UnApologetic

Christian Theology and Apologetics

Logic and Scripture

GamalielLogic is simply the study of appraising arguments. When someone uses logic, he is trying to clarify reasoning and separate good arguments from bad ones. We use arguments every single day, though we may not realize this; with a little introspection anyone can begin to notice how day to day deliberation often follows the rules of logic. This is true today, and it was true for folks in ancient times as well, some of these arguments were captured in the pages of the New Testament. Read more…

Advertisements

Keeping the Slaughter of Canaan in Context

slaughter of the Canaanites.001Are the conquest narratives in the Old Testament any different from what we are currently viewing with ISIS throughout the Middle East and Europe? Questions like this often come up in discussing the existence of objective moral values and duties and their proper grounding. When God is posited as the grounding of morality, the objector usually brings up some obscure OT text that he or she thinks will demonstrate that God has a warped sense of morality and it is usually in this context that the conquest narratives are brought up.

Read more…

A Response to Dr. Cummings’ “Peter and Paul”

saints.peter.and.paul.v2A Response to “Peter and Paul”

In his short article—Peter and Paul—Dr. Cummings makes a number of claims in the Macon Telegraph Opinion section I think deserve an adequate response. Read more…

A Few Ways to Die in Ancient Palestine

beheadinThere are a lot of ways to get yourself killed these days. Not much has changed in that regard as compared with ancient times. I’ve put together five methods that were used in ancient Palestine to maintain public order. Around 2,000 years ago these trusty little methods left little room for doubt; when they were used one could have the assurance the victim was dead with a capital D. Read more…

Cracking Concrete: The Grounding Objection Refuted

Grunge concrete cement wall with crack in industrial building, great for your design and texture background

By far the most common objection to middle knowledge is what theologians and philosophers call the grounding objection. The objection posits counterfactuals have nothing grounding their truth-value. Read more…

Predestination and Molinism

idea-light-bulbthinkstockCounterfactuals

In order to understand Molinism, one needs to understand counterfactuals. These are conditional statements in the subjunctive mood. Simply put, a counterfactual is a statement like this: If the Columbia space shuttle did not launch, it would not have blown up. The antecedent “if the Columbia space shuttle did not launch” is obviously false, it did launch and explode midair. Counterfactuals are used in everyday decision-making. If I were not so set my alarm clock I would be late for work. If I leave the iron on it would burn down the house. If I take this route I’ll get stuck in traffic. These statements are crucial to sound decision-making. Read more…

Calvinism and the Unknowable Commands of God

confused-personThere are several passages in Scripture affirming the doctrine of predestination. The primitive church prayed “. . . do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”

Paul stated,

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Predestine (GK προορίζω) means “to come to a decision beforehand—‘to decide beforehand, to determine ahead of time, to decide upon ahead of time.’” Thus, when Paul is talking about God predestining those he foreknew to become conformed to the image of His Son, Paul is saying God decided beforehand who would become conformed to Christ’s image. Few Christians would disagree with this doctrine. However, there is considerable divergence of opinion as to how predestination is to be filled out. Read more…

High Schooler Disqualified for Bible Verse?

1447266595986On November 7th at the Georgia 5-A cross country state championship the third place winner, John Green was stripped of his victory just moments after crossing the finish line. He was disqualified for wearing a headband—one adorned with Isaiah 40:30-31. Read more…

Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom: Are They Mutually Exclusive

scaleIn Scripture, we are told that nothing escapes his (God’s) gaze (Psalm 33:13-15). Entire nations are like clay in the hand of a potter (Jer 18:1-6). God possessing omniscience has a complete and infinitely detailed knowledge of this world; he knows its history, present state, and the entirety of its future. God has complete control over this world (omnipotence). God, being omnibenevolent has an exhaustive plan, which exhibits his moral perfection and love for his creation. Thus, God lovingly directs all events and creatures to the end he has predetermined for them.This begs the question: If God foreknows what I will do, then how in any real sense of the word am I free? Read more…

Alien Superstructures Around Star KIC 8462852?

star-cometsBetween the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra lies a star that has a peculiar feature that has been observed for four years beginning in 2009. In 2011 citizen scientists who participated in “planet hunters” —a program started by Kepler scientists to identify patterns in star behavior— found a star that emitted a very strange light pattern. They noticed aperiodic dips in flux below the 20% level that lasted anywhere between five and eighty days.[1] This light pattern seemed to indicate there was a great deal of matter orbiting the star, which would be expected of a young star, but the catch is that this star isn’t young, it appears to be an older mature star.

The team notes that these observations can be caused by a number of known phenomena such as starspots and pulsations, but what they have difficulty in formulating an explanation for the event they call D1500, which refers to a period of eighty days where exotic dips that couldn’t be accounted for in instrumental or statistical variations and must be astrophysical in origin. Another possibility is the observations were from the stars emission of disk material associated with Be-stars. The difficulty with this postulation is that there is not enough observed IR excess to support an excretion disk. They postulate that remnants of a broken up comet or an optically thin asteroid belt could account for the observations, but conclude that this is unlikely due to their lack of repeated dimming events every 750 days.

Other scenarios considered were dust-enshrouded planetesimals and comet families. What is to be observed is that nowhere in the body of the published work are concocted theories of Dyson Spheres or other alien produced superstructures as Jason Wright  and others suggest. If it were something like a Dyson Sphere, how would the Kepler observe the light emitted from the star? Wright posits that the unusual light emitted from the star is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures.” It seems Wright is jumping ahead of himself here. In response, I would simply ask what other superstructures have been observed, and if there are none, how could the data be consistent. Science is based on observed repeatable experiments, without further data, Mr. Wright is just speculating wildly, and I might add, irresponsibly. Philosophical presuppositions often take data and forms a conclusion the interpreter wants, and I think it is clear that this is the case with Wright. That being said, if his proposal to aim SETI at the star is approved we might gain more evidence leading one way or the other as to the origin of the observed patterns of the star. A final thought regarding this star I find amusing; it is interesting that when perceived design is observed on Earth it is always given a naturalistic explanation, but when something out in the heavens appears—remotely—that it has a chance of being designed, the answer is an intelligent mind, albeit an alien one. Again, the point is that presuppositions formulate conclusions in science—as it does in other fields—more than most are willing to admit.

 

 

Notes

[1] Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 – Where’s the flux? Retrieved from: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: