Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Highlights

2012 has been a wonderful year for the Maverick Christian Blog (if for no other reason than this is the year I created it!). In this entry I’ve surveyed what I think to be some of the best of what I’ve written here. To make it more organized I’ve split it up into several categories: atheism versus theism, logic, philosophy of science, Christianity, and one more topic that you’ll have to read on to find out (haha). First up is atheism versus theism.

Atheism versus Theism

Definitely among the highlights of the year is the four-part series on the moral argument.
  1. The Moral Argument for God Part 1: Going from Morality’s Existence to God’s Existence
  2. The Moral Argument for God Part 2: Does Objective Morality Exist If God Does Not Exist?
  3. The Moral Argument for God Part 3: Does Objective Morality Exist?
  4. The Euthyphro Dilemma
  5. Epilogue: Awakening the Sensus Divinitatis
One version of the moral argument I discuss in the series is this:
  1. If God does not exist, then objective morality does not exist.
  2. Objective morality does exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.
In Does Objective Morality Exist If God Does Not Exist? I argue for the first premise and in Does Objective Morality Exist? I argue for the second premise. While not part of the series, Bad Objections to the Moral Argument was another notable entry of the year that explored some bad but unfortunately popular objections to this sort of moral argument. In that article I explain why objections like “objective morality can exist without God” are a lot worse than what one might think.

Other 2012 highlights on atheism versus theism:
  • The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument for God
    Why is there something rather than nothing? This five-page series addresses that question and describes the Leibnizian cosmological argument.
  • Omnipotence, Creating an Immovable Stone, and YouTube
    Can an omnipotent being create an immovable stone? One popular variation: can God create a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it? I discuss this so-called paradox that was inspired by a YouTube video with the help of some nifty symbolic logic (don’t worry; I explain what the symbols mean and they’re easy to understand).
  • Why Atheists Might Wish God to be a Dictator
    While atheists do not believe that God exists, they believe that God (if only as a fictional character) is a dictator. But if God exists, atheists would if anything be upset if he isn’t more of a dictator, and in this article I explain why.

Logic

If you want to be a good thinker, learn logic! I wrote a small series on logic, and I hope to write more on the topic next year.
  1. Introductory Logic, Part 1—Introducing both logic in general (such as the difference between a deductive and inductive argument) and propositional logic in particular
  2. Introductory Logic, Part 2—More propositional logic
  3. A defense of the material conditional—The material conditional of propositional logic has some strange and counter-intuitive properties (e.g. “If 2 + 2 = 5, then grass is air” is a true material conditional) and here I prove that for certain rules of logic to be accepted, any “If P, then Q” sort of statement has to be a material condtional.

Philosophy of Science

This was an unexpected dash of productivity since I hadn’t originally planned on writing on this topic all that much, but there were some fascinating topics to write about. Ever hear of the axiom that all else held constant, the simplest explanation is the best one? How do we know that this axiom is actually true? Thus began my three-part series on simplicity as evidence of truth with some interesting discoveries made along the way.
  1. Simplicity as Evidence of Truth: Justifying Ockham’s Razor
  2. Simplicity as Evidence of Truth: Theories Tying Into Background Knowledge
  3. Simplicity as Evidence of Truth: How Do We Know It?
One other highlight:
  • Spooky Action at a Distance
    Evidence from quantum mechanics suggests that making a measurement on one particle can simultaneously (as in taking literally zero seconds) affect another particle light-years away. Stranger yet, we can’t exploit this to send an information signal faster than light. How does this work and what is the evidence for this craziness? Read this article and find out.

Christianity

Perhaps the most insightful entry in this category is We Are the Depraved, an article that illustrates why we are sinners in need of redemption. I’ve also written on a couple philosophical challenges to the truth of the Christian faith:
  • Why Relativism Sucks
    The “true for me but not for you” thing sucks, and this article explains why.
  • Why Falsificationism Sucks
    What inspired this one is the objection that theism is not falsifiable, but this article also falls under the “philosophy of science” category.

Abortion

One interesting article that doesn’t fit neatly into the above categories is my rebuttal to Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous violinist thought experiment. In her famous violinist thought experiment, philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson boldly claims that even if abortion entails killing innocent human life, abortion remains morally permissible. This is a well-known argument in philosophy and I enjoyed taking a crack at it, arguing that Thomson’s argument isn’t nearly as good as it first appears.

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