a tippling philosopher

Browsing Archive: January, 2012

One of my favourite analogies.

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, In : Philosophy 
I love this analogy for the intuitive brilliance and common sense that it makes. It exposes the explanatory weakness of supernaturalism and illustrates that it has been on the retreat ever since the new boy Science hit town. It can be found in many of Richard Carrier's writings, for example here. See what you think.

The cause of lightning was once thought to be God's wrath, but turned out to be the unintelligent outcome of mindless natural forces. We once thought an intelligent being must have...
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Rick Santorum thinks pregnancy through rape is God's gift? Seriously?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 29, 2012, In : Politics 
From the Guardian:


Rick Santorum thinks pregnancy through rape is God's gift? Seriously?

Invoking God's will as a supporting argument to his position on abortion hardly fits with the constitution he claims to uphold

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (left) signs autographs at a Tea Party campaign rally. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

As a lapsed Catholic turned atheist, a staunc...

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Why Christianity is not 'responsible for science' (Part 2)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 29, 2012, In : Religion 

Epistemologically speaking, truth was often seen as being the product of revelation, whether from God or the Pope. Therefore, empiricism was frowned upon as a method to arrive at truth and certainly could not trump revelation.


What was also frowned upon was scientific progress. This value was seen as poor in comparison to the value of the Gospels and spreading the good word, and the resulting relationship with God. These value positions were not antithetical to God, but they likewise did ...

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Why Christianity is not 'responsible for science'. (part 1)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, January 28, 2012, In : Religion 

I have recently been involved in an argument online which is a very common argument and one which annoys me just a little. It is also an argument which I have had many times before with Christians. The claim goes something like this:


“Christianity is responsible for the development of science.”


The word science can be swopped with hospital, charity, education and so on. In the case in hand, there were statements such as:


“the essential neccesity of Christianity to the origin...

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Philpapers as an awesome resource for philosophical opinion

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, January 23, 2012, In : Philosophy 
For those of you who don't know, philpapers is a resource I refer to a lot because it is so damned useful and interesting. Wiki:

PhilPapers is an international, interactive academic database of journal articles for professionals and students in philosophy. It is maintained as a combined project of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.

As of 2012, the site ...

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My first public talk (on free will)

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, January 23, 2012, In : Philosophy 
On Sunday, I was lucky enough to have been invited by the South Hampshire Humanists (SHH) to do a talk on free will in Southampton. This was my first public speaking engagement in the world of philosophy and I was both nervous and excited. There was an assembled audience of only 20 people which was nice and intimate. I talked for about 45 minutes and then did a Q and A session afterwards.

Back some months ago I turned up to the SHH drinks in a nearby pub - a social to discuss pertinent subject...
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Hell and its incoherence

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, January 21, 2012, In : Youtube 
Just thought I'd throw this one out there again:

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Bethlehem or bust

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, In : Books 
Here is a draft version of a section of the book on the Nativity that I am working on. see what you think:

5 - To Bethlehem or not to Bethlehem



Bethlehem is a very important place for the average Christian. It is the birthplace of Jesus. But it is more than that, it is the birthplace of the predicted Messiah, whether Jesus existed or not. For Jews and Christians alike, Bethlehem was touted as ‘the place to be born’ if you had any hopes of achieving Messianic greatness. For an eva...

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"Free Will?" Kindle format tidied up.

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, In : Books 
Kindle formatting is a nightmare. Not being able to accept tables for free-flowing text is a headache. For my twins book, which had loads of tables, it really proved frustrating. There were some glitches for the Free Will? book too (as well as a duplicated quote). I have now tidied them up and resubmitted a better .prc file for the Kindle version on Amazon. Anyone who has bought an earlier version, let me know (with proof) and I can send you a rectified file. 
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Natural oughts? Is there such a thing as natural?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 15, 2012, In : Philosophy 

I was wondering today, as I lay there with one of my twins in my arms, as to whether oughts can be derived from a natural pre-programmed’ behaviour. For example, if an evolved characteristic, such as aggressiveness in males (I am generalising here, of course) or to want to eat meat, or, if it could be proven, that it were ‘natural’ to be heterosexual was inherent in a human, are we then obliged in some way to act in accordance with that ‘natural’ inclination?


Or, indeed, is it ...

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Arguments against the existence of the soul

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, In : Youtube 
Just reading some writing which Saga Sabin sent me on consciousness, it reminded me of the problem faced with people who claim we have soul but who accept evolution. At what point in evolution did homo erectus or similar develop a soul? Which family had mum and dad without a soul but sonny with a soul?


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An independent Scotland and Salmond's double standards

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, In : Politics 

I don’t profess to have too much opinion on Scottish independence. It is quite hot news in the UK as there is talk of a referendum Alex Salmond is leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who, for the first time ever, have a majority in the devolved Scottish parliament. There is great debate as to whether it would be beneficial for Scotland to have their independence from both sides of the fence.


There are claims that Scotland are a drain on the UK parliament and that they cost more ...

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A Tale of Two Texts

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 8, 2012, In : Books 
I am really enjoying writing at the moment. I have drafted some 40 odd pages. Here is the start to the bppk (after the introduction) which looks at the Gospels as an overview, and then the two texts individually. I have included the short overview section here:





Introduction to the texts



It would be imprudent to start talking about the issues with the textual accounts of the nativity without at first acknowledging their background and discussing the...

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New book coming on nicely

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, In : Books 
It always feels good to get a good evening's writing done. i must admit, I am really enjoying writing this new book (working title - 25 Reasons to Disbelieve the Nativity). I am some 20 odd pages in and I will certainly have enough pages to make a decent sized book. It is going to be a job making sure it is concise enough!

I am also rating Gerd Theissen's 'The Historical Jesus'. What a fantastic reference book it is turning out to be! I have just finished my opening background section on the G...
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Quotes to keep you company #3

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, In : Religion 

Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel


Pray, v.: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy



If I were personally to define religion, I would say that it is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstances.  -Theodore Dreiser, 1941.


I cannot persuade myself that a beneficient and omnipotent God would have designedly cre...

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My Top 5 Atheist / Agnostic songs

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, January 1, 2012, In : Religion 

I have decided to compile a list of my favourite atheistic / agnostic / philosophical songs. There are many on other lists which I do not know and feel I would like to, but here is my definitive list. I have made a comment with each and maybe copied the odd lyric to explain why it is in the list. I will also try to list any YouTube links to the songs.


Please add your own selections in the comments below and if I don’t know them, I am sure to want to check them out.


1)      Ring the ...

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