Recent Activity

  • Shawn shared from The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement by Lance Hill
    Although the Deacons began as a simple self-defense guard to compensate for the lack of police protection, they soon developed into a highly visible political organization with a clear and compelling alternative to the pacifist strategies promoted by national civil rights organizations.
  • Shawn shared from Longitude by Dava Sobel
    The moving Moon went up the sky, And no where did abide: Softly she was going up, And a star or two beside. —SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Shawn shared from The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms (Independent Studies in Political Economy) by Stephen P. Halbrook
    a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to Arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free State; that standing Armies, in Time of Peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to Liberty.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    There are no noncircular arguments for the reliability of any of our cognitive (belief-forming) faculties.        • Beliefs formed by our cognitive faculties—which are usually the beliefs we’re most confident of—must be assumed rather than inferred. That is, they’re basic beliefs.        • Even though basic beliefs have no supporting arguments, they’re not formed arbitrarily. Rather, they’re immediately caused or triggered by experiences.        • Rational belief: a belief formed by a properly functioning cognitive faculty operating in the appropriate environment.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    We can’t give an argument for the reliability of our cognitive (i.e., belief-forming) faculties without trusting them first. Whether it be our senses, our reason, or our memory, we must trust them in order to use them, and use them to argue for them. Again, evidentialism—the requirement that all rational beliefs be evidentially supported by arguments—gives us the wrong answer.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    David Hume—one of the towering inspirations of contemporary atheism—conceded that we really have no good reason to believe that the world outside of us resembles the perceptual images inside us. Perhaps there isn’t an “external” world; it’s hard to say. This, he said, is “the whimsical condition of mankind.”
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    Reid was pointing out that Hume used reason the entire time he was reasoning about (and doubting) cognitive faculties like sense perception. But why trust reason, asks Reid? Why not require a justification for that too? The answer, of course, is that Hume’s entire critical project would have thereby collapsed. To question reason is to trust it.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    Hume followed his evidentialism where it inevitably led: he concluded that we’re irrational in believing that the future will resemble the past. After all, we have no noncircular argument for it; there’s no evidence to support it. And once this belief goes, so must our belief that the sun will rise tomorrow—and any other belief about things in the world we have yet to see. Inferring future events from past events7—called induction—is how we gain precious experience, that mother of all teachers. And it’s irrational.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    The sheer inadequacy of requiring evidence for every belief is among the Enlightenment’s most valuable discoveries. Yet the very people who showed us this inadequacy overlooked it entirely. Love, as you know, is blind. The Enlightenment philosophers saw that we couldn’t argue for the reliability of our cognitive faculties—those various mental faculties that form all our beliefs—even if we wanted to.
  • Shawn shared from A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists by Mitch Stokes
    The choice seems pretty clear. After all, if evidentialism is true, and all beliefs require evidence, then the evidentialist’s belief that evidentialism is true is ultimately irrational. Evidentialism itself is ultimately unsupported and therefore self-defeating.