edward feser

This tag is associated with 19 posts

Sunday Quote!- The Failure of Scientism

scholastic-metaphysics-feserEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

The Failure of Scientism

Edward Feser is a profoundly brilliant scholar. Every time I read something he writes–even if I disagree–I realize I must contend with his argument. In his latest book, Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, he provides a robust look at the ways in which Scholastic philosophy and Thomism may be applied to the modern day. He touches on any number of important and interesting topics, including scientism–the notion that the physical sciences are the only way to know anything. But he doesn’t have much nice to say about scientism:

[T]he glib self-confidence of its advocates notwithstanding, there are in fact no good arguments whatsoever for scientism, and decisive arguments against it… First, scientism is self defeating… Second, the scientific method cannot even in principle provide us with a complete description of reality. Third, the ‘laws of nature’ in terms of which science explains phenomena cannot in principle provide us with a complete explanation of reality. Fourth, what is probably the main argument in favor of scientism–the argument from the predictive and technological successes of modern physics and the other sciences–has no force. (10)

Now of course this is quite a bit to swallow, and Feser expands on these points over the next several pages, arguing that each of these points demonstrates the failure of scientism.

I’m still going through the book, but it has been a fantastic read so far.


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Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)


Edward Feser, Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Books; Editiones Scholasticae, 2014).


Really Recommended Posts 11/7/14- Dracula, Hamlet, Ebola, and more!

postAnother go-round the web leads to some more great reading material for you. Let me know what you think of the various posts in the comments here, and be sure to let the authors know as well! Featured topics are the movie Dracula Untold, Ebola, Hamlet, women in the church, and the existence of God.

Dracula Untold– Anthony Weber offers a perspective on the film “Dracula Untold” from a Christian. Here, read his interesting insights and also get some help deciding whether you want to go see the movie!

Can a Monkey type Hamlet given infinite time?– A common claim regarding complexity and the possibility of it coming through chance is the now time-honored monkeys with keyboards view. Check out this brief look at this thought experiment.

Women as Other– How are women involved in the church? Are we excluding women? What are some consequences of views that treat women as “other” in Christianity?

Edward Feser on the Existence of God– Edward Feser is an extraordinarily brilliant philosopher and even when I disagree I learn from him. Here, there is a brief presentation of one of his arguments for the existence of God.

God Outwits Ann Coulter on Ebola– I’ll admit I don’t always keep up on current events, so this post  was surprising to me. What did Ann Coulter say about Ebola and God? Check out this analysis.

Really Recommended Posts 9/19/14- Aquinas, the “Gospel” of Barnabas, Poverty, and More!

postI’ll say it: I’m very pleased by this lineup of posts. Here, we have posts addressing metaphysics and cosmology, the Bible and poverty, Muslim Apologetics, Creationism, and Aquinas. How’s that for a diverse lineup? Let me know what you thought of the posts in the comments here.

Cosmology and Causation- Why Metaphysics Matters by Edward Feser– Edward Feser is one of the most brilliant philosophical minds I have encountered. He’s a Thomistic philosopher and whether or not I agree with what he writes, he always challenges me to think on the points he raises. Here, he writes on the importance of metaphysics in the realms of cosmology and causation. Check this out!

Wayne Grudem Debates Richard Glover on the Bible, Poverty, and Foreign Aid– What might the Bible say about foreign aid and poverty? Here, Wintery Knight offers an analysis of a recent debate between Christians on the topic. I have reviewed Wayne Grudem’s book “The Poverty of Nations” which will provide some background to the issues discussed here.

Creationist Influence on Biblical Study Tools– Always be aware that when we’re using any sort of study tool for reading the Bible, there will be interpretation happening. Here, one of my favorite sites takes a look at some ways young earth creationism has influenced some biblical study tools.

The Gospel of Barnabas– Unfortunately, the alleged Gospel of Barnabas is often trotted out in Muslim Apologetics as proof that various aspects of Christianity are false while Islam has them correct. Here’s a great analysis of the dating of this book and whether it should impact us at all in our interfaith discussions.

Did Thomas Aquinas Believe that Sin Affected the Intellect?– Yep. Okay, there is more to it! Check out this post on the topic of Aquinas and the noetic effects of sin.

Really Recommended Posts 2/14/14- Rival theism, evidence for faith, apologetics, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneThe Winter Olympics are on and I am currently experiencing -7 wind chill… which feels warm compared to what we’ve had! Thus, we have an owl post edition of the Really Recommend Posts, which features another round of great reads from across the internet! This week, we peruse rival theism, reasons for apologetics, evidence for faith, and more!

A complex god with a god complex– Edward Feser here discusses some criticisms of classical theism from a rather unexpected avenue: a rival theistic system which does not hold that God is the simplest possible being, among other things. Rather than being an atheistic critique, this is a criticism from a variant on theism. Feser’s comments are insightful and interesting. He is a Thomistic philosopher who continually has extremely insightful thoughts. I’ve been reading through one of his books–The Last Superstition–and a post on a quote from it has spurred much discussion.

J. Warner Wallace: Why are you a Christian?– The importance of apologetics is brought poignantly to the forefront in J. Warner Wallace’s comments in this post. Wallace is the author of Cold-Case Christianity, a simply fantastic apologetics book, and his comments here offer a stirring call to instruction in the faith.

Okay, you’re right. There’s no evidence for faith– Tom Gilson has been at the forefront of responding to Peter Boghossian, the Atheist Tactician. Here, he continues his series of posts regarding Boghossian’s critique of faith in general. The comments are highly insightful.

The Legitimate Use of Thomas Aquinas in Apologetics– What might Thomas Aquinas have to instruct us in apologetics? Here a few major aspects of Aquinas’ continuing contributions to apologetics are discussed.

Gary Habermas- SALT 2013 (VIDEO)- Gary Habermas is a leading expert on Jesus’ Resurrection. Here is a speech he gave at last year’s SALT (Strategic Answers for Life’s Thoughts) conference.

Sunday Quote! – Is Atheism Wishful Thinking?

tls-feserEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Atheism as Wish Fulfillment

I’ve been reading through Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. Feser is a Thomistic philosopher (one who follows in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas) and so he approaches these questions from a slightly different perspective than that of other theists who have responded to the challenge of the New Atheism. I’ve only just begun the book, but I found this quote juicy:

It is true that a fear of death, a craving for cosmic justice, and a desire to see our lives as meaningful can lead us to want to believe that we have immortal souls specially created by a God who will reward or punish us for our deeds in this life. But it is no less true that a desire to be free of traditional moral standards, and a fear of certain (real or imagined) political and social consequences of the truth of religious belief, can also lead us to want to believe that we are just clever animals with no purpose to our lives other than the purposes we choose to give them, and that there is no cosmic judge who will punish us for disobeying an objective moral law. Atheism, like religion, can often rest more on a will to believe than on dispassionate rational arguments. – Edward Feser, The Last Superstition, 10

Feser’s point is that atheists are just as capable of allowing their desires to cloud judgment when it comes to matters of philosophical judgments as are theists. Everyone has desires; the question is what the evidence is to support those desires. What do you think of this quote? How would you respond to those who assert that religious people are merely seeking wish fulfillment?


Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Guest Post: “The Presumption of Popular Atheism” by David Glass– In this post, David Glass, himself an able response-man to the New Atheism, highlights one primary argument atheists make regarding theism: that theists have all the burden of proof on their side.


Really Recommended Posts 9/13/13- Mormonism, Creationism, and Nothing!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneThe internet is a big place, friends. I have made it smaller for you by finding a number of posts worth your time. Check them out. We have Mormonism, prayer, intelligent design, creationism, and a universe from nothing on display today.

A Compilation of Professors Responding to Mormon Claims– A user over on Reddit (not usually a site I recommend for thoughtful discussion) wanted to do some research into the claims made in the Book of Mormon. They emailed a number of professors in Egyptology and Mesoamerican studies with a survey of those claims asking about their credence. Check out the compilation of responses they got.

A gigantic royalty check from nothing– Edward Feser is a Thomistic philosopher who is quite erudite in his thinking. Here, he analyzes Lawrence Krauss’ view that the universe could come from nothing.

Prayer– A great little web comic which shows how awesome prayer is, if you just think about it for a minute.

Michael Behe and Keith Fox debate theistic evolution vs intelligent design– Winter Knight has up a “VERY SNARKY” review of the debate between ID advocate Michael Behe and theistic evolutionist Keith Fox. The link also has the audio of the debate, which is well worth listening to.

In the Beginning Symposium, Part One: Fossils– Over at Spiritual Meanderings, there is an interesting series going on analyzing a symposium by City Bible Forum on creation.

Really Recommended Posts 4/12/13

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneI have once again gone to all corners of the internet to present you, dear reader, with a list of links so diverse, so wonderful, so amazing, that you will not be able to stop until you have read them all. Do not worry, dear reader, there are more Really Recommended Posts available to you [scroll down for more!]. This week, we read about Mark Twain and GK Chesterton, fine-tuning, science fiction, natural law, preparing Christian youth, and watch a video on justice!

Something of the Same Magic: Mark Twain and G.K. Chesterton– two phenomenal writers are compared in this excellent post on the developed thought behind each of their insights. As an avid reader and longtime Twain fan, I enjoyed this post immensely.

New Study: formation of life-permitting elements carbon and oxygen is fine-tuned– More evidence for the fine-tuning required for life  is made clear through nature. This is a very insightful post which deserves your attention. For more on the fine-tuning argument, check out my post: Our Spooky Universe: Fine-Tuning and God.

When Youth Aren’t Prepared– What happens when we do not prepare Christian youths for the challenges they will face? Deeper Waters, an incredibly thoughtful blog, discusses the implications.

Barsoom or Bust! (Movie Review: “John Carter”)– One of my favorite websites (and podcasts!) features this excellent review of “John Carter.” Be sure to also check out my own review, in which I discuss a number of worldview issues which are raised by the movie: A Christian look at “John Carter”

A Christian Hart [intentional misspelling], a Humean Head– Are you interested in natural law? Of course you are. Edward Feser, one of the more lucid thinkers I know, writes about David Bentley Hart’s critique of natural law, while also expounding the theory. This is well worth the read.

Nicholas Wolterstorff at the Justice Conference– [Video] Nicholas Wolterstorff is a huge name when it comes to justice, having written extensively on the topic. Check out this lecture he gave on justice and Christianity.

Really Recommended Posts 3/22/2013- Rob Bell, Loftus, and Dawkins, oh my!

postVery often, I am just taken aback by the consistent high quality of posts I turn up in a search across the web. Check out the posts I bring to your attention this week! The topics include Loftus’ “outsider test” of faith, John Carter, Farmers, Richard Dawkins, morality, and Rob Bell with the emergent church.

Loftus vs Marshall I: An Alphabet of Errors (on Science and Faith)– I can’t tell you how much I recommend this for reading. Loftus is one of the up-and-comers in the “New Atheist” movement, and he is in love with his own devised argument against theism: “The Outsider Test of Faith.” Marshall exposes numerous flaws in Loftus’ latest work on the topic, as well as showing many of the difficulties which persist in his position.

A “John Carter” Calendar: Twelve Months, Twelve Reasons to Visit Barsoom– A great look at reasons to watch “John Carter,” a film I feel has been very underrated. I have written an analysis of the movie itself, in which I discuss many of the themes found therein: “A Christian look at ‘John Carter.'”

God Made a Farmer (Video)– A video recognizing women farmers, which is itself a companion to the original, a Dodge Super Bowl commercial which lauds farmers generally but doesn’t show any women. That original version, itself very much worth watching, can be found here. I found the message here to be very endearing.

Richard Dawkins defends the moral goodness of infanticide and adultery– I’ll be one of the first to say atheists are perfectly capable of being moral people. God’s moral law is clear to anyone. Yet, once someone  denies that grounding for morality, it is permissible for them to develop all kinds of random moral systems. Dawkins’ comments about infanticide and adultery are just one example of the kind of hedonism which can occur when the basis for morality is jettisoned.

The Submergent Church– A powerful image showing the way some “emergent” people have put holes into the notion of orthodoxy and thus undermined their own credibility. This is one of my favorite websites, and I highly recommend that you follow it:  No Apologies Allowed.

Really Recommended Posts 02/03/12

Says the Madman, “Humanity is Dead, and We Are Its Murderers”– An insightful post which argues that naturalism has undermined the worth and value of humans.

Zombies of Christianity– I really enjoyed this discussion of the diversity of doctrine in Christianity and how to approach it.

My latest post on abortion generated some controversy, but I’d like to point out that scientifically, the unborn simply is a human being. One can find this not only in numerous medical textbooks on embryology, but also in the words of abortions-rights advocates themselves. Check out this phenomenal post which outlines the fact that the unborn are human beings, period- Medical Testimony.

C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest Christian Apologists of all time. Check out this post which brings us Beyond Mere Christianity.  Interested in literary apologetics? Check out Holly Ordway’s guest post on my blog here.

A Response to the Problem of an ‘Evil God’ as Raised by Stephen Law.– An excellent article, which I don’t fully agree with (I think Edward Feser answers the challenge correctly, for example), but which provides a thorough critique of Law’s position.

The Artist: A Film Review and Reflection- Holly Ordway shares her thoughts on “The Artist.”

How Many Atheists in America? Fewer than You Might Think– Pretty self explanatory.

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