A Change Is Gonna Come



The title says it all. Christmas has come and gone again this year, a rather sorrowful Christmas this year for many as yet another school shooting makes headlines across the world. Creation cries out in unison with its creator and saviour as he makes his sounds from a manger.

Story vs. story

Story vs. story? In other words, we should apply critical thinking to worldviews, religious or secular.  For a philosophically insightful article about stories, read Elizabeth Sunshine's "Choosing a Story: 'Life of Pi' and Worldview".  For another insightful article about Life of Pi, read Michael Leaser's "Fluff Pi", World Magazine, December 1, 2012.  (Not so incidentally, next semester Providence University College is offering a Critical Thinking course and a Philosophy of Religion course.) 

Friday Philosophy Lunch Cancelled

Please be advised that the Philosophy Foosball lunch for Friday, December 7, has been cancelled.  Students are encouraged to focus their minds on their studies and paper writing.  Students are also encouraged to focus their appetites on the Christmas Banquet, which begins at 6:30 in the Student Life Centre.

Philosophy Memes

Here's a special guest post from Blogmaster Emeritus, Mark Jensen:


Evolving in Monkey Town

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions
In your wanderings around campus you may have noticed a certain book lying about. That book is one Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. This book will be a subject of discourse at this year's Providence UC Faculty Forum and I would strongly encourage you to pick it up, read it, write your thoughts on it, and ponder its message.

This Friday PFC will be discussing this book at lunch so if you haven't read it yet, it might be a good idea to do so, it's a pretty easy and fun read.

To entice you to read this book and to foster some discussion, here is a brief review:

Evolution, a term loaded with a lot of rhetorical and emotional baggage in the religious culture of North America. As anyone versed in van der Breggenian philosophy ought to know, words can have multiple senses, and this proves true for the word "evolution". Evolution can refer to the Darwinian theory, or to simply change over time (there are many other senses, but for the sake of brevity I have only included two). Evolving in Monkey Town is the autobiographical account of one girl's journey growing up in a uber fundamentalist town and her coming to grips with her faith.

Rachel Held Evans grew up as the keenest apologist for her faith to be found. When she begins to realize that some of her answers just don't hold up against the emotional onslaught of dealing with real people, she begins to question her faith. Her journey reminds me much of Psalm 27, knows God, experiences some upheaval and disorientation and then is reoriented in her faith, now with a heart knowledge to accompany her "answers".

For the most part, I felt like I could identify well with the character. While my upbringing was not nearly as fundamentalist as hers, there are points of contact that hit home. For any who have struggled with doubts as they wrestled with their faith, they will find a familiar story here. This book is rhetorically powerful and convincing because of its emotional narrative. Where logical connections are lacking, the force of remembered experience evokes sympathy in the reader as one is drawn into the text.

My one major critique is that Evans seemed to force her faith to conform to her conscience. Somehow she knew that certain things were really right and really wrong, and where her theology clashed with that, she needed to do some work. The question that remains begging to be asked is of course, how does she know that her conscience was speaking truth. It would seem to me that she moved along a good moral direction throughout the story, but where did the standards of right and wrong come from that prompted her to deal with the inconsistencies of her faith?

I appreciated the emphasis that Evans put on the asking of questions over the defending of answers. There are a lot of things about God, that perhaps, it is better we never quite figure out. That being said, we shouldn't through out the notion of any epistemic certainty. We are a long way, each of us, from having the whole truth, but as VDB would say, "we do know some things, and that I think is significant".

Push Select

Hey PFCers!

Take some time to check out this wonderful new site, brought to you by many former members of this prestigious club.

(Picture of Soren Kierkegaard playing some Nintendo)
Introducing Push Select. A website dedicated to the study of philosophy and video games, with the occasional theological comment and some nifty artwork. Check it out here.

Friday's Discussion

This past Friday, the PFC had a very interesting conversation about the importance of the historical veracity of the life of Jesus Christ. I feel we reached a good synthesis of ideas which I here make an attempt to lay out.
The event of the incarnation and atonement are historical incidents. Jesus of Nazareth, according to the record (primarily the canonical Gospels), was a real man who lived, died, came back to life and ascended into heaven. These actions are significant whether we know about them or not (VDB's observation).  Now, if nobody had recorded these actions, if they in fact had happened, that would still be significant (VDB). The fact remains however that these events were recognized for their significance and remembered by a community (RT's observation).  If the events had not been recognized for their significance, not recorded, and subsequently not remembered - i.e., the Church did not start - this would cast doubt on the crucial claim of the man Jesus (RT, see note below regarding the crucial claim of Christ). This doubt, however, would not be sufficient for dismissing the reality of Christ's actions; the observation and recognition of an event have no bearing on whether an event actually happened (VDB).  Now, the fact that the Church did indeed recognize and preserve the history of Jesus is good evidence to suggest that, in fact, it did happen, and that the event did have the meaning that it is alleged to have. The effect that Christ claimed to come to enact has indeed happened (i.e., his claim to be an atoning sacrifice, seeing the fruits of that sacrifice in a community that responded to his atoning work), supporting favourably the claims made that what he did in his life, death, and resurrection really mattered.

The theological significance of Christ has no foundation without the actual real events (VDB). But it seems significant that we know about the event, and the significance of the event due to the work of the Church, that community that continues to embody Christ and is made up of individuals who have been radically affected by the event of Christ (RT). The event is not logically contingent on the change it affects, but it would be reasonable to doubt the veracity of the claims surrounding the event if no change was affected. (Note: My understanding is that Christ's claim is that he is God which I understand as being closely accompanied by the claim that he would, in the words of Isaiah, "set the captives free" and build his Church. His primary claim would be suspect if the secondary claims that are closely associated with it did not occur. At best I would suggest a suspension of belief because of our inability to know; luckily, there is evidence that those secondary claims occurred, allowing for belief in the primary claim.)

Is it not wonderful that there was a community that recognized that Jesus truly was the son of God and recorded the historical events of his life, alerting us to the fact that he indeed did matter? Now let us gaze upon the Risen Christ in thanksgiving for the work of his life, and the continued work of his body the Church.


Philosophy: Let's talk about it.

Come to Philosophy Foosball lunches.

Nothing

Today on Quirks and Quarks Bob McDonald interviewed Dr. Lawrence Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing. Krauss argues that Nothing is actually a quantity that is radically different than conceived by classical philosophy. He then proceeds to explain that Nothing, i.e., a vacuum devoid of all particles, actually has mass that can be measured. Diving into the murky waters of quantum physics he discusses the nature of gravity and how it has the ability to create things from nothing.

As I listened I was fascinated by his account, however I found that I disagreed with his description of Nothing. He was saying that Nothing was not actually no-thing but rather Something. Having a raging sea of energy, or so-called "Dark Matter" is not Nothing, there seems to be yet another language game at work here, a subtle redefining of the word. Krauss uses the word Nothing to refer to a state that is in reality something, his science is interesting, his reasoning ics flawed. Krauss, I believe, has made a category mistake in his explanation of Nothing.

Throughout this interview he repeatedly bashes creationists and religious believers. However he takes it a step further by even rejecting philosophical explanations. This shows an example of a scientist overstepping his bounds (for more on the limits of Science, see Dr. van der Breggen's class on the Philosophy of Science). Regardless of one's views on the origins of the cosmos, it is important that one thinks critically about the nature of Nothing, I would caution against those who define Nothing as Something. Give the interview a listen, and think critically!

Meme Analysis

Blogmaster Emeritus, Mark Jensen, recently sent me this internet meme asking PFC to do an analysis of its alleged logic. I'm sure many of you have seen it on Facebook but here it is again. When I received this in a message I suddenly got a mental image of VDB muttering into his mustache "So many fallacies" and I knew that something must be done.

*Disclaimer: I or PFC do not necessarily agree or disagree with the above conclusion of this meme, this exercise is merely a look at the use (or lack thereof) of critical thinking.

For starters, the nature of internet memes is such that there is almost inevitably going to be a massive case of the Straw Person fallacy going on. There are in fact many quite nuanced arguments against H, drawing inspiration from the Bible that cannot be so casually dismissed with a sentence, more work should be done.

Now working from left to right.
"Because Jesus Said So" - the objection is true, although a case could be made that inferences could be drawn from what he did say on similar topics.

The first blue box, "Have fun..." unnecessarily insults people who hold to a certain view. This is known as an ad hominem attack and in this case bullies people into agreeing with the author rather than actually engaging in debate.

The next two boxes, "OT and NT" end with false dichotomies. There are other ways to answer the secondary questions than just a simple yes or no (although flow charts get messy when they have to deal with every possibility). 

A theological insert here - to say that the Bible clearly defines anything can often be a stretch, and both boxes in this route fall prey to a rather shallow reading of the text.

The appeal to the "ick factor" in the final route is an interesting one and should not be so quickly dismissed. Yes we should be tolerant, and there should under no circumstances be hateful discrimination. However, there is something to be said for prima facie arguments, appeals to the obvious norm (this is basic anatomy). Much can be said for alternatives, but the simple fact of our anatomy remains and questions can and should be raised about a cavalier approach to sexuality: Are all practices healthy, safe, beneficial? These issues should be examined in and of themselves, not simply dismissed out of hand.

Finally, the only green box, the alleged "right answer". The inference of this comment is that those who disagree are uncivilized barbarians, which is simply not the case. There are civilized, educated people with very real concerns and to paint them as something they are not, is as bad as discriminating against homosexuals. Fighting discrimination with discrimination, while perhaps rhetorically effective, is not logically sound.

In conclusion, this meme is riddled with fallacies and logical shortcuts. Complex questions very rarely have easy sloganesque answers.

A note about language.

An ever-popular and decisive debate in popular culture centers around the issue of gay marriage. This summer I have been tossing around some thoughts on language and I think they might be relevant here.

The debate (in Canada at any rate) often comes up when members of clergy refuse to perform weddings for homosexual couples. The real problem, I would like to suggest, is one of language. English only has one word for that particular union between two people, that is "marriage". I would like to suggest that much of our current conflict could be diverted if we were more clear in our definition of this word.

For the Church, marriage is a symbol of Christ's relationship with the Church, and more importantly a symbol of the Trinity (particularly in it's procreative capacity). For more on the Church's view on marriage see the discussion held by St. Margaret's Parish here.

The state on the other hand, has a much simpler non-sacramental view of marriage that views marriage as a certain intimate legal contract between two people.

Now the state has decreed that marriage, as they define it, applies to homosexuals, so when a homosexual goes to a church and asks a clergy member to marry them, they believe they are asking for what they have a right to. However, when they ask for this in the Church, they are asking for something that is quite different than they think they are asking for. The Church's definition of marriage would actually probably disqualify many heterosexual couples (again, see "Human Sexuality and the Nuptial Mystery"), Christians are therefore not necessarily being discriminatory, it is rather that there are conflicting definitions that lead people to assume that two quite different unions are

The Church has an ancient tradition of civil union between two partners (regardless of sex) that is blessed in the Church, but IS NOT MARRIAGE (as understood by the Church). Perhaps a change in terminology would go a long way towards defusing some of the tension in this debate.

The state definition says that homosexuals have all the rights and privileges of heterosexuals, this does not seem problematic. What would be problematic is the destruction of this sacramental symbol. Perhaps as Christians it is our duty to more clearly define what it is that marriage is, and how that affects both hetero and homosexual couples.

What other debates do you see that the language we use regarding them unnecessarily inflates them?

Summer 2012 Philosophy Foosball Dinner Notes


Kyle Derkson, VDB, Harley Dyck
Our number was small but our appetite for food and philosophy huge. After some fine Canadian cuisine (burgers; many thanks to Carla VDB), we settled in for serious philosophical discussion (see photos).  Topics ranged widely and wonderfully.

Near the end of the evening, PFC √úbermensch Mark Jensen suggested that each of us set out a "thesis" (i.e., some philosophical topic that interests us).  Each of us "defended" a thesis, which was great fun.  Some theses included examining the criteria of historicity used in the Jesus quest/s (Jeff Honsberger); studying the logic of language used in God-talk and studying its relevance to persuasion (Kyle Derkson); exploring the philosophy of music (David Ward); defending the notion of objectivity in objective truth (VDB).  Some PFC members (Harley Dyck, Mark Jensen, and Jordan Ross) kindly put their thesis statements to print, so below I publish their thesis statements for the reader's enjoyment.

(Note to Jeff, Kyle, and David: If I have misrepresented your theses, I apologize; it was getting late and I should have been taking notes.)

Harley Dyck, Jeff Honsberger
Harley Dyck

"My thesis would (at this moment) be an exploration of the application of Christian morality to the question of violence.  Is violence ever good or justifiable?  Is there a difference?  What about 'redemptive violence'?  What of the arguments for the just war position?  Is Christianity really pacifistic?  What of Bonhoeffer's idea that following God's will should come before questions of applied ethics?

"I have been contemplating this topic for quite a while now, and am beginning to reach some conclusions.  Interestingly, some of my conclusions have been disturbing and uncomfortable, so more contemplation will definitely follow in this area."

Mark Jensen?
Mark Jensen

"My thesis, which I intend to write in 2012-2013 at CMU, is on the relationship between Immanuel Kant's philosophy of religion and his early upbringing in Lutheran Pietism. More specifically, I want to answer the question of whether Immanuel Kant's understanding of pure religion bears the markings of his earlier religious upbringing in Lutheran Pietism. It is often noted in scholarly literature that Kant has absorbed Christian language and filtered it through his philosophy, but no one has provided more than an assertion to this point. I intend to investigate this question, primarily through looking at Kant's later writings on religion (Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, The Conflict of the Faculties, The End of All Things). 

"Why am I interested in such a subject that seems to be, on first glance, boring and pointless? I think that if such a connection between Kant and Pietism can be demonstrated it can help give us a glimpse into how we got from the German Enlightenment to Protestant liberalism and Evangelicalism. Of course, sketching such a genealogy would be beyond the scope of a graduate thesis.  I only wish to fill in one piece of the puzzle."

Kant, David Ward, Jordan Ross
 Jordan Ross:

"My 'thesis' (not a thesis in a formal sense, but just something that I've been thinking about recently) is simply, 'What is the best way to characterize the relationship between a thinker's biography and his or her ideas?'  On one extreme we have the view, represented by Roland Barthes, that one does not need to know anything about a thinker's biography to adequately understand that thinker's ideas.  On the other extreme we have a view, sometimes seen amongst 20th century psychoanalytic thinkers and some current postmodern theorists, that biography determines a thinker's ideas.  I'm trying to sort through all this and come up with a more moderate, but also a more nuanced view on the matter.  I'm motivated to do this because I think getting this relationship between idea and biography right can help correct misunderstandings of certain thinkers."

Ah, the joys of fine philosophy, fine food, and fine friends!

Summer 2012 Philosophy Foosball Dinner

Important Notice:

Summer 2012 Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner will occur at the VDBs' place on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at 5:30 p.m.  Food, philosophy, foosballgood times for sure! (In other words, we will imitate the Form of the Good in the realm of Becoming.)

For those planning to attend, please RSVP by email to Dr. V by noon on Thursday July 5th at the latest.

Hope to see you all there!

Disclaimer: Objects in photo may appear more glamorous than actual objects in the VDB residence.

Freedom of Speech, the Canadian Myth

More and more in today's social climate it seems that civil discourse that relies on the freedom of speech and expression is becoming extinct. It is becoming increasingly apparent that if you do not agree with public opinion you are made to be silenced. ID advocates have run into this for years as the movie Expelled attempts to show, but now close to home the Homophobe registry in Quebec seems to move even farther in the censorship of this essential freedom.

Democracy can only function properly when all sides are given a voice, we are reduced to some sort of totalitarian fascism if all voices except the officially approved ones are silenced. Democracy ceases to function in a climate of censorship.

This registry would seem to contradict the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On a more alarmist note, when voices are silenced, deeds are resorted to, if homophobia wants to be assured, Quebec has taken the proper steps in ensuring that desperate measures may be resorted to by those who feel as though they have lost their voice.

Please think critically as to how we can have civil discourse about all manner of socially explosive issues, without resorting to leveling lawsuits against those with whom we disagree. Do not allow the chains of censorship to silence the free speech of democracy.

Also, here is a lecture by Slavoj Zizek in which he argues that this so-called "tolerance" banner beneath which such acts as this registry are justified, is actually fundamentally intolerant. He makes an astute observation on the Christian duty to "love thy neighbor". This registry, and other such moves done in the name of "tolerance" are, according to Zizek, our way of keeping the "neighbor" at arm's length, ultimately leaving them unloved.

The Wisdom of VDB

In my brief time at Providence I have taken a few philosophy classes, 7 to be exact. During the time spent in these classes I learnt many things, but on the days where note taking became too tedious a chore, I opted instead for transcribing the wisdom of my esteemed professor. Here are some famous one-liners from the man we all know and love, so let's let the philosophical rubber hit the road and enjoy some truth statements by VDB.

"You are not a robot."
"Sometimes, you gotta get physical."
"A thing is what it is!"
"We can all be foolish."
"You are more than just good, you are something special."
"This is where the philosophical rubber hits the road."
"If it feels good do it!"
"Yay! I like it!"
"The tiger has big sharp teeth regardless of what culture you're in."
"He likes killing young people, I don't."
"The door is open, if and only if, the door is open."
"I also recognize that you are sinners and you will slack off."
"Or I could go into the library and feed everyone poison Kool Aid and then everyone would die and it would be quiet in the library..."
"If evolution is true all we should be good at is making sandwiches and having sex."
"What you should be knowing is sandwiches and sex, kind of an appropriate topic before lunch; sandwiches at least."
"I'm not pulling some sort of biological wool over your eyes."
"Birth is a termination of pregnancy too!"
"Let's do dastardly things to him until the police get here."
"We should shake our heads a little bit."
"The argument is, that size matters."
"Time permitting, we'll think about suicide...so to speak."
"Embryonic stem cell research is still very much in its infancy."
"Fat! God knows we have enough of that."
"I'm gonna let some Scripture be light unto our philosophical feet."
"Cumulative Case Argument, it's pretty powerful I think."
"Some of us are apparently smaller than others."
"If I make a mistake and you call me a jerk you need to know that I will say, 'Yes, I am a jerk!'"
"I'm not wholly stupid, but I will admit I am sometimes."
"When I tell jokes at the dinner table, nobody laughs."
"Also, I encourage you to not drink and do all sorts of nasty things when you're young because it just gets worse as you get older. Just some words of wisdom."
"Sometimes a person just seems like an Orc!"
"It is handy to have a person still alive when you find him innocent."
"We should at least lock them up tightly and surround them with gospel tracts."
"We will not look at pornography!"
"I am not a politically organized state!"
"We need to just say hey!"
"Swords are weapons."
"Hang in there." (Usually said during double block Monday evening classes)
"Sikhism is an attempt to marry Islam and Hinduism which is kind of a bad marriage to make."
"I think prayer is important."
"Sometimes my intentions and what is real don't converge."
"Just the Resurrection and that's it? Yes, and it's pretty cool."
"I would never call anyone a turnip... as much as I might want to."
"It's like he's sitting on an epistemological branch and then sawing it off under him."
"Don't stab people with forks."
"The truth will remain whether you care or not."
"Where the heck are we going as a society?!?!"
"Little bit of a logical whiplash going on there."
"I spent years writing this thing and I just don't want it to go to waste. "(Check his dissertation fools!)
"So far, so good, but not for the demons; I don't know if we should feel sorry for them or not..."
"I continue to report.

And finally...

"But, is it true?"

Thank-you VDB for all of your insightful words of wisdom and hilarious attempts at humour, know that even if nobody laughed, I chuckled inwardly and recorded them for future use.


Infanticide Imanent

A recent article caught my attention on the subject of renewed calls for post-birth abortions. This seems to me to be the same thing that Pro-Choicers laughed at as alarmist reasoning when it was foretold by the Pro-Life camp. Unfortunately, the worst part of the article for me, was that the author merely took this as a challenge to somehow defend the Pro-Choice position, even though he accedes that the line of reasoning is sound. Sad days lie ahead.

N.T. Wright on Debate about Homosexuality

I think that Anglican Bishop Tom Wright's call for the careful use of reason in the debate on what Scripture says about homosexuality is most appropriate.  Speaking of careful use of reason, the Rev. Dr. Brett Cane, of Winnipeg's St. Aidan's Anglican Church, has written a very helpful article: "The Bible and Homosexuality."  Speaking of debate, I notice that Oxford University Press has recently published an interesting new book: Debating Same-Sex Marriage.  I pray that we would use reason well to discern truth, and that we would show gentleness and respect to those with whom we disagree.

P.S. Five posts on the blog version of my newspaper column Apologia attempt to set out some careful reasoning on homosexuality.

P.P.S. New York pastor Tim Keller provides a helpful reply to the charge that Christians are inconsistent in the way they allegedly ignore some Old Testament passages while accepting other passages that say homosexual behaviour is a sin. See pastor Keller's June 2012 article "Old Testament Law and the Charge of Inconsistency".

Philosophical Insight


You've heard of Ockham's Razor.  Now there's VDB's Beard – and more.  Here is a portion of an email I recently received from former Providence student and former Philosophy Foosball Blogmaster Mark Jensen who is presently doing a Master's degree at CMU (published here with Mark's permission):

"We are not obligated to choose between Biola or Calvin. Rather we have a more compelling third option: Providence. Our name is not a coincidence, we really are that good! While Calvin has Plantinga's reformed epistemology and Smith's sympathetic treatment of Derrida; Biola has their rockstar Christian philosophers of religion such as Craig and Moreland who deliver knock-out arguments that demonstrate the reasonableness of theism. Both groups are fine in what they do, but they are no match for our unique school of philosophy. Providence has the subtle and attentive logical principle of van der Breggen's beard, which demands careful reading and careful thinking which always has the question of truth at the forefront. Not only that, we have [Phil] Wiebe's aesthetics of pipe smoking–a favorable alternative to Nietzsche's aesthetization of life–which teaches us to value simple pleasures while maintaining modesty and temperance towards our enjoyment of them. Moreover, we have [Kyle] Derkson's post-Quineian philosophy of language which illustrates how bizarre language can be but that fact is not a sufficient reason to doubt the veracity of language's ability to communicate. And I like watching professional wrestling and reading dead German intellectuals."

More of Mark Jensen's thinking can be found at his blog Dining with the Queen: On Theology. I think Mark Jensen also likes wrestling with and reading the work of live Slovenian philosophers – maybe too much.  Too much or too little, if beards could talk, my beard would say thanks (to Mark, not Slavoj).

VDB

Art and Academics

As a BTS student, I have to read a lot of commentaries. Commentaries are great for getting some really good information to write papers, but honestly, they get pretty dry. I've been taking an Aesthetics class with VDB this semester which has opened my mind to the truth telling properties of various art forms. Recently, I had the very great pleasure of stumbling upon a commentary that took all that is good and informative in traditional commentaries, and presented the information in a free-verse poetic style. That little touch of art really made the academic chore transform into a pleasure. You can check it out here. What do PFCers think of mixing art and academia? This type of creative writing fits well in the philosophical tradition as started by the dialogues of Socrates.

Most Valuable Player

To whom will the 2011-12 Philosophy Foosball Club MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD go? Find out at the PFC lunch on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Update (April 12, 2012): The recipient of this year's MVP Award is Ryan Turnbull.  Congratulations Ryan!

Update (April 21, 2012): The recipient of this year's Philosophy Award is Phil Wiebe. Congratulations Phil!

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses


Here is biblical scholar and theologian Richard Bauckham on the Gospels as eyewitness testimony. Food for thought as we celebrate Easter.

On Pagan Parallels


Do Pagan parallels to the resurrection of Jesus count against the evidence for Jesus' resurrection?  Here's a helpful 2-minute video from New Testament scholar Mike Licona.

P.S. Happy Easter!

Spring philosophy course

213.34 Special Studies in Philosophy of Religion (William Lane Craig's campus apologetics) - April 23-27, 2012

CAUT

It turns out that Providence does not have academic freedom, according to a couple of guys who have never been here... Check out this link to read up on it, and to see Gus Konkel's response. I think Dr. Konkel is very right when he suggests that they are forcing their secular ideology on us under the guise of "academic freedom".

Faith is a cognitive sickness?

Philosopher Peter Boghossian tells us that faith is a cognitive sickness.  Makes me wonder if he's read any Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Francis Beckwith, J. P. Moreland, C. S. Lewis, William Alston, Peter van Inwagen, Gary Habermas, Michael Licona, Stephen C. Meyer, Douglas Groothuis, Chad Meister, Paul Copan, Peter Hitchens, Michael Peterson, Dinesh D'Souza, Craig Keener, Gregory Ganssle, Alister McGrath, Paul Chamberlain....

Philosophy talk

The Philosophy Club at the University of Manitoba presents…
“Hume and Miracle Reports”
A lecture by Dr. Hendrik van der Breggen
Date: Friday, March 16, 2012
Location: 395 University College, U of M
Time: 2:30 p.m.

All are welcome!

The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) is well known for his criticisms of Christianity, especially his criticisms concerning the credibility of miracle reports, such as those reports having to do with Jesus' resurrection. Hume believed that he discovered an "everlasting check" against belief that a miracle has occurred, a check that will always render belief in miracle reports irrational. In this lecture Dr. van der Breggen examines Hume's argument.

The Philosophy Club is a student group within the University of Manitoba’s Department of Philosophy, organized and run by undergraduate and graduate students currently studying philosophy at the university.

Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner

The Form of the Foosball Table
Important Notice:

Winter 2012 Philosophy Foosball Club Dinner will occur at Dr. and Mrs. V's place on Monday, March 5th at 5:30. Food, philosophy, and foosball -- good times for sure!

For those planning to attend, please RSVP by email to Dr. V by noon on Friday, March 2nd at the latest.

Hope to see you all there!

P.S. All Philosophy Foosballers, whether current Providence students or not, are welcome.

Vic Toews - You Were Warned: Identity of Vic Toews' Mistress, Stacey Mee...


I don't have much of an opinion on this bill, but it concerns me that a group like this can have so much power to make demands of our government. Perhaps Anonymous will remain benign and concerned for the good of humanity, but what happens when an anarchist group pulls something like this. What do you think PFCers? Should the Vic Toews and the Conservative party bow to this kind of blackmailing?

Nitpicking Terminology

I often read in the works of different apologists (specifically American ones for some reason) that what they are defending is a "biblical worldview". I would like to submit that this is a bad label to use. Christian apologists are giving a defense of a Christian worldview, not a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview comes with an Ancient Near Eastern worldview and is often quite different than what apologists espouse. For the sake of honesty it would be best to defend a Christian worldview. We are Christians of the 21st century, we have over 2000 years of church history behind us, shaping our beliefs, and we readily reinterpret biblical teaching in our modern cultural context. It is time we put our misguided biblolatry behind us and confess in honesty and humility our Christian convictions.

And Philosophy

Interesting books here, really.

Literature, the Arts, and Apologetics


Literature, the Arts, and Apologetics are a nice combination.  For more on this topic, listen to Holly Ordway.

- Dr. V

Promoting Providence

This is an excellent promotional video of Providence University College.  Many thanks to Bob Wiebe (VP Educational Marketing Department), Camren Friesen (Nice! Productions), Bethany Dueck (music), and Joel Coursey (script).  Clearly, students should come to Providence!  P.S. Providence offers a minor in philosophy.

On Plantinga's new book


Philosopher Jay W. Richards has begun what promises to be a very careful review of Alvin Plantinga's new book (on science and religion), Where the Conflict Really Lies.  Look here.  - Dr. V
Many people have asked me, "What's the point of studying Philosophy?" and "How are you going to make any money doing so?" Well I have finally found an answer for these skeptics. By appealing to the consumerist culture of North America, Philosophers have discovered a way to profit off the ignorant masses by means of philosophical merchandising. Go ahead, browse around, maybe you'll find something you'd enjoy, or maybe you'll finally be able to prove to your dad that you can make a living off philosophy. Check out the Unemployed Philosophers Guild for more details.

On Miracles


Here is an interesting interview with Craig S. Keener about his new book Miracles.

- Dr. V