God and Massive Deception about the Resurrection – Part2

The key question at issue is whether (S2) is true or false:(S2) But God would neither perpetrate nor permit grand deception regarding the Incarnation and Resurrection.I have raised two objections against one reason that Cavin and Colombetti give for their conclusion that "(S2) is patently false". One reason they gave was a passage from the gospel of Mark which they think shows that the author of Mark, and probably Jesus too, had a concept of God which was such that God could (and would) … [Read more...]

God and Massive Deception about the Resurrection

Robert Cavin and Carlos Colombetti have written an article raising some significant objections to Richard Swinburne's case for the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus: "Swinburne on the Resurrection" (Philosophia Christi, Vol. 15, No. 2; hereafter: SOR). LINKI'm fully on-board with their overall conclusion that "...Swinburne's argument for the Incarnation and Resurrection...is seriously undermined by the failure to satisfy the requirement of total evidence." (SOR, p.37) As with other … [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...]

Swinburne on the Resurrection: Negative versus Christian Ramified Natural Theology

ABSTRACT: We consider the impact of negative natural theology on the prospects of Christian ramified natural theology with reference to Richard Swinburne’s argument for the Incarnation and Resurrection. We argue that Swinburne’s pivotal claim—that God would not allow deceptive evidence to exist for the Incarnation and Resurrection—is refuted by key evidence from negative natural theology. We argue, further, that Swinburne’s argument omits dominating items of evidence of negative natural theology … [Read more...]

Stan Stephens’s Categorical Misunderstandings of Atheism, Part 3

I'm now going to comment on Stan's post, "What I Learned at Patheos." Stan's Integrity-Challenged Description of His Interactions at the Secular Outpost My foray into patheos–land is over. I don’t usually venture into other blogs because they are commonly infested with nasty hangers-on (PZ anyone?), but this one seemed different… at first. And it is different, but really only in the politeness of their same old refusal to actually engage in any analysis of atheism. After I posted a number of co … [Read more...]

Critical Thinking – Part 1

What is 'critical thinking'? Why is it important? Why should anyone try to be a critical thinker? What does critical thinking have to do with secularism and humanism and naturalism?There are two main ideas to consider behind the term 'critical thinking'. First, and most obviously, we should consider the ordinary meaning of the word 'critical'. Second, and less obviously, we should consider the use of the term 'critical' in relation to various philosophical theories/viewpoints (i.e. … [Read more...]

Inductive Logic 101 (Updated 23-Apr-14)

Here is a very quick and very rough overview of inductive logic. Almost all of it is taken from sources other than me; I'll try to identify where the material came from. The Difference between Deductive and Inductive ArgumentsLogic Type Unsuccessful Arguments Successful ArgumentsDeductive Logic Invalid* Valid*Inductive Logic Incorrect Correct*I'm oversimplifying this somewhat by ignoring the question of whether the premises are trueThe late philosopher … [Read more...]

F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument

In his extensive writings, the prestigious philosopher Richard Swinburne makes a useful distinction between two types of inductive arguments. Let B be our background information or evidence; E be the evidence to be explained; and H be an explanatory hypothesis.“C-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses confirm  or add to the probability of the conclusion, i.e., P(H | E & B) > P(H | B).“P-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses make the conclusion pro … [Read more...]