An Argument from Scale — Poster Style

HT: Adam TaylorAs a nitpick, theism by itself does not say anything about God having a personal relationship with anyone. Only sectarian versions of theism, such as Christian theism, make such claims.Putting that aside, another worry I have about this graphic is that it seems to attack a caricature of what theists believe. God could have multiple purposes for creating the universe; I don't see any reason to think that even Christian theism says that the sole reason for the universe's … [Read more...]

Loftus’s Outsider Test for Faith viewed in HD with Bayes’s Theorem

In a recent post, I mentioned that anyone interested in the discussion regarding "atheism versus faith" should be reading John Loftus. Particularly, I noted an argument from his excellent Why I Became an Atheist, the "Outsider's Test for Faith" (OTF), which he is elaborating upon in a new book of that title to be published by Prometheus Books next spring. Subsequently, I made a comment that piqued his interest by saying that "[the OTF could be] greatly strengthened by appropriately … [Read more...]

Scalar Connection to Meaning of Life?

Because I've written so much about arguments from scale lately, the following statement in Dennis Prager's op-ed on atheism and consolation caught my eye."'And we promise to work for more gun control. But the truth is we don’t have a single consoling thing to say to you because we atheists recognize that the human being is nothing more than matter, no different from all other matter in the universe except for having self-consciousness. Therefore, when we die, that’s it. Moreover, wit … [Read more...]

Tom Flynn on Dennis Prager

As always, Tom Flynn has written another spirited essay, this time in response to Dennis Prager on atheism and consolation.LINKI agree with pretty much everything he writes. Yet I find myself thinking, "Yeah, but ..." as I read it.I think the first thing that needs to be said is that what counts as "consolation" is inherently subjective: it's going to vary from person to person and from time to time. Some people will find it consoling to know that the dead cannot suffer, whereas … [Read more...]

Atheistic Criticism of Atheistic Scholarship

Here are several examples of criticism of atheistic scholarship, by fellow atheists. Keith Augustine: “Moral Subjectivism Revisited” (1998): A rebuttal to Theodore Schick, Jr.'s "Is Morality a Matter of Taste?" Julian Baggini: “Review of Michael Martin and Ricci Monier, eds., The Impossibility of God” (2005) Richard Carrier: “Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity” (2002): This is a critical review of "The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Ch … [Read more...]

Did the Cosmological Principle Get Knocked Down?

This looks relevant to arguments from scale.LINK … [Read more...]

Atheism and Intraorganizational Free Speech

That is the title of a 1996 essay by Michael Martin on the Secular Web. Martin concludes: The suppression of expressions not only has harmful results but is inconsistent with atheists' criticism of religion's suppression of speech. It also defeats what is in the atheistic organizations' own best interests. I conclude therefore that atheistic organizations should not suppress expression of opinion in their ranks unless such expressions are defamatory, seditious, invasive of privacy, or incitive … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 2 (Revised)

(Note: the revised version of this post begins in the third paragraph after the section title, “The Ratio of Explanatory Powers.”) In 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 t … [Read more...]