A Reaction to Kelly Smith's Attribution of Reason to the Universe
Dilbert: And we know mass creates gravity because more dense planets have more gravity.
Dogbert: How do we know which planets are more dense?
Dilbert: They have more gravity.
Dogbert: That's circular reasoning.
Dilbert: I prefer to think of it as having no loose ends.
–Scott Adams, Dilbert (March 1, 1999)
Apparently there are universal rules of good thinking. They seem to apply to everyday living and to academic disciplines like science and others. We don’t get to choose them; they are imposed on us, but science doesn’t know for sure by whom or what. The rules seem to be very rigid such that if you break them other people might scold you and bad things can happen. One of these rules is called circular reasoning, also called begging the question. It says that your conclusion cannot be part of your premise. It’s just not allowed. Another rule is that if you make a claim about something you have to be able to back it up. You need evidence.
Why would an all-good and all-powerful God allow a pandemic?
by John Shaheen—
John is a junior at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He especially loves philosophy and biology.
Fear is aroused, panic abounds, medical supplies dwindle, and the economy suffers… where is God? Why would he let the people that he loves suffer? Within months, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world. What seemed like alarmism now seems like inadequate preparation. Surely, the question on the minds of many is why would God allow this? Where is the God of infinite and perfect love and mercy?
In response to the logical problem of evil, many solutions have been offered, the most famous being the Free will Defense. Perhaps evil and suffering are a consequence of allowing free beings to exist. The objection soon arose, what about natural evil? How are floods, diseases, earthquakes, etc. the result of free beings? Alvin Plantinga suggested that perhaps these disasters are the result of the free actions of supernatural beings such as angels or demons. Though this is definitely a solution that makes natural evil logically compatible with a perfect and powerful God, it still feels unsatisfactory. Why did God give these beings this kind of power? He could have easily restricted their power without limiting their free will. They can only cause this kind of havoc if God allows them. God is still the ultimate authority and power in this paradigm. Furthermore, in an age of scientific knowledge of the causes of natural disasters, this solution may seem unsatisfactory to the naturalist.
...Do you think about your own thoughts? Then yes, you metacognate.
Metacognition changed my life, or I should say that it changed my way of thinking and my worldview. Like most people I had grown up to become a product of the various environments I lived in. Most of my beliefs on religion, politics, ethics, etc., were simply reflections of pop rhetoric--sound bites and talking points that I had heard others say on television or in a barbershop or things that my parents had instilled in me that were passed down to them or that they had adopted. They made sense and there wasn't much push-back, so I adopted them as well. I lived in a world where these beliefs were bought wholesale and accepted, so they rarely faced a challenge. The few times they did face challenges, it was often easy to be dismissive. After all, this person was arguing against the well-accepted and well-established truth of my position; they had the burden of proof on their shoulders. Because they were the only crazy person to see things that way, that must mean that they are wrong, right? At least that was my justification for dismissing them.
Consider the Evidence
The four gospels all say Jesus rose from the dead. They give us almost excessive details. Setting aside the biblical reports of the resurrection for the sake of scrutiny, we still have to make sense of the other solid facts: a) Jesus's body disappeared and has never been recovered; b) The Roman guards would not have allowed his body to be stolen, and all the authorities wanted him dead and gone for good. c) The disciples had no faith that he would rise from the dead, and they had no reason to even try to steal a dead man's body in light of who they had expected him to be—an invincible Messianic deliverer, who had failed. Now, it is an historical fact that the disciples later believed that Jesus had risen. Is there a reasonable explanation for this?
Yes, there is. Consider the evidence.
Who were the responsible parties for the mock trial and condemnation of Jesus?
by Nathan McLatcher, Junior at UM Dearborn
In Jesus’s crucifixion, there is more than enough blame to go around. The Jewish religious leaders plotted against Jesus, seeing him as a heretic and a threat to their power. Pilate believed Jesus was innocent yet had him crucified in a cowardly effort to retain his grip on power. But there’s still blame left to share. When the Jewish crowd accepts condemnation for Jesus’ death, they place the blame on not just themselves, but on all humanity. The various actors in the trial serve not just as characters in a supernatural drama, but as archetypes, showing us the various ways in which the world is blind to Jesus’ message. These include the Romans, the Jews, and everybody.