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The Philosophical Landscape of “Westworld”

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At the halfway point of HBO’s unsettling new series Westworld – a J.J. Abrams reboot of the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton – some big plot questions remain. Is William a younger Man in Black? Is Bernard really a host? And what’s this maze all about? The premise of the show is (relatively) straightforward: In the distant future, scientists and businessmen collaborate to create a vast amusement park in the style of the Old West, populating it with artificially... Read More

5 Reasons Why the Universe Can’t Be Merely a Brute Fact

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Can the universe be a mere brute fact? Can we say, “The universe just exists and that’s that—it has no explanation at all”? Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, thinks so. In a recent interview at Salon.com, Carroll says, “There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that ‘caused’ it; the universe can just be.” Carroll is in good company with such an assertion. Bertrand Russell, the late British atheistic philosopher,... Read More

Why Wouldn’t God Perform More Miracles?

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If God is a God of miracles as theists claim, then why doesn’t he perform more to stop evil? I must admit this is one question I’ve wrestled with in solidarity with my atheist friends. My initial response is to recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD” (Is. 55:8). While I acknowledge this as true, it leaves me dissatisfied. As a Christian I believe, with St. Paul, that God “works for good with... Read More

Is Real Knowledge Only Scientific Knowledge?

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Is science the only legitimate form of rational inquiry? The evolutionary biologist and popular atheist Richard Dawkins thinks so. In a 2012 debate with Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dawkins claims that religion, as opposed to science, is “a betrayal of the intellect.” He asserts that appealing to God to explain the universe is “a phony substitute for an explanation” and “peddles false explanations where real explanations could have been offered.” What... Read More

Why Atheists Change Their Mind: 8 Common Factors

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Conversions from atheism are often gradual and complex, no doubt. For many converts the road is slow and tedious, tiring and trying. But in the end unbelievers who find God can enjoy an inner peace that comes from a clear conscience in knowing they held to truth and followed the arguments faithfully. Of course not all converts from atheism become Christian or even religious. Some converts only reach a deistic belief in God (an areligious position that God is “impersonal”) but the... Read More

The Road from Atheism: Dr. Edward Feser’s Conversion (Part 1 of 3)

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NOTE: Today we share the first part of Dr. Edward Feser's conversion story from atheism to theism. We'll post Part 2 this Friday and Part 3 on Monday. We'd also like to note that Dr. Feser's contributions at Strange Notions were originally posted on his own blog, and therefore lose some of their context when reprinted here. Dr. Feser explains why that matters.     As many friends and readers know, I was an atheist for about a decade—roughly the 1990s, give or... Read More

Does It Matter That Many Scientists Are Atheists?

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One fact that concerns some Christians and elates some atheists is that 93 percent of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most elite scientific organizations in the United States, do not believe in God. Atheist Sam Harris says that, “This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is.” Should Christians be concerned that so many of these intelligent people don’t believe in God? I don’t think so, and here’s... Read More