Category Epistemology

“True Islam” and violent extremism – redux

I am reposting this in response to the terror attacks in France last night, resulting in the deaths of over one hundred people. As ever, the internet is awash with right-wing shouts to “kill all Muslims” and refugees, to the left-wing shouts that it is the Imperial West to blame and not Islam or Muslims. Neither of these positions are correct. It is obviously thoroughly complex, indeed involving international politics. However, to deny the Qu’ran, Muhammad and the Hadith causal responsibility in these atrocities is to deny the self-determination of those very terrorists who claim that they are doing these actions in the name of Islam and their god.

Burden of Proof

I was asked by a fellow blogger to write something on the burden of proof. We often hear the maxim “the burden of proof falls upon the person making the claim” or something like that. Why is this the case? Does it stand?

Which Qu’ran, Mecca or Medina?

This is an excellent succinct synopsis of the issue of contradictions and abrogation in the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran can be broadly split into two based on when and where the revelations took place. This article is reblogged with kind permission from Beyond the Cusp – thanks! This is a quick synopsis for those of you who are unaware of things Qu’ranic:

The Quran as we know it today is in reality two quite different books. The older Quran was written in Mecca while the later Quran was written in Medina. This lead some scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to refer to the Quran by its two parts, the Mecca Quran and the Medina Quran.

“Faith” as a redundant term

Faith is a term which is bandied about with carefree abandon, but what does it really mean? As I wrote to Christian apologist David Marshall some years back:

Part of the problem is that you are extracting these issues from their real world application and in a sense making them irrelevant. Let’s apply the faith vs reason to real life instances:

Classical theism: God’s characteristics shown as incoherent

The classical theistic components of God, his characteristics of being all-loving, all-powerful and all-knowing don’t work very well together. This has been something which I have sought to elucidate over the years, so I thought I would compile a synopsis of where we are at with the idea of OmniGod, and what he has created. These are good arguments, I believe, and I would love to see my readers interact with them, and I would love to see theists of all natures take them to task to see if they stand up. Bookmark this page and return to it, if you will – there’s quite a lot here! I would like to see this as a growing compendium.

Physicists Are Philosophers, Too

James A Lindsay, whose awesome book Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly I edited, recently penned an article with PEter Boghossian and the late Vic Stenger, which has just been released by Scientific American. The article is called “Physicists Are Philosophers, Too”.download (4)
Here is an excerpt:

Religious revelations never disagree with you

I did a podcast segment for the Skepticule podcast (my regular counter-apologetics segment called Pearced Off) on the self-authenticating inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Something that William Lane Craig often uses to argue for God from a personal point of view that has the handy characteristic of trumping all evidence. See my previous post on this or the podcast to understand further.

“True Islam” and violent extremism

I am engaged in many conversations and debates across multiple platforms on the internet. At the moment, and in general recently, I have been wrapped up in many debates with my fellow liberals. The subject has been Islam and as to whether it is in some culpable proportion responsible for the violent extremism which is taking place across the globe. From the Middle East and ISIS (incorporating a number of different countries) to France and the Charlie Hedbo events; from Nigeria and Boko Haram to Kenya and Somalia with al Shabaab, things are not looking good.

Top down or bottom up?

‘Rationality is useless if it is not sound. This is what Martin Luther meant when he called reason a “whore”. Pick the wrong premises, and rationality is utterly screwed. Therefore, merely that someone is “rational” means absolutely nothing about whether that person is well-connected to reality.’

Philosophy 101 (philpapers induced) #6: External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

So having posted the Philpapers survey results, the biggest ever survey of philosophers conducted in 2009, several readers were not aware of it (the reason for re-communicating it) and were unsure as to what some of the questions were. I offered to do a series on them, so here it is – Philosophy 101 (Philpapers induced). I will go down the questions in order. I will explain the terms and the question, whilst also giving some context within the discipline of Philosophy of Religion.

Me and Koresh vs the Gospel Writers and Jesus


Why is it more probable that your god exists than man made him up?

We have an exceptionally high prior probability that your god is false given that we both believe that every other god claimed to be true (before and after) is false. Thus, on prior probability, the JC God is HIGHLY unlikely to exist. How does the Christian overcome this? They have to provide high CONSEQUENT probability. ie Evidence. But this is poor. Let’s take the four Gospels, written by unknown people at unknown dates in unknown places with ex post facto agendas to evangelise, at least 40 years after the person they are writing about and whom they have never met, has died.