Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Problem with Fine Tuning...

James Chastek has a good post on why Cosmic 'Fine Tuning' arguments are unsatisfactory:
Fine tuning arguments play on one of the great blind-spots of modern thinkers- the muddling of logical and real possibility. The arguments can only swiftly reach a conclusion because we think we can go from imagining things happening in a different way to concluding that there is a real possibility that they could have been so. Descartes famously  muddles these two when he assumes he must take an evil deceiver as a real possibility (indeed the true original sin of modern thought is not “how do I know that I know?” but the more fundamental error of identifying logical and real possibility). Again, Analytic philosophers – especially the theists – are prone to make the same sort of mistake (Plantinga’s argument for mind-body dualism is a good example; so is the popular Analytic claim that God exists because he is possible; and  in general the interest one takes in the ontological argument is proportionate to the degree to which he muddles the diverse kinds of possibility… and talk about “possible worlds” is a category of its own in this confusion…)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Space Exploration

Michael Robinson has a decent article on why we need to come up with more persuasive reasons for going to Mars (and out into space in general.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Newsflash...yet another revolution in biology

I'm still chuckling over this breathless post by Paul Cella at What's Wrong with the World. Once again a conservative with no obvious acquaintance with working biologists is touting the 'news' that a 'revolution' in how biologists do biology is in the offing.
Larry Moran applies the cold water.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Defection

PZ Myers writes that one of Michael Behe's sons has become an atheist.
It's actually a bit sad: he comes right out and says that he's an anti-theist, but that he's never told his parents (I guess the news is out now!). It also sounds like he's a bit estranged from his father, saying "I really dislike my father". He's still living with them, but is "quarantined" in the basement so he doesn't contaminate his brothers and sisters with his weird godless ideas.
It's a very interesting discussion, but I just have to say that seeing fathers and sons unreconciled, even if the father is a bit squirrely, is rather depressing to me. I simultaneously want to praise the younger Behe for being smart and articulate, and also urge him to make peace with his family while he can.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Joseph Sobran: 1946-2010

Like many truly tragic figures, I think Joe Sobran brought the greatest hardships of his life upon himself. He was a gifted writer. Jody Bottum has a brief tribute here.