Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why science makes theism likelier than atheism



Ron said...

The article is titled "Why Science Makes Theism Likelier than Atheism." I interpret this as saying "given science, theism is more probable than atheism"

But the conclusion of the article is merely that "any complex, valuable, beautiful and intelligible state of affairs – including our universe – is much, much more likely given theism than chance."

The fact that a limited set of data are more likely on a hypothesis than it's rival in no way implies that that hypothesis is more probable than its rival given that data, much less more probable than its rival given ALL the data. This fallacy is so common it has a name: the prosecutor's fallacy - confusing P(e|h) with P(h|e)

John Moore said...

It's a false dichotomy to suggest that everything must be either designed or chance. What if our world is orderly by necessity? What if there is simply no other way for a world to be?

Mortal said...

What if there is simply no other way for a world to be?

Is that the "just because" argument?

Victor Reppert said...

If something looks possible, doesn't the burden of proof fall on the guy who says it isn't possible?

Victor Reppert said...

But the higher e/h is, the higher h/e is.

Ron said...

"But the higher e/h is, the higher h/e is." True, h/e goes up when e/h>e/~h. But this doesn't change my point which is that the author or the article did not deliver on his promise to show that science makes theism more probable than atheism. He merely argued that science raises the probability of theism higher than it otherwise would've been.

Victor Reppert said...

Given the fact that the total evidence is pretty widespread, it is difficult to find any single inductive argument that will show that the probability of theism is higher than atheism, and the reverse is true (something advocates of the argument from evil have a tendency to forget).

I take it, therefore, that you are not an advocate of the NO EVIDENCE charge against theism.

Ron said...

I completely agree. No piece of data is sufficient to end the debate unless we want to violate the principle of total evidence. But this is not a good reason to tarnish an otherwise respectable essay with an innacurate click bait title.

Regarding the PoE, I think Draper's evidential problem of evil is superior to Rowes -- it's aim is simply to treat suffering as a piece of data among others.

I don't support the NO EVIDENCE charge for this reason. However, when I talk to lay people it is sometimes useful to adopt a stricter definition of evidence like "there is evidence for a claim if there is data that makes that claims more probable than not." I would only be tempted to raise the standards for "evidence" if I'm talking to someone who I suspect uses this colloquial definition, so I choose to speak the same language as them rather than waste time and look like a weirdo explaining the criterion of positive relevance. For example, I might tell someone "there is no evidence that 9/11 was an inside job" when in fact this is false, and I really mean "there is no good evidence 9/11 was an inside job."

Joe Hinman said...

my article on can we love without God? might contribute here.

Love is the background of the moral universe but Chalmer's explanatory gap raises the possibility that we might not have been able to love had God not created us to in his image. This grew out of a discussion on Sec outpost about pinning morality on God;s nature as grounding not less arbitrary than the Euthyphro but I say it is.

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Edward T. Babinski said...

I argue at my blog that the idea of a Designer is not needed to explain the cosmos, because a Tinkerer rather than a Designer is a philosophically sufficient explanation for everything, or even the cosmos itself as a continual swirling mix that naturally complexifies in some places and deconstructs in others, a mix of life and death, evolution and extinction, both being in equilibrium with one another. And judging by the mass extinction events on this tiny bit of flying rock, one might even hypothesize or at least imagine whole cosmoses have arisen and also gone extinct. How many, I can't say. I can't even say what "time" is. For me the questions in religion and philosophy equal or exceed the alleged final answers insisted on by others.

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