Spot the Fallacy #2: Fine-Tuning and the Prior Probability of Theism

Note: This post is another post in our series of articles designed to engage non-philosophers. Despite the title, you don't need to literally name a fallacy assuming there is one. What these posts are really designed to do is to get you to describe, in plain English, why the argument (or objection) presented isn't successful.Instructions:1. Read William Lane Craig's Q&A here.2. If you are not a philosopher, explain in the combox why his response doesn't work. … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 5

We have been examining the Thomist view of faith, as characterized by Richard Swinburne in Faith and Reason (FAR).In order to avoid the implication that one must reason in a circle in order to have 'faith in God', a supporter of the Thomist view of faith can draw a distinction between beliefs about God that are implied by the statement 'God exists' and other beliefs about God that are NOT implied by this claim.  For a Thomist, belief in the existence of God is (or can be) based on reasons or … [Read more...]

On Atheism and Brightness

I'm often told that atheists are really smart when it comes to religion. Then I read their replies to moral arguments for God's existence and cry out, "WTF?"Take this argument: If no G, then no O. But O. Therefore, G.Why the f&*^ would anyone think it's even relevant to bring up X, Y, or Z?!?!?Unlike some religious apologists, I don't believe the explanation is either (1) atheists are willfully repressing the truth of God's existence, or (2) atheists are stupid. Rather, my … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 4

We have looked at a simple and widespread understanding of 'faith in God':Definition 1Person P has faith in God IF AND ONLY IF  P believes that God exists.One problem with Def. 1 is that the devil himself would have 'faith in God' based on this definition, and thus this could hardly be considered  to be a virtue, to be the kind of faith that is commended by the Christian religion.According to Swinburne (in Faith and Reason, 2nd ed., hereafter: FAR), the Thomist view of faith is si … [Read more...]

New Series: Spot the Fallacy #1

Let E be some piece of evidence and T be theism. Now consider the following argument.E1 favors T.E2 favors T....En favors T.--------------Therefore, T is probably true.(Aside: You could swap out N=naturalism for T and the same fallacy would apply.) Can you spot the fallacy? If you're a philosopher, please do NOT respond in the combox. … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 3

I said that I was not going to walk slowly through the rest of Chapter 4 of Faith and Reason (FAR), by Richard Swinburne.  But there is a lot going on in the next few paragraphs of Chapter 4, and I find myself wanting to make several comments on them.  So, contrary to my previous plans,  I'm going to continue to walk slowly through at least the next few paragraphs.Before we get to Swinburne's characterization of the Thomist view of faith,  I have a couple more comments.  Swinburne focuses on … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 6

I will now try to wrap up this series of posts on Swinburne's Argument from Religious Experience (AFR).   I don't have any big bold conclusion that I'm driving toward, just a few observations, clarifications, and an objection or two.One thing I have done is to make use of the concepts of dependence and independence, which are basic concepts in probability.  I have explored the question of whether and to what extent the veridicality of one generic theistic religious experience (TRE) is de … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 5

Here is a brief plot summary of the movie Harvey:Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.James Stewart played Elwood P. Dowd, the "whimsical middle-aged man" who could apparently see and converse with Harvey, a six-foot rabbit who was invisible to others.  The obvious conclusion is that Elwood is mentally ill and that his experiences of the s … [Read more...]


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