Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Moral Poverty of Naturalism

Yet another great share from the Wintery Knight blog on Mark D. Linville's the moral poverty of evolutionary naturalism.

But even if we are assured that a “normal” person will be prompted by the social instincts and that those instincts are typically flanked and reinforced by a set of moral emotions, we still do not have a truly normative account of moral obligation. There is nothing in Darwin’s own account to indicate that the ensuing sense of guilt—a guilty feeling—is indicative of actual moral guilt resulting from the violation of an objective moral law. The revenge taken by one’s own conscience amounts to a sort of second-order propensity to feel a certain way given one’s past relation to conflicting first-order propensities (e.g., the father’s impulse to save his child versus his impulse to save himself). Unless we import normative considerations from some other source, it seems that, whether it is a first or second-order inclination,one’s being prompted by it is more readily understood as a descriptive feature of one’s own psychology than material for a normative assessment of one’s behavior or character. And, assuming that there is anything to this observation, an ascent into even higher levels of propensities (“I feel guilty for not having felt guilty for not being remorseful over not obeying my social instincts…”) introduces nothing of normative import. Suppose you encounter a man who neither feels the pull of social, paternal or familial instincts nor is in the least bit concerned over his apparent lack of conscience. What, from a strictly Darwinian perspective, can one say to him that is of any serious moral import? “You are not moved to action by the impulses that move most of us.” Right. So?
The problem afflicts contemporary construals of an evolutionary account of human morality. Consider Michael Shermer’s explanation for the evolution of a moral sense—the “science of good and evil.” He explains,
By a moral sense, I mean a moral feeling or emotion generated by actions. For example, positive emotions such as righteousness and pride are experienced as the psychological feeling of doing “good.” These moral emotions likely evolved out of behaviors that were reinforced as being good either for the individual or for the group.2
Shermer goes on to compare such moral emotions to other emotions and sensations that are universally experienced, such as hunger and the sexual urge. He then addresses the question of moral motivation.
In this evolutionary theory of morality, asking “Why should we be moral?” is like asking “Why should we be hungry?” or “Why should we be horny?” For that matter, we could ask, “Why should we be jealous?” or “Why should we fall in love?” The answer is that it is as much a part of human nature to be moral as it is to be hungry, horny, jealous, and in love.3
Thus, according to Shermer, given an evolutionary account, such a question is simply a non-starter. Moral motivation is a given as it is wired in as one of our basic drives. Of course, one might point out that Shermer’s “moral emotions” often do need encouragement in a way that, say, “horniness,” does not. More importantly, Shermer apparently fails to notice that if asking “Why should I be moral?” is like asking, “Why should I be horny?” then asserting, “You ought to be moral” is like asserting, “You ought to be horny.” As goes the interrogative, so goes the imperative. But if the latter seems out of place, then, on Shermer’s view, so is the former.
One might thus observe that if morality is anything at all, it is irreducibly normative in nature. But the Darwinian account winds up reducing morality to descriptive features of human psychology. Like the libido, either the moral sense is present and active or it is not. If it is, then we might expect one to behave accordingly. If not, why, then, as a famous blues man once put it, “the boogie woogie just ain’t in me.” And so the resulting “morality” is that in name only.
In light of such considerations, it is tempting to conclude with C. S. Lewis that, if the naturalist remembered his philosophy out of school, he would recognize that any claim to the effect that “I ought” is on a par with “I itch,” in that it is nothing more than a descriptive piece of autobiography with no essential reference to any actual obligations.

At this point I want to recommend reading J.P. Moreland's essay on human worth and naturalism he wrote for the book "God is Great, God is Good..." The following ideas and sources are from that essay. I include this summary of human worth and naturalism because I think the moral argument for God has a lot of weight in human dignity and intrinsic worth.

One would think, since naturalism cannot explain the existence of objective morality, it counts as a nod toward Christian theism. Atheist J.L. Mackie acknowledged: "Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of properties and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events without an all-powerful god to create them."2 The best scientific naturalism can do is explain what I call "low-end" morality, which is explained partly by kin-selection and reciprocal altruism; it cannot explain intrinsic value, objective moral order, or the high equal value and rights of human persons (high-end morality). Naturalists Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse acknowledge that the best justification for the high equal value of human persons is in the grounding of Judeo-Christian doctrine of the image of God.3 This claim by Singer and Kuhse is acknowledged by many thinkers, most notably by Joel Feinberg. 4 

J.P. Moreland writes 

The following skeptical question, Feinberg believes, has never been adequately answered: why would we treat all people equally in any respect in the face of manifest inequalities of merit among them? The simple response "Because we just have such worth" does not answer the skeptic's query. If "human worth" is real and generic, says Feinberg, then it must supervene on some subvenient base that (1) we al lhave equally in common and (2) is nontrivial and of supreme moral worth. Operating within a naturalistic framework, Feinberg considers several attempts to delineate that base, and he judges them all to be a failure because they
  • require an entity such as "pricelessness" for which we have no answer as to where it came from and with respect to which one must postulate a problematic, mysterious, intuitive faculty of direct awareness of such an entity;
  • are grounded in a degreed property (one that is possessed to a greater or lesser degree) such as rationality (Feinberg takes the potential for rationality to be degreed) which, therefore, cannot do the job of founding equal worth for all; 
  • simply name the problem to be solved and do not provide an explanation of the problem itself.
At the end of the day, Feinberg acknowledges that the notion of equal worth and equal rights for all human persons is groundless and may simply express a noncognitivist, unjustifiable pro-attitude of respect to ward the humanity in each person. 5  

Feinberg gives an excellent illustration of the difficulty of grounding equal value and rights (objective morality) on a naturalistic worldview. It cannot be done because given naturalism, it's illusory. J.P. Moreland then cites David Hull who is the leading philosopher of evolutionary theory in the twentieth century. 

The implications of moving species from the metaphysical category that can appropriately be characterized in terms of "natures" to a category for which such characterizations are inappropriate are extensive and fundamental. If species evolve in anything like the way that Darwin thought they did, then they cannot possibly have the sort of natures that traditional philosophers claimed they did. If species in general lack natures, then so does Homo sapiens as a biological species. If homo sapiens lacks a nature, then no reference to biology can be made to support one's claims about "human nature." Perhaps all people are "persons," share the same "personhood," etc., but such claims must be explicated and defended with no reference to biology. Because so many moral, ethical, and political theories depend on some notion or other of human nature, Darwin's theory brought into question all these theories. The implications are not entailments. One can always dissociate "Homo sapiens" from "human being," but the result is a much less plausible position.

He (Moreland) goes on to cite atheist James Rachels as claiming, "...a Darwinian approach to the origin of human beings, while not entailing the falsity of these notions, nevertheless provides an undercutting defeater for the idea that humans are made in the image of God and that humans have intrinsic dignity and worth as such. Indeed, according to Rachels, Darwinism is the universal solvent that dissolves any attempt to defend the notion of intrinsic human dignity." 7 

Rachels writes: 

The doctrine of human dignity says that humans merit a level of moral concern wholly different from that accorded to mere animals; for this to be true, there would have to be some big, morally significant difference between them. Therefore, any adequate defense of human dignity would require some conception of human beings as radically different from other animals. But that is precisely what evolutionary theory calls into question. It makes us suspicious of any doctrine that sees large gaps of any sort between humans and all other creatures. This being so, a Darwinian may conclude that a successful defense of human dignity is most unlikely.

Rachels is correct. On the naturalistic worldview, "...a successful defense of human dignity is most unlikely." All you have with naturalism is an explanation for low-end morality. Naturalism cannot explain the high-end morality that humans demonstrate, which is behavior that doesn't care about reciprocal or genetic advantages to the action. Why do people give blood? The blood is going to help those who the person does not know. There is no naturalistic rationale for this behavior. Richard Dawkins concedes that that the Darwinian thesis cannot explain why people give blood, a fact that he puts down to "pure disinterested altruism." 9 The Darwinian model cannot account for "love your enemies." Or for the actions of Mother Teresa, or for the good Samaritan model. The Darwinian model is confined to the realm of self-interest and the essence of morality operates outside the realm of self-interest. As Dinesh D'Souza writes, "The whole point of morality is that you are doing what you ought to do, not what you are inclined to do or what is in your interest to do. Morality is described in the language of duty, and duty is something that we are obliged to do whether we want to or not, whether it benefits us or not." 10

J.P. Moreland finishes his essay with 

Naturalists can't appeal to emergence to solve their problems because (1) this is just a label for the problem to be solved and not a real solution and (2) it begs the question against Christian theism in a most egregious way. It would seem, then, that important features that characterize us human persons provide evidence that there is a Creator God who made us. And this is exactly what one would predict if biblical teaching about the image of God is true. 11


1. Michael Ruse, "Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics," in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262 - 69 

2. J.L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982), p. 115 

3. Helga Kuhse and Peter Singer, Should the Baby Live? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 118-39. 

4. Joel Finberg, Social Philosophy (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973), pp. 84-97

5. J.P. Moreland, "The Image of God and the Failure of Scientific Atheism," in God is Great, God is Good (USA: Intervarsity Press, 2009), pp. 45-46 

6. David Hull, The Metaphysics of Evolution (Albany: State University of New York, 1989), pp. 74-75

7. Moreland, pp. 46-47

8. James Rachels, Created from Animals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 171-72. Cf. pp. 93, 97, 171

9. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) pp. 230.

10. Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity (USA: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007) pp. 239-240.

11. Moreland, pp. 47

Check out all of my posts on morality by clicking here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Does Moral Obligation Make Sense on Materialism?

H/T to the Wintery Knight for this one.

WK found this excellent post by J.W. Wallace


    When examining the causes for an event (such as a death) we can separate them into two categories: event causation and agent causation (prior physical events cause things to happen and free agents cause things to happen). It’s important to recognize that free agents alone have the freedom to act or respond without a prior physical causal event. Physical objects, like dominoes, cannot cause themselves to fall over; they require a prior event to cause them to fall. But you and I have the ability to cause the first domino to fall as a simple matter of choice (we don’t need a prior event to cause this action). You can’t blame a car for running over a victim; the car is simply a physical object subject to a series of physical processes, none of which can be held morally culpable. But we can blame the driver of the car for driving the car over the victim. The driver is a free agent, and we recognize that his choices are just that: free choices. The driver is not like the car. His choice is not simply the result of a series of purely physical processes, like dominoes falling. He had the freedom to choose otherwise, and this is why we seek to arrest and prosecute him.

    Our recognition of the moral culpability of the driver (rather than the car) is an admission that materialism (physicalism) fails to explain who we are as humans. Consider the following argument:

    No Physical System is a Free Agent
    Physical systems are either “determined” (one event necessarily following the other) or “random”

    Therefore No Physical System Has Moral Responsibility
    Moral responsibility requires moral freedom of choice

    Human Beings DO Have Moral Responsibility
    We recognize that each of us has the responsibility and choice to act morally, and indeed, we seek to hold each other legally accountable for each other’s free-will choices

    Therefore, Human Beings Are NOT Simply Physical Systems
    Our recognition of moral responsibility and our efforts to hold each other accountable are irrational and unwarranted if humans are merely physical systems

    If we, as humans, are only physical systems (merely matter), we ought to stop trying to hold each other accountable for misbehavior. In fact, there can be no misbehavior if we are only physical brains and bodies; there can only be behavior. Our actions have no moral content at all unless we truly have the freedom to choose and the ability to break the bondage of physical event causation.

Read more here

Quote of the Week - Jonathan Edwards on Reason and Revelation

“All truth is given by revelation, either general or special, and it must be received by reason. Reason is the God-given means for discovering the truth that God discloses, whether in his world or his Word. While God wants to reach the heart with truth, he does not bypass the mind.”
― Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Problem with Identity: Us

Morality. Universe. Knowledge. Life. Logic. Out of the previous mentioned what concerns mankind? Me. No, not Seth of 'Reformed Seth,' but the "me" of everyone. The "I" as Nietzsche worded it in his "...Zarathustra;" that is what grabs the attention of mankind. What makes something truly right or truly wrong doesn't concern man, nor do the stars at night, and definitely not logic (its rules are broken quite often): what concerns him is himself. Blame the existentialists if you want. I think it's an arguable case. I really want to blame charismatics, but all the blame doesn't rest in their laps; there are probably many contributing forces, too many to nail down a single culprit.

I'm frankly amazed by the number of people who are depressed because they "can't find myself" (Nietzscheian language) or they leave on this year(s) long tour of the world to "be alone with myself." Dude. Are you seriously that interesting? Can you not find yourself? Where has your "self" gone? How are you functioning if your "self" is not in you? What "self" is operating your body? As Sweet Brown would say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" Nobody, for sure, has time for people "finding themselves." I know I don't and that, to some ears, is tough to swallow because they don't want to be insensitive to the person's feelings, but is the insensitivity toward the person wrong? I don't think so. The person needs to realize that he has found himself because he *is* himself. I'll try to explain.

The philosophy of the self is a difficult philosophy to condense in a blog post, especially when the author barely has his hands on the subject so please don't consider this to be an exhaustive treatment especially since this is more of a rant than a philosophical argument. I'm persuaded that when people use the language of the self in this way: I need to find myself; they are taking a dark, German side of the soul and twisting it into American self-help, egotistical language. This German philosophy has been broken to pieces by the American self-help wrecking ball then put back together by Joel Osteen and Tony Robbins. It's annoying. At the same that it's annoying, it's also quite fascinating that these American self-help bafoons have taken Nietzsche and other German philosophers' "higher" thoughts and made them digestible via 5-step self-help books. I'm surprised we haven't seen a book titled "Nihilism: 5 easy steps to crawl out of the abyss and be a new YOU!" or "Nihilism and the New You." Gross, right?

The high philosophy of the self has become a low, base, self-help guru recipe to fill the whiny void of the unsatisfied arrogant who are so absorbed with themselves that they think they can't find themselves while the whole time they know who they are, but they're just not satisfied with reality of they truly are. They think, "Surely this isn't me," or "Do I really like this job? I can't like this job. I need to find myself because surely this can't be me." These people are bored. They're bored because, I think, they have a false view of happiness. I've blogged about happiness before. There is a false idea of happiness floating around the U.S. that man is entitled to it because of the idea we have a natural right to pursue happiness which I agree with, but the founders had a different idea of happiness than we do today. The happiness in view today is one I think that is wrapped in consumerism. "If I don't have the newest X (whatever x is) then I'm not happy" or "If every need I have isn't being met then I'm not happy;" this happiness I call childish happiness. It's a happiness that is grounded by self-centered spoiled-ness. That isn't happiness. So, what did the founders have in mind when they declared that man has a natural right to the pursuit of happiness (notice they didn't declare a natural right to happiness)? I think they had this in mind: to make oneself content whatever that may be within the realm of the natural and civic law of course. They had in mind, I think, vocation, marriage, religion or lack of religion, and place to live in view when they declared the right to pursue happiness. The "old" view of happiness was contentment with life instead of the "new" view that happiness is having your "gimmies" met regardless of the cost. Greg Koukl critiqued the current view of happiness: "In the pursuit of happiness, human institutions are valid not because of transcendent ethic but because of temporal fulfillment, which is essentially self-centered. For example, marriage is a valid commitment as long as you're happy. If you're not happy anymore in the marriage, then you have reason to dissolve the marriage. But I would contend that if you're getting married to be happy, then you're getting married for the wrong reasons. Not that personal fulfillment is not a valid goal in some measure, but that's not what it's all about."

This current view of happiness and attachment with the "self" is destructive. Think of the lives lost due to suicide because the person has in mind that he isn't living a happy life, but who really can when the standard set by the "new" happiness is unsustainable? These people who took their lives when looked at rationally probably had a good life that was one of contentment. Happiness (the happiness that gives goosebumps and arouses the passions) is like a flighty friend. You have a good time with the friend when he is around. You laugh, play games, take adventures then you wakeup one morning and he is gone. He flew off. You don't know where because he didn't leave a note. You know he'll be back because of his track record of coming back to visit every now and then, but the *not knowing* when he will return is what is unbearable. It's unbearable to those who cling to the flighty friend and can't let go. They can't trust he will come back so they spend days or months trying to get the feeling they had when he was around, but they can't recreate it because only the flighty friend (happiness) can create that atmosphere the clinger wants so desperately. The one who recognizes the friend is flighty and that he will return when he does is the balanced and contented person because they let happiness take care of itself. When it comes around I say enjoy it, but when it leaves let it be so. Don't cling to it because clinging to it only brings disappointment and despair and sometimes a lost life. I've heard that the good life is one that doesn't expect anything in this life to sustain him at anything like a blissful level. That might be so.

Anyway, I think it's time to end this rant at the obsessed clinging to the self and false happiness that has plagued and is plaguing people telling people they need to find themselves when in reality they are themselves. I'm persuaded learning contentment can stop the plague.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Was Socrates Guilty?

Having read Plato's Apology I want to ask myself the question: was Socrates guilty? Obviously, being a lover of freedom and a hater of tyranny I at first say that Socrates was not guilty. The man expressed his natural right of freedom: to talk about the important things in life with his peers and to question their convictions. Is that a crime? Is that something to be put to death over? Well, after thinking some more about it, I came to my answer from my classical liberal mindset which is the incorrect mindset to have when reading a work like the Apology. It's a big mistake. So, I put myself in the time and place of Socrates. After doing that then the answer is different. My understanding is that Socrates was guilty of corrupting the youth and of impiety.

My short take on this is that Socrates corrupted the youth. I need to ask a few questions first: what is corrupting the youth? If one means that Socrates, through his method of conversation, corrupted the youth by showing the statesman of the time and the sophists to be fools then yes Socrates corrupted the youth. Did Socrates make fools out of the statesmen? From the historical accounts of Socrates' life we see that time and again through his conversations with statesmen, sophists, and elders he brings these people into accepting contradictions and tears down their convictions quite easily and humorously thereby making them look foolish to Socrates' students. Is that corrupting the youth? Well, it is corrupting, at least to the government at the time, because Socrates is influencing young men who may one day be statesmen with his philosophy; a philosophy that is different from the political philosophy of that time; a teaching that makes the government look foolish. This can be taken as corruption to the youth. If this is corruption then Socrates is clearly guilty.

Another charge against Socrates is one of impiety. Is Socrates guilty of this? I think it's reasonable to say that Socrates is guilty of this. He brings up the Delphic Quest to possibly show that he isn't impious to the gods, that he isn't an atheist, but the shiny nugget nested underneath the apparent piety in the Delphic story is Socrates. What I mean is that it seems Socrates is the hero of the apparent pious story instead of piety because he had to take this quest and test the oracle, or the god, instead of taking the god at the god's word. Through his testing, a.k.a "reason," Socrates found to be true what the oracle told him and then he submitted to the oracle. He didn't take the pious route which would have been to blindly listen to the oracle, instead he took the route of reason, the impious route and through reason found the oracle to be true. That isn't pious. What if reason had shown the oracle to be false? I'm persuaded Socrates would have stood by reason instead of the god. The Delphic Quest is a story of the triumph of reason and shows Socrates was more interested in the things of man than in the things of the gods which isn't pious, but is impious.

These two things stood out to me when I reflected on the Apology. Currently, I'm persuaded to think that under the law of his time Socrates was truly guilty because of the reasons above: by their definition of corruption Socrates did corrupt their youth and Socrates wasn't a pious man.

Obviously, this post cannot contain the amount of thought that can be put into this situation so if you have any thoughts pleas comment below.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quote of the Week - John Locke on Freedom of Men

"Freedom of Men under Government is, to have a standing Rule to live by, common to every one of that Society, and made by the Legislative Power erected in it; a Liberty to follow my own Will in all things, where the Rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, Arbitrary Will of another Man: as Freedom of Nature is, to be under no other restraint but the Law of Nature.

- John LockeSecond Treatise of Civil Government, Ch. IV, sec. 22

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do I sustain myself for salvation? Or Does God sustain me?

Is my salvation dependent on me? Or does God sustain my salvation? Is God the one who has saved me from wrath? Is God the good shepherd who guards his sheep? Do the sheep guard themselves from thieves and carnivores?

The Apostle John records Jesus as saying "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (Read John 10 in its entirety)

Paul, the master theologian, wrote in his letter to the Romans:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Apostle Peter wrote in his letter to the Christians in Asia Minor: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

These are but a few verses from the Bible that speak of God guarding the Christian's salvation. From what I understand salvation is completed for the Christian. If this is correct the Christian can find rest in this knowledge. He should let it seep into his heart. She should be thankful. If the Christian is clothed in the righteousness of Christ and that is what God sees when he looks at the Christian then I would assume a habit of gratefulness for God's gift would be built in the Christian. I wouldn't think a life of moral carelessness would be adopted by the Christian if this knowledge has seeped into her soul.

What can we gather from this data? That God loves his children warts and all (to borrow a phrase from Sproul); that God guards his children's salvation and his children can rest in this knowledge knowing they will get their inheritance promised to them by their God.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Do We Need a Higher Minimum Wage?

One of Wintery Knight's recent blog posts on how a minimum wage hike will actually raise unemployment seems to be what most economists think about a minimum wage. Policymakers try to create a "great society" when making and enforcing a minimum wage law, but is the product of such a policy anything "great" for society?

CATO Institute wrote:

"If the government requires that certain workers be paid higher wages, then businesses make adjustments to pay for the added costs, such as reducing hiring, cutting employee work hours, reducing benefits, and charging higher prices. Some policymakers may believe that companies simply absorb the costs of minimum wage increases through reduced profits, but that’s rarely the case. Instead, businesses rationally respond to such mandates by cutting employment and making other decisions to maintain their net earnings. These behavioral responses usually offset the positive labor market results that policymakers are hoping for."

Uh-huh. This just makes sense. So, it seems, from reading the studies we can reasonably say that a minimum wage (especially a high minimum wage) reduces the younger workforce number and actually hurts the consumers of businesses that typically have a large number of "minimum wage employees" because those businesses will raise the prices on the goods they're selling.

That's not all! Consider Wintery Knight's closing statement on his blog post.

"You can read more about minimim wage and unemployment from my second favorite economist Walter Williams, and from my first favorite economist Thomas Sowell. This is an issue that matters to them, because they are both black, and blacks are the hardest hit by these policies – even though most blacks support these policies by voting overwhelmingly for socialists.
This issue is simple and straightforward. To help the poorest and least experienced workers, we have to take away any regulations that separate them from their first employer. From there, they will gain the experience to move up. Nobody stays in a minimum wage job all their lives. They move up when they get experience and a resume. That’s why that first job is so crucial. We have to make it easier for employers to get employees started in their careers."

Until I'm given reason to think otherwise, I agree with the Knight. I think because of the reasons above and in the full versions of posts mentioned here we (the U.S.) don't need a higher minimum wage, especially now in this economy. 

I recommend reading the PDF from CATO Institute on this topic.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quote of the Week - B.B. Warfield on Biblical Inspiration

"Representations are sometimes made as if, when God wished to produce sacred books which would incorporate His will – a series of letters like those of Paul, for example – He was reduced to the necessity of going down to earth and painfully scrutinizing the men He found there, seeking anxiously for the one who, on the whole, promised best for His purpose; and then violently forcing the material He wished expressed through him, against his natural bent, and with as little loss from his recalcitrant characteristics as possible. Of course, nothing of the sort took place. If God wished to give His people a series of letters like Paul’s He prepared a Paul to write them, and the Paul He brought to the task was a Paul who spontaneously would write just such letters."

- Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, “The Biblical Idea of Inspiration,” in The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, ed. Samuel G. Craig with an Intro. by Cornelius Van Til (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1970), pp. 155

Friday, February 8, 2013

William Lane Craig on "the Bible becomes God's Word for me"

This is from Craig's Defenders class during a Q and A.

Question: [makes a comment about how the Bible inspires and reveals itself to a person]
Answer: I want to say that we shouldn’t ever lapse into this kind of language of “the Bible’s becoming God’s Word for me,” or “When I read it, it becomes God’s Word for me because God speaks to me through it.” I think that’s quite incorrect. God could speak to you through the telephone book or through The Shack, but that wouldn’t make it God’s Word. The Bible is God’s Word. The whole idea is that the Bible is a propositional revelation. If it were lost, forgotten in some vault, and nobody ever read it, it would still be the God-breathed, propositional revelation of God. So let’s not lapse into this language of the Bible’s becoming God’s Word to me or anything of that sort. That is to diminish the degree to which this is a verbal, propositional revelation from God.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Books I want to read this year

Work and life have been very busy lately so I haven't had much time to post anything of real substance here (though I have managed to keep up with the quote of the week) or had the time to read anything in theology or philosophy; I've mostly been reading tech articles and books. The last book philosophy book I read was Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche and I must say that is one of the best books I've read. Love him or hate him, that is a fun book (I'm sure I just made a few hardcore Nietzscheans scream with rage by that comment). Fun? Yes. Fun. I like philosophy and I like literature. Guess what? Zarathustra has both. Fun I say.

Anywho, my leisure reading has come to a halt, but I plan on etching in some time for it sometime soon My goal is to read at least 5 books from my 2013 list. Keep in my mind, since I'm an IT professional for a living and for hobby I'll already be reading/studying for Windows 8 and Server 2012 certifications; so reading 5 "fun" books will be a challenge for me since I read so much anyway for tests.

My 2013 "to read" list

Allan Bloom - Love and Friendship
Aristotle's Ethics, Poetics, Metaphysics, and Politics
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Emile: Or, On Education (Bloom translation)
J.I. Packer - Knowing God
Machiavelli - Prince
Michael S. Horton - Christian Faith: Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way
Paul Copan - Is God a Moral Monster?
Plato - Apology, Phaedo, and Symposium
Thomas Sowell - Intellectuals and Society, Vision of the Anointed
William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland - Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quote of the Week - R.C. Sproul on What a Christian Is To Be Conerned About

"As Christians, we are to be concerned about three qualities: the good, the true, and the beautiful. These three are virtues that touch the very heart of Christianity. It is a triad of values, each of which points beyond itself to the character of God. We are concerned about goodness because God is Good. We care about truth because God is Truth. We care about beauty because God is Beautiful."

-R.C. Sproul, Lifeviews, 1986