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Brian Holtz

Brian Holtz

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The Compatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism (2003)

In "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism" (1998), the U.T. Austin philosopher Robert Koons argues that "Nature is comprehensible scientifically only if nature is not a causally closed system--only if nature is shaped by supernatural forces." According to Holtz, "Koons' fundamental mistake in his paper is to treat our epistemological criteria for truth--parsimony and possibly other unspecified 'quasi-aesthetic considerations'--as if they were empirical conclusions rather than methodological assumptions. Koons mistakes a definitional connection for a causal connection, and thus mistakenly concludes that 'scientific realism' rules out philosophical naturalism."

The Not-So-Impossible Faith (2002)

Holtz dissects Christian apologist Robert Turkel's "The Impossible Faith: Or How Not to Start an Ancient Religion" wherein Turkel attempts to "explain why Christianity succeeded where it should have clearly failed or died out." Holtz concludes that Turkel's argument ultimately fails, that the ability of Christianity to overcome the "disadvantages" which Turkel lists is entirely consistent with Jesus being a merely human preacher, faith healer, and apocalyptic prophet whose followers transformed a belief in his spiritual resurrection into the myth of his physical resurrection.

Turkel and the Trilemma (2002)

This essay summarizes a long debate between Brian Holtz and Christian apologist Robert Turkel (aka J. P. Holding). Here, Holtz effectively rebuts the Trilemma argument ("Was Jesus Lord, liar, or lunatic?"). As Holtz puts it, Robert Turkel's latest response contains no less than 137 polemical blunders, each categorized and separately identified here.

Published on the Secular Web

Modern Library

Turkel and the Trilemma

Turkel and the Trilemma by Brian Holtz [Editor’s note: This essay summarizes a long debate between these two authors, which is available at “Turkel Rebutted on Trilemma.” Robert Turkel does not include this link in either of his essays where he quotes Holtz’s edited responses. This is Turkel’s modus operandi: he avoids linking to or […]