Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video Response to Philosophy Bites Dan Sperber on the Enigma of Reason

To listen to the podcast I'm discussing you can download the mp3 here.

My thoughts on Dan Sperber's Philosophy Bites podcast on the Enigma of Reason. Dan argues that the reason for our evolutionary development of reason was to help us better communicate. In truth, we are terrible at thinking reasonably and logically. We rely mostly on intuition which I tend to think of as pattern recognition. We infer conclusions given our historical experiences though they may be proven wrong. Reason can unite or divide us depending on our biases and how willing we are to evaluate evidence and admit when we are wrong.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Video Response to TEDTalk by Elizabeth Murchison on "Fighting a Contagious Cancer"

To listen and view the talk I'm discussing you can view it here.

My thoughts on Elizabeth Murchison's TEDTalk on Fighting a Contagious Cancer. Basically, lets pray a sinus cancer doesn't hit us this flu season.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Video Response to Freakonomics podcast on "The Folly of Prediction"

To listen to the podcast I'm discussing you can download the mp3 here.

My thoughts on Freakonomics podcast on The Folly of Predictions. Television, the markets, intellectuals, so called "experts" are incentivized to make wild predictions. No one holds people accountable for when they are wrong. If you'll listen closely they'll use words like "may" or "could" or "should" as a defense from being held liable (as if they would be held liable).

Economists argue things like futures markets are good because it forces people to put their money where their mouth is. They say this controls speculation but that seems hard to believe when we see how volatile oil futures are. If you feel confident enough you can even put your knowledge and best guesses to the test by betting i.e. "investing" on a whole range of topics on InTrade. They also suggested policies or ways to track the accuracy of people's predictions might help.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Video Response to John Pipers's Desiring God sermon on "This Illness is for the Glory of God"

To listen and view the sermon I'm discussing click here.


My thoughts on pastor John Piper's sermon on "This Illness is for the Glory of God". Some argue bad things happen because we live in a fallen world and all the bad stuff in this world is a result of its falleness. Dr. Piper argues that another reason is that ultimately God uses even bad things for His ultimate glory. He illustrates this point by aruging Jesus let Lazurus die so that He could show people the greatest act of love, His Glory (John 11:1-16).

The inevitable concern with this idea is "does God then cause bad things"? Be it direct involvement or indirect by His allowing of evil events to happen we don't fully know why God  does what He does but this argument is inescapable. But, we are foolish to assume the same moral judgment on The Creator of morality. I would argue that God allows evil to exist because I don't know if we could even understand what Good was without it. This is why the story of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil is so interesting. Could we understand pleasure if we did not know pain? Could we understand love if we did not know hate? Could we comprehend faith without fear?

Regardless, it would only be wrong if God did allow these things to occur without balancing them. For this reason man is appointed to die and face judgment for his sins. This is also why we Christians cling to Jesus as we believe He is our only hope to be pardoned for our transgressions. Christ lived a sinless life and died so that we might not have to. Though we will all die mortally we can be spared of eternal death.  I can imagine many skeptics crying this sounds tragically convenient. Shouldn't our mortal death be enough? I'd argue does our death do justice to the terrible suffering we invoke on our fellow man? More so, our sins are not just against our fellow man (which is why we perhaps die mortally) but our disobedience to God merits separation from Him. What does perfection have with imperfection? Nothing. They are mutually exclusive.

Again, I can hear the skeptics crying this sounds like I'm making up the rules for God. These aren't my thoughts but the thoughts of many passed down through a faith that has lasted centuries. A faith that started by divine, miraculous events in the Old Testament and ultimately fulfilled in the Son of Man. I realize this doesn't come easy but neither does quantum physics.  God never asked us to understand it all, He just asked us to trust Him.