Casey

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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« on: July 31, 2008, 01:30:23 am »
I was wondering if anyone thought Dr. Craig's empty tomb argument would be relevant as a response to something the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher writes in his new book Living with Darwin (Oxford 2007).  Here is what he says on page 142:

"The trouble with supernaturalism is that it comes in so many incompatible forms, all of which are grounded in just the same way.  To label someone else's cultural history as 'primitive' or 'superstition' (or as both) is easy, until you realize that your basis for believing in the literal truth of the wonderful stories of your own tradition is completely analogous to the grounds of the supposedly unenlightened.  There are no marks by which one of these many inconsistent conceptions of the supernatural can be distinguished from the others.  Instead we have a condition of perfect symmetry."

What I am wondering is whether you think the traditions are as symmetrical as Kitcher says they are.  I'm asking this question here on this forum because I know Dr. Craig believes that Christianity, and not just theism, is the most rational world view to hold.  He argues against atheism, but also, as far as I can tell, against the viability of, for example, Islam.  It is Dr. Craig's position, isn't it, that there are arguments to be made in favor of Christianity which reveal it to be more plausible than other religious traditions?  If this were the case, then it would mean Kitcher is wrong that the traditions are perfectly symmetrical with regard to their rational foundation, right?


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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2008, 09:22:39 am »

Yea,  Kitcher seems to be assuming that all religions and conceptions of God or gods are on equal epistemic grounds.  "There is just as much evidence for the Christian God, as Zeus."  I would be curious to see if he actually provides any argument in the book to back up this assertion.  Obviously, the sophisticated, thinking Christian is going to hold that there is good evidence that makes it more probable that Christian monotheism is true over say, Buddhism or Islam.  The empty tomb would be one such strand of evidence, along with Jesus's resurrection, Biblical prophecy, etc.


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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2008, 09:55:36 am »

Actually Kitcher is arguing against supernaturalism by the fact that there are many different conceptions or traditions concerning the nature of the supernatural.  Well, it seems to me that the supernaturalist does not have to be necessarily committed to a specific tradition or conception of the supernatural.  Rather, he can hold to the modest claim that there is good evidence that something else, besides the physical universe that is quantifiable by physics, exists.  Something rational, and not mindless.  This makes Kitcher's argument against supernaturalism here irrelevant to the truth of supernaturalism, since the supernaturalist is not committed, a priori, to a specific deity.  I think this is precisely the point argued by the proponents of Intelligent Design.  


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Joseph Evensen

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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2010, 03:06:19 pm »
SteveFed wrote: Actually Kitcher is arguing against supernaturalism by the fact that there are many different conceptions or traditions concerning the nature of the supernatural.  Well, it seems to me that the supernaturalist does not have to be necessarily committed to a specific tradition or conception of the supernatural.  Rather, he can hold to the modest claim that there is good evidence that something else, besides the physical universe that is quantifiable by physics, exists.  Something rational, and not mindless.  This makes Kitcher's argument against supernaturalism here irrelevant to the truth of supernaturalism, since the supernaturalist is not committed, a priori, to a specific deity.  I think this is precisely the point argued by the proponents of Intelligent Design.  

Yes, I think you are right.  This argument against supernaturalism is illogical.

Maybe he is trying to say that people who insist that their religion is the only way to God, should look around and realize that most religions are "proven" on the same type of evidence... evidence which is subjective.  I do agree that it is illogical for a Christian to look over at a Muslim and say "well their religion is just superstition" when they both use the same subjective evidence, to prove the validity of their positions.  (Ie faith in a holy book).

But again, that is a different argument.

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brent arnesen

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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 12:10:34 pm »
What is "supernatural"?  What is it precisely?  Can you define it?
God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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Matthew Kissel

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Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2011, 01:42:04 am »
I'm not sure of what the distinction between supernatural and natural actually is.

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jayceeii

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Re: Philip Kitcher on the diversity of religions.
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 07:19:50 am »
I was wondering if anyone thought Dr. Craig's empty tomb argument would be relevant as a response to something the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher writes in his new book Living with Darwin (Oxford 2007).  Here is what he says on page 142:

"The trouble with supernaturalism is that it comes in so many incompatible forms, all of which are grounded in just the same way.  To label someone else's cultural history as 'primitive' or 'superstition' (or as both) is easy, until you realize that your basis for believing in the literal truth of the wonderful stories of your own tradition is completely analogous to the grounds of the supposedly unenlightened.  There are no marks by which one of these many inconsistent conceptions of the supernatural can be distinguished from the others.  Instead we have a condition of perfect symmetry."
Kitcher’s argument is correct today, in a condition where none of the religions offers a realistic existential paradigm, salvation, or guidance to right living. He may have made the argument under false grounds, but in general since we find some men supporting every flavor of religion, it is plain the mind of man is satisfied long before finding truth.

It is not possible to introduce a real religion to mankind, because a real religion contains metaphysical truths, but the mind of man, utterly devoid of spiritual experience, cannot take the measure of these truths. To humans, metaphysical assertions are just streams of words, sounds heard in air often embraced as an excuse to fight against opposing views.

There is one interesting argument, that “the Lord and the disciples” is a motif unlike what can really arise on the human plane. Yet again, this is a metaphysical assertion that it is beyond the ability of men’s minds to measure. They’ll say, “It could happen, just look at the preachers with their flocks.” The mind would need to be able to see Jesus is different.