Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 5

Here is a brief plot summary of the movie Harvey:Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.James Stewart played Elwood P. Dowd, the "whimsical middle-aged man" who could apparently see and converse with Harvey, a six-foot rabbit who was invisible to others.  The obvious conclusion is that Elwood is mentally ill and that his experiences of the s … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 4

3 TREs with Dependency

Although I have been considering the implications of the idea that the veridicality of a Theistic Religious Experience (TRE) is independent of the veridicality of other TREs, this is NOT the view of Swinburne.  In fact, Swinburne clearly holds the opposite view, the view that the veridicality of a TRE is dependent on the veridicality of other TREs.  I will get into the details of this shortly.First, let me back up for a moment and provide a key definition.  Swinburne defines "religious ex … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 3

3 Fair Coin Tosses

Previously, I have only considered the very simple case where one person has a memory of having previously had a theistic religious experience (hereafter: TRE) of a generic sort--an experience in which it seemed (epistemically) to him/her that God was present.  There were a couple of basic points made about probable inferences in contrast to necessary or deductive inferences, but there are even more interesting points of logic and probability ahead as we consider more complex and more realistic … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 2

Richard Swinburne's argument from religious experience (AFR) as given in The Existence of God (2nd ed.- hereafter: EOG) is based on three key epistemological  principles: EXPERIENCE …(in the absence of special considerations), if it seems (epistemically) to a subject that x is present (and has some characteristic), then probably x is present (and has that characteristic)… (EOG, p. 303) MEMORY If it seems to a subject that in the past he perceived something  or did something, then (in the abse … [Read more...]

Matthew Ferguson: History, Probability, and Miracles (2013)

Historian Matthew Ferguson uses Bayes' Theorem to analyze the historicity of miracle claims. Among other things, Ferguson compares the historical evidence for a purported miracle by Vespasian to the historical evidence for the purported resurrection of Jesus.LINKNote: as always, links do not constitute endorsement. … [Read more...]

Repost: Brittany Maynard and the Problem of Evil

In case you've been under a rock (or you're reading this in the future when it is an old, archived post), Brittany Maynard, a women with terminal brain cancer, died by assisted suicide last weekend in the U.S. state of Oregon, where it is legal.Brittany's life and death are an especially tragic combination of two or more aspects of the problem of evil.First, the tragic nature of her story is an example of the evidence appealed to in the atheistic argument from triumph and tragedy. Acc … [Read more...]

The Carrier-Barnes Exchange on Fine-Tuning

Reader GGDFan77 asked me for my thoughts on the exchange between Dr. Richard Carrier, who I respect and consider a friend, and Dr. Luke Barnes regarding fine-tuning arguments. I initially responded in a series of comments in the combox for my post about Hugh Ross's estimates for the probability of life-permitting prebiotic conditions. But those turned out to be so lengthy that I think the topic deserves its own dedicated post.Here's some brief context for readers not familiar with the … [Read more...]

How Hugh Ross Calculates the Improbability of Life on Earth due to Chance Alone

As someone who knows a thing or two about probability, I've always wanted to dive into the technical details for how proponents of cosmic fine-tuning arguments justify the probability estimates associated with such arguments. Along those lines, I just found this page on Hugh Ross's Reasons to Believe website:Probability for Life on Earth (APR 2004)Ross arrives at the conclusion that the probability of life on earth, conditional upon the hypothesis that it arose by chance alone, is 1 in 1 … [Read more...]


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