This is just one of his responses to William Lane Craig, which I also mentioned previously, but I thought it was particularly good.
Warning: This does require concentration. It was late at night when I watched this the first time, and my brain-power was so lacking that I had to listen to it again the next day in order to fully understand what he's saying here. :)
But this fits in very well with my post about proving God through philosophy. Note that Craig himself wasn't convinced that his god exists due to his study of philosophy. No, he was already a Christian, so he was just trying to find a way to justify what he already believed, what he'd probably been taught since infancy.
As Scott Clifton says, Craig isn't using philosophy in a bottom-up attempt to determine the truth. Instead, he decided what the truth was first - it was what he'd been raised to believe, what he wanted to believe - and now he's using a top-down attempt to find a reason to justify that belief.
Craig was apparently smart enough to realize there was no good evidence backing up his beliefs, so he turned to philosophy. But does that help? Or is it just that it's easier to fool people with philosophy? (As I noted previously, most philosophers are atheists themselves, so they certainly don't find Craig's arguments compelling.)
Scott Clifton points out some of the fallacies of Craig's argument, and I find that interesting. But who does find that argument compelling? I doubt if he convinces any atheists. Does anyone turn to Christianity because of William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument?
If you don't understand philosophy, Craig's argument might sound compelling, but are you really going to change your mind thanks to an argument you don't understand? And if you do understand philosophy, you're going to see the flaws in it (as I already noted, philosophers themselves generally don't agree with Craig).
But this isn't really the point anyway, is it? You see, William Lane Craig is making a very good living consoling Christians by making it appear - to them, at least - that their beliefs have some sound backing, if not in science, at least in philosophy. (And he's consoling himself, too - assuming that he believes what he says.)
Craig's fans already believe in Christianity. They don't need to be convinced of anything. What they want is someone who will tell them that they're smart for believing what they already believe - almost always, what they've been raised to believe. That's why Craig is so popular.
Well, it's always easy to believe what you really want to believe. Everyone is susceptible to that, even very intelligent people. (One of the strengths of the scientific method is that, although none of us likes to be wrong, we don't have any problem demonstrating that other people are wrong. That's one of the reasons why the scientific method works.)
I don't have a particularly high opinion of philosophy, just because it isn't grounded in the real world like science is. Arguments can be logical - certainly, arguments can seem logical - without necessarily being true. Science is grounded on evidence. Scientists have to demonstrate that their arguments actually match up to reality.
Still, I can enjoy a good philosophical argument like this. At the very least, it's probably a useful exercise for my brain, don't you think? (Like all those ads I keep seeing over and over again on YouTube? Hmm,... you get them, too, right? I hope those aren't just targeted at me!)
I'm a skeptic. I think it makes sense to have reasons for what I believe, so I apportion my belief to the evidence. You're welcome to disagree. Please, tell me I'm wrong. I probably don't agree with anyone about everything. Why should disagreement be a problem? Check the Pages section below for series posts and links to book reviews and game posts, as well as contact info. Unfortunately, I rarely blog at all, anymore. So don't expect new posts. - Bill
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. - Robert Wilensky
It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong - Richard Feynman
The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other. - Sir Francis Bacon
When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Speculation is perfectly all right, but if you stay there you've only founded a superstition. If you test it, you've started a science. - Hal Clement
No matter how many times a theory meets its tests successfully, there can be no certainty that it will not be overthrown by the next observation. This, then, is a cornerstone of modern natural philosophy. It makes no claim of attaining ultimate truth. In fact, the phrase "ultimate truth" becomes meaningless, because there is no way in which enough observations can be made to make truth certain and, therefore, "ultimate". - Isaac Asimov
The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams (1797)
I don't doubt the sincerity of dowsers, but even after we've demonstrated that they can't produce results that are any better than chance they'll still go away believing in their abilities... It is like the mother whose son is caught shoplifting on tape. She wonders why someone would want to frame her child by producing a fake video. - James Randi
During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church ... imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. - Mark Twain
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths. - Bertrand Russell
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. - Friedrich Nietzsche
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. - Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.
This is not about proof. Science does not use proof. We favor evidence, and the work consists largely of the slow accumulation of evidence in support of ideas, not magically potent proofs that establish an idea as unassailable. - PZ Myers
No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. - President Barack Obama
The formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world and then stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat. - Shekhar Gupta
We are prodding, challenging, seeking contradictions or small, persistent residual errors, proposing alternative explanations, encouraging heresy. We give our highest rewards to those who convincingly disprove established beliefs. - Carl Sagan
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer. - Sam Harris
To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. - Michael Servetus, burned at the stake in 1553
Democracy is not about majority rule; it is about minority rights. If there is no culture of not simply tolerating minorities, but actually treating them with equal rights, real democracy can't take root. - Thomas L. Friedman
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. - Thomas Macauley, 1830
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men. - Edward R. Murrow
The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best - that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. - Thomas Huxley
There is no absurdity so obvious that it cannot be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to impose it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. ... Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. - President Thomas Jefferson
To be elected in America, no matter from what party, the candidates have no choice but to year after year pledge to lower taxes further and further. We have become the nation of Ken and Barbie, looking good but very poor at the math. - Rack Jite
Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them. - Steve Eley
We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle. - Molly Ivins
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H. L. Mencken
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill