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Showing posts from March, 2014

Ontological argument - some Religious Studies A2 notes

Notes on Ontological Argument from today's A2 Teachers First conference Bloomsbury (from ppt) n   Ontological argument n   Stephen Law n   Heythrop College, University of London n   The ontological argument n   An argument that attempts to prove the existence of God a priori , from the definition or concept of God. n   An “armchair” proof!

Post by Phil and Monica H. re William Lane Craig and Michael Murray on animal pain

This is a one-off guest posting. It's well worth reading. Apologies for awful unfixable formatting. We are the creators of a series of videos debunking the neuroscience claims made by William Lane Craig (WLC) in his debate with Stephen Law.  WLC claimed animals are not aware of pain and that neuroscience backs his claim.  In Feb 2013 William Lane Craig devoted an entire podcast to addressing our video on the neuroscience of animal suffering; we quickly uploaded a video response, addressing the flaws in his arguments.  You can see all this back and forth here: Craig promised his source author Michael Murray would write a written reply to our video response and one year later, this has now been published on Craig's web site:     We would like to thank both Michael Murray and William Lane Craig for re

CFI UK Surveillance Society event May 3rd

Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall present The Surveillance Society Including Caspar Bowden, Tom Sorell, Judith Rauhofer. Post Snowden, where do we go now? When is surveillance acceptable, and when is it wrong? Should whole swathes of public policy regarding surveillance now be junked? Three leading experts in the field present accessible and fascinating talks on our emerging surveillance society – and what to do about it. Organized and chaired by Stephen Law Saturday May 3rd 2014 Conway Hall (Main Hall) 25 Red Lion Square Holborn London WC1R 4RL (Nr Holborn Tube) £10 (£5 students) Free to friends of CFI UK. 10.30am registration. 11am – 3.45pm Tickets available at 11.00 Caspar Bowden . Caspar Bowden is an independent advocate for information privacy rights, and public understanding of privacy research in computer science. For nine yea

Notes from my slides today - evil and suffering, Augustine, Irenaus, sceptical theism

Notes from today's lecture on evil and sufering. n   Problem of Evil n   Stephen Law n   The lecture n   What are we going to do? n   1. Outline the problems of evil (logical and evidential). n   2. Outline and assess the “ free will ” solutions to evidential problem offered by (I) Irenaeus and (II) Augustine. n   3. Introduce “sceptical theism”. n   Prelim: natural and moral evils. n   (1): logical problem of evil n   (1) There is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good God. n   (2) There is evil. n   The logical problem of evil says (1) and (2) are logically inconsistent . n   To assert both (1) and (2) is to produce a logical contradiction (like saying that there are round squares, or married bachelors).

Cosmological argument - some notes

Cosmological argument Text from today's slides •        Cosmological Argument •        Stephen Law •        Cosmological arguments •        Cosmological arguments attempt to establish the existence of God by noting: •        (i) that the universe exists, and •        (ii) inferring that it must depend for its existence on something else , that something else being God. •        There are many versions.

God in the Lab - Book now for June 14th!

GOD IN THE LAB: The Science of Religious Belief Register Now Tickets at:   Centre for Inquiry UK and Conway Hall present What lies behind exorcism and speaking in tongues? How rational are atheists? Does morality depend on religion? Profs. Chris French, Jon Lanman and Glen Carrigan discuss some fascinating recent research and findings re. religious and atheistic belief systems. Presented by Stephen Law Saturday June 14th, 2014 Conway Hall (Main Hall) 25 Red Lion Square Holborn London WC1R 4RL (Nr Holborn Tube) £10 (£5 students) Free to friends of CFI UK. 10.30am registration. 11am – 3.45pm Tickets available at… 11.00 Glen Carrigan. An introduction to a morality where God is not at its centre. Using the 4 S’s of science, skepticism, sarcasm and satire whilst employing neuropsychological research and a humanistic world view, we

Defence and development of Erik Wielenberg's argument re sceptical theism - forthcoming in Religious Studies

(revised 9 April 2014) Sceptical theism and a lying God – Wielenberg’s argument defended and developed Stephen Law Department of Philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W5 8HX UK . Abstract : Sceptical theists attempt to block the evidential argument from evil by arguing that a key premise of that argument – that gratuitous evil exists – cannot reasonably be maintained. They argue that, for all we know, our knowledge of reasons God may have to permit such evil is radically incomplete. Thus the fact that we cannot identify reasons for God to permit the evil we observe does not allow us reasonably to conclude that no such reasons exist. In response, Erik Wielenberg has pointed out what appears to be, for many sceptical theists, an unfortunate further consequence of their position. According to Wielenberg, if sceptical theism is correct, then, similarly, the fact that we cannot identif

Email from Centre for Intelligent Design

Centre for Intelligent Design Beware State-sponsored Darwinian Indoctrination                          March 2014 Dear Dr Law, When Theos, the London-based public theology think tank, published 'Rescuing Darwin' in 2009 they presented a remarkable statistic.  It was that two hundred years after Charles Darwin's birth in 1809, 'at least half' of the British population is still sceptical about the theory of evolution.[1]  This was consistent with a survey conducted for a BBC Horizon programme in 2006 which put the figure at 52%. However, Theos was actually being a bit generous with its data.  It was 63% of the population they found to be sceptical about Darwin's theory of evolution.  It does of course depend on the form of the question you ask.  However, more embarrassingly, Theos found that some 51% of the population thought that some form of Intelligent Design (ID) was a credible explanation of origins.[2] That only 37% of the population in 2009 found evolution

Global Warming – Where Do We Go From Here? April 12th

CFI UK and Conway Hall present Global Warming – Where Do We Go From Here? Radical ideas ad suggestions on how to respond to the threat of global warming from some of the UK’s leading experts and campaigners. Organized and presented by Stephen Law. April 12th, 2014 Conway Hall Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL Near Holborn Tube £10 (£5 students) free to friends of CFI UK. Tickets available online at: 10.30 Registration 11am Dr Mayer Hillman. Senior Fellow Emeritus, Policy Studies Institute, London . What do we do now that society is demonstrating all too clearly its strong preference for downplaying the significance and implications of climate change? 12.00 Dr Rupert Read. Philosopher and Green activist. Rupert will speak about global over-heat, the end of denialism, and the self-destruction of libertarianism in relation to this issue - and a p

Centre for Inquiry UK events at Oxford Literary Festival 2014

Bruce Hood Introduced by Stephen Law The Self Illusion: Why There is No You Inside Your Head Saturday 22 March 2014 4:00pm   Experimental psychologist Bruce Hood argues that the self is an illusion but one that we cannot live without. He says most of us believe that we exist as a self – an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body – the ‘me’ inside me – is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other’s actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you. We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit fr