Draper on Pain and Pleasure: Part 2


This post is part of a series on Paul Draper's classic version of the evidential argument from evil. In the previous entry, I explained Draper's terminology and summarized the logical form of Draper's two arguments. In this entry, I focus on Draper's first argument, which attempts to show that known facts about the biological role of pain and pleasure are much more probable on the hypothesis of indifference than on the hypothesis of theism.1. Background KnowledgeLike all abductive a … [Read more...]

Draper on Pain and Pleasure: Part One


The academic journal Nous published an article by Paul Draper in 1989 on the evidential argument from evil. (The article used to be available online for free but is now only available behind a paywall at JSTOR.) The article is now widely regarded as a 'classic' in the contemporary literature on the problem of evil; it has been republished in numerous anthologies and readers.In this part, I'll summarize the terminology he uses and provide a basic overview of the argument's logical structure o … [Read more...]

Marilyn McCord Adams on Horrendous Evils

Marilyn McCord Adams is a Christian philosopher and a former Episcopalian priest who has thought deeply about so-called horrendous evils. I define 'horrendous evils' as 'Evils the participation in (the doing or suffering of) which gives one reason prima facie to doubt whether one's life could (given their inclusion in it) be a great good to one on the whole.' Such reasonable doubt arises because it is so difficult humanly to conceive how such evils could be overcome. ...I offer the … [Read more...]

Adam Lee: The Argument from Locality

Fellow Patheos atheist blogger Adam Lee introduces a novel argument: "The fact that all religions originated in one specific culture, at one specific time and place, points strongly to their being the product of that culture, time and place – and not the product of divine revelation."LINKDisclaimer: As always, links do not necessarily constitute endorsement. Feel free to debate in the combox. … [Read more...]

The Evidential Argument from Biological Evolution, Part 2: Is Evolution Evidence for Theism?

Let's begin reviewing the logical form of the argument, as described in Part 1 of this series. (1) Evolution is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true. (2) The statement that pain and pleasure systematically connected to reproductive success is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that evolutionary naturalism is true than on the assumption that evolutionary theism is true. (3) Therefore, evolution … [Read more...]

Lowder-Vandergriff Debate on God’s Existence Now Out!

I'm pleased to announce that my debate on God's existence with Mr. Kevin Vandergriff is now out! Here are the options for accessing the debate.Download it as an audio file via the Reasonable Doubts podcast Watch the YouTube version which has slide presentations accompanying each speech Read the transcriptTopic and FormatThe topic and format for our debate was as follows.Topic: Naturalism vs. Christian Theism: Where Does the Evidence Point?Format: Mr. Lowder's Opening … [Read more...]

Horia George Plugaru: The Argument from Physiological Horrors (2003)

This was recommended to me, but I haven't read it yet. Please feel free to debate in the combox. P1: If human beings: (1) would produce extremely disgusting, abhorrent, horrible, pestilential, totally ugly results, (2) those results would be due to no fault of their own, (3) assuming that (some of) those results would help to attain sufficiently important goals, there could be imagined other, much more aesthetic ways to achieve them without anything of importance being lost then they … [Read more...]

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...]