Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Two Philosophical Problems and an issue

There are things buzzing about in my real life at the moment that are making blogging time hard to come by. I think things should settle down by the middle of next week. In the meantime, I'll do my best to slog on. For tonight, I have more links. Victor Reppert looks at the Problem of Evil, and suggests Calvinists have more trouble with it than other theists do because:
The problem with Calvinism is that on the Calvinistic view God sovereignly determines the outcome of every action. And there are situations which persevere into eternity which very clearly could have been better. In particular, "Smith's going to hell" is a situation which goes preseveres into eternity and is not going to get better. ... The simple fact is that if Calvinism is true, then God could have created the World of Mr. Rogers, but sovereignly chose not to. Why? ... If God is love, then isn't there something deficient about love that is fully and completely determined by the one who receives the love? If this is the case, then there is a good reason why a loving God might choose to give us incompatiblist freedom, even if this freedom results in sin and perhaps even eternal separation from God for some persons.
Max Gross at Right Reason asks how reliable a guide common sense wisdom is. He uses Samuel Johnson's response to Bishop Berekley's suggestion that esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived) as an example:
After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, "I refute it thus."
There is an interesting comments thread here as well. Ronald Baily looks at the legacy of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring at Reason online. My grade 11 / 12 high school biology teacher gave us photocopied handouts from Carson's book and assured solemly assured us that we would have to deal with the issue. Looking back, it was very much like the opening scenes from Pleasantville. I identified with that part of the movie pretty strongly.

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