The Evidential Argument from Biological Evolution: Part 1

Many conservative Christians and lay atheists alike claim that if biological evolution is true, then God does not exist. Ironically, while many conservative Christians have attacked evolution because it supposedly entails atheism, only one contemporary atheist philosopher has argued that evolution is evidence for atheism: Paul Draper.Draper defends an evidential argument from evolution for naturalism. In other words, Draper's argument does not claim that evolution is logically inconsistent … [Read more...]

Repost: Brittany Maynard and the Problem of Evil

In case you've been under a rock (or you're reading this in the future when it is an old, archived post), Brittany Maynard, a women with terminal brain cancer, died by assisted suicide last weekend in the U.S. state of Oregon, where it is legal.Brittany's life and death are an especially tragic combination of two or more aspects of the problem of evil.First, the tragic nature of her story is an example of the evidence appealed to in the atheistic argument from triumph and tragedy. Acc … [Read more...]

Link: Darwin’s Argument from Evil by Paul Draper

Draper's chapter was published in Yujin Nagasawa (ed.), Scientific Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan. 49 (2012). It's available online for free courtesy of Google Books.LINK … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 2

In a previous post I pointed out three different problems related to the third argument in Richard Swinburne's systematic case for the existence of God.  The third argument is the final argument of his arguments from the nature of the universe.  It is his Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (hereafter: TASO):(e3) There is a complex physical universe that is governed by simple natural laws and the values of the constants of the laws and of the variables of the universe’s initial cond … [Read more...]

Quote of the Day by Paul Draper

"Suppose Wykstra is right that, if there is a God, then we shouldn't expect to know what God's reasons for producing or allowing certain evils are. Then it follows that our ignorance of those reasons (i.e. the failure of the project of theodicy) is not strong evidence against theism. It does not follow, however, that the evils themselves (or other things we know about them) are not strong evidence against theism, nor does it follow that the Humean is mistaken in claiming that the observed … [Read more...]

Did God Create Nuclear Weapons?

Naive View

Christians and other believers in God often say, 'God created everything.'  If we take this literally, as a young child would do, we might start thinking of some objections or possible counterexamples: 'Did God create nuclear weapons?' 'Did God create the ebola virus?' etc.  The doctrine of divine creation leads quickly to the problem of evil.A common response to such an idea would be to say that 'God created humans, and it was humans who created nuclear weapons--not God.'  So, God is one … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God

In The Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG), Richard Swinburne lays out a systematic cumulative case for the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.I have a specific objection to the third argument in this case, but I believe this objection throws a monkey wrench into the works, and creates a serious problem for the case as a whole.To understand my objection, it is important to understand the general logical structure of Swinburne’s case for the existence of God. … [Read more...]

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...]