Evidential Asymmetry, Scientific Confirmation of Prayer, and Horrific Evils

1. The General CaseOne of the most important (and equally most often forgotten) lessons that Bayes's Theorem can teach us about evidence is that the strength of evidence is a ratio. To be precise, let H1 and H2 be rival explanatory hypotheses, B be the relevant background information, and E be the evidence to be explained. Now consider the following ratio: Pr(E | B & H1) ----------------- Pr(E | B & H2) If Pr(E | B & H1) > Pr(E | B & H2), then this ratio is greater … [Read more...]

Stan Stephens’s Categorical Misunderstandings of Atheism

Stan Stephens has finally decided to respond to my list of sixteen (16) lines of empirical evidence which favor naturalism over theism. Here is the first sentence of his reply. Jeffery Jay Lowder provided a list of empirical proofs. (emphasis added) I've emphasized Stan's use of the word "proofs" because it exposes a fundamental misunderstanding of the arguments. The word "proof" has the connotation of certainty. But I've never claimed that my list of arguments are "proofs." Rather, my list of … [Read more...]

Theistic Prejudice: A Case Study with Stan

Over at Randal Rauser's blog, Stan wrote the following: Free thinking does not mean disciplined logical thought; it means being free to think that whatever you might think at the moment is Truth, including that there is no truth. Free Thought is much like removing the timing from your engine's combustion system to allow it "freedom".Logic demands discipline and guidance under the rules of deductive reasoning. Atheists have no concept of this, for the most part, and those who do, cannot … [Read more...]

Erik Wielenberg’s argument re sceptical theism defended and developed – forthcoming in Religious Studies

(revised 9 April 2014) Sceptical theism and a lying God – Wielenberg’s argument defended and developed   Stephen Law Department of Philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W5 8HX UK s.law@heythrop.ac.uk     Abstract: Sceptical theists attempt to block the evidential argument from evil by arguing that a key premise of that argument – that gratuitous evil exists – cannot reasonably be maintained. They argue that, for all we know, our knowledge of reasons … [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...]

Plantinga on the Alleged “Irrationality” of Atheism

 I want to comment on Gary Gutting's recent interview of Alvin Plantinga in the New York Times. Unless otherwise indicated, the quotations are quotations of Plantinga. Still, that’s not nearly sufficient for atheism. In the British newspaper The Independent, the scientist Richard Dawkins was recently asked the following question: “If you died and arrived at the gates of heaven, what would you say to God to justify your lifelong atheism?” His response: “I’d quote Bertrand Russell: ‘Not e … [Read more...]

Angra Mainyu Responds to WLC and Murray on Animal Pain

His response is spread over three posts. Here are the links.IntroductionPart 1Part 2 … [Read more...]

What’s So Great about What’s So Great about Christianity? – Part 2

As we saw in my last post, Dinesh D'Souza's defense of the "moral laws presume a moral lawgiver" argument fails. In this post I want to comment on what D'Souza has to say about atheist "attempt[s] to meet this challenge" (232).1.Like many partisan diatribes, D'Souza's book says nothing about the strongest arguments and objections against his position. Instead, he gives unsuspecting readers the misleading, false impression that the only way an atheist might explain morality is "as a product … [Read more...]