Friday, February 24, 2023

Bad design

I recently got into an impromptu debate with an atheist and evolutionist (i.e. a materialist or naturalist and neo-Darwinist). Well, calling it a debate might be too generous, since he didn't make arguments so much as assertions. One of the things he asserted was bad or suboptimal design demonstrates that intelligent design (ID) is bunk and that God doesn't exist. Or it demonstrates it's evil design from an evil designer.

My reply was along these lines:

  1. As far as ID goes, the claim isn't that ID necessarily demonstrates God designed the entity (e.g. a biological organism). Rather ID makes a more modest claim: the inference is to design without necessarily identifying the designer(s).
  2. Bad or suboptimal design could still be intelligent design. A Ford Pinto is just as intelligently designed as an Alfa Romeo despite the former cars being badly designed. A clunky and defective Gateway computer is just as intelligently designed as the world's best supercomputer despite the Gateway being a badly designed computer.
  3. If (arguendo) bad or suboptimal design is somehow evidence of evil design, and by implication an evil designer designed it, it'd still be design. An iron maiden chamber, bamboo torture, and crucifixion might imply an evil mind designed these instruments of torture. Nevertheless there's an intelligence or mind behind them. ID doesn't make any certain claims about the moral values of the designer(s).
  4. An argument from a design inference to the Christian God as the designer requires additional steps. These arguments exist. For example, Stephen Meyer's book The Return of the God Hypothesis argues for God as the designer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Death Of Michael Heiser

I still don't know a lot about him, and I haven't read any of his books yet, but I listened to his Peeranormal podcast for years. I'm grateful for the work he and his colleagues on that podcast did to address some issues that have been so neglected by so many Christians. He'll be missed.

When Religious Content Is Popular In Secular Contexts

I recently saw some people discussing the phenomenon of religious content being well received on a YouTube channel, television show, or some other context that's generally secular. And that raises the question of why religious content is so much less popular when it's placed in a more religious setting (e.g., a religious YouTube channel). I think the situation is multifaceted, and I'm not going to try to explain everything that's going on, but I want to mention a few of the factors that seem likely to be involved.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Witnesses' Willingness To Suffer For Belief In Jesus' Resurrection

The issue often comes up in discussions of the resurrection, and it should, as evidence pertaining to the witnesses' sincerity. I've written a lot about the subject in the past, such as a brief overview I wrote 17 years ago here and a lengthier treatment focused on the death of the apostles that I wrote 11 years ago here. What I want to do in this post is briefly reiterate or expand upon some of the relevant points.