News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 4, 2009 in News

Vox’s 5th letter to me is up.

My debate with Tom Gilson of Thinking Christian is rip-roarin’ over here.

Bradley Monton wrote a review of Greg Dawes’ Theism and Explanation (my #2 best atheist book of the decade).

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Roman November 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Thanks for the link to the review of Theism and Explanation Luke! I’d been looking for a professional review of it.
You’re right, it’s such an important book!


Bradm November 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Do you know if Dawes is an atheist or a theist? In your Philosophers of Religion post you list him as an atheist but Monton suggests he may be a theist.


John D November 5, 2009 at 2:02 am

In his interview with Luke, Dawes states pretty unambiguously that he is an atheist.


lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 5:31 am

Greg is an atheist. That Morton mistakes him for a theist just means that Dawes is very good at writing about these matters fairly.


Anonymous November 5, 2009 at 7:27 am


In your debate with Tom, you state that “Most humans have an inner sensation that objective moral values exist.” Have you read the post over at _Experimental Philosophy_ that challenges this assumption. Here it is:


lukeprog November 5, 2009 at 9:37 am


Thanks for the link. Yes, I am very excited that experimentalists are finally trying to answer questions that meta-ethicists have had for a century. The question is also the subject of Finlay’s paper ‘The Error in the Error Theory’, which I summarize here.


Jeff H November 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I’m actually quite pleased to see that the letters between Luke and Vox are finally starting to make some progress. VD still strikes me as a snob, but I suppose his tone now is about as good as it’s going to get. I don’t quite agree with his definition for evil – the “pleasure” bit strikes me as odd – but I do like it better than Luke’s starting point of just plain ol’ suffering. It was a worthy start, though :)

For being such a “genius”, though, VD sure seems to use a lot of comma splices…


MattC November 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Do you know what a comma splice is?


Chuck November 6, 2009 at 8:13 am

Interesting where Tom is going in Letter 6 with his “10 Points”. I think to be a Christian (in the evangelical sense) one would have to affirm them all. Without them, Original Sin doesn’t make sense.


Chuck November 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

Regarding your use of the term “contra-causal free will”.

By this do you mean that if we were to stop time and “rewind the tape,” a person will always choose the same way because his “choice” is predetermined (I assume by some combination of genetics and experience)?


lukeprog November 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

By “contra-causal free will” I refer to the supposed ability to create events that are not 100% determined by previous causes.


Jeff H November 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

MattC: Do you know what a comma splice is?  

Yes, I do. Do you?

“Apes do read theology, Luke, they just don’t understand it.”

“This is not an answer, this is just hope and hand-waving.”

“I did not declare “that the truth value of a proposition does not depend on the meaning of its terms”, I merely stated that given the context of the question, which your belief in any form of evil.”

“Meta-ethical philosopher Stephen Finlay’s belief in evil is of zero relevance here, it is only your belief that is relevant to this discussion.”

I used to get marks taken off for them all the time in English essays, so I learned to spot them readily. Anyway, I didn’t mean it as an earth-shattering revelation; I just found it interesting that someone who prides himself on his eloquent phrasing and large vocabulary would get tripped up over commas.


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