Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: David Hume

A Critique of David Bentley Hart

I ran across an odd argument from David Bentley Hart being articulated by Damon Linker, a fellow whose views I have been critical of before. The charge is that atheists and secularists have misunderstood what god is and have consequently attacked a straw man representation of religious views. The argument is dredges up a slew of old fallacies, and is an excellent case study in what not to do.

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Quantum Mechanics and Free Will

As regular readers may know, I am a determinist. I believe that individual agents have no power or ability to self-determine their behavior, and that their behavior is caused by forces over which they have no power. It has been pointed out to me, however, that quantum mechanics calls into question the traditional scientific basis for determinism by arguing that the old classical laws of physics are limited in their power of prediction. Laplace’s demon, the imaginary being that uses infinite information and infinite computing capacity to calculate everything that has ever happened or will ever happen using the physical laws, is not considered viable under modern science. Does this mean anything for my determinism? That’s today’s topic.

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Damon Linker and “Honest Atheism”

I ran across an interesting piece by a fellow named Damon Linker. Linker attacks a form of atheism which he considers dishonest–the belief that the absence of god in the universe is a desirable or preferable metaphysical state. He argues that honest atheists accept that their metaphysical position is necessarily a bleak and unpleasant one, and claims that all atheism that does not accept the position’s inherent sadness is not especially useful. Linker identifies several atheists whom he considers honest, including Nietzsche, Camus, Woody Allen, and a variety of others. Today I wish to respond to his argument.

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The Moral Irrelevance of the God Question

A while back, I wrote about the separation of moral philosophy and metaphysics. I argued in agreement with Dworkin that whether or not a moral claim is true does not rely on objective metaphysical blunt facts about the nature of the universe. It occurred to me today that this makes the entire debate between the new atheism of Dawkins, Hitchens, and the like and traditional religion irrelevant to questions of moral philosophy–the metaphysical debate about whether or not there is a deity and what that deity’s nature might be can have no bearing whatsoever on our moral theory.

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Divorcing Morality from Metaphysics

Religious deontologists and subjectivist relativists have something in common–both believe that they can derive moral conclusions from their metaphysical theories. This is the most significant mistake made by both groups.  Here’s why.

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