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...]

Just In Time for Easter: Notable Secular Outpost Content on the Resurrection

Cavin and Colombetti on the Resurrection1. MUST READ: Greg Cavin’s Case Against the Resurrection of Jesus2. Video of Licona-Cavin Debate on the Resurrection of Jesus3. Cavin and Colombetti on the Resurrection of Jesus Part 1: The Anti-Resurrection Prior Probability Argument4. Cavin and Colombetti on the Resurrection of Jesus Part 2: The Failure of the Resurrection ‘Explanation’5. Cavin and Colombetti on the Resurrection of Jesus Part 3: The Projection and Unknown Removal Theor … [Read more...]

Arguments from Reason

I've finally gotten around to starting Victor Reppert's book, C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason. As Reppert points out in one of his chapters, we can really think of the "argument from reason" as the name for an entire family of theistic arguments. Indeed, Reppert formulates six different versions of the argument from reason which, he says, can be combined to form a cumulative case.Here are his six arguments.Argument from Intentionality Argument from … [Read more...]

An F-Inductive Moral Argument for Theism

Here is an F-inductive argument for theism based on ontologically objective moral values. Note that this argument assumes that such things exist. If you don't think they exist, then you may want to skip reading this post.As usual, let B be our background information; E be the evidence to be explained (in this case, the existence of ontologically objective moral values); T be theism; and N be naturalism. Here is the explanatory argument.1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1. … [Read more...]

Craig Responds to My Objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument

In my debate on the existence of God with Phil Fernandes, Fernandes defended the kalam cosmological argument. In my rebuttal, I provided objections. William Lane Craig, who so far has not debated me despite saying over a decade ago that he would so, responded to me on YouTube.William Lane Craig's response is not new; it was released on October 12, 2009. I just became aware of it today (March 27, 2014), however, thanks to Diego Vera. … [Read more...]

Input Requested: Facts about Mental Properties Which Might be Relevant to Theism and Naturalism

I'm interested in collecting a list of mental properties which might be relevant to theism and naturalism. Examples:Consciousness Intentionality Reliability of Cognitive Mechanisms Mind-brain dependenceWhat else have I missed? … [Read more...]

Reply to Prof. Feser’s Response, (Part III)

Ed, Russell’s argument is from Why I am not a Christian, which was a popular talk given to a general audience. As you say, almost certainly he was aiming at popular apologetics. He could, however, address the argument at a much more sophisticated level. I think his best response to cosmological arguments came in his classic debate with Frederick Copleston. Since I have written on this debate, I hope you will not mind if I quote myself at length: "Copleston’s first argument was the “argument from … [Read more...]

Simplicity, Theism, and Naturalism

In a recent post on his blog, Alexander Pruss presents an interesting argument regarding simplicity, theism, and naturalism. He writes: I have argued elsewhere, as my colleague Trent Dougherty also has and earlier, that when we understand simplicity rightly, theism makes for a simpler theory than naturalism. However, suppose I am wrong, and naturalism is the simpler theory. Is that a reason to think naturalism true? I suspect not. For it is theism that explains how simplicity can be a guide to … [Read more...]