Philosophy Word of the Day – The Knowledge Argument Against Physicalism

The knowledge argument is one of the main challenges to physicalism, the doctrine that the world is entirely physical. The argument begins with the claim that there are truths about consciousness that cannot be deduced from the complete physical truth [i.e., a complete physical description of the world]. For example, Frank Jackson’s Mary, learns all the physical truths from within a black-and-white room. Then she leaves the room, sees a red tomato for the first time, and learns new truths—new phenomenal truths about what it’s like to see red. The argument then infers that, contrary to physicalism, the complete physical truth is not the whole truth. The physical truth does not determine or metaphysically necessitate the whole truth about the world.

(Via Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Yes, I’d wager there’s more going on inside of us than “accidental collocations of atoms.”

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DVD Review of Darwin’s Dilemma

Brian at Apologetics 315 gives a helpful review of the new DVD Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record produced by Illustra Media.  Here’s a short description from the DVD’s website:

Darwin’s Dilemma recreates the prehistoric world of the Cambrian era with state-of-the-art computer animation, and the film features interviews with numerous scientists, including leading evolutionary paleontologists Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University and James Valentine of the University of California at Berkeley, marine biologist Paul Chien of the University of San Francisco, and evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, a Research Collaborator at the National Museum of Natural History.

Read the full review here.

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Review of Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word: A Model of Faith and Thought

Christian History gives a concise review of an informative new book on Jonathan Edwards by Edwards scholar Douglas Sweeney.

Douglas Sweeney, who teaches church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has written a most helpful book on the life, theology, and impact of Jonathan Edwards—as well as on the encouragement that Edwards can be for Christian believers today. Everyone who remained even semi-alert in high school knows about Edwards for his famous (and hair-raising) sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Those who have been paying a little more attention know that Edwards was a major figure in the colonial American revivals that are called “the Great Awakening” and also that he was a major thinker who forcefully defended traditional Christianity against secularizing forces associated with the Enlightenment. An increasing number also know of Jonathan Edwards as an extraordinary theologian and Christian philosopher because of landmark scholarly books like George Marsden’s prize-winning biography, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press, 2003); the great edition of Jonathan Edwards’ writing overseen by Harry Stout and Kenneth Minkema that for many years has been issuing from Yale University Press; or popular presentations in many books by John Piper, such as God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (Crossway, 2006). (Continue)

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Bertrand Russell on the Meaning of Life

Bertrand Russell 1950
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“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

— Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship”

Given Russell’s worldview and presuppositions, his conclusions seem to be right on target.


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Free Apologetics E-Book Library

Chad at Truthbomb Apologetics has a very nice collection of links to free e-books on apologetics and related topics.  Familiar authors include Josh McDowell, R. C. Sproul, Alvin Plantinga, Francis Beckwith, Hume, Kant, and G. K. Chesterton.  A fine repository of helpful titles!

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