Philosophy and religion in Schools

Religion and philosophy in schools (from Hand and Winstanley, Philosophy in Schools, Continuum 2008))   Is philosophy in schools a good idea? The extent to which early exposure to a little philosophical thinking is of educational benefit is, of course, largely an empirical question. As a philosopher, that sort of empirical study is not my area of expertise. But of course there is also a philosophical dimension to this question. As a philosopher, conceptual clarification and the analysis … [Read more...]

One Man’s Modus Ponens…Part 5

Here is a creationist argument for the existence of God:1. If God exists, then it is very likely that the basic kinds of plants and animals all began to exist at the same time.2. If there is no God, then it is very unlikely that the basic kinds of plants and animals all began to exist at the same time.3. The basic kinds of plants and animals all began to exist at the same time.Therefore:4. Other things being equal, it is probable that God exists.Here is another … [Read more...]

One Man’s Modus Ponens…Part 4

In A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, there is an article by Jeffrey Jordan on "Pragmatic Arguments", that covers Pascal's Wager. According to Jordan, there are at least three versions of Pascal's Wager. In this post I will examine one of the three versions, which goes something like this:1. Either God exists or it is NOT the case that God exists. 2. If God exists, then a person who believes in God will be much better off than a nonbeliever. 3. If it is NOT the case that God exists, … [Read more...]

One Man’s Modus Ponens…Part 2

Here is another argument for God, based on answered prayers:1. If God exists, then it is very likely that prayers to God for healing from injury or disease would usually be immediately followed by instantaneous and complete healing, except when the injury or disease was the result of self-destructive, foolish, or morally wrong actions on the part of the person who is suffering from the injury or disease.2. If it is NOT the case that God exists, then it is very unlikely that prayers to … [Read more...]

One Man’s Modus Ponens…

Here is an argument for the existence of God:1. If there is a God, then it is very likely that there is a book that was written many centuries ago that is purported to be a divine revelation, and that is widely known about, and that is filled with nothing but true facts and wisdom and clear and sound moral guidance, and that provides great help for people to live good and happy lives.2. If there is no God, then it is very unlikely that there is a book that was written many centuries ago … [Read more...]

Reppert on Theistic Explanation

Victor Reppert has chimed in on my reply to Wintery Knight.This is always an interesting issue. But does it really make sense to ask of an omnipotent being how they did something. For example, I once beat a Grandmaster in a chess tournament. Now, you might ask how I did that, since as someone whose rating has never gone above expert, you might wonder how I did that. (And the answer isn't all the flattering, was able to win because my opponent had had entirely too much to drink.) But if I … [Read more...]

Intelligent Design Arguments and Cumulative Cases

As we saw in my reply to Wintery Knight, he (like many other proponents of intelligent design or ID) propose that there are multiple, independent lines of evidence which favor intelligent design over its alternatives. Here is a partial summary of the evidence ID proponents offer."Cosmic Fine-Tuning," i.e.,¬†the initial conditions of the universe and the values of the constants of the¬†fundamental laws "Biological Fine-Tuning," i.e., the biological information in the first replicator (origin … [Read more...]

Scientific Discoveries, Theism, and Atheism: Reply to Wintery Knight

I'm going to offer some comments on a recent post by Wintery Knight. He writes: When people ask me whether the progress of science is more compatible with theism or atheism, I offer the follow four basic pieces of scientific evidence that are more compatible with theism than atheism. [italics are mine] The following point is nitpicky, but it's worth mentioning just because so many non-philosophers, including both theists and nontheists, misuse words like "compatible" and "consistent." … [Read more...]


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