Archive for July, 2012

July 30, 2012


by Neil Rickert

Some of the readers of this blog are of a scientific inclination, and are probably confused, or even troubled, by my mention of “intentional objects” in my last post.  I am not a real philosopher (except in the broad sense that everybody is a philosopher), so I have some understanding of why readers might be troubled by the terminology of intentionality.

In this post, I will attempt to clear up some of the possible confusion.  That’s not all that easy to do, but I shall try.

July 29, 2012

My alternative to materialism – an outline

by Neil Rickert

Since posting “Why I am not a materialist” some comments have suggested that I really am a materialist since I am not proposing anything supernatural nor any immaterial spiritual soul.  Well, fair enough, if that is all that materialism implies.  However, the reason that I deny that I am a materialist, is that I disagree with a lot of what materialists say.  It seems to me that for those who declare themselves materialists, their materialism dictates their approach on how to explain things.  And I don’t want my methodology to be dictated by metaphysical assumptions.

July 26, 2012

Answering some questions posed to athiests

by Neil Rickert

Yesterday, I responded to a series of questions for theists, answering as I would have back when I was a theist with growing doubt.  This post responds to some recent questions that matt (over at the Well Spent Journey blog) has posed for atheists: “Twelve Questions to Ask an Atheist.”  Some of these questions are actually relevant to the kind of issue that I often discuss here.  As before, I will quote the question or perhaps an abridged version, before answering.  I suggest that you also visit matt’s original post where he poses the questions.

July 25, 2012

Answering the theist challenge

by Neil Rickert

A while ago, M. Rodriguez posted a series of questions to ask Christians (theists).  He/she had previously posted questions for atheists.

I am no longer a theist, so perhaps I shouldn’t answer.  I will respond based on how I believe I would have responded back when I was a theist.  Note, however, that was a long time ago.  I will quote the questions before answering.  But I may quote in an abbreviated form.  For the full original question, please see the original post: “The Christian (Theist) Challenge.”

July 25, 2012

Outing Sally Ride

by Neil Rickert

Andrew Sullivan has posthumously outed Sally Ride in a post at The Daily Beast: “America’s First Woman In Space Was A Lesbian” (h/t to Jerry Coyne).

I don’t plan to say much about Sally Ride.  You can check the links at Andrew Sullivan’s post or at Jerry Coyne’s post if you are looking for that.  I do want to say a little about outing.

July 20, 2012

Quantum mechanics and God

by Neil Rickert

Does QM have anything to do with God?  Physicist Stephen Barr apparently thinks it does, and expresses that view in “Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God?” at the BQO site.  Personally, I think he is talking nonsense.

Barr even admits to some difficulties with arguing what his title says:

Not in any direct way. That is, it doesn’t provide an argument for the existence of God.  But it does so indirectly, by providing an argument against the philosophy called materialism (or “physicalism”), which is the main intellectual opponent of belief in God in today’s world.

July 16, 2012

Why I am not a materialist

by Neil Rickert

More properly, my title should probably be “Why I claim that I am not a materialist.”  I say that, because I am often called a materialist, usually by creationists or id proponents whom I have engaged in debate.  So I guess that I should allow the possibility that I am mistaken about whether I am a materialist.

While there are some differences between materialism, physicalism and naturalism, most of what I say in this post will apply to all.

For those who are not sure what materialism, physicalism and naturalism entail, may I suggest that you check the entries in Wikipedia, SEP (Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy) and other online sources.  When you have finished reading those, you might still be unsure what these isms entail, but your time reading them won’t have been wasted.

July 9, 2012

Slacktivist grants permission

by Neil Rickert

I don’t normally comment on these kinds of issues.  But there is a great post over at the Slacktivist blog.

Permission granted, officially

Hmm, that text shows up a pretty large.  Copy and paste copies attributes.  Often, when copying, I first copy to a plain text editor, then recopy from there to avoid carrying over fancy presentation attributes.  However, in this case, I will let it stand in large type.

Now, go over there and read the full post, to find out what it is about.

July 3, 2012

On conceptual schemes

by Neil Rickert

In an earlier post, I hinted that I might take up the question of conceptual schemes, and the question of whether conceptual relativity should be seen as a problem.  Donald Davidson has argued that the idea of a conceptual scheme is incoherent.  I disagree, and will explain why.