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July 1, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Criticism of Sam Harris’ View of Free Will

1) Kills introspection & self-reflection ***
2) Only deduction, not induction. It kills induction or de-prioritizes it as way to attain knowledge of ourselves and the world ***
(See also here and here)
3) Sets burden of proof too high
4) “Scientific mysticism” ***
5) Leaving less ground for experiential reasons only leaves more room for God-type explanations
6) Reality frames our perception of reality (this is more an observation about the limits of knowledge)
7) Infinite regress (why, why, why) ends in nothing (aka no answers) OR God.
8) Bad cartesian methodology
9) Backward view. Kills personal observation of real world, which is the superior method. ***
10) David Harriman, The Logic Leap *** (link)
11) We don’t ergo is doesn’t exist is a poor knowledge heuristic. It sets the bar far, far too high. Human omnipotence is too high a bar ***
12) Harris has a bad or incomplete definition of free will.
13) Causal antecedants = poor criteria for determinism ***
14) Choice is a type of causality (not directly determined by the laws of physics–at least as we know them) ***
15) Red herring (?)
16) Worldview of determinism destroys progress and self-improvement (static versus dynamic & improving). ***
17) Billiard ball reality of Atomism of Aristotles time ***
18] WT Jones (link) and Leonard Peikoff (link)
19) The need to use the language of self-knowledge & choice–suggests its a fundamental part of things
20) fMRI data will never find free will
21) Conclusion: this destroys everything we hold dear.

Heres some other thoughts on Sam Harris’ view of free will & determinism:

1) Burden of proof wouldn’t be met by any theory in science.
2) His philosophy makes his responsibility–his choice–his thinking–all illusions
3) Harris makes calls to action meaningless.
4) Harris kills personal responsibility.
5) Harris ignores personality, subjectivity, etc…and human personhood.
6) Just an infinite regress beyond “rationality” and reason
7) NK: what is the mechanism of determinism such thats its all inclusive. (the universe & the big bang seem insufficient-see also scientific mysticism)
8) Uses hyperbole, inappropriate framing, and manipulation of known facts.
9) Ignores interior life and inner life

Based mostly on Free Will: Sam Harris Has It (Wrong) by Barry Linetsky (link)

I should make some links for:
• Atomism
• Mechanistic worldview/Mechanistic Science
• Physicalism/Naturalism
• Top down versus bottom up/Emergence
• The notion of utility versus
• Phenomenology
• Positivism & Critique of Positivism (post-positivism)
• Philosophy of Science
• Criticism of determinism
• Defense/Justification of free will

June 30, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Foundational and assumptive problems with atheist arguments

Because atheists sell a particular brand of rationality that Christians don’t subcribe to.

Well whats unique about that brand of rationality?

  • Its skeptical.  It breaks down, it doesn’t build up.
  • Its not very contextual.  Its reductionistic.
  • Its not comparative.

There are also three other trends I’ve recognized–that are red flags:

  • Skepticism can be used against anything–against any belief.  But human existence requires belief.
  • Also, skeptics typically aren’t skeptical of their own skepticism or don’t spend the same amount of time being skeptical that they spend reading arguments.
  • This is all compounded by the way that skeptics write books.  Academic books tend to tell both sides of the story and then integrate and compare.  Skeptics usually set up a strawperson attack rather than providing the scholarship.  An example of this is using Thomas Aquinas, but not realizing that his next book had answers to the objections raised by new atheists.  This seems like dishonesty and/or an insufficient understanding of the history of philosophy.

What else from a historical perspective?

  • Its heavily influenced by Hume’s thought, but there have been multiple criticisms of Hume since he wrote which haven’t been sufficiently refuted.
  • I would reemphasize that it almost totally omits both a full range of Classic arguments as well as newer arguments.
  • Its heavily influenced by positivism, which has been throughly discredited in philosophical circles.
  • It doesn’t recognize its own assumptions fully (materialism, naturalism, scientism, etc..)

You can create doubt about pretty much everything.  Existence of doubt is insufficient to disprove.

Also, atheists won’t admit that they have a burden of proof in their advocacy for change of the behavior of Christians.  This ends up being a reciprocal burden.

June 30, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Great Links to Help Improve Public Speaking Skills

Public Speaking Tips & Resources:

• Guide to Public Speaking (link)

• What You Can Learn from TED Talks (link)

• Tips for Public Speaking (link)

• More Tips for Public Speaking (link)

• Speaking (link)

Personal Accountability:

• 10 Ways to Evaluate Your Public Speaking (link)

• 10 Coaching Questions (link)

Bells and Whistles:

• Instagram Apps (link)

June 28, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Broad topic areas for philosophic investigation

1) Critical thinking methods, problem solving methods (the need for building & comparing & context)

2) Skepticism

3) Philosophic Skepticism

4) Naturalism (Physicalism, Materialism, Scientism, etc..).  Specifically the later.

5) Positivism & Verificationism

6) Suffering/Problem of Evil

7) Jesus

8) Translation Issues

9) OT Issues

10) Epistemology of faith

11) Definition and Process of faith (see also belief)

12) Fallacy in N.A. arguments

Bonus: Author Review/Book Review

June 20, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

The Best Startup & Lean Startup Entrepreneurial Videos

Here is a list of startup entrepreneurial videos and resources which are available all across the web:

1) Mixergy (link)

2) iLab Videos from Harvard  (link)

3) Stanford University–Entrepreneurship Videos (link)

4) Stanford University–Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (link)

5) TED Talks (link)

6) Coursera (link)

7) Lynda (link)

8) Udacity (link)

9) Lean Startup Course (link)

Additional Lean Startup Resources:

1) Lean Startup Methodology explained (link)

2) Lean Startup Wiki (link)

3) Business Model Canvas (link)

4) Lean Startup Video on Udemy (link)

5) Lean Startup on Quora (link)

There are a number of Lean Startup books available.

June 8, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What are other reasons why church attendance is practical and Biblically encouraged

Here are ten key reasons for Church attendance on sunday and anytime the church doors are open:

1) Moments of rememberence, self-reflection, and re-focus.

2) Time of mental preparation.

3) All the reasons that the fruits of the spirit are a good idea.

4) Keeping you goal-focused on your values (and ultimate meaning and purpose in the world).

5) Keeping you goal-focused on your Heavenly father, Jesus’ sacrifice, and your identity in Christ

6) Building the body (lots of Biblical reasons here).  Taking more people to heaven.  Christianity is a team sport.  Helping lighten another persons load.

7) Habits matter.  Habits are multipliers.  Each opportunity counts.  Investing time and resources in relationships pays dividends.

8) Its a measure of your commitment and the quality of the relationship

9) There is power in collective action & community.  We need others for the journey.  We grow together and we grow in the context of relationship and community.

10)  Its a unique time of learning training your brain for your encounters with evil.

Objections: Its not as entertaining as I would like.  Requires willpower.  I’d rather be fishing.

Answering Objections: Implications are eternal.  Its about providing a systemic time in your week for God and for your church family.  Family makes time for family.  (thats what family is and does).  Its about learning to love it.  Perhaps you need to re-orient your thinking/feeling or find a church that connects with you.  But ultimately, all great achievement, accomplishment, and excellence requires sacrifice.  This is no exception.

June 7, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What are the best reasons to worship the God of the Bible

There are many reasons to worship the Christian God and the God of the Bible.

I think one of the best is found in Psalms 139:
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2  You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3  You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4  Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5  You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7  Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8  If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9  If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10  even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12  even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13  For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15  My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16  Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17  How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18  Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

19  If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20  They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21  Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22  I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23  Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24  See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I think two other great reasons are
1) Psalms 23
2) The sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

3) The new testament story and promises

Source: Link

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