Does Evolution “Explain” Objective Morality? A Reply to Jerry Coyne

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne recently wrote about Leah Libresco's conversion from atheism to Catholicism based on a moral argument for God's existence. In his article, Coyne promotes the idea, which he has done many times before, that biological evolution somehow "explains" objective morality. While there is a sense in which Coyne is correct, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the kind of moral argument which Libresco finds persuasive. So while I join Coyne in rejecting Libresco's … [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...]

Is Empathy Just Another Feeling That Can Be Suppressed if Metaphysical Naturalism Is True?

Depending on the particulars, an argument from silence may be logically correct or incorrect. I've argued that the most charitable interpretation of arguments from silence is as explanatory arguments. In order to succeed, arguments from silence must successfully show that the non-existence or non-occurrence of the thing in question is a better explanation than rival theories, such as that the person or people who are silent never heard the claim in question.Barry Arrington, writing at the … [Read more...]

God of the Gaps Arguments

I see the phrase "God-of-the-gaps" (GOTG) argument used a lot in the blogosphere, but people rarely define what they mean. I think GOTG arguments all look something like this.1. X happens or exists.2. We have no naturalistic explanation for X, i.e., we have no way to explain X without God.3. Therefore, God exists.I feel too lazy to track down an actual GOTG argument used by a theist, so for this post, I'm going to make one up to use as an example. (If this happens to match an … [Read more...]

The Evidential Argument from Moral Agency Revisited: A Reply to Jerry Coyne

1. IntroductionBiologist Jerry Coyne recently blogged about an argument I've called the "evidential argument from moral agency" (EMA). The argument was formulated by (then-agnostic, now-atheist) Paul Draper in an article in the American Philosophical Quarterly. (See here for a free copy.) I've blogged about the argument twice: see here and here.  It appears that Coyne has only seen the first blog post, which he says he finds easier to read than Draper's essay, but since he doesn't actually … [Read more...]

An Invitation to William Lane Craig

An Invitation to William Lane Craig             On May 23 and June 9, respectively, the Secular Web published revised versions of two of my three essays on the kalam cosmological argument that had previously been published on that website. Today, I have sent an e-mail letter to Dr. William Lane Craig requesting that he publicly respond to these essays for the reasons set forth in that letter. A copy of that letter appears below. The reader will please note that I informed Dr. Craig in my letter … [Read more...]

God-of-the-Gaps Arguments Summarized in One Word

Inconceivable!

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Some Logic in Swinburne’s Cosmological Argument

I have been struggling for the past week or two to make clear the logic behind one premise of Swinburne's cosmological argument. Perhaps those readers of The Secular Outpost who have an interest in logic or in Swinburne's arguments will be able to help me with this task.Actually, his inductive cosmological argument is very simple:1. A complex physical universe exists. Therefore: 2. God exists.It is not this argument that I am struggling to understand and clarify, but rather … [Read more...]


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