Over on top cosmologist Sean Carroll’s blog, there’s a guest post by his fellow top cosmologist Don Page, who is a Christian. Page was responding to Carroll’s debate with William Lane Craig. Page does not find Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument persuasive, but has his own reasons for being a Christian, which you can read about over there (spoilers: maybe God is the simplest explanation for the fact that the universe is orderly; also the Resurrection happened).
The comment thread beneath the post is huge and goes off in all sorts of interesting directions. Page makes use of Bayes’ Theorem in his arguments. There are some people who use in their day jobs (rather than just reading Less Wrong and bullshitting, as I do) who respond to him, notably Bill Jefferys, staring here.
I’ve been commenting on and off. I reconstructed the threads I got involved in as the lack of threaded commenting over there makes it difficult to follow. I’ve been reading Peter Boghossian’s “A Manual For Creating Atheists” (which I hope to post about at some point) so I was trying for some Socratic dialogue and questioning of “faith” as a means of knowing. See how I got on:
- On Occam’s Razor and what we mean by “simple”.
- On whether the Fall of Man changed the whole universe and if it didn’t, where the boundary between Fallen and un-Fallen physics was.
- Of Miracles, with the ugly broad ditch and Hume, of course.
- Simon Packer’s claims to have done and seen faith healings.
- My response: why doesn’t God heal amputees and raise the dead these days?
- Simon Packer’s claims that Christians can raise dead people.
- My followup questioning whether he’d believe such claims about other religions, among other stuff.
- Simon’s followup telling me to trust in God and lean not on my own understanding (I used to know a song about that).
- My followup, asking if he’d obey a call to trust in another god without understanding it.
- Simon’s followup.
- My followup: Christianity seems to entail belief in demons, although it’s not clear whether Prof Page believes in them. Accusations of “ultra-rationalism” are Straw Vulcan arguments.
- Don’t worship science, feed it. I also ask what “faith” is.
- Simon attempts to define faith.
- My followup: how do we know when a strong feeling of being sure is legitimate? (Simon’s said it isn’t always)
- Simon’s followup: the Gospel is true and you need to respond to it.
- My followup: would you believe someone who said “The Koran is true and you need to respond to it”?
I was interested in Daniel Kerr’s comments (for example, here, here, and finally here, in response to one of mine). He says that simplicity depends on a choice of mathematical language, but I thought this was just a constant factor. However, the comments rapidly go off into model theory and stuff about the Axiom of Choice, so I got lost. Can anyone comment on what he’s saying and whether he’s right?