Saturday 17 January 2015

Does Humanism require God? (Doesn't everything?)

Today's Unbelievable? — scheduled to broadcast at 14:30 this afternoon — has already been downloaded by my podcatcher. It's a discussion between Angus Ritchie, co-author of a recent Theos paper on humanism, and Stephen Law, Provost of the Centre for Inquiry UK, who has critiqued the paper on the CfI blog. I listened to the show yesterday evening and posted the following comments in the Skepticule aka The Three Pauls Podcast Facebook group while listening:
Paul S Jenkins Listening now. Trying to resist the temptation to cheer on Stephen Law's points.
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Paul S Jenkins Angus Ritchie's reasoning is tied up with "intrinsic values". This is absolutism, and that's why it won't fly as a reasoned argument.
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Paul S Jenkins Stephen Law has just asked Angus Ritchie a serious and extreme question. Angus has not yet answered it.
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Paul S Jenkins Damn. Justin has moved the argument on, giving Angus a breather.
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Paul S Jenkins Now Angus is obliquely referencing Plantinga's EAAN.
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Paul S Jenkins Justin reminds us that Stephen Law debated Alvin Plantinga on a previous _Unbelievable?_
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Paul S Jenkins Justin is paraphrasing Angus's argument, and diluting it at the same time.
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Paul S Jenkins "If nothing ethically matters, it doesn't matter that nothing ethically matters." Brilliant. An excellent performance by our favourite Scruffy Philosopher.
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Worth a listen if you have views on humanism and what it entails (and what it doesn't).

(At the end of the show, host Justin Brierley read out some feedback on a previous one in which William Lane Craig apparently claimed that the existence of mathematics was evidence for the existence of God. For me, Norman Bacrac's feedback hit the nail on the head by stating that mathematics is a property of physical reality. I don't think I'll be listening to that one.)