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 … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 5: John Loftus on the Size of the Universe

In this post, I want to offer some preliminary observations regarding John Loftus’s claim that “the size of the universe leads to atheism.” Before I do so, I want to emphasize that I am going to comment on the linked blog post only. I will not discuss anything that Loftus has written in chapter 24 of his book, Why I Became an Atheist, where he discusses the issue in further detail. “Noseeum Arguments” Relating to God and the Size of the UniverseHere is Loftus: I remember thinking to … [Read more...]

The Loftus-Torley Exchange

It seems to me that Torley clearly has the upper hand in this exchange so far. As a debate judge, I would “flow” the entire “debate” to Torley up to this point. But that doesn’t mean game over for Loftus, however. In each case, I think Loftus has strong replies available. Here are my brief comments on Torley’s points. Mistake #1. Loftus’ failure to take account of prior probabilities As a Bayesian, I agree that taking account of prior probabilities is essential. Of course, I also … [Read more...]

20+ Questions for Theists

(This post was last edited on 21-Jun-12, by reorganizing the list into a more logical sequence. I apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause to people who have posted comments or their own articles discussing these.)As a follow-up to my last post, I compiled a list of my own questions for theists. I'm sure readers will have many of their own to add.The question "Why is there something rather than nothing" presupposes "nothing" as being  the normal state of affairs. Why … [Read more...]

The Evidential Argument from Scale — Index

Opening Scene from Contact The purpose this post is to provide an index for all Secular Outpost articles regarding the evidential argument from scale (AS) for naturalism. "The Argument from Scale Revisited" by Jeffery Jay Lowder Part 1: a critical assessment of Nicholas Everitt's version of the AS, as formulated in his book The Non-Existence of God Part 2: an attempt to strengthen Everitt's argument by restructuring it as a Bayesian argument and appealing to a modified … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 4

In this version, I am going to make a subtle switch in the emphasis of the argument from the scale of the universe to the fact that humans don't have a privileged position (spatially or temporally) in the universe.[1]PreliminariesB: The Relevant Background Evidence1. A physical universe, which operates according to natural laws and which supports the possibility of intelligent life, exists.2. Human beings are a type of intelligent life and exist only on Earth.3. God's purpose(s) include the … [Read more...]

The Argument from Scale (AS) Revisited, Part 3

In part 2 of my series on the evidential Argument from Scale (AS), I concluded that neither metaphysical naturalism nor theism explain the evidence regarding the scale of the universe, if we restrict our background knowledge to the two propositions I identified as B1 and B2. In this post, I want to explore the effect of adding a new statement (B3) to our background knowledge:B3. God's purpose(s) include the creation of embodied moral agents.I want to emphasize that I don't claim theism … [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...]


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