I’ve read Draper’s paper, and I am puzzled

On Monday, Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts tweeted his endorsement of Paul Draper’s argument from moral agency for the existence of God:

The link is to a blog post from two years back by Jeffery Jay Lowder, which also called Draper’s argument “The Best Argument for God’s Existence.” My initial reaction to that post was that it looked like a rehash of standard fallacies, particularly setting up a false dichotomy between theism and naturalism, but got a copy of the paper anyway to take a look.

Looking at the paper… well, I was sort of right. Draper frames the issue as theism vs. naturalism, but it’s pretty clear he knows they don’t exhaust the logical possibilities. He says his argument from moral agency “is perhaps better described as an argument against naturalism rather than as an argument for theism, but of course in some sense it is both.” The same paper discusses a version of the argument from evil, and contains a parallel comment about that argument being more an argument against theism than an argument for naturalism.

But if you think you’ve got strong arguments against each of two views, and you know those two views don’t exhaust the options, isn’t the natural thing to conclude that neither view is true? Draper could, for example, believe in a flawed or morally indifferent creator, as suggested in Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Granted, a generic indifferent creator wouldn’t have reason to create moral agents, but I think you could come up with motives that wouldn’t cost the hypothesis too much simplicity, and which would avoid being troubled by the problem of evil.

My guess is that Draper would say all such alternatives are far less intrinsically probable than either theism or naturalism, but it’s hard to see why he would think that.

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