Critical Thinking and Skepticism – Part 2

Based on a quick review of Michael Shermer's key statements about skepticism (A Brief Introduction, and  A Skeptical Manifesto)  there appear to be at least two general principles of rational skepticism:GP1. Be open-minded, not closed-minded or dogmatic.GP2. Be discriminating about believing claims, theories, and viewpoints, not gullible and credulous.In my previous post on this subject (Critical Thinking and Skepticism), I argued that Critical Thinking provides a necessary framework … [Read more...]

Critical Thinking and Skepticism

In a recent post advocating the end of Philosophy of Religion, John Loftus commented that PoR classes are often taught with the primary goal of teaching students to think critically,  and he objected that "Teaching students to be critical thinkers is very important but teaching them to have a skeptical disposition is more important."I would argue, however, that (a) skepticism is good and rational only to the extent that it arises out of critical thinking and conforms to the principles and sta … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God

In The Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG), Richard Swinburne lays out a systematic cumulative case for the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.I have a specific objection to the third argument in this case, but I believe this objection throws a monkey wrench into the works, and creates a serious problem for the case as a whole.To understand my objection, it is important to understand the general logical structure of Swinburne’s case for the existence of God. … [Read more...]

Evan Fales: Deepak Chopra’s $1M Prize is a Publicity Stunt

(This is a guest post by Evan Fales about Deepak Chopra's recent challenge to the new atheists.)This is a publicity stunt.  He's smart enough to have picked what may be the biggest unsolved puzzle for naturalism.  At the same time, his challenge is seriously vague in its wording.  What exactly does he mean by 'biological basis'?  Would an invariant neurological correlate of a mental event-type do?  A neurological cause?  Does he need identity?  Supervenience?  What counts as a “valid” scienti … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 8: The Missing Links Argument against Biological Evolution

I began this series with a Bayesian interpretation of arguments from silence and then proceeded to use that interpretation to evaluate various arguments from silence about Jesus and God. In this post, I want to assess an argument from silence that is extremely popular with anti-evolutionists, an argument I call the "missing links" argument.If we abbreviate "the fossil record does not contain any transitional fossils" as S, let B represent our background knowledge, and let E represent e … [Read more...]

Sean B. Carroll’s List of 6 Arguments Used by Science Denialists

I finally found what I was looking for. Sean B. Carroll, the noted evolutionary biologist, author, and vice-president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, delivered a presentation at a 2012 conference on science denialism. He listed 6 arguments employed by science denialists that could be applied to almost any subject. They come from Carroll's book The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.The six listed arguments were to: 1) Cast … [Read more...]

The Carrier-Barnes Exchange on Fine-Tuning

Reader GGDFan77 asked me for my thoughts on the exchange between Dr. Richard Carrier, who I respect and consider a friend, and Dr. Luke Barnes regarding fine-tuning arguments. I initially responded in a series of comments in the combox for my post about Hugh Ross's estimates for the probability of life-permitting prebiotic conditions. But those turned out to be so lengthy that I think the topic deserves its own dedicated post.Here's some brief context for readers not familiar with the … [Read more...]

Index: Larry Arnhart on the Case For (and Against) Life After Death

Part 1: IntroductionPart 2: Near Death ExperiencesPart 3: Kantian DualismPart 4: Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Free WillPart 5: Does Morality Require the Cosmic Justice of Heaven and Hell? … [Read more...]


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