Lotteries and the Limits of Rationality

I’ve played the lottery once in my life. I was living in California, and a friend thought it would be fun if we all bought a ticket for the next drawing. And guess what? I didn’t win. This came as no surprise, because I expected not to win. In fact, any rational person who buys a lottery ticket should believe that her ticket is a loser. But oddly, this rational belief leads us into believing a contradiction. Maybe this tells us something about the limits of rationality. Winner, Winner? Here’s principle of rationality #1:If something is 99.99% probable to be … Continue reading Lotteries and the Limits of Rationality

Faith, Reason, and the Spirit, Part 2

Last week, I critiqued an excerpt from Joyce Meyer’s book, Battlefield of the Mind. I considered this important because Meyer’s misguided and self-contradicting attitude (“reasoning is dangerous”) likely represents a large swath of the Christian community. Why bother to write about it? Because I believe that this mindset is harmful–both to society in general, and to the Church. But rather than focusing on the harms as reasons to reject Meyer’s view, I will focus chiefly on the fact that being anti-reason is thoroughly unbiblical. That approach provides more persuasive power among Christians. Reason In the Bible Aside from the numerous passages … Continue reading Faith, Reason, and the Spirit, Part 2

The Other Side Is Evil (Moralized Disagreements)

Rarely do I come across something so closely aligned with my own goals in blogging that I use it in place of an original post. But this video is such a thing. In the context of the Kavanaugh hearings, Kyle Blanchette skillfully breaks down how we tend to view those who disagree with us as stupid or evil. This is NOT about which side is right, or even the reasons behind each side. It’s about how we judge those who disagree with us. Worth you time. Continue reading The Other Side Is Evil (Moralized Disagreements)

Is There Scientific Evidence for God?

I thought this would be a nice follow up on my recent podcast, where Dr. Kenny Boyce and I discuss this very same question about scientific evidence for theism. This video captures a message I gave at First Baptist Church of Holton, KS two years ago. In the talk, I aim mostly to encourage and equip Christians, but there are certainly great principles of persuasion applicable to anyone! Some will detect the influence of William Lane Craig on my presentation. I studied with Dr. Craig at Talbot School of Theology and he continues to be an intellectual and spiritual role … Continue reading Is There Scientific Evidence for God?

Do Motives Cloud Judgment?

Can our motives cloud our judgment? Yes. Without a doubt. (See this post and this post.) But does this mean we should always suspect our judgments and the judgments of others? That seems unreasonable. When I say that motives or psychological states can “cloud our judgment,” what I mean is (roughly) this–if we want something to be true, we tend to see the reasons for that view more favorably, and when we don’t want something to be true, we tend to see the reasons for that view less favorably. “More/less favorably” just means that the reasons appear to have more/less force … Continue reading Do Motives Cloud Judgment?

Criticism, Knowledge, and Authority

Learning about informal logical fallacies turns young philosophy students into gun-slinging logic vigilantes. I love how this comic (courtesy of Existential Comics) portrays the phenomenon.   But, as Alexander Pope wrote, “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” In his Essay on Criticism, Pope critiques the critics, warning them of trying to evaluate beyond their skill. The essay (written in verse) holds great wisdom, well-worth the hour it might take to read through. One takeaway is this: if you plan to engage in criticism of a view, be sure you know what you’re talking about. Otherwise your photo may end up on … Continue reading Criticism, Knowledge, and Authority