the Bible -- is to interpret the unclear in light of the clear. These authors never mention the explicit passages in the Bible that say unequivocally that God does not, will not, and cannot lie. They just superficially accept what they want the text to mean. They go on to suggest that allowing miracles opens the door to chaos, although they condescendingly invite theists to provide some sort of repeatable, predictable evidence of miracles. It was just so incredibly superficial. It reminded me of a fictional conversation between Carl Sagan, Sylvia Plath, and Allen Carpenter in Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and the late great Jerry Pournelle

"I'm still getting used to this," Carl said. "Allen, you must have thought about this a lot. How can you justify keeping people in Hell? What gives God the right to demand we worship Him?" 
"Come now," Sylvia protested. "Where does right come from? You're going to judge God? By whose standards? You say yours, but what makes yours any better than anyone else's?" 
"I mean it, Allen. You two are smarter than almost anyone I ever met, but you sure have awful educations! People have been arguing about this for thousands of years! And you act like you've just thought of the questions." 
"I notice you never answered my question," Carl said. "What gives God the right to demand we worship Him?" 
"I haven't heard any such demand," Sylvia said. Maybe we just need Him, and we're miserable if we don't have Him."

"People have been arguing about this for thousands of years and you act like you've just thought of the questions." That pretty much sums up the article.

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