Miracles and Antecedent Probabilities

Victor Reppert responded succinctly but thoughtfully to my posting on ECREE (the principle that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”):There is a sense in which I agree with the ECREE thesis, it is just that I don't believe that there is any objective way of proving that one set of antecedent probabilities is rational and another is not. So what is "extraordinary" is just what your antecedent probabilities tell you is improbable.I think that as you pull at the story of the f … [Read more...]

What God Cannot Do – Part 2

There are two types of actions that God cannot do (see The Coherence of Theism, p.164): T1. Actions that are logically impossible for any being to perform.T2. Actions that are logically possible for some beings to perform, but logically impossible for God to perform.No being, including God, could produce or discover a four-sided triangle. No being, including God, could produce or find a married bachelor. No being could produce or identify an even number that is greater than 1 but less than 2. No … [Read more...]

New Chick Tract

Just to start your New Year off with a dose of homophobia... … [Read more...]

Americans not more religious than Europeans?

There is some recent research that adds to the long-known fact that Americans inflate their religious participations in surveys. It appears that in terms of frequency of attending services, Americans are not such an outlier compared to other post-industrial nations after all. Shankar Vedantam suggests that this indicates that Americans are actually not significantly more religious than Europeans.That, however, strikes me as relying too much on one type of research instrument as much as relying … [Read more...]

What God Cannot Do – Part 1

For the past couple of months I have been reading philosophers of religion, esp. Richard Swinburne, about divine attributes. According to most theists, omnipotence is a divine attribute, a property of God. There are some interesting problems and puzzles concerning omnipotence, a key problem being the paradox of the stone. Here is a summary of the problem by Swinburne:The paradox arises when we ask whether God, allegedly an omnipotent being, can make a stone too heavy for himself to lift. If he … [Read more...]

Evolution and its Rivals

Synthese has a special issue on "Evolution and its Rivals," including papers by a number of people, particularly philosophers, involved in criticism of intelligent design creationism. I haven't had a chance to read them all yet, what with just having finished a semester—I turned in final grades today. But I thought I should post, because access to the issue is free to the public until December 31. (Thanks to Glenn Branch.) … [Read more...]

Extraordinary Claims and Extraordinary Evidence

Note: This will be my last post until after the holidays. I look forward to responding to comments in a couple of weeks.An online site called CARM—Christian Apologetics and Research Ministries—has posted an article titled “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.”http://carm.org/apologetics/evidence-and-answers/extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence Victor Reppert’s Dangerous Idea blog linked with this site and a lively discussion followed. Since I have defended the princ … [Read more...]

If Threatened, Call the Mounties

It is a real pleasure to be able via this medium to correspond with smart people in Britain, Australia, Greece, Finland, and all over. Though the exchanges sometimes get boisterous, they are usually thoughtful and informed. The downside is that you cannot completely exclude comments by the ignorant, the fatuous, the self-important, or the seriously deranged. In this latter category is Dennis Markuze of Montreal, Canada. He is an infamous troll of atheist and skeptical sites. He posts under … [Read more...]