Saturday, May 1, 2010

Law vs. Alexander on the radio (UK)

Stephen Law is a philosopher and children's author who advocates for critical thinking. Denis (rhymes with “menace”) Alexander is a brilliant professional pseudo-scientist, working within prestigious centres of academia to merge the ideas of methodological naturalism with those of theological supernaturalism. In this episode of Unbelievable, they discuss whether science has made theology superfluous by now. Or rather, they were supposed to do so. In reality, they mostly talk about philosophy of religion rather than the ongoing border disputes between the realms of science and faith.

Alexander ( claims that Paul of Tarsus was a first century Popperian, who made falsifiable claims about the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and that Christianity is generally an evidence-based faith. He goes on to make a few allusions to the fine-tuning argument, but he won’t go so far as to call it a proof. He also argues, oddly enough, that perhaps only evolution via natural selection can possibly create minds having morally significant free will.

Law ( runs his trademark Evil God Hypothesis argument, a twist upon classical theodicy which I always enjoy and admire. He also brings up a few philosophical problems with fine-tuning arguments and conceptual problems with the idea of od typically defined, “It's just conceptual gibberish as far as I can tell.”

As usual, the young host jumps in on the side of theism, making this one-on-one into a two-on-one, which is evidently how the producers of Premier Christian Radio prefer to wage intellectual battle. Next week, it will be three to one against Philip Pullman, so I suppose Stephen Law has it relatively easy by comparison.

Overall, this was a fun discussion, covering a vast range of religious philosophical issues, but alas the discussion never focused on any particular set of arguments for long enough to get past the initial stages of argument and counter-argument, and thereby dig down and expose the underlying premises upon which the interlocutors really disagree.

No comments: