Articles

A Cabin in the Woods: Considering the Bayesian Fine-Tuning Argument

A Former Statistician Responds to a Critique of the Bayesian Fine-Tuning Argument for God

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Introduction

In the last few decades scientists have discovered numerous astonishing facts about our universe that seem to indicate it has been precisely fine-tuned for life. As engineers who design our spaceships to sustain human lives in space can attest, life can only exist if numerous factors are set to precise specifications. Similarly, our universe seems to have been finely tuned for intelligent life to exist and thrive. The fact that these laws of physics are set just so has led many to conclude that our universe was designed by a supreme being with an intelligent mind.


A Biblical Foundation for My Apologetic Approach

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Many people don’t like the type of ministry I do. It may surprise you to hear that a lot of these folks are Christians. The reason they don’t like my ministry is that they believe what I’m doing goes against the Bible. Here is my loving and respectful reply to such individuals.

I believe there is a place for human reason in the sharing of God’s truth with the lost. Of course, there’s some tension in this issue, that is, the relationship between faith and reason. There’s always tension where the human and divine intersect – for example, the incarnation of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the doctrine of election, our role and God’s role in evangelism, etc.


Is God Necessary for Morality?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Mark D. Linville and Louise Antony recently participated in a written debate on the question of whether or not God is necessary for morality. Linville argued that God is necessary for morality whereas Antony argued that God is not. Adam interacts with the arguments made by these two authors and also puts forth his case that God is the best explanation for objective morality.


Q: Should Christians Today Follow Old Testament Laws?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Different Christian groups and denominations have disagreed about this issue over the years.  Thus, just like with any theological disagreement, we should look into the various positions which have been put forth, make a decision as to which position seems most biblical, and then calmly and rationally explain why we hold our position while showing grace, humility, love, and respect with Christians who have taken other positions (Romans 14).

Keep in mind that the Old Testament law was given by God to the Israelites through Moses and includes over 600 commands that cover a wide range of issues including clothing, house styles, worship instructions, governmental society rules and respective punishments, food to eat and not eat, sexual practices, hygiene, etc. 


Emergence of Consciousness: Friend or Foe?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Introduction

In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled “Emergence”, the crew’s spaceship, the USS Enterprise, developed its own consciousness. The crew members were perplexed as to how this could have happened until Lieutenant Commander Data, a conscious synthetic android with artificial intelligence, explained that

[c]omplex systems can sometimes behave in ways that are entirely unpredictable. The human brain, for example, might be described in terms of cellular functions and neurochemical interactions. But that description does not explain human consciousness, a capacity that far exceeds simple neural functions. Consciousness is an emergent property.1

Data theorized that the ship’s newly formed consciousness was a similar emergent property.


Christian and Skeptic Debate: Is the Bible True?

On April 22, 2020, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adam Lloyd Johnson and Luke Pitts engaged in a debate over Zoom about whether the Bible was true and could be trusted. Adam, as a Christian, defended that the Bible is true, that it gets the major events right and is also correct in all its details. Luke, a skeptic, argued that the Bible was not reliable or trustworthy because of many strange, unusual, and even contradictory things found within it. The exchange included four speeches by each participant as well as a time for questions at the end.


A Trinitarian Moral Argument

Why Christianity’s Trinitarian God is a Better Explanation for Objective Morality than Islam’s Non-Trinitarian God

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Both Christians and Muslims affirm the following argument:

There are objective moral truths.God is the best explanation for objective moral truths.Therefore, God exists.

However, which understanding of God, the Christian’s or the Muslim’s, is a better explanation for objective morality? In this paper I argue that Christianity’s trinitarian God is a better explanation for objective morality than Islam’s God. As part of this argument, I propose a Trinitarian Metaethical Theory (TMT) which maintains that the ultimate ground of morality is God’s trinitarian nature.


Defusing the Euthyphro Dilemma

How a Concretist Position on Properties Salvages Divine Simplicity

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Why salvage divine simplicity? Consider the Euthyphro Dilemma, often presented as a rebuttal to the moral argument for God’s existence. In Plato’s Euthyphro, Socrates asked “Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?”1 The dilemma can be restated in monotheistic terms as follows: Either 1. Morality is based on God’s commands; thus, He could have arbitrarily commanded any heinous act and it would be morally right, or 2. Morality is based on necessary truths that even God cannot change; thus morality is independent of God and out of His control.2

In order to avoid both horns of the dilemma, theists have proposed that morality is dependent upon God’s nature in such a way that He could not command something that violates His moral nature.3 Robert M.


Sweeping Contingency Under the Rug

How Erik Wielenberg’s Third Factor Model Fails to Rebut the Lucky Coincidence Objection

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Erik Wielenberg describes his view as “godless robust normative realism,” a combination of holding that “robust normative realism is true and there is no God.”1 Enoch describes robust normative realism as the view that “there are response-independent, non-natural, irreducibly normative truths… objective ones, that when successful in our normative inquiries we discover rather than create or construct.”2 Adding ‘godless’ to this, Wielenberg’s position then is that objective moral values and obligations exist, even though God does not.

In his non-theistic model Wielenberg claims that moral facts and properties are objectively real and that we as human beings can have accurate moral knowledge of these facts and properties.


Created to Know: The Epistemologies of Michael Polanyi and Francis Schaeffer

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

During the mid to latter part of the twentieth century, thinkers from various disciplines spoke out against the epistemological conclusions of Modernism. Some of them thought that the modern view of human knowledge had been a major impetus behind the carnage of World War I, World War II, fascism, and communism. One such thinker, Michael Polanyi (1891-1976), a world-renowned physical chemist, recognized that this incomplete understanding of knowledge had become especially prevalent in the scientific community. He turned to the study of philosophy in order to explore how these ideas came about and to propose a much needed course correction.