Friday, 11 November 2011

Common sense & evidence - is that it???

I was listening to William Lane Craig's debate with atheist philosopher, Peter Millican, recently. It was very interesting, but there's one issue I want to mention here.

When Craig spoke about the cosmological argument (i.e. if the universe began to exist it has a transcendent cause; the universe began to exist; therefore the universe has a transcendent cause), Millican responded by saying a couple of things, one of which was we can't just go by our intuitions, experience, or by what makes sense.

The second point was that Craig's argument is based on current cosmology and physics, and new evidence could come in that would cause a shift in opinion.

These two points seemed remarkably weak, for these reasons: firstly, if a Christian adopted the line of reasoning of Millican he would be ridiculed for his blind faith, his refusal to accept evidence, his fideism, etc. etc. but when an atheist does it, it shows an open mind and a healthy skepticism!  Imagine the Christian saying, "I know all the current science says this, but it's changing, and I know that it seems to make sense to say that, but you can't always go by what makes sense!"  I think the atheist would declare a decisive victory!

Secondly, if Peter Millican says you can't trust your intuitions about something as basic as cause and effect, then in what subjects does he trust his intuitions, and why?  It seems if he is serious he would need to give up philosophy?

I do love the irony of all this!  We are often told that it's the atheists who are for rationality and science, and the Christians are irrational and anti-science, but the truth of the matter is William Lane Craig (the Christian!) is the one going on common sense and current science!  The atheist was the one arguing against them!

Craig's case also included historical evidence (the resurrection), and personal experience (his conversion).  The case seems pretty strong!