Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Death of Free Will

Calvinism leads to the death of free will. I know that May seem like a serious claim but let's break it down.

Freedom - The ability to do as one wants.

Now, this is a simplistic definition of freedom because there are, most certainly, limitations to freedom. Take for example, I am not free to choose to breath oxygen, freely without mechanical assistance, under water. I'm limited by the laws of physics. I'm also bound by circumstances. For example right this moment I'm not free to go parasailing because I'm sitting in my living room and part of the laws of physics and my circumstances dictates that I cannot parasail at this very moment.

One last, and possibly the most important part of this idea, one cannot go against oneself. Now, before you get in a huff about this and say that I'm Calvinist after all... Listen, there are different levels to a person. For example, I want to eat ice cream right now, but I'm choosing not to do so because my will is overriding my natural desire. Anyone who's ever dieted can attest to this conundrum. I want to but I don't want to and that's okay. In the end I'm still doing what I want on a certain level.

Choice - an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

This requires an actor, and two or more options. This doesn't mean that there cannot be agreement between two actors. Take my wife and I together we chose to attend a financial class. We came together and talked about the choice and decided that we agreed we should take this class. That's a different class of choices.  We're talking about two separate actors that do not consult each other.

Take Bob. Bob decides to murder his neighbor. Did God choose for Bob to murder his neighbor? There is no evil in God, therefore God could not have gone against His nature to choose murder.

Take Jim. Jim hates the very thought of God. His heroes are Nietzsche and Hitler. Jim is faced with a choice, to murder his neighbor or not. He chooses not to do so. Did God choose this? If all choices are God's choice then He did choose that. But, everything an evil person chooses is evil, so God couldn't have made this choice either because it's an evil choice too because Jim is evil.

If God makes all choices then God is evil.

Now, if you say God made the decision to let Bob and Jim make those decisions, that is a TOTALLY different position. That is a totally different decision. God didn't decide between the two options to murder or not to murder. That is not an option that God's nature allows. God chose to let Bob and Jim make those decisions.

Within Calvinism there are several ideas that rob everyone of this idea of choice. That is, within Calvinism mankind is limited by his nature to choose; the whole TULIP acronym, Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints means that mankind has absolutely no decision in salvation.  Within total depravity, is the concept that mankind has a sinful nature, and as such people cannot choose to love God.  Also, this sinful nature is part of mankind's birthright, it has nothing to do with each individual's behavior or anything like that.  To a certain extent I can see the point there, but the problem comes when one says that a sinful-natured person cannot go against that nature and choose God.

In this Calvinist view, mankind cannot be said to be punished for individual choices, only the choices of Adam/Eve.  They're the only people who have ever been able to make the choice to love God or disobey Him, ever since that one fateful decision all mankind has been doomed to hell.  Don't get me wrong, I feel the Bible more or less supports that idea (Rom. 5:12ff).  The problem is this, if no one can choose to do good ever, that means that mankind is doomed to hell not based on his own decision but based on the decisions of someone else.  That isn't freedom, that's slavery.  Now, yes, we are slaves to sin and after forgiveness we're slaves to righteousness so, we're always enslaved, but here's the kicker, how can we be punished for our nature?  That'd be like me being punished because I'm red-haired.  So, according to this view, I'm a slave because I was born a slave and I'll be punished to everlasting torment because I didn't win the lottery?

Here's the second issue, Unconditional Election especially when coupled with Irresistible Grace.  They also together remove all choice from mankind.  So, according to Calvinism, not only can I not make the decision because of my sinful nature, God specifically chooses exactly who gets saved.  Now, don't misunderstand me, I think in a certain way God chooses.  God is omniscient, which would mean that He knows who does and who doesn't want to be saved, and God is omnipotent, which means that He could work in such a way that makes whomever He wills choose salvation.  But, again, that's not freedom.  Being chosen by God as a random (that's the unconditional part, meaning it's not contingent on our actions or choices) recipient of grace and forgiveness is not freedom.  Especially with the idea of irresistible grace.  Not only can we not choose God, but if chosen we cannot resist, we cannot go against His choice in us.

So, where's this free will again?  Oh, it's dead.  It was recently engaged in so strong an argument that I would rather be an atheist than a Calvinist.  If this God that Calvinists believe in is really that terrible I don't want anything to do with it.  Maybe it's supposedly more biblical as some seem to believe, but it's certainly not rational.

I found yet another site about Calvinism and the first point it tries to make is that "man is one hundred percent responsible for his behavior."  I found this interesting site also which makes it clear that the Bible teaches that mankind can make free choices.  "Luke reports that, “by refusing to be baptized by [John], the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves” (Luke 7:30, emphasis added). How could Scripture be more explicit than that? So too, in Isaiah the Lord says, “Oh, rebellious children…who carry out a plan, but not mine; who make an alliance, but against my will, adding sin to sin” (Is. 30:1). Again, how could Scripture get any clearer than that?"  So, which is it?  Did the Pharisees actually reject God?  Not according to Calvinism, they were born rejecting God as part of their sin nature, not as any actual choice of their own.  So, how is man responsible for his own choices if his choices are

I realize that philosophically speaking having at least two options presented to an individual is all that's required for choice.  However, I would posit that there's more to it than that simple concept.  I believe that for a choice to be real the different options have to be viable options.  Like in the examples in Calvinism the sinful human cannot choose God/good because of a born-in predilection to sin.  That is not a real choice.

If Calvinism is right then John the Baptist was wrong in saying: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

In summary, I still believe in God.  I will always believe in God.  Also, I believe Christianity (really the Bible) has the best description of God available for mankind.  I will never and can never accept that Calvinism has the answers to the nature of Christianity/salvation.  I know I may be missing something, but as it stands, I don't think I will ever be dissuaded from holding that view.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas: Part 3: Can You Prove God’s Existence?

As mentioned in the last lecture, Thomas presents five ways to argue for the existence of god.  Rather than calling them proofs, Thomas wants these points to lead people to believe that god exists.  Also, since the lecture series is following the Summa Theologiae these are only short summaries of the arguments presented in the Summa Contra Gentiles.  Before looking at Thomas' arguments Prof Kreeft asks the question, why is this an important question?

Why is belief in God important?  To answer that question Prof Kreeft quotes Nietzsche:
Where is [g]od? I shall tell you. We have killed him, you and I . . . But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we all moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while? . . . Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?
And Sartre:
God does not exist and we have to face all the consequences of this. The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain kind of secular ethics which would like to abolish [g]od with the least possible expense . . . something like this: [g]od is a useless and costly hypothesis; we are discarding it, but meanwhile, in order for there to be an ethics, a society, a civilization, it is essential that certain values be taken seriously and that they be considered as having an a priori existence. It must be obligatory a priori to be honest, not to lie, not to beat your wife, to have children, etc. etc. So we’re going to try a little device which will make it possible to show that values exist all the same, inscribed in a heaven of ideas, though . . . [g]od does not exist . . . 
Without god there's no source of a priori goodness, no foundation for any moral system.

Of the three types of arguments for god, cosmological, experiential (moral), and ontological, all of Thomas's five ways are cosmological arguments because they deal with cosmology, how we see the universe. Thomas rejected St. Anselm’s “ontological argument” which totally makes sense to me.  All five of the ways are approached in basically the same format, they each start with an observation of one of five features of the universe: motion, causality, contingency, imperfection, and order.  Then, after considering the only two answers possible (either there is or isn't and uncaused first cause), it explains how one answer fails to explain the universe.  Then the opposite must be true.  After both sides are considered and one comes out wanting, Thomas adds a tag, "this is what people call 'god.'"  As I countered Prof McGinn's arguments before, Thomas isn't trying to prove the God of the Bible, just make a way towards showing that a god exists and therefore secular humanism is wrong.

Way #1: Motion/Change

This is his longest, partly because Thomas feels it's the most manifest and probably because the others are related to the first so some of the others can be included in this argument.
It is certain and evident to our senses that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality, and nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, such as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves it. Thus whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another.
Now if that by which it is put in motion is itself put in motion, then
this also must be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first (unmoved) mover, and consequently no other mover, seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover, as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand.

Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other.

And this everyone understands to be God.
The "first mover" can't be the universe itself, because neither a thing in itself can't move itself nor can the complete chain of events start itself.  Like a chain of dominoes, someone has to push the first one, no matter how complex the chain is.

Everything in the material universe needs some kind of explanation.  Even miracles need a sufficient reason, and that reason is a miracle maker.  He uses the example of a rabbit...  If a rabbit suddenly appeared on your desk, you'd immediately start looking for a reason.  Did it fall from the ceiling, jump up from the floor, magician pull it from a hat, or God just create a rabbit on your desk?  There has to be a reason for its existence.

Way #2: Existence
In the world of sense we find that there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known, nor is it possible, in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for if so, it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.
Now in efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate cause is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several or one only. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, either will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
 Prof Kreeft's analogy for this one is a book (=existence).
Me: There's a book that explains the entire universe.
You: I'd love to borrow it.
M: Well, I don't have it I have to get it from a friend.
Y: Okay.
M: Well, he doesn't have it, he has to borrow it from the library.
Y: When will that happen?
M: Well, it's not at the library they have to get it from the store.
Y: Is it coming out sometime then?
M: Well, no one really has it...
My children have existence because I gave it to them (in a way, really I just played one small part).  I got my existence from my parents and so on.  The same is true with the entire universe.  Nothing that is created can create itself or else it must have existed before it created itself which is impossible.

Way #3: Contingency
We find in nature things that are able to either be or not be, since they are found to come into existence and go out of existence, and con- sequently they are able to either be or not to be. But it is impossible for any of these beings to exist always, for whatever has a possibility not to be, at some time is not. Thus if everything has the possibility not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. But if this were true, then there would not be anything in existence now, because that which does not exist cannot begin to exist except by means of something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist, and thus even now nothing would be in existence—which is absurd. Therefore not all beings are merely possible but there must exist something whose existence is necessary.
This one is tough.  If there is no god, the universe could have no beginning - infinite.  If the universe is infinite then all contingencies would be possible, including the end of all things.  So, given an infinite amount of time everything ends and if everything ends then the universe would be nothing and it cannot restart itself because nothing comes from nothing.  I've used a similar type argument using entropy, saying that everything is moving from more ordered to less ordered.  Given an infinite universe there should be nothing left.  Also, given that whole galaxies are moving (the so called "red shift") then given an infinite universe they should be an infinite distance away by now.  The so called, god cannot have a beginning, he is a necessary being that has his existence of himself alone.

Way #4: Imperfection
The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble, and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum

. . . so there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest, and consequently something which is uttermost being . . . And this we call God.
This only works if one accepts a ranking of things.  If humans are no better than vegetables, then one that holds that view, would reject this way out of hand.  However, Prof Kreeft quips that if you hold that humans are not better than vegetables, please don't invite him over to dinner.

Way #5: Design

By far his most popular argument I've seen this argument used alone and Prof McGinn treated this as its type of argument for god.
The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always (or nearly always) in the same way so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not by chance but by design do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move toward an end unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence, as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.
Prof Kreeft uses the arrow analogy, the universe is like an arrow flying along a specific trajectory, it's not random everything has a design or an end that is seeks.  And the book analogy, the universe (I'd say most evident is DNA/RNA) is more like a book than an explosion in a print factory.  He brings up a good point, the more design you find the less likely things have happened by chance.  Like a letter 'S' written in the sand, sure wind/waves/the elements could form the letter, but if you find "SOS" you're more certain you're looking for an intelligence, even more so if you find the first page of Hamlet written in the sand.

Prof Kreeft shoots holes in the famous (possibly Bertrand Russell) quote about a million monkeys with a million keyboards for a million years, could type out Shakespeare.  It's possible but no one says that's the explanation of Shakespeare, why would we make the same assumptions about the universe?  Also, Prof Kreeft mentions that a mathematician actually crunched the numbers and said it would take more like a trillion monkeys a trillion years to get just the first paragraph.

One last comment, "intelligent design" scientists claim that irreducible complexity scientifically proves this point.  Prof Kreeft says that he thinks Thomas would not have agreed, that this is a philosophical proof, not a scientific proof.  Prof Kreeft thinks that Thomas would have accepted Darwinian evolution as the design tool that God used to make humans/life as we know it.  As such he wouldn't get the intended insult of the metal bumper emblem of the fish with Darwin's name in it.  He would think it's an argument for theism.  I don't know about this last point and I disagree in general (based mostly on faith/theological interpretation of the Bible, I've written about it before), but that doesn't lessen the impact of the arguments, and I'm sure Francis Collins would agree with these assessments/arguments.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas: Part 2: Philosophy and Theology, Reason and Faith

This lecture greatly appealed to me personally because I feel that this is one of the biggest challenges to faith today, that is the rational relevance and integration of faith in a rational person.  I've written about these topics here and part 2, as well as this entry about the Higgs Boson and this one about Gen 1.  Those are just some samples of how this topic has come up as discussion points, but if you're a regular reader you know that I discuss terms of faith in relation to rational thought all the time.  So, this lecture is all about Thomas' approach to how rational thought works with faith and not against it.

Thomas, as a theologian first, made his life's most important work the Summa Theologiae.  This lecture series is going to, more or less, follow that work's pattern and flow.  To Thomas, there were only three things that were important philosophy, theology, and the scriptures.  His primary goal in writing the Summa is theological education without a loss of logical integrity.  As such Thomas starts off the Summa focusing on God as the origin of everything, then moves on to the creation, mankind.  He focuses on mankind's uniqueness in free will and reason, and mankind's ultimate goal to be reunited (to use Bonhoeffer's terminology) in God's goodness.  I like Prof Kreeft's analogy (I'm not sure if he takes it from the Summa or if it's his own envisioning of the text) of the whole of creation being like a circulatory system with God at the heart and His love as the blood that God pushes out through the body, but then it returns from mankind loving God back.

So, the first question to deal with is the relationship between faith, the source for theology and reason, the source for philosophy.  Thomas sees it as a marriage, a combination of two great sources of knowledge.  Philosophy is based on human reason alone, though there is a branch of theology that relies on human reason, it's called philosophical theology, or natural theology.  Thomas' five ways to prove God's existence fall into this category, it seems to me that apologetics fits this description as well.  There are still parts of theology that are founded on faith, though that's not to say they're irrational beliefs, rather that the point of theology in general is the understanding of God's Word and the Church's interpretation of it throughout history.  Thomas uses both types of theology in his masterwork but there's a distinction between them.

The structure of his work is five parts:
First a question with only two possible answers
Then the opposition's answer summarized fairly, strongly, clearly, and succinctly
Thomas' answer starting with a quotation from authority either human or divine
Then a purely rational argument for the answer
Lastly his answer to why the objections are somewhat right but overall wrong

His first question: Whether, besides philosophy, any further teaching is required?  It may be surprising to know that he answers "yes."  Here's part of a quote about why Thomas says yes, "For man is directed to God as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason. But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation."  It's awesome to see when great thinkers agree.  Here's a quote from Ravi Zacharias in The End of Reason, "The worldview of the Christian faith is simple enough.  God has put enough into this world to make faith in him a most reasonable thing.  But he has left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason alone."  You can't just use reason, and you can't just rely on faith.

Some might object that this isn't philosophy at all, but that's not how Thomas sees it.  Philosophy is the tool of theology.  And of course that's the intent, this is after all the Summa Theologiae not the Summa Philosophiea.  There are two sets of propositions being dealt with here, truth as perceived by human reason alone and truth received through divine revelation alone.  Both sets are truth and therefore cannot be contradictory.  If there's a contradiction it's not in the sets of truths, rather there is a misunderstanding at some level.  Two sets 'A' and 'B' can be related in five different manners: Some of A is B, Some of B is A, Some of A is B and some B is A, ALL A are B and vice versa, and B is contained within A.  Which is the case with reason and faith.


Some truths are known by faith, the Trinity, while some by reason alone, natural science, and some by both, the existence of God, freedom of the will, and immortality of the soul.  Kant referred to these as the "three fundamental postulates of morality."  Both are truth and truth cannot contradict truth.  Here's a quote from Prof Kreeft about this: "[Thomas held that] religion is not just a set of moral commands or ideals or psychologically helpful and hopeful hints, but a set of propositions that are just as objective as those of science and common sense, though they're known not by the scientific method or by sense observation but by faith."  The second half of the argument is from a Christian perspective that God is the teacher of both reason and faith and God doesn't lie therefore both are true. Therefore, we conclude: "whatever arguments are brought forth against the doctrines of the faith are conclusions that are incorrectly derived from the first and self-evident principles. . . . Such conclusions do not have the force of demonstration; they are arguments that are either only probable or fallacious. And so there exists the possibility to answer them."

Christians can feel comfortable in their intellectual and rational integrity faith and rationality are not mutually exclusive as modern atheist philosophers like to claim (Sam Harris in The End of Faith, and Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion among others).

One final note. St. Bonaventura, one of Thomas' contemporaries, criticised Thomas' use of Aristotle saying that he was diluting "the wine of the Gospel by the water of pagan philosophy."  To which Thomas replied, “No, I am transforming water into wine.”  All reason is the ally of faith because all truth is God’s truth (list of verses about truth here).

Our puppy, Lexie, and her first experience of the beach.  She LOVED it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Discovering the Philosopher in You: Part 13: God: Can the Existence of God Be Proven?

Continuing the series second-to-last (sort of) for this interesting lecture series on the big questions of philosophy, can the existence of God be proven?  The reason I say sort of second to last, is I plan on writing at least one extra entry rebutting this lecture and possibly one to sum up the whole series.

One interesting note before I get into Prof McGinn's attempt at dismantling three arguments for the existence of god, I've been using the study guide to facilitate writing these essays and the "recommended reading" for this lecture is Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species.  That kind of gives away what his conclusions will be right off the bat.  In this lecture Prof McGinn attempts to disprove the existence of god by arguing against three traditional arguments for god, the "argument from design," the cosmological argument, and the ontological argument.  Each one he takes in turn and goes through the basics of each one then pokes holes through their weaknesses.

The argument from design.  The argument is pretty obvious, the earth and all life as we know it, has the features of design.  And if one were walking through the desert and found a watch, one would certainly assume there was a watchmaker somewhere that made this thing.  It would be foolish to assume that somehow the swirling atoms and molecules accidentally fell together in the intricate design of a watch.  The supposed weakness in this argument is the idea that natural selection can result in what appears to be design and that evolution has been proven and is a verifiable truth and that no one except devout creationists don't believe in evolution.

The second argument is often called the cosmological argument or first cause argument.  Aquinas was a prominent proponent of this type of argument.  Basically it goes like this, everything in the universe has a cause and its cause has a cause.  In order to avoid an infinite regress there must be a "first cause," or as Aquinas said, an "unmoved Mover."  Prof McGinn's response to this argument is the classic, "who made god?" argument.  He also points out that saying there's a first cause doesn't mean that it has to be god, it could very well be the Big Bang that is the first cause.  There's no need to postulate god as the first cause.

The third argument is new to me, it's called the ontological argument.  This is the most difficult one of all to spell out, and apparently the most difficult to refute.  Basically it goes something like this, the existence of god is proven in the very definition of god.  That is, god is the most perfect conceivable being, and a being that exists must be more perfect than one that doesn't exist.  McGinn claims that this is a beautifully deep and complex philosophical argument and he doesn't have too much to refute it.  Though he does talk about a way to refute this claim is to say, what makes existence "more perfect" than nonexistence?  Take a devil (interesting that he chooses something I'm sure he doesn't believe exists), is the existence of a devil better than the nonexistence of a devil?  Presumably not.  Also, he points out the difficulty of the term "perfect conceivable being."  Just what is the most perfect conceivable being?  We can't even use that terminology dealing with everyday things like mustaches (I beg to differ).

Photo credit here.

After poking holes in these three arguments Prof McGinn brings up his most powerful argument against the existence of god, the problem of evil.  The basic idea is this, if god exists, then why is there great suffering, death, and disasters in the world?  One of the arguments sometimes used against the problem of evil is the idea of free will like what was discussed in lecture eight.  This doesn't work in this argument because there are so many times when the suffering and death of innocent people has happened because of natural disasters.  If god is good, as the typical religious views claim, then why doesn't he step in and intervene.  We would never call a person good if they could easily intervene to save the life of an innocent child but by inaction let that child be killed.

Another point that Prof McGinn brings up is blind faith.  He claims that many who believe in god will answer contravening evidence by claiming faith.  That it doesn't matter what evidence there is, either for or against the existence of god, they just believe anyways.

The final point of the lecture goes into what is commonly referred to as "Pascal's Wager."  It's the idea that if believing in god won't hurt you, and you stand to gain eternal bliss then what's the harm?  There are two options here and the option of belief works out either way, either god exists or he doesn't exist, if he does then believing gains you eternal bliss if he doesn't you're not at any great loss.  So hedge your bets and believe so that it's a win-win situation.  One of Prof McGinn's answers comes from something he has said many times throughout these lectures, that one cannot force oneself to believe something that they know not to be true. I don't disagree with that particular statement and I said in a recent assignment for my apologetics class and I truly believe that "Pascal’s Wager is an intellectually void and relationally bankrupt reason for belief."

More on that in my next entry wherein I will rebut each of Prof McGinn's strawman and red herring arguments.  I have so much more to say in response to all these things but I'll save my responses for next time.

Such a Beautiful Sunset

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Teleology and Chance

Sorry (again), for the long time between entries!  I've been so busy.  It sucks too because I've been trying to focus on reading a book I borrowed from a coworker and I haven't been prioritizing well and my Bible reading has been suffering.

Anyways, in the course of my listening to the History of Philosophy podcast, I've recently come across a couple recordings talking about Aristotle's ethics.  Well, two of the ideas Professor Adamson has mentioned about Aristotle that I've enjoyed learning about are the ideas of chance and teleology.  I'll cover chance first because it is the most interesting and in my mind the most controversial.

According to the podcast talks about Aristotle defining chance being only intelligible in the light a final cause or goal.  In general, I enjoy this professor's impartiality, however, in this particular podcast Professor Adamson makes it abundantly clear that he is completely convinced that Darwin's theory of Evolution is completely true and unquestionable.  Aristotle clearly believes in a teleological view of nature and that chance as something that is NOT the norm, incredibly exceptional.  Aristotle wouldn't have any concept of how nature, which is uniform (in many ways) and has predictable processes, could come about through random chance, since chance is NOT normal.  To this concept, Prof Adamson says that Darwin has since proven that random chance does lead to nature/life as we understand it.  I'm sorry Prof but I have to disagree with you, no one has yet to prove that random natural occurrences/changes can lead to the diversity/complexity of nature.  I'm not stupid, there appears to be some evidence, and I certainly don't have answers to all the evidence and some of my answers are based on faith, but it's certainly not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.  What bothers me is that Prof Adamson takes Darwin's ideas one-hundred percent on faith as truth.

The other concept that I can get behind from the lectures on Aristotle I've already somewhat alluded to, teleology.  If you're not familiar the idea revolves around the concept of a sense of purpose.  The main argument for God that comes from this concept goes like this.  Do your eyes have a purpose?  Do your ears?  Do all you separate organs/body parts?  How can it be that each disparate part could have a purpose and come together as a random assortment.  Life does have purpose.  I feel that Aristotle and so many others have missed that purpose, or as the Bible says "[they have] changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."  (Romans 1:25 KJV)  I'm not usually one for ceremony but I like the way the Westminster Shorter Catechism states this final end for which man was made by God, "What is the chief end of man?  Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.  If one lives with that in mind the teleology of Aristotle is clear, that God made mankind with the purpose of loving God forever.

I love this beautiful place