A Key Difference between Science and Religion

In science, we ask, "What's the evidence?", before believing. Only religion* asks us to believe first and consider the evidence later, if ever.Two clarifications:1. I am not claiming that all religions do this. Rather, I'm claiming that if/when this happens, it only seems to happen in the context of religion. (If I've missed any non-religious examples of this, please let me know and I will issue a correction!)2. Nor am I making the scientistic claim that the only way to know … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 6

Here is the "Doubting Thomas" story from Chapter 20 of the Gospel of John:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, t … [Read more...]

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...]

Stan Stephens’s Categorical Misunderstandings of Atheism, Part 2

In my last post about Stan Stephens, I documented how he fundamentally misrepresents the purpose and nature of my evidential case for naturalism, in turn because he seems to fundamentally misunderstand inductive arguments.Let's continue reviewing Stan's post on empirical evidence. Now we can more readily see that not a single line item is a defeater for the question being asked, which again is this: “where is the material, empirical, falsifiable but not falsified, replicable and r … [Read more...]

F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument

In his extensive writings, the prestigious philosopher Richard Swinburne makes a useful distinction between two types of inductive arguments. Let B be our background information or evidence; E be the evidence to be explained; and H be an explanatory hypothesis.“C-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses confirm  or add to the probability of the conclusion, i.e., P(H | E & B) > P(H | B).“P-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses make the conclusion pro … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 3

I am exploring a concern about, or potential objection to, Swinburne's inductive cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God. The objection I have in mind is something like this, for the cosmological argument:Although the one factual premise of Swinburne's cosmological argument is supposed to be the ONLY contingent factual claim or assumption upon which the conclusion of the argument rests, the argument actually rests on a considerable number and variety of contingent … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 2

Like many other liberals, I'm delighted and mesmerized by Bridgegate and various other Chris Christie scandals from the fine state of New Jersey. I cannot wait for my daily dose of Rachel Maddow dishing the latest dirt on Christie and his idiotic crowd of corrupt New Jersey hooligans.What does this have to do with Swinburne's arguments for God? Well, one neat trick that a couple of Christie's friends have pulled is to plead the 5th amendment as a legal justification for refusing to turn … [Read more...]