Archives for November 2011

Hume’s Beautiful Argument

In two of my classes this term we have been reading Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Whenever I read his Section X, “Of Miracles,” I am once again struck by the beauty, simplicity, and the power of his argument. Oceans of ink have been spilled by philosophers commenting on this argument, and many of those comments have been critical, often harshly so. Hume himself was rather proud of his reasoning on miracles:Nothing is so convenient as an argument of this kind, which must at lea … [Read more...]

Radio Think Atheist

Here is a link to a recent radio recording: may be of interest to some people who read this blog. … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 2

Originally published on 14-Nov-11; updated 20-Nov-11In part 1 of my series on the evidential Argument from Scale (AS), I concluded that Everitt's formulation of AS is unsuccessful. At the same time, however, I said that there is something about the AS I find intuitive and so I wanted to try revising AS as a Bayesian argument to see if I could make a stronger version. The purpose of this post is to attempt to do just that.PreliminariesLet us organize the relevant evidence into B, the relevant … [Read more...]

LINK: William Lane Craig and the Immorality of Apostasy

J. Quinton addresses William Lane Craig's response to a young Christian struggling with doubt, in which Craig called Internet Infidels websites "literally pornographic."LINK … [Read more...]

Jennifer Michael Hecht Has Joined The Secular Outpost!

I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Michael Hecht has agreed to join The Secular Outpost as a contributor. Dr. Hecht is the author of three history books and two volumes of poetry and she is currently serving as one of the five judges for the Nonfiction category of the 2010 National Book Award. Her bestseller Doubt: A History demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won the Phi Beta Kappa S … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 1

There is something about Nicholas Everitt's argument from scale for atheism that appeals to my intuitions, but I haven't been able to quite put my finger on what it is. So I'm going to try to reformulate the argument from scale as a Bayesian argument. Before I do, however, let's review Everitt's formulation of the argument. In his book, The Non-Existence of God, Everitt begins by introducing the generic form for the family of arguments of which the argument from scale is a member:Everitt's … [Read more...]

Geisler and Scholarship

If found it highly risible that Norman Geisler would criticize fellow apologist Licona for "bad scholarship." A few years ago Geisler published a critique of the volume The Empty Tomb edited by Jeff Lowder and Bob Price. His critique of my contribution (criticizing Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli on the hallucination argument) was so spectacularly inept, that I am afraid that my reply was a bit intemperate. Readers of SO know that I usually am less truculent with critics, but sometimes, when the … [Read more...]

Skeptics Are Not Gloating Over the Treatment of Michael Licona

Randall Rauser, a Christian scholar who I respect, has just weighed in on the Michael Licona situation on his blog (see here). I want to comment on just one part of Rauser's post.The image of a witch hunt has been bandied about by many commentators. One could just as well speak of an academic lynching. But regardless of the chosen metaphor, it is difficult to calculate the egregious impact this kind of fierce attack on honest scholarship will have on the intellectual freedom and credibility of … [Read more...]