A few weeks back I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Dr. Quentin Smith. We sat down not far from the Western Michigan University Campus where he was professor of philosophy from 1993 until he retired in 2015. Dr. Smith received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Antioch College and his PhD in philosophy from Boston College. He has written and published over 140 articles and has written and co-written several books including one with William Lane Craig titled Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology. While brief, the interview covers a wide variety of subjects from Smith’s 1986 book Felt Meanings of the World to his contributions to the problem of evil focusing on Evil Natural Laws as well as his thoughts on some contemporary arguments for God.
For this episode, we interview Dr. Felipe Leon on the metaphysical possibility of creation ex nihilo – or creation ‘out of nothing’. This is an indispensable metaphysical doctrine to classical theists. Dr. Felipe Leon is professor of philosophy at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. He received his M.A and Ph.D at University of California Riverside, and his current research interests are in philosophy of religion and modal epistemology. Recently, Dr. Leon co-edited and contributed to a collection along with Bob Fischer entitled Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Among other things, the collection indicates the recent trend in modal epistemology to seek the ground of our modal knowledge in empirical sources, such as observation and observation-sensitive theory. Felipe also runs the ex-apologist philosophy of religion blog which has a wealth of fantastic content that listeners to this podcast will no doubt enjoy.
For this episode, Ben Watkins and Justin Schieber interview Counter Apologist on the moral argument. The moral argument is an argument about moral ontology and includes a premise which states, if God exists, objective moral values and duties do not exist. We discuss various strategies for interacting with this argument.
Youtuber Ozymandias Ramses II joins Justin Schieber and Ben Watkins to discuss competing contemporary definitions of atheism. Agnosticism and the burden of proof or justification are also discussed.
The Ozymandias Ramses II Youtube channel:
For this episode of Real Atheology, Justin Schieber and Ben Watkins interview philosopher Wes Morriston. Dr. Morriston earned his PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University in 1972 and was a professor of philosophy at University of Colorado, Boulder from 1972-2014 when he retired as Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. Professor Morriston specialized in philosophy of religion. In the interview we discuss a variety of topics including a supposed tension that exists between a belief in what is often assumed to be the great value of free will on the one hand and the belief in God’s essential goodness on the other. We also discuss the moral argument – at least the form advocated by Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. We want to again thank Professor Morriston for the fantastic discussion.
In this episode, Justin Schieber sits down with philosopher Evan Fales to talk about some of his work on the problem of evil as well as how he became interested in issues in philosophy of religion. Dr. Fales is professor emeritus at University of Iowa. Professor Fales’ research interests include philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology, and most relevant to today’s episode, philosophy of religion.
Cory Markum joins Ben Watkins to discuss some questions about normativity. Many apologists put forward moral arguments for the existence of God which claim that atheism implies some form of moral nihilism. While both Ben and Cory do not find these arguments persuasive, Cory is not so sure about the view that is often called “moral realism.” This view states that there are mind independent moral truths about what actions are good and bad, right and wrong, and virtuous and vicious. Ben, on the other hand, is a moral realist, because he accepts a realist view about normativity in general. In an effort to convince Cory of moral realism, Ben defends the view that some things matter in the sense that we have reasons to care about things for their own sake. Such truths are ‘irreducibly normative.’ Ben holds that there are some irreducibly normative truths about what we have reason to believe, to desire, and to do, and that some of these truths are moral truths.