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Tag: Free Will and Determinism

Chemistry, Not Character, and Why Is No One Suing Ohio Over This?

Chemistry, Not Character, and Why Is No One Suing Ohio Over This?

Driving on I-75 in Cincinnati the other day I passed a billboard telling people with a gambling problem, “It’s not your character, it’s your chemistry.” The web link on the billboard took me to a site put up by the state of Ohio that leads after a couple clicks to the same slogan. And the Freedom from Religion Foundation hasn’t sued the state for it. This saying isn’t unique to Ohio or specific only to gambling. Christian pastor Rick Warren…

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Jerry Coyne, Neuroscience, and Research Methods 101

Jerry Coyne, Neuroscience, and Research Methods 101

Dr. Jerry Coyne, atheistic biologist and blogger, thinks it’s surprising some people still believe in dualistic free will. To add to V.J. Torley’s excellent extended response to his post on Uncommon Descent, I want to focus on this question of Coyne’s. “In fact, when you think about more abstract things, like God or faith, parts of the brain light up in brain scans. Why should they if such notions are immaterial?” My answer: why shouldn’t they? What does he think…

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Here We Go ‘Round the No-Free-Will Bush ♫

Here We Go ‘Round the No-Free-Will Bush ♫

Sheesh. SteveK [told us[(https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/06/to-seek-god-sensibly-on-his-own-terms/#comment-101165) about this report, Free will could be the result of ‘background noise’ in the brain, study suggests. I’ve seen enough bad science journalism to know that the real experiment may look very little like the one reported there. (In fact, I have real trouble believing the research is as weak as that.) Taking the report at face value, though, with that disclaimer, this appears to be what’s happening: A cue appears on screen at random intervals….

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Evidence for God: Humanness and Free Will

Evidence for God: Humanness and Free Will

Part of the extended series Evidence for the Faith Introductory Humanness and Theism The most immediately available evidence we all have for the reality of God is our own human experience. It may not be immediately obvious why this is so, however. In this first set of posts in my Evidence for God series I propose to explain the connection as I see it. In our humanness we share much with the animal world, but it is our distinct differences…

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Purpose In Life: Nothing But Illusion?

Purpose In Life: Nothing But Illusion?

Update 5 pm May 16: Several commenters here and on Twitter are making the mistake of reading this as the usual meaning-and-purpose discussion. The apologists’ usual approach has to do with the adequacy of meaning and purpose for atheists. I’m not talking about that at all. Read on, and as you do, be careful not to confuse this discussion with that other one…. ***** There’s a running Internet debate between theists and atheists over the question of purpose. Atheists typically insist…

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Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 2)

Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 2)

Sam Harris thinks we’ll see how rational it is to be compassionate toward evildoers if we recognize that no one has free will. If criminals are not really to blame for their wrong, it makes no sense to hate them for it. But as I wrote in Part 1, this “compassion” comes at the price of denying all humanness; and with that eliminated, just what is it we’re being compassionate toward? Harris’s no-free-will dystopia is disturbing in other ways besides….

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Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 1)

Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 1)

I am no expert on compassion. To talk about it is easy, but to know it is to practice it, and there are others who practice it far better than I. This I know, however: “compassion” that strips away humanity is no compassion at all. The Bible is a record of God’s compassion toward real people. The book of Isaiah, for example, rings with God’s call for care towards the hurting, the poor, the needy, the oppressed; for very often…

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Phil Torres’ Compendium of Internet Atheist Ignorance

Phil Torres’ Compendium of Internet Atheist Ignorance

A few weeks ago Phil Torres asked me if I would review his book A Crisis of Faith, which he said would present a strong case against the existence of God. I agreed to take a look at it. I appreciate opportunities like that. I had high hopes for the book, in view of the fact that he (reportedly) did a year of graduate (?) study in philosophy at Harvard. He divides the book into short chapters, of which I…

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How Deeply Atheism Can Corrupt Rationality

How Deeply Atheism Can Corrupt Rationality

Jerry Coyne, the University of Chicago biologist, is nothing if not dependable. When he takes religion to task for errors in thinking, you can always count on him demonstrating difficulties with rationality. Most recently he was upbraiding Father Alexander Lucie-Smith for writing in the Catholic Herald. He quotes Fr. Lucie-Smith: Here is a saying that I find particularly problematic: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no…

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