Property Dualism is a type of dualism that tries to explain mental states by prior physical brain states, but it fails to account for mental states being their own thing. This type of dualism starts to beg the question when it tries to explain mental states by physical properties. It’s an inconsistent view that in all reality implicitly states that our mental states are really illusory because they are just physical states that our brain is in. This next section is an argument against both Property Dualism and Scientific Naturalism.
Is Scientific Naturalism Reasonable?
According to the naturalist, scientific naturalism is the most reasonable worldview that one can hold. As we will learn later, free will doesn’t exist on this worldview, so no can choose to hold to scientific naturalism as the most reasonable or rational worldview. Reason is the application of the laws of logic and their application to arguments. Where do the laws of logic come from? Clearly, they do not come from matter, space, or time. They come from mental states that recognize the logical absolutes like the law of non-contradiction. Another is the law of identify, which states that if A has the same properties or attributes to B, then A is B. There are more of these absolute logical laws that can only be found in mental states, or minds that observe something. Do we have minds on scientific naturalism? The short answer is no, mainly due to the fact the mental states are not the same as brain states. If I think of a pink elephant, there is no brain state that can tell you that I am thinking about the pink elephant. I have to tell you that because my mental states are private, and my brain states are public (Turek, 32-38).
Essentially, my argument is that mental states are required for logical absolutes, and on scientific naturalism, matter is all there is. No matter how many times we rearrange matter, we will not get mental states based on the law of identity forbidding this. Atoms, Quarks, and energy don’t have beliefs, thoughts, or decisions which are all forms of mental states. For the sake of arguments, I’ll grant that property dualism is possibly on scientific naturalism. This is the view that mental states arise from brain states. Francis Crick wrote this one time: “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that my scientific conclusions that I write this book are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules (Turek, 40).” Francis Crick was a brilliant man and helped the discovery of DNA. Yet, he held to such a self-defeating worldview because it shots itself in the foot. If are our beliefs are just the result of atoms in a certain assembly, then why trust them? A different assembly would produce different beliefs making them no tool to truth. He held to the view that Scientific Naturalism is false and Crick came to a different conclusion based on his nerve assembly. Why is your nerve assembly better than mine? I think scientific naturalism leads us to a type of assembly relativism. Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth because we have different brain states that determine our own truths. Scientific Naturalism cannot be true because there is no objective way to determine it to be true (Turek, 40-45).
Scientific Naturalism is not reasonable because reason doesn’t exist on this view of the world. Logic is dead on scientific naturalism, so what’s the point. This radical view is the end of reason. While an unembodied mind like God, is the most reasonable inference to the evidence to account for first cause uncaused of mind that logical absolutes are contingent upon. Theism is the most reasonable position to take if you want to believe the most reasonable position since it accounts for the logical absolutes that we know exist. The most committed, consistent naturalists will argue that consciousness doesn’t exist, but one ought to wonder if they consciously came to that position. Scientific Naturalism is ultimately not reasonable because it doesn’t allow for reason or mental states to exist (Turek, 52-53).
I Think, Therefore Scientific Naturalism is False
Intentionality is a philosophical term that is basically the philosophical way of describing consciousness. Is matter aware? Does matter contain mind? As we discussed earlier atoms, quarks, and lumps of matter do not contain Consciousness. How can we think if we just arranged matter in motion? Mind is where we get intentionality and this cannot be obtained through matter by being arranged a certain way. Free will is required to make intentional statements and so on. I have to be free to intentionally say that scientific naturalism is the correct view of the world. Also, to decide whether a position is more rational requires you to choose between the competing worldview. Mind cannot arise from matter, but is the other way around (will be shown in my final argument). To hold to materialism will lead to materialist relativism, which I described earlier as the view that truth is determined on the brain state. If our mental states are just brain states, then we do not have free will, mind, or intentionality. Descartes famous saying “I think; therefore, I am” is one of the most famous quotes from modernity. There is truth to this phrase because it is self-evident that we are selfs and have minds. Mind cannot arise from matter, because it would not truly be mind. I think, therefore Scientific Naturalism cannot be truth, but is indeed false (Turek, 74-85).
We all believe that we have free will to the degree of making our own decisions, but not control over where we are born geographically. On scientific naturalism, I can’t even make my own decisions. This is what Sam Harris would argue for, that free will is just an illusion. I’m not talking about controlling your own ethnicity or gender, but rather your own mental states, which are determined by our brain states. We’ve established already that mental states can’t exist on the materialistic worldview of scientific naturalism. Every material thing has a prior material cause so free agency is caused by that prior material cause not making it free. This is the short view of determinism, which states that everything is determined by its prior cause. Obviously, on scientific naturalism, materialism, determinism is not compatible view with free will since everything is matter in time and space (Turek, 42-45)
Mental states are not material and are their own things that are not determined by prior material things. Mental states by definition would be the true causes of free will since they come from mind. The things that we think are not determined by material, but rather when the mind perceives material things and reflect on these experiences, which allow us to think for ourselves. On scientific naturalism, we are not free thinkers, but rather what we think is determined (Turek, 60-65).
1. “Is the Soul Biblical?”, 3.
2. “Scientific Naturalism”, 4-5.
3. “Scientific Naturalism”, 6-7.
Authorship of 1 Peter:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” is the introduction to the first epistle of Peter. Normally, historians would take Peter to be the author of this letter since he is identified as the writer in the very first verse. Skeptics who take Paul’s letters as authentic accept his authorship since he identifies himself in most of his letters. Silvanus is employed as an amanuensis to help assist Peter in writing his epistle (1 Peter 5:12). Silvanus was also a Roman citizen according to Acts 16:37. He also was associated with the early church as we see in Acts. Assuming Peter is the author, 1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Nero since he warns of persecution, so around mid-60s AD.
Authorship of 2 Peter:
The author is identified again as “Simeon Peter, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). Simon is spelled with a Semitic style, which implies that Peter himself wrote the letter. This doesn’t follow that he didn’t have help with the letter however. This is where the controversy comes on with 2 Peter since it’s clear he had help from Silvanus in 1 Peter. Skeptics will point this out to be evidence against Peter as the author of second Peter. To the contrary, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author. Assuming Peter as the author, 2 Peter would be written the same time as 1 Peter, but chronologically after. Both letters were most likely written from a prison cell since 2 Peter 1:14 implies that he will pass soon. Peter died probably around AD 67 during the reign of Nero, so both letters would be written before that.
Attacks against the reliability of 2 Peter:
Objection #1: Peter used Jude as a source, but Peter would have died before Jude would have been written.
Reply: It’s easier plausible that Jude could have used 2 Peter as a source if this document is earlier. This objection becomes circular if they do not bring in evidence that 2 Peter used Jude as a main source.
Objection #2: The Greek usage and vocabulary could not be used from a fisherman like Peter. Also, the author must be familiar with Greek culture.
Reply: Peter knew Silvanus, who was a Roman citizen, so it’s plausible that he knew Greek and helped Peter, since he did with 1 Peter. Silvanus may have helped again and not need to mention his name. Also, who is to say that Peter didn’t know Greek? This is a claim that has to be shown as true. It’s also possible that Peter had help from scribes that did not indicate themselves in the letter. Peter would have been young as a fisherman, so it’s also possible for him to have learned Greek after his post resurrection experience. A post resurrection experience would be a good motivation to learn Greek and write about the Gospel.
Objection #3: The false teachers identified are second Century Gnostics, so Peter could not have written 2 Peter in the second century.
Reply: This is a claim that is never shown to be the case, but rather asserted. Gnostics posited Cosmological Dualism, rejected the material world, and had defective theology of Christ. 2 Peter does not contain any themes like these.
Objection #4: Paul’s Letters are considered scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). The canon is confirmed after Peter’s life.
Reply: 2 Peter 3:15-16 does not indicate that all of Paul’s letters were collected as Canon. Peter would have believed that some of Paul’s letters were authentic since he knew Paul’s experience and life. Peter knows some of Paul’s letters, so would have believed them to be authentic.
Objection #5: Church fathers do not quote 2 Peter and its canonicity was under attack in the fourth century.
Reply: Peter is claimed to be the author (2 Peter 1:1). Peter claims his death is very near (2 Peter 1:14). Matched up with dating of 1 Peter since Peter died under Nero’s rule. Also, claims to have seen Jesus’ transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-18). The author here seems to know the life of Peter, probably because it is Peter. Also, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria accept Peter as the author, as mentioned before. Finally, the author can easily be falsified, which adds to the credibility for Peter as author. The Church fathers would have falsified 2 Peter if they knew it was a forgery like they did with many Gnostic texts.
Apologetics Study Bible
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised Edition 12
Often times when discussing the Historical Jesus, some skeptical scholars are quick to make the claim that Jesus was nothing more than an apocalyptic prophet. That the development of his nature from the Gospel of Mark to the Gospel of John is solid evidence for this; Jesus didn’t really claim to be God. However, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, we can find the divinity of Jesus all throughout the Gospel of Mark alone! Let’s examine the case:
Jesus Can Forgive the Sins of All
In Mark 2:5, Jesus tells the paralyzed man that “his sins are forgiven”. Immediately after, in verse 6, it says, “some experts in Moses’ teachings were there” and “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”. Jesus then responds, “I want you to know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Jesus Is the Lord of the Sabbath
It is very clear in the early chapters of the book of Genesis and all throughout the book of Exodus that God created the Sabbath and he is the Lord of it. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that in the same chapter that Jesus forgives sins, he also makes this bold claim in Mark 2:28: “The Son of Man is even the Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus Controls the Weather
During Mark 4:35-41, the disciples and Jesus are on a boat when suddenly a huge storm hits them. They ask Jesus to help them, and in Mark 4:39 he commands the wind and the sea to calm; which they do. Then the disciples ask themselves in Mark 4:41, “Who is this, that even the the wind and the waves obey Him!” Well, there is an answer throughout the entirety of the Old Testament that would answer this question: Who is this? God, who they thought controlled the weather. But let’s focus on one specific passage, found in the book of Exodus. Exodus 14:21 says, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back and a strong wind to divide them.” So the Lord controls the wind and the sea, just like Jesus. No wonder the disciples were freaked out.
Jesus Transfigured with the Highest of Prophets
In Mark 9:2-13, Jesus and a couple of his disciples go on top of a mountain, where he is then transfigured. Suddenly, the disciples look, and the transfigured Jesus is having a conversation with Moses and Elijah (who ‘coincidentally the “Angel of the Lord” appeared to both in the Old Testament; the Angel of the Lord being the preincarnate Christ). Now, this doesn’t exactly prove Jesus was God in Mark alone, but it does show that Mark thought very highly of Jesus early on.
Jesus, the Unique Son of God at the Right Hand of Power
After Jesus is arrested, He is on trial before the Sanhedrin. One of them asks, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replies, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” They then charge Him with blasphemy. This passage is very important. Here is a list of verses in the Old Testament where God is the cloud-rider: Psa. 68:33, Deut. 33:26, 2 Sam. 22:11, Psa. 18:10, Isa. 19:1, and Psa. 104:3. Also, Jesus is referring to the Son of Man who rides the clouds in Daniel 7. Last, we have Him sitting at the right hand of Power, which puts Jesus at a pretty high position.
In conclusion, despite the claims of many, we can in fact find many pieces of evidence that the earliest Gospel, Mark, spoke highly on the divinity of our “Lord and God” (John 20:28) Jesus.
Early on the blog, I wrote an article called “top 5 arguments atheists should stop using” to show why common atheist arguments don’t stand to reason. In this article, I will be helping my fellow Christians in demonstrating why certain arguments made from my side should no longer be invoked, because there are better arguments they can use. This is the top 5 arguments Christians should stop using.
5) Evolution is just a theory
4) The Bible says so
3) You don’t know God doesn’t exist
2) Just look around you
1) Just have faith
5) Often, I hear Christians say “well evolution is just a theory” in response evolutionary biology, usually invoked as an argument either against creationism or God’s existence. What this response means is that, since modern biological evolution is a theory, we don’t need to give any thought to it since its only a theory. The problem with this line of reasoning is its misunderstanding of what a theory is. Theories are not just unsupported ideas or speculations that scientists use to come to conclusions. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. Not simply “guesses”. Whether or not you embrace the theory of biological evolution, it is not a good response to just say “well its only a theory”. Gravity is also a theory and nobody disputes it.
4) Sometimes when a Christian is trying to convince someone of their position, they will just invoke the bible outright as an authority that they should accept. The line of thought here is “since the bible is true the skeptic should also believe it’s true and respect what it says about life”. But all this does is force your position onto someone who isn’t in the slightest convinced by it. The skeptic will rightly accuse the Christian of circular reasoning and dismiss what they say unless further support is given (usually). I too believe the Bible is true and everyone should accept what it says, but I don’t start with the conclusion that the Bible is true to prove that the Bible is true, that is just question begging. Other times, the Christian may not have any good arguments so they will just assume that believing the Bible is true will be enough for the other person to consider it. There are a multitude of good arguments out there that will establish the Bible as true, but this is not the way to go about it.
3) I think that the proposition “you don’t know that God doesn’t exist” is the most commonly used bad argument on this list. I will say, however, that this line of reasoning is not always wrong. I only want Christians to shy away from this as an early dismissal. For example, if a Christian is in a conversation with an Atheist and the Atheist claims that God doesn’t exist, the Christian should not dismiss the statement early on with “well you can’t prove that”. The failure here is that nothing productive follows from this statement and assumes that proof is deciding factor. The Atheist and Christian alike cannot with 100% certainty demonstrate the inexistence or existence of God the same way someone would prove something in mathematics. Furthermore, this is often a shutdown response when a Christian has no other support to back their affirmation. If the Atheist claims that God does not exist, simply ask what reasons they have for being certain of such a proposition and carry on the dialogue.
2) When I hear my fellow Christians passionately trying to prove that God exists to a skeptic, I often hear “well just look around you!” as apart of their evidence. I am glad that they see nature as a case for God’s existence, but this simply won’t cut it. I remember as a younger believer, I always disliked this argument because I knew full well that those who stand by evolution or don’t believe in God hardly see this as viable evidence for God’s existence. Botany and Biology can all be explained naturalistically which is what the prevailing theory of evolution outlines. Most skeptics aren’t ready to embrace a design hypothesis because of this. Fortunately, there’s a whole area of study called natural theology which makes conclusions about God’s existence on the basis of the natural phenomena.
1) This last argument on this list must be the worst argument the Christian can use. “Just have faith” is almost entirely invoked when the Christian has been backed into a corner or has no justification for their claims so they simply say, “well you should just have faith”. First, this is not the right way faith should be used. Faith should not be used in isolation, we should speak of faith as in faith in something. I have faith that my textbooks will contain correct information. Faith is trust or assurance of something, and in the case of God, its Hebrews 11:1: “ Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”Furthermore, simply saying “you should just have faith that God exists” just sounds like a leap in the dark which is what skeptics continually accuse theists of. This does not represent Christianity in serious light and as Christians its our duty to provide a justification for why we believe in what we believe.
Truth is defined as “That which corresponds to reality”, which influences people’s actions depending on what corresponds to reality. In post modernity, we are taught that metaphysical truths are relative to the eye of the perceiver. Metaphysical truths would be truths as objective moral principles or religious beliefs. It’s noted that Allan Bloom knows one thing for certain: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: “almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative (19).” Certainly, no one actually believes that two plus two does not equal four or that the label on a bottle of rat poison is wrong. Again, it’s metaphysical truths that are believed to be truly relative because it can’t be verified by the senses or something else.
Beckwith and Koukl wrote Relativism, in order to deal with the death of truth and the consequences that follow from it. They remark on page 20, that Finding God at Harvard reports “students feel safer as doubters than as believers, and as perpetual seekers rather than eventual finders.” Students are approaching college to learn about a particular major, yet they have this mindset in their learning. Truly, they do not doubt the subjects that they are learning, otherwise they are wasting college money.
Beckwith and Koukl’s main points in this book are to show the consequence of denying objective truth, the results of relativism in society, and the fact objective truth/morality. “The death or truth in our society has created a moral decay in which “ever debate ends with the barroom question ‘says who (20)?” Max Weber showed that the Protestant beliefs influenced economic structure of society based on truths that they saw as objectively true, which is glue that held their society. I agree with the authors, that objective truth and moral obligations are the glue of society that holds together.
Relativism in Morality:
“The death of morality also produces an “anything goes” mentality (22).” Page 23 gives an example of a security camera that recorded two young boys that beat a toddler to death. If moral truths are subjective, then there is nothing morally wrong with what happened to the poor, defenseless toddler. “Tastes are personal. They’re private. They’re individual. If you didn’t like butter pecan and favored chocolate instead. It would be strange to say that you were wrong (27).” Society is left with arguing over morality like people arguing over ice cream flavors, which is the point made by the book.
“Classically, moral systems have had at least three characteristics (29). These three characteristics are that “morality has been viewed as a supremely authoritative guide to action, trumping consideration of personal preference, morality includes a prescriptive code of conduct, and morality is universal”. The authors of Unleashing Opportunity give solutions to sex trafficking, loan abuse, and other social issues in American in a Judeo-Christian worldview. They operate under the assumption of an objective truth of Christianity that everyone is created in the image of God, structure is laid down by God, and the God gives us wisdom. They assume that morality comes from God (supreme authority), that there are things that are objectively wrong (prescriptive code of conduct), and that it pertains all humans (universal morality).
Objective morality can only operate under a worldview that is seen as true and is true. If metaphysical truths like Christianity are seen as relative, then objective morality becomes subjective. They show the consequences of this idea through the book and how it effects society.
Effects on Society:
Du Bois and Coates’ experience of racism in the culture and society they grew up were wrong, but on moral relativism, society determined these as moral truths. Issues like abortion or racism are subjective based on mob rule or societal rules. Anthropologists record that apparently “each society has different ethical standards when it comes to morals” (36). They call this descriptive relativism that each society has different morality and that it evolves over time. Are Anthropologists right that ethical standards develop depending on their society? This would be false since sociology is descriptive not prescriptive.
Another view is normative ethical relativism, that says “all people ought to act in keeping with their own society’s code (37). Of course, this is self-refuting since this standard implies objective morality (that people should follow society’s standards). A final view they present is individual ethical relativism that says “individual preferences offer the only guidelines to behavior” (38). This also becomes self-refuting since it gives an objective standard that people should do what they want. These three views are scary since child-sacrifice, genocide, and many other moral atrocities are seen as objectively true by the individual or the societies that enforced these principles.
Objective Truth and Morality:
When People end up saying there is no truth, they do not mean this. A simple question can be asked: “Is it true that there is no truth? Like mentioned before, nobody believes that the label on a bottle of rat poison is wrong. The point is that there is objective truth, what that consists of is up for debate. Relativism’s focus is on beliefs like in the supernatural and morality are relative to each person. Morality is not subjective for many reasons that the author’s give in the book. They point out that when we put someone behind bars, that we are doing so in the belief that we are following objective morality (54). Objective morality is proven through intuition, which is derived from immediate knowledge, not inferred (57). Memory is an intuitional truth that is not inferred from something else. Everyone knows immediately that torturing babies for fun is wrong, even those who perform abortions.
Those who push moral relativism are not consistent based on seven reasons that are given as fatal flaws to moral relativism. “Relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing, relativists can’t complain about the problem of evil, relativists can’t place blame or accept praise, relativists can’t make charges of unfairness or injustice, relativists can’t improve their morality, relativists can’t hold meaningful moral discussions, and relativists can’t promote the obligation of tolerance (61-69).” Moral relativism can’t live up to its standard because tolerance is an objective virtue in this system. Relativists can’t live consistently because of the immediate knowledge they have that evil is wrong and people are blameworthy of their actions.
Wrap Up and Thoughts:
I agree with almost all the points of this book because there truly are things that are objectively wrong and right. Intuition affirms moral facts are real and are affirmed by the Bible as well (Roman 2:1-16). I’ve learned the seven ways in which moral relativists refute themselves in how they want to live their lives that things are truly wrong.
Knowing that objective morality exists gives me an obligation to my fellow neighbor. We have to follow an objective obligation to help the communities we live in and those that are in them. If we take this objective obligation away, then community development falls into the abyss of moral relativism and its consequences that follow. Objective morality is the glue to society that allows it to function properly as Durkheim would suggest.
One very important issue debated in western society is whether life begins at conception and that mothers do have human life in them. Roe vs Wade decided that it is okay to take the life of fetus before birth and some are trying to push this up six months after birth. Most people with a working brain agree that it is wrong to harm innocent human life, that is why the pro-choice movement argues that fetuses are not human. This is an issue that can only be resolved in a framework of an objective morality that society is losing. This is a very personal issue that I find to be a core point to why moral relativism exists and is defended. Overall, Beckwith and Koukl are correct in affirming that objective morality exists, which obligates us to follow this objective truth for society’s sake.
Koukl, Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory. Relativism. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998. Book.
Relativism Book: https://www.amazon.com/Relativism-Feet-Firmly-Planted-Mid-Air/dp/0801058066