The Evidential Argument from Scale — Index

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The purpose this post is to provide an index for all Secular Outpost articles regarding the evidential argument from scale (AS) for naturalism.

"The Argument from Scale Revisited" by Jeffery Jay Lowder

Part 1: a critical assessment of Nicholas Everitt’s version of the AS, as formulated in his book The Non-Existence of God
Part 2: an attempt to strengthen Everitt’s argument by restructuring it as a Bayesian argument and appealing to a modified set of background information. I also critically assess the idea that efficiency provides an antecedent reason on theism to expect the universe to display a human scale.
Part 2 (revised): a revised version of Part 2, which explicitly treats the idea that "humans are the jewel of creation" as an auxiliary hypothesis to be conjoined with theism
Part 3: an attempt to strengthen the argument in Part 2 by adding to our background information the assumption that God, if He exists, desires the creation of embodied moral agents.
Part 4: an attempt to formalize a version of AS sketched by Paul Draper in his essay, "Seeking But Not Believing: Confessions of a Practicing Agnostic."
Part 5: an evaluation of a blog post by John Loftus arguing that the size of the universe is evidence for atheism.

Other Posts:

An Argument from Scale—Poster Style” by Jeffery Jay Lowder
Scalar Connection to Meaning of Life?” by Jeffery Jay Lowder
"The Scale of the Universe as Evidence for Naturalism?" by Jeffery Jay Lowder
"LINK: Mark Wynn’s Review of The Non-existence of God by Nicholas Everitt"

About Jeffery Jay Lowder

Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.

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  • John W. Loftus
    • Jeffery Jay Lowder

      You need to read or re-read part 4 of my series on the argument from scale. There I show that the scale of the universe, by itself, does favor naturalism over theism. So far as I can tell, we agree about that!

      I think we disagree about one, maybe two, things. First, we may disagree about the strength of this argument. I don’t think this argument is a killer argument (my words, not yours). Compared to other arguments for atheism and naturalism (such as the arguments from evil and divine hiddenness), I think this one is relatively weak.

      Second, we do disagree about the reason(s) why the scale of the universe is evidence for naturalism over theism. For example, you have argued that our inability to understand how God could be omnipresent in a universe of our size is a good reason to think God cannot be omnipresent in a universe of our size. I think that’s a weak noseeum argument.

      • John W. Loftus

        I said you cannot treat this argument from scale separately from other things you know, so depending on other things you know it can have a lot of strength to it. I did with me and with other former believers. You are trying to argue in a vacuum. You cannot do that. No one evaluates arguments in a vacuum.

        Another thing we disagree on is the nature of theism. There isn’t such a thing as an agreed upon definition of what theism entails just as there isn’t an agreement on what is to be considered “Mere Christianity”:

        The people you think represent Christianity are, generally speaking, evangelicals. That’s a parochial view of theism. Polytheism is a theism too. DZ Phillips is a theist, so are Process theologians. So by saying you know what theism entails is actually taking a stand with the evangelicals and I object to that.

        By saying you know what theism entails is like saying you prefer one cigar over another when you don’t smoke. My question to you is why you care to take sides between theists?

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