Arguing About God?
May 18, 2009 — 19:00

Author: Michael Almeida  Category: General  Comments: 11

A nice, thoughtful, unharried interview with Alvin Plantinga [here]( and another with Richard Swinburne [here]( Both collected on [this]( terrific site with lots of other excellent entries featuring John Leslie, David Chalmers, Bede Rundle, Quentin Smith, Michael Tooley, Tom Flint, Peter van Inwagen, and many others.

  • Closer to Truth

    Mike Almeida at Prosblogion points out Closer to Truth, a very well-done website with interviews and videos on “cosmos, consciousness, and God.” I’m currently watching an interview with Alva Noe on the mystery of consciousness. Very good stuff.

    May 19, 2009 — 8:47
  • Pumbelo

    I looked at it and the first thing I was thinking was “Too much Michael Shermer. He responded to the moral arguing by saying ‘If God would not exist, would you kill me?'”, but the part about Plantinga, Swinburne, Smith etc. sounds good.

    May 19, 2009 — 14:22
  • Pumbelo

    Ok, seriously, the best part is that I was reading the list and they usually have the name of the speaker after the topic and what it’s related to after that and then I read:
    “Is God a Person [God]”
    Now, what would that look like, 2 seconds of audio that just go “Yes I am”?

    May 19, 2009 — 14:24
  • Gordon Knight

    Don’t miss the Chalmer’s either. It’s a fun site.

    May 19, 2009 — 14:43
  • Mike Almeida

    They all say [God] in the God section! Smith and Tooley are also pretty good. Ah, procrastinating! . . . Back to work!

    May 19, 2009 — 15:02
  • Thanks for the link, Mike. This is fun.
    I am a bit surprised that Dave Chalmers seems to reject the evolutionary origin of consciousness. (See ‘Why is Consciousness so Mysterious?’)

    May 19, 2009 — 16:21
  • Matthew Mullins

    Thanks for this Mike! The video is really sharp and the 3-4 interviews I clicked around seemed quite good.

    May 19, 2009 — 16:59
  • James Gibson

    There is probably much more film yet to be released. Quentin told me that his interview was 8 hours long, and I recall him saying that there wasn’t a break!

    May 20, 2009 — 8:29
  • Pumbelo

    you are right, my point was that this one was somehow the only one without the name of the person who was interviewed. Some of them went like: “Is God omniscient [William Lane Craig]”, but I read this one and it said “Is God a person? [God]”, which would probably be a rather rare interview.

    May 20, 2009 — 9:15
  • Zach Blaesi

    Thanks for the links. Looks like the video is high quality.

    May 21, 2009 — 3:26
  • Raymond Aldred

    I too was disappointed with some of the Shermer interviews, in particular the one about arguments from religious experience. He only shortly addresses what I consider to be religious experience, then goes on to address arguments from morality. A strong religious experience, I would think, might include an epistemic agent who saw Jesus appear before her and speak to her about intimate details of her life, then Jesus dematerializes or something like this. The agent then posits a religious explanation, complete with deity to explain what he/she experienced. Shermer’s reply is the agent probably had a temporal lobe seizure, and these sorts of experiences are not generally what religious believers mean when they say they had a religious experience and these religious experiences are rare. But there are cases described above where the agent has no history of hallucinations, drug use, temporal lobe epilepsy, schizophrenia and there is no MRI equipment to really measure if one was having a temporal lobe siezure. It seems to me that in cases like the one described above, one IS justified in having their religious belief, albeit fallibly. That is to say the agent in question may have a false belief, but is entirely justified to have their religious belief and it is not obviously clear that the belief in question is false. Shermer’s reply seems to just assume that these sorts of religious beliefs are false, and since they are false there must have been something whacky going on in the brain, but this is ad hoc and I suspect is predicated on a propositional attitude without evidence (shockingly this is close to what atheists describe as faith). Long story short, Shermer does not adequately address what I take to be stronger cases of religious experiences.
    Thanks for the link!

    May 21, 2009 — 14:56