Blinkered Reality

Sean Carroll is a physicist who sometimes dabbles uncomprehendingly in philosophy, as in his entrée into the New Atheist genre, The Big Picture. In it, Carroll repeatedly and exasperatingly assumes his conclusion (there is no supernatural reality, therefore there is no supernatural reality), adopts a materialism-of-the-gaps outlook (any gap in our understanding of physical things […]

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Belief in Unbelief

The Privative Thesis Christopher Hitchens wrote of atheism that “our belief is unbelief.”  A.C. Grayling wrote that atheism was merely a “privative thesis,” by which he meant that it is nothing more than the subtraction of supernatural reality from one’s conception of all of reality.  This is a common point of view:  belief in “nothing.” But […]

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Philosophy Presented as Science

More Confusion about “Nothing” In the post First Cause, we mentioned a book by Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing, (Free Press 2012). The basic point of the post was that Krauss seemed not to have adequately grasped what “nothing” is, when he argued that material things came from nothing. One has to read more […]

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Is Materialism a Return to pre-Christian Belief?

Materialism is the belief that there is no supernatural of any kind; no God, no gods, no angels, demons, demiurges; no “fairies at the bottom of the garden,” in Richard Dawkins’ memorable phrase. Materialism Unexamined Many thinkers today write meaningfully about materialism as a set of doctrinal principles, but in the main, materialism is presented […]

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Materialism Is Not Religious Neutrality

In “Nothing” is Not Religious Neutrality, we suggested two competing ideas, A and Z. A and Z are mutually exclusive, and together they comprise the only two possibilities concerning the subject matter. If we disbelieve A, we should believe Z, and vice versa. Non-belief Does Not Create Neutrality We discussed how muddled thinking might cause […]

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“Nothing” Is Not Religious Neutrality

We considered the concept of “nothing,” for example in Is Nothing Something, and in It’s Not Nothing. Instead of conceiving of truly nothing, we tend to think instead of a something. That something may be simple or minimal or invisible or insubstantial, but it is not nothing.  Something from Nothing The tendency to mis-conceive nothing […]

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Agnosticism and Belief in Nothing

Physics If we begin to think of “nothing” as being, really, some sort of something, then we can convince ourselves that all of material reality came into being spontaneously.  How?  If the nothingness before material reality was really a kind-of-sort-of something, then the present universe could be only the result of a physical phase transition.  […]

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