A key premise in Swinburne’s (deductive) argument in defense of his inductive version of the Cosmological argument (TCA) goes like this:(TCA9) The probability that there will be a complex physical universe given that God does not exist is low. (EOG, p.151)Swinburne has provided an explanation of his reasoning in support of this premise (in email dated 10/24/11), and I am working my way through that explanation.P(e &~h&~c&k;) will be the probability that a complex physical universe exists without an explanation…. Read more

In part 2 of my series on the evidential Argument from Scale (AS), I concluded that neither metaphysical naturalism nor theism explain the evidence regarding the scale of the universe, if we restrict our background knowledge to the two propositions I identified as B1 and B2. In this post, I want to explore the effect of adding a new statement (B3) to our background knowledge:B3. God’s purpose(s) include the creation of embodied moral agents.I want to emphasize that I don’t claim… Read more

In two of my classes this term we have been reading Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Whenever I read his Section X, “Of Miracles,” I am once again struck by the beauty, simplicity, and the power of his argument. Oceans of ink have been spilled by philosophers commenting on this argument, and many of those comments have been critical, often harshly so. Hume himself was rather proud of his reasoning on miracles:Nothing is so convenient as an argument of… Read more

Here is a link to a recent radio recording:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thinkatheist/2011/11/14/episode-34-dr-graham-oppy-nov-13-2011It may be of interest to some people who read this blog. Read more

Originally published on 14-Nov-11; updated 20-Nov-11In part 1 of my series on the evidential Argument from Scale (AS), I concluded that Everitt’s formulation of AS is unsuccessful. At the same time, however, I said that there is something about the AS I find intuitive and so I wanted to try revising AS as a Bayesian argument to see if I could make a stronger version. The purpose of this post is to attempt to do just that.PreliminariesLet us organize the… Read more

J. Quinton addresses William Lane Craig’s response to a young Christian struggling with doubt, in which Craig called Internet Infidels websites “literally pornographic.”LINK Read more

I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Michael Hecht has agreed to join The Secular Outpost as a contributor. Dr. Hecht is the author of three history books and two volumes of poetry and she is currently serving as one of the five judges for the Nonfiction category of the 2010 National Book Award. Her bestseller Doubt: A History demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won the Phi… Read more

There is something about Nicholas Everitt’s argument from scale for atheism that appeals to my intuitions, but I haven’t been able to quite put my finger on what it is. So I’m going to try to reformulate the argument from scale as a Bayesian argument. Before I do, however, let’s review Everitt’s formulation of the argument. In his book, The Non-Existence of God, Everitt begins by introducing the generic form for the family of arguments of which the argument from scale… Read more

If found it highly risible that Norman Geisler would criticize fellow apologist Licona for “bad scholarship.” A few years ago Geisler published a critique of the volume The Empty Tomb edited by Jeff Lowder and Bob Price. His critique of my contribution (criticizing Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli on the hallucination argument) was so spectacularly inept, that I am afraid that my reply was a bit intemperate. Readers of SO know that I usually am less truculent with critics, but… Read more

Randall Rauser, a Christian scholar who I respect, has just weighed in on the Michael Licona situation on his blog (see here). I want to comment on just one part of Rauser’s post.The image of a witch hunt has been bandied about by many commentators. One could just as well speak of an academic lynching. But regardless of the chosen metaphor, it is difficult to calculate the egregious impact this kind of fierce attack on honest scholarship will have on… Read more

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