The Argument from Silence, Part 7: Victor Stenger on the Absence of Scientific Evidence for God

In this post, I want to revisit an argument from silence used by Victor Stenger against the existence of God based on the absence of scientific evidence for God.In his 2010 debate with William Lane Craig, Stenger argued that "the absence of evidence for God is evidence of absence" of God. In his words, "If God plays such an active role in the universe, then his actions should surely have been observed by now." As I understood him, he offered four examples of scientific evidence which could … [Read more...]

New Paper by Taner Edis: “Beyond Physics”

From Taner Edis:I have been working, on and off, on a paper with Maarten Boudry concerning physicalism and the prospects of detecting nonphysical agents.Well, it’s been published, and I thought others on the list might want to take a look, since it concerns supernatural agency and design arguments but approaches these questions from an unusual perspective.Springer is making an e-offprint available for four weeks. Grab it if you like. … [Read more...]

Sean Carroll’s 11 Lines of Evidence for Naturalism over Theism

This is my attempt to summarize the slides from Sean Carroll's recent debate with WLC where he very quickly skimmed through eleven (11) lines of evidence which favor naturalism over theism. I don't claim this is perfectly accurate; any corrections would be welcome and, in fact, appreciated!Facet Theism (Theistic Prediction) Naturalism (Naturalistic Prediction) Lowder's CommentsAmount of Tuning Just Enough Sometimes too much (e.g., entropy). A natural mechanism could incredibly … [Read more...]

Worst Atheist Debate Performances (revised 22-May-15)

In the past, I posted a list of the "Worst Atheist Debaters." I now think that title was a mistake, since it's possible that a single debate performance may not be representative of a person's overall skill in debate. So I am republishing that list now as a list of the "Worst Atheist Debate Performances."Like my list of "Best Atheist Debaters," I don't know of any way to be fully objective about this sort of thing. Also, like the other list, I fully recognize that others may disagree. … [Read more...]

What are Atheists For?

What are atheists for? Hypotheses on the functions of non-belief in the evolution of religionDominic Johnson* Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UKAn explosion of recent research suggests that religious beliefs and behaviors are universal, arise from deep-seated cognitive mechanisms, and were favored by natural selection over human evolutionary history. However, if a propensity towards religious beliefs is a fundamental characteristic of human bra … [Read more...]

Very Interesting Theistic Argument

I just discovered Robin Collins' very, very interesting reply to Carroll. Collins defends an entirely new class of fine-tuning argument for theism. This new class of fine-tuning argument does not argue that the universe is fine-tuned for life. Rather, this new class of fine-tuning argument argues that the universe is fine-tuned for discoverability. This novel argument sets up the following reply to Carroll on the extremely low entropy of the early universe: the extremely low entropy of the early … [Read more...]

NASA: The Universe is Flat (which Suggests It is Spatially Infinite)

The WMAP spacecraft can measure the basic parameters of the Big Bang theory including the geometry of the universe. If the universe were flat, the brightest microwave background fluctuations (or "spots") would be about one degree across. If the universe were open, the spots would be less than one degree across. If the universe were closed, the brightest spots would be greater than one degree across.Recent measurements (c. 2001) by a number of ground-based and balloon-based experiments, includ … [Read more...]

Is HADD Evidence Against Theism? Part 1

I've been thinking lately about whether HADD, on the assumption that it exists, is evidence for or against the existence of God. I'm starting to think it is neutral, but I'm posting this here for feedback.ContextBefore diving into the details, let's review a few items for context.First, let's address terminology. HADD is an acronym which stands for "Hypersensitive Agency Detection Device." HADD is a theory in the cognitive science of religion which says that most humans seem to be … [Read more...]