Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feedback required please...

To any teachers out there ....If anyone had ever used my "Evil God Challenge" or other philosophy of religion or philosophy of mind material, in the school classroom, or in some other educational setting, I'd be very keen to hear about it, as it counts as "impact", which I am being assessed on. I'd need to know what material was used, where, when and to how many students.

Or if you can give examples of other ways in which the Evil God challenge has had impact (educational, public, etc.) that I might not know about...

V best

Stephen

19 comments:

The Atheist Missionary said...

This was published in the October 23, 2010 edition of the Owen Sound Sun Times. I assure you that philosophers rarely grace the pages of that paper.

Phil Carter said...

I was a student when it was put forward to me, by you, at one of Heythrops' seminars for a-level students. I think I was 17. It had an alarming impact, I was an evangelical christian and regularly using variations of the teleo/cosmological arguments. It made me question my own use of arguments, the churches blind use of them and eventually caused me to follow up with more research; amongst which I discovered my love for philosophy as a subject. A few years on, I am now an atheist Philosophy graduate. So it has had a large impact on me personally, educationally and vocationally. Much appreciation for that, hope this helps!

Stephen Law said...

Thanks very much you two.

Phil - that is extraordinary. It's kind of enervating, and yet also pretty disturbing, to realize stuff I produce has had a dramatic effect on at least some young people. It seems I really am "corrupting the youth", which is some responsibility.

Phil Carter said...

What you said was put into a public sphere, it was my choice to engage with it, at the end of the day my personal beliefs failed to stand up to reason and logic. Reason and logic are now my personal beliefs. If it is more comforting, think of it more as a catalyst than a wrecking ball, and I can assure you that there were other people and many many more writings involved on 'both sides'! But still, thank you for that day and for the effect it collectively had on me.

Stephen Law said...

You're very welcome Phil. I am much more enervated than disturbed!

Justin Vacula said...

Stephen, I've been a huge fan since you've debated Craig and thought the evil god challenge was quite a hammerblow to theism!

I've blogged about it on American Atheists' "No God Blog"

http://atheists.org/blog/2011/11/16/debating-religion-the-evidential-problem-of-good-and-its-implications

and used a variation in a debate I had with a Methodist minister in a live podcast episode

http://nepafreethought.org/news/podcast/episode?p=4

Thanks much!

Justin Vacula said...

Also, touching on your debate and related comments from Craig:

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-scranton/william-lane-craig-god-shielded-animal-kingdom-from-an-awareness-of-pain

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-scranton/william-lane-craig-atheists-lack-justification-for-ethical-treatment-of-animals

Tim Rowe said...

It's referred to in a book manuscript that I've written and am hoping to have published. I think it highlights Hume's problem very well (hence why it's in there!)

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Justin and Tim - very helpful!

NoseyMatronType said...

I am slowly integrating quite a bit of your material into my teaching of Year 13's doing the OCR Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics courses at 'A' Level. There are six students in all. So far we have discussed the section on the Evil God Hypothesis from your latest book (which I have reviewed favourably on Amazon). I also intend to use the 'Dogs are spies from the planet Venus' material to teach falsification. Additionally, 'The Great Philosophers' has proved to be an invaluable additional resource. What I like about your writing is its clarity, accuracy and humour. These attributes are in short supply in most of the recommended OCR textbooks.

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Nosey Matron - that's good to know. Also thanks for amazon review!

Jonny said...

Hi Stephen,

I use your Evil God Challenge in my A-level Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics) class of 7 students. We listen to your interview on Philosophy Bites and then consider how to run the Augustinian and Irenaean theodicies and Free Will Defence in reverse.

Tim Stephenson said...

See 29 minutes in. I acknowledge your work at 44 minutes in: http://www.worfolklectures.org/lectures/perspective-humanism

John W. Loftus said...

Have you seen Steven M. Cahn, “Cacodaemony,” in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, ed. Steven M. Cahn and David Shatz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 20–24.

I think that is the earliest example I found of this type of argument.

http://philpapers.org/rec/CAHC

Paula Saunders said...

I've used your evil God hypothesis often with A level students-always well received - smiles all round usually! Next week plan to try it on my class of 20 adults - am teaching a WEA 'Cultural Studies' (ie interest only, non-exam) Philosophy of Religion -Does God Exist? course!Will report back on response!

Paula Saunders St Albans

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Paula - v helpful.

John - I refer to that paper in the EGC paper. But actually there are some even earlier versions, which I also reference. Cant reference them from here though...

Paula Saunders said...

Hi Stephen. First met your Evil God hypothesis on a 1-day course for teachers of P of R led by you and used it ever since. My WEA class very taken with it (ages range from mid-50s-early 80s and v bright!)- there was a silence when I finished and some appreciative murmurings! It really does make them think and evaluate the standard theodicies. I gave them the abbreviated version (as taken down by me that day and put on to a Ppt!) but have directed them to your Investigating Atheism website and your very good alien philosophers version! They especially liked your 'Hello magazine is all part of Evil God's plan'! Thank you!Paula

Stephen Law said...

Thanks very much Paula. V Helpful.

terry randall said...

hi Stephen. I listened to you yesterday at the oxford literary festival and enjoyed the talk. the evil god hypothesis seems to me a revamping of the argument from design. if we take the version of looking around the garden (where god is the gardener) to see if there is a gardener then the weeds might make us think there is no gardener, but the flowers that there is one. the weakness of the argument from design is it all depends on how you view the garden. Atheist seem so troubled by suffering but its fairly obvious that biologically pain is absolutey necessary if we are to look after ourselves. And with pain comes suffering. However, much suffering is caused by humans and you can't lay that at god's door. but what about cancer, plague etc.? well its hard to see all microbes, deseases etc. as good at all but i wonder if we look on things in a too human perspective and that some of these things are for the benefit of the eco systems and other living things. Finally, science cannot answer why matter exists at all even if it can give some answers as to how the universe works or has evolved. I've never felt content to live in a universe with no apparent cause(chance seems to me a vacuous concept when applied to the universe)I believe God exists and pervades the whole of the world we know but then that is a revelation for some reason not given to all.