Wittgenstein’s ‘defense’ of religion

I really enjoyed philosopher Stephen Law’s 2011 book Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole where he takes apart many common beliefs, including religious ones, and provides tips about how to deal with the slipperiness of the many arguments put forward by believers. (I wrote three blog posts about it that you can read here.) I can highly recommend the book to those who find themselves constantly drawn into interminable discussions of religion with friends and family.
[Read more…]

‘Effing the ineffable’

The post yesterday on god as dog owner about how best to respond to religious people who say that the reason we cannot understand why a good god allows suffering is similar to why a dog does not understand why his owner takes him to the vet for what may be painful treatment for his own good. It is something that to the dog is a deep mystery because it is beyond the dog’s comprehension. In the same way that the owner’s actions are ineffable to the dog, God is ineffable to us. [Read more…]

God as dog owner

Theodicy, the problem of how a benevolent and all-powerful god can allow suffering, is the fatal weakness of religion. There is simply no good answer that religious people can give even though theologians have grappled with this problem for millenia. That does not stop people from trying though, and I recently received the following email that offers one variant. I am posting it and my response because I think it may be of general interest. Here is the body of the email. [Read more…]

How the bizarre Venezuelan ‘Bay of Piglets’ plot fell apart

As more details emerge of the foiled attempt on Tuesday, May 5th at overthrowing the Venezuelan government of president Nicolas Maduro, the sheer ineptitude and hubris and arrogance of the plotters becomes ever more incredible to behold. Take this report about the ringleader, a former member of the US Special Forces Green Berets named Jordan Goudreau and how he worked with representatives of Juan Guaidó, the person the US treats as the president of that country even though, you know, he is not, to plan and implement the foiled attempt.
[Read more…]