Tuesday, September 26, 2017

This week in radio


Having recommended my book The Last Superstition in a recent podcast, in yesterday’s show Ben Shapiro kindly recommended Five Proofs of the Existence of God.  (His comments about the book occur about 41 minutes into the show.)  Thanks, Ben!  This week I’ll be recording a Skype interview for Ben’s Facebook Live podcast, which will run next Monday.

This Friday I will appear on The Michael Medved Show at 1:00 pm PT to debate Michael Shermer on the subject of atheism versus theism.

Also on Friday: At 6:45 am PT I will be appearing on Morning Air with John Harper.  At 3:00 pm PT I will appear on A Closer Look with Sheila Liaugminas

More media appearances to come.  Meanwhile, you can now hear podcasts from my recent interviews on Kresta in the Afternoon (the interview begins about 23 minutes into the show), on The Drew Mariani Show guest-hosted by Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey (the interview begins about 23 minutes into the show), and Live Hour with Todd Sylvester (the interview begins about 7 minutes into the show).

41 comments:

  1. Anthony StringfellowSeptember 26, 2017 at 7:04 PM

    Looking forward to the debate with Michael Shemer. I wonder how he will respond to classical theism?

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    1. I doubt he has any idea of what classical theism is! He's a popularizer of science without actually being a scientist. He's also not a philosopher. He's terrible in debates and I'm surprised he still gets invited. I think Ed would have more productive exchanges with someone like Michael Tooley or Arif Ahmed (the guys that actually gave WLC challenges in debates).

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    2. If he is true to form, he will attack straw men, ridicule, & use haughtiness.

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  2. You should see if Ben Shapiro can connect you with Dave Rubin, who does his very popular Youtube talkshow from LA. He recently did an interview with Bishop Robert Barron:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bphyucResSY

    Rubin, in case you don't know, is an amiable gay atheist libertarian. In addition to Barron, he's interviewed Dawkins and Sam Harris.

    If you go on Rubin, I would emphasize a. that belief in God is not some irrational leap, but something that can be demonstrated from the basics of reality, b. that some of the most popular arguments for the existence of God, like the design or ontological arguments, are not the strongest on offer, and c. that many of the better arguments have been grotesquely misrepresented by modern philosophers and their popular atheist followers.

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    1. Perhaps d. would be that science cannot justify its own knowledge claims and needs philosophical argumentation to back it up.

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    2. Anthony StringfellowSeptember 26, 2017 at 8:50 PM

      Yes! I would love to see Dr. Feser on the Rubin show.

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    3. Rubin's show is so superficial. He's a huge fan of Sam Harris and thinks him a major intellectual so that gives you an idea of his literary horizons. Sam Harris! It's like a pseudo-intellectual on reddit trying his hardest to be an intellectual and failing miserably because you can't just read short articles on the internet and become an expert on anything.

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  3. Is that "debate" with Shermer intended to make the atheist look bad? I mean having a scholar and philosopher like Ed debate a non-scholar and non-philosopher is just a waste of time. Couldn't they get Michael Tooley or Arif Ahmed or some real scholar who could answer Ed's arguments come on?

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    1. Well...

      After years of these atheist proselytizers absolutely lying about theism, slandering theism and theists, gaining the rhetorical advantage in culture etc., it is absolutely necessary for intellectually lazy and dishonest atheists like Shermer to be made to "look bad". They should be made to look bad, because they are bad!

      Atheists like Shermer, Dawkins etc. have never been about substance; they don't care about the metaphysical and ontological questions of theism. They are politically and socio-culturally motivated. Nothing more.

      Ahmed and Tooley lack substance also.

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    2. Well Ahmed made WLC look like HE lacked substance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sp6ZpglOaM

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    3. Ah, this debate takes me back. Ahmed did no such thing.

      With all due respect to him, Dr Craig does not articulate and defend the classical arguments for theism - say, the sort which Feser does.

      It's hardly an indictment of classical theism for someone to raise the objections Ahmed raises to Craig's arguments. And yet, his objections to Craig's arguments were still poor!

      Ahmed, like many other atheists, lacks a substantive understanding of classical theism. Not that this seems bothers such atheists.

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    4. Unfortunately, popularizers like Shermer are often treated like they are the real scholars, whereas actual scholars like Feser tend to be ignored. The mismatch is justified, if it ends up correcting popular misconceptions.

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  4. Great....I read your book "The Last Superstition" last week. it really opened my eyes!
    God bless you!

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  5. Ah? Ed's debating Shermer? When did this come up?

    I agree that from an intellectual point of view it's a waste of time. The only question is whether from a publicity point of view - one would hope no as it's always useful to have the absolute bankruptcy of sciencez lulz atheism pointed, however they have such a dedicated fame following it doesn't really make a difference.

    Mumford would make a good disputant for Ed as he accepts a very similar metaphysical background.

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    1. Classical theism in the popular culture is always a good thing. I get the response from a few here in that Shermer doesn't have a leg to stand on. The interesting issue is how Shermer responds to questions that uave nothing to do with ID

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    2. Yeh, the only issue is whether, unlike Hitchens in his prime or Dawkins when he just started out, Shermer is so culturally low-brow that the only non-Classical Theists watching it would be 'sceptical cultists', the sort of people who have Flying Spaghetti Monster bumper-stickers. It might be a more profitable use of Ed's time if he stayed home and read comic books or something.

      Needless to say though I wish him (Ed) the best of luck and look forward to hearing him debate.

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  6. Hello Mr Feser,

    Forgive the arbitrary intrusion here, but can we expect some comment from you vis the Correctio Filialis? A thomistic and philosophical view point would be most welcome.

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  7. Hi Ed, it will really be nice to see you in a debate! I hope all goes well.

    I've been thinking about this for awhile, a Theist vs Athiest debate, in which the theist debater, such as yourself, presents one of these classical arguments.

    The issue is, I don't know if these debates, as typically done, are the right forum for this issue. There would be so little time to unpack the theist argument, let's say the Aristotelian Proof, in a 20 minute opening statement and the theist also has to respond to the atheist's arguments for atheism too. There is little time for back and forth and too many points to cover from many different arguments from both sides.

    Instead of the standard debate setting, I think the debate should be more of a public critique of either the theist's or atheist's argument in which some of the critique can be prepared.

    I think the ideal format for this type of in-depth debate would be as follows:

    Before Debate:
    1) Several weeks before the debate, you give your opponent your 30-40 minute written opening statement.
    2) Opponent drafts 3 or so main critiques (can be something like 500-800 word questions w/ explanation etc.) and sends them to you the night before or the day of the debate to give you a very short time to analyze the critiques. That way you are somewhat familiar with the questions, but can't give detailed preparation for them.

    At the Debate:
    1) You give a 30-40 min opening statement giving your 1 proof. The opponent does not have an opening statement because he is not in the "hot seat".
    2) Opponent gets a 40 min Q/A session where he asks you his questions and you respond and there is some back and forth.
    3) Then there is a 30 min "sit down conversation" WLC and Laurence Krauss style (except without the whining from Krauss)
    4) A 30 min Q/A from the audience with both you and opponent responding.
    5) Each debater gives a 10 min closing statement.

    That would be a 3 hour debate. This can be a two night event. One night the Theist is in the hot seat giving and defending his position. The next night the Athiest gives and defends his arguments.


    I think something very much ordered towards letting a debater give his position in detail and having free dialogue that just focuses on his argument rather than a typical debate where many points from both sides are covered in little detail.

    These can be done in front of large audiences and televised. I think a format similar to this would give you best presentation to a non-theistic audience.

    Anyways, I just had to get that off my chest!

    Pax!

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  8. What's the format of the Shermer debate?

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    1. No idea. Its on radio. It might even not be structured. The host might just mediate.

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  9. I'm not always sanguine about debates. Nothing against Ed, but they're often structured to prevent serious. Remember the Theatetus passage?

    http://userwww.sfsu.edu/rdaniels/Fall02_804/804%20plato%20theatetus.html

    Had I wealth beyond measure, one thing I'd do is make an offer to law schools, so large they cannot refuse, contingent only on the condition that EVERY student, EVERY semester must write that out from memory, or fail.

    But like owning the Yankees and restoring the Byzantine Empire, I'm not holding my breath.

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  10. One other thing. Which of those shows can be watched after they air? I've had trouble with some. (I know Shapiro's can, but not so much the others.)

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  11. I recommend reading Michael Shermer's book, "Why People Believe Weird Things" before "debating" him.

    Twenty minutes with that book, and his pathetic question begging logical incompetency - slathered over with a see-through coating of know-it-all, will be indelibly and forever etched in your memory.

    He ought to be tied to a chair and made to defend that stupid book line by line till he faints dead away.


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    1. He's a (very) poor man's Carl Sagan. He has the arrogance down but doesn't have anything else. To be honest, Sagan, too, was a wildly over-rated thinker so that certainly doesn't say a lot about Shermer, does it?

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  12. Shapiro also recommends the book in the Q&A section of his talk at Utah. Apparently, he's really taken with it (as am I).

    A questioner asked him about the existence of God, and he responded with the argument for the unmoved mover:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0qitMnDQ-E

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    1. The argument 90% or more of philosophers think is fallacious?

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    2. Anon, you didn't just say that on Dr. Feser's blog, did you? Seriously? Go home, think about what you have done, and pull yourself together.

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    3. You mean the argument 90% or more of philosophers haven't even bothered to acquaint themselves with?

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.pt/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html

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    4. Oh, if only they "understood" it they would all accept it. Maybe if theists would just "understand" what the naturalists *really* mean then they would all accept naturalism? That's just a lazy defense of the unpopularity of Aquinas in the profession--they don't understand him!

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    5. You see, the main problem here is not that they don't understand Aquinas. It's that they haven't even bothered to learn what theist philosophers in general (not just Aquinas) have actually defended throughout History.

      And, indeed, you look like a stereotypical gnu yourself. I bet that by "cosmological argument", or "unmoved mover", or "uncaused cause", you assume theists mean the standard idiocy of "everything has a cause, therefore God", don't you? 'Cause that absurd, ridiculous, and tired trope is something which no serious theist thinker has ever argued for, you know?

      Well then, unfortunately for you, that just demonstrates you're simply not qualified to comment here. Strawmanning your opponents that bad is embarrassing and self-humiliating, not to mention downright insulting. If you're willing to learn, though, you could start by reading Prof. Feser's post I linked to above and stop making a fool out of yourself.

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    6. This Anon dude is probably SP in disguise. Or maybe some butthurt lurker from Mano Singham's site who decided he'd had enough of the absolute pummeling they've been receiving for a week now.

      Don't feed the trolls!

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    7. Can't be Psychodust. If it were, the comments would be vastly longer.

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  13. Ed,

    Ben Shapiro does argue for the existence of God in Utah Q/A. He uses material from your proofs book. See it at 40:10 min https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4o3R122wkk&t=0s

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    1. Oops, I had this page left open and it didn't update haha. I guess David already beat me too it.

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  14. Hi.
    Has anyone read this book? The format gives Aquinas's critics the last words here, but are those objections any good?

    https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=buAzDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Also from little I've managed to read of first proof here, it seems the way its presented is a little flawed, seems not as good as Feser's presentation.

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  15. I've listened to Shapiro a bit more lately. It does seem that Ed's getting through to him, which I regard as EXTREMELY encouraging. Not just on classical theism, but also he seems more inclined to see the Enlightenment as perhaps not an unmixed blessing. That's progress. (Klavan, being my age - almost - seems less able to take it in.)

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    1. I wonder what Shapiro would think of Feser's book on Locke. That could be good for him to read. Can you imagine someone with Shapiro's public profile and debating skills coming completely to "our side".

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    2. I wonder how many books he has read that challenge his theistic views. It sounds like confirmation bias just to read books that agree with your views.

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    3. Well, Kyle, I expect he'd put Maimonides front and center, but then, I'm cool with that.

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    4. Anonymous at 9:58:

      Actually, Ed's book is challenging Shapiro's views. He has explicitly said:

      1. That his favorite philosophers are Kant and Locke.

      2. That the existence of God cannot be proved.

      That's part of what Kyle and I had in mind.

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  16. Ed, it would be great if you could bring up the Thomistic Institute with Ben. He is very passionate about college campuses.

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