Symbolism Isn’t About Secret Decoder Rings

In this video I look at what symbolism isn’t—a secret code for a simple message that could have just been said in a sentence or two—and what it is—the structure of reality presented in a simplified form to make it easier to grasp. Symbolism isn’t a code or a cipher, it’s not about hiding a simple message where clever people will find it. Symbolism is about what makes stories good—it’s about reflecting the structure of reality.

The Problem With Ex-Hominem Arguments

In this video I talk about the problem of ex-hominem arguments, that is, arguments “from the man”. These are arguments in which the person making the argument uses himself (or, more often, some trait of his) as a premise in his argument. The classic example is “I did X as a kid and I turned out all right” but it’s surprisingly common once you watch out for it. It’s not invalid to do, but it does cause some problems when a person does it, namely, that an ad-hominem argument becomes a necessary and valid response. In the example above, if the guy didn’t actually turn out OK, then how he turned out is not proof that the X was fine to do as a kid.

The Problem of Evil: Depression

This video is a response to a question. Gadowscar asked, “[M]y question regarding the problem of evil would be triggered by my own personal experience and be fairly narrow, and be an inquiry into how God can allow for such rampant depression among society. I wholeheartedly believe God exists with my intellect, there’s no doubt in my mind that He exists. However, because I suffer with depression(to the point of being suicidal at times), I have difficulty on an emotional and spiritual level believing that God loves me. How would you answer this?”

Here’s my answer.

When a Contradiction is True

In this video I look at the times when an apparent contradiction is actually true, without it being a violation of the principle of non-contradiction (the key is in the word “apparent”). I take a look at two verses from the book of proverbs as an example that shows how this works (Proverbs 26:4 and Proverbs 26:5):

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.