A Brief Critique of Non-Cognitivism (Ayer’s Version)

A. J. Ayer’s view of ethical judgments, often dubbed “emotivism,” is that ethical statements are neither true nor false and therefore are without significance. Behind this stance is his empiricism. In order for a statement to be meaningful, it must lend itself to some sort of verification. Without any possible means of verification statements fail to have to express anything. But Ayer does distinguish ethical judgment from other meaningless talk such that of speculative metaphysics or theology in that the former have at least a semblance of meaning since they display the attitude of the speaker toward certain types of actions. When one says, for example, “treason is wicked,” he is, on Ayers view, not uttering a statement with any cognitive content, but is, displaying his strong disapproval of treasonous behavior. Continue reading

Stereotypes

Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies

One of the few benefits of living in an era of insanity is that it makes the peddlers of the most prosaic and obvious truths appear like sages. The banality I will defend here is that almost every stereotype you have ever heard is true. Continue reading

Mill’s Refutation of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is famous for its many flaws (e.g. committing the naturalistic fallacy, positing a simplistic psychological theory, failing to come to terms with ethical distinctions). All these, and more, have been dealt with extensively elsewhere. Here I merely wish to show that if one of J. S. Mill’s arguments succeeds, then Utilitarianism fails. Continue reading

A Refutation of the Framework Hypothesis’ “Ordinary Providence Argument”

The following article was part of the Minority Report of the Committee to Study the Framework Hypothesis for the Presbytery of Southern California of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, October 15-16, 1999. It is also found in Kenneth L. Gentry and Michael R. Butler, Yea Hath God Said: The Framework Hypothesis/Six-Day Creation Debate (Eugene Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002). Continue reading

Movie. The Sound of Music, 1965

This, the greatest of our Hollywood musicals, needs no commendation. Most have seen it several times and are familiar with the story. For the few that have not, you have something to look forward to.

Reviews of “The Sound of Music” are legion so I will not bother with another. A few words about the music, though, may be helpful in appreciating the movie. For, as the title suggests, it is the music that is the soul of the film. Continue reading

Essay. Eastern Orthodoxy, part 1

According to one estimate, the Eastern Orthodox Church in America has over six million members, making it the fourth largest religious body in the country. Historically, most Orthodox Americans have been immigrants from eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine). While this is still the case, the last twenty five years have witnessed a number of high-profile conversions to Orthodoxy. Surprisingly, many of these converts have come from evangelical roots.

Peter Gillquist and other former Campus Crusade for Christ staff members led a group of people into Orthodoxy during the 70’s and 80’s.1 Charles Bell led most of his Vineyard Christian Fellowship congregation into the Eastern church in 1993.2 Perhaps the most high-profile conversion was that of Franky Schaeffer, son of the late Francis Schaeffer, who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1990.3 The trend East hit home in 1995 when a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the denomination of Machen, Van Til, Murray and Bahnsen, demitted the ministry and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. Even the thought of such apostasy would not have occurred twenty-five years ago. Continue reading

Essay. The Fossils Don’t Speak

This essay is based on a lecture delivered by MRB at a 1998 conference.

Introduction

The title “The Fossils Don’t Speak!” is intended to evoke curiosity from those familiar with creationist literature. It is, of course, a reversal of the title of a book written by Dr. Duane Gish. However, the contradiction may or may not actually be a corrective to the work of Dr. Gish or his creation-science colleagues, as we will see.

The thesis I will argue for is that the debate between Christianity and Darwinism is conducted at the wrong level. The level that it is commonly carried out on is what we can call the evidential or factual level. One side puts forth evidence in support of Darwinian evolution while the other proffers evidence against it. The debate, then, is to be resolved by judging which side possesses the preponderance of the evidence. Obviously the Darwinists think the weight of evidence leans on the side of evolutionary theory while creationists think the scale is tipped in the other direction.

I do not maintain that scientific evidence is irrelevant to the creation-evolution debate – such a claim would be patently absurd. Nevertheless, scientific evidence in itself is insufficient to decide the issue either way. By this I do not mean that I think the evidence is ambiguous. I firmly believe that the scientific research that has been done clearly indicates that every living (and non-living) thing in the universe is the result of direct act of creation by God and not the product of an evolutionary process.
However, I also believe that a debate of this issue on purely scientific evidence will get nowhere. The debate must take place on a different level before any resolution is possible. Thus my present objective is not to refute Darwinism and vindicate creationism. Instead I will endeavor to realign the terms of the Continue reading