Grey Thoughts
New Years Links
Sorry for the lack of posts, but I have had a very busy Christmas Holidays. Here are a few interesting links that are well worth the time to follow.

Parableman discusses and defends the cosmological argument in his normal, logical manner. Although I think he errs heavily on the side of caution in his conclusion that we can merely decide that something MUST be self-existant.

Boundless has some great insights into Joy Davidman Lewis, CS Lewis' wife. I have to admit to knowing next to nothing about her, and so I was surprised to find that she was an atheist and communist for a large chunk of her life. Read the whole thing, it is a moving tale of God's love and of the Lewis' love.

If you have been reading that the Judge in the Dover Trial was a conservative and republican staunchly religious, then you have been misinformed (or lied to).

Prosthesis has a good post on blind faith (in science or religion) being a bad thing. Also check out his childhood experience of dowsing. (Dowsing is water divination using sticks). It may not be a good thing to do, but it is certainly something that materialists can't account for.

The Pope speaks out against "terrorism, nihilism and fanatic fundamentalism" and of course the paper can't help but remove the 'fanatic' part in the headline to implicate any 'fundamentalist'.

Granville Sewell has a great article on evolution and the second law of thermodynamics that you should read. Also check out the appendix. Sewell is a professor of Mathematics and highlights how the second law makes evolution a next to impossible no show, even with billions of years in the equation.

Tasmania has a second case of it's judges allowing murderers to walk the street. In this case, a woman attempted to kill her mother who had dementia, and helped kill her father who had terminal cancer. She was given 2 1/2 years as a wholly suspended sentence. Clearly, the courts have decided that it really is okay to try and murder someone if they are already dying (aren't we all?) or they have mental problems. The move towards quality of life continues, driven by activist judges.
I'm not sure what you mean by "we can merely decide that something must be self-existent". I don't think we can decide such things, to begin with. We either find ourselves convinced by the argument, or we don't.

My conclusion was pretty much that this is a good argument that's really hard to resist. I'm not sure why that's weaker than what you want to say. What did you want to say the argument shows beyond that something must be self-existent? Or were you thinking of what other arguments might show (which isn't what my post was about)? Or did you think that there's something stronger than 'must'?
Just to clarify Jeremy. I was saying that the cosmological argument strongly implies more than just having something as self-existent. My use of 'decide' was probably not the best word, so I understand your confusion at it's use.

I think the cosmological argument is logically compelling, especially the kalam version, and from memory, it also implies power (cause must be sufficient for the effect) and personal (must be able to choose to create the universe) and supernatural (as it is outside of nature).
I wasn't giving the kalam argument. I was giving what some people call the contingency argument, because I think it's a much stronger argument for a weaker claim. Generally speaking, when you strengthen your conclusion you're going to end up with a weaker argument for that conclusion. I think that's the case with the kalam argument, primarily because it relies on the impossibility of an actual infinite, which most philosophers think is just a crazy assumption given that the development of the calculus in mathematics has explained how an actual infinite can make sense. I realize that there are still issues about an actual infinite in a finite space or time and an actual infinite duration of time or region of space (with some people thinking the former possible and the latter impossible), but my point is that the kalam argument relies on an assumption that virtually all philosophers deny.
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