Tag Archives: history

Episode 40: Matthew Ferguson – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism (Part 1)

We chat with Matthew Ferguson about metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism. It was a lot of fun and maddeningly interesting. This is part 1 of 2 of our discussion.

Matthew is currently a PhD student in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. He has written several scholarly papers about ancient history, and blogs about naturalism, secular humanism, and counter apologetics at his blogs Κέλσος and Civitas Humana.

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We discussed:

What is a worldview?

  • Comparing worldviews
  • Explanatory scope and explanatory power
  • Worldviews used as a rhetorical tool by presuppositional apologists

What are metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism?

  • What questions do each of these answer?
  • How do they fit together and compliment each other?
  • The relationship with methodological naturalism, physicalism, materialism, and atheism.
  • The role of science in our knowledge
  • Getting knowledge from science and history
  • Can a metaphysical naturalist or secular humanist be religious?
  • Making sense of minds, consciousness, shapes, numbers, propositions, and other abstract object on metaphysical naturalism

How does metaphysical naturalism compare to christian theism?

  • Eschatology
  • Rules to live by
  • Agreeing about reality
  • Authority
  • Religion, religious experience, and the evolution of agent over-detection

Books we referenced:

Matthew was kind enough to provide a metric ton of really great resources for anyone interested in learning more about what we were talking about. Check them out below:

Matthew’s Blogs:


Civitas Humana

Resources for Naturalism:

The Naturalistic Worldview

Defining Theism, Atheism, Supernaturalism, and Naturalism (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Secular Outpost: Arguments for Naturalism (by Jeff Lowder)

The Best Argument Against God (by Graham Oppy)

Sense and Goodness without God (by Richard Carrier)

Naturalism’s Support among Professional Philosophers:

Even If Most Scientists Are Atheist, Don’t Philosophers Come to the Rescue for God and Religion? Turns Out, No. (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Teleological Argument for Naturalism:

Finely Tuning a Killer Cosmos (by Richard Carrier)

The Fallacy of Fine Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (by Victor Stenger)

Naturalism as the Best Explanation for Irrational Suffering:

The Evil-God Challenge (by Stephen Law)

Naturalism and Mind-Body Physicalism: 

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology: Biointerface Research Group

The Phineas Gage Case

Naturalism, Secular Humanism, and Ethics: 

Confused Metaphysics: Apologetic Efforts to Corner the Market on Ethics (by Matthew Ferguson)

Naturalism and Epistemology: 

C.S. Lewis’ Milk Jug: Apologetics and the Retreat into Epistemology (by Matthew Ferguson)

Evolutionary Naturalism, Theism, and Skepticism about the External World (by J. Wesley Robbins)

Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Refuted (by Stephen Law)

Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason (by Richard Carrier)

Dishonest Apologetic Debate Tactics:

Southern Evangelical Seminary Tricks Bart Ehrman after a Public Debate with Mike Licona

A Response to Cliffe Knechtle’s Campus Apologetics (by Matthew Ferguson)


Counter-Apologetics FAQ (by Matthew Ferguson)


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Episode 28: Atheism, Christianity, and History with Eric Chabot

We are joined once again by Christian apologist Eric Chabot, this time to talk about Atheism, Christianity, and History. Did we stick to those topics? Barely.

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Eric is the director of the Ohio State University branch of Ratio Christi, a Christian apologetics student group, and has been teaching about Jesus, Christianity, and Old Testament prophecy since the beginning of time.

Further stuff to check out:


Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Guest, New Episode


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Episode 22: Dr. Richard Carrier and the Resurrection

As a special Christmas/Solstice bonus, Dr. Richard Carrier joins us to talk about the resurrection of Jesus. We learned an awful lot and had a really good time making this episode, so we hope you enjoy it as well. Go check out Dr. Carrier’s awesome personal site and blog to follow up!

As our conversations so often do, we spoke on twelve-too-many topics, including the usefulness of public debates, the historicity of the patriarchs, being a nonbeliever in the field of early Christian history, Monty Python, the resurrection story and its historicity, the story of Lazarus, the reliability of the various texts in the bible, and hallucinations. Stick around as usual for the unofficial, tinsel-laced pre-show.

Please excuse the periodic loss in signal fidelity of Dr. Carrier, the internet demons were out in force. Dr. Carrier was incredibly patient through the technical difficulties. I would recommend him for sainthood, if I actually thought that would be meaningful.

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To get a better grasp of Dr. Carrier’s position he recommends the following of his works:

  • “My best arguments against a case for a miracle in this scenario”: The Christian Delusion and The End of Christianity, both by John Loftus.
  • Dr. Carrier’s evidence suggesting that early Christians believed that Jesus switched bodies can be found in chapter 5 of The Empty Tomb, by Robert Price and Jeffery Lowder, along with plenty of other avenues of biblical criticism.

Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Guest, New Episode


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Episode 8: Joseph Smith Founds a Church (Part 3)

The concluding part of our discussion about Joseph Smith founding the Mormon church. That’s right: the Mormons aren’t going to come up again for a little while.

Forced out of Ohio on charges of bank fraud, Smith takes his followers to Missouri, where escalating violence forces them to Nauvoo, Illinois. As mayor of Nauvoo and president of the church, Joseph tries to construct his theocratic Mormon paradise, which eventually brings him to his voilent end.

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Why doesn’t the Community of Christ affirm the divine origin of The Book of Abraham? What are some highlights from Joseph’s life that we missed out on? Do you have Mormon ancestry going back to Nauvoo? Post your thoughts in the comment section below!


Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Mormonism, New Episode


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