February 8th, 2013
The cumulative case uses the prime principle of confirmation: Whenever we are considering two competing hypotheses, an observation counts as evidence in favor of the hypothesis under which the observation has the highest probability. This principle is sound under all interpretations of probability. Each argument must be taken on its own grounds and one cannot arrive at “God” at the end of each argument. The conjunction of arguments is what is needed to make a cumulative case for the existence of God.
The Likelihood Principle of Confirmation theory states as follows. Let h1 and h2 be two be competing hypothesis (in this case the existence of X and ~X, with X being a first cause, fine-tuner, etc.). According to the Likelihood Principle, an observation e counts as evidence in favor of hypothesis h1 over h2 if the observation is more probable under h1 than h2. Thus, e counts in favor of h1 over h2 if P(e|h1) > P(e|h2), where P(e|h1) and P(e|h2) depict a conditional probability of e on h1 and h2, respectively. The degree to which the evidence counts in favor of one hypothesis over another is proportional to the degree to which e is more probable under h1 than h2: particularly, it is proportional to P(e|h1)/P(e|h2) . The Likelihood Principle seems to be sound under all interpretations of probability. This form is concerned with epistemic probability.
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January 21st, 2013
I am currently a college student with a strong interest in apologetics. I’ve seen that, by and large, the arguments that apologists use seem to have shown themselves logically sound and hard to disprove despite decades or centuries of them being around. So the theist’s arguments seem to have many strong points. What would be considered the “weak spots” of the apologetic arguments? What arguments might the skeptic use that have the most potential to show that theism is false and that God does not exist?
Thank you. (Shawn)
This is a very interesting question since it seems to me that I’d have to be showing those at the table what my hand is. There are few weak spots in apologetic arguments and I think the two I see most concerning are 1) poor methodology and 2) theoretical implications for parts of the arguments/defense.
Let’s first look at some poor methodology. Most arguments you’ll find in the deductive, inductive, or abductive form. I’m a staunch proponent of abductive arguments. Here’s an example of William Lane Craig’s fine-tuning argument.
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December 14th, 2012
On 8 November 2012 I did a presentation to the Ratio Christi club at Liberty University on how to argue for the existence of God. It was designed to be a smaller training session for the Ratio Christi members. I discussed the importance of apologetics and the difference between knowing your faith to be true and showing your faith to be true. That was the followed by methodological differences and my use of the classical approach.
I then gave three arguments: 1) Thomas’ cosmological argument from contingency, 2) the abductive fine-tuning argument, and 3) the abductive moral argument (or as I like to say, the new moral argument).
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November 26th, 2012
The following is a guest blog post by Mike “MoonDog” Burnette…
I It’s probably just me, but even as a Christian I occasionally have feelings of inadequacy. For whatever reason unable to convince myself at the deepest level, on any full-time basis, of my own self-worth. Inadequate to my job, inadequate to my boss, inadequate to my wife, and inadequate to myself. Perhaps that is why I was a radio DJ for nearly 30 years; showing off in front of others to have my own shaky feelings of self-confidence affirmed from the outside. “How’s that working for you?!” Shut-up Dr. Phil this is my article.
For the most it’s better now due to my trust in God and maturity. The evidence of my value and efficacy has mounted up to the point I find it harder to sustain feeling of worthlessness. But, we’re all human, yes? Here’s what I recommend when these feelings of inadequacy strike you. Whether you’re a philosopher, teacher, preacher, or speaker–remember that we all get them. They bear little relationship to reality, so treat them like an annoying co-worker, to be endured for a while, until it passes in its own time. Through years of spiritual growth, maturation, and recognition, I’ve become quite comfortable with who I am. I don’t desire as much adulation now, but I do believe God has gifted me with abilities that I’m responsible for. That’s why I want to provide free media feedback to evangelist-apologists.
I suppose I’ll have to live with these unexpected, and often disconcerting feelings for the rest of my life. I suspect I’m not alone.
Mike “MoonDog” Burnette started the Apologetics Media Centre with a vision of educating and raising up future generations of effective, media savvy evangelist-apologists. Allow this ministry to coach and provide feedback for your media presentations. Follow me on Twitter: @MoonDogBurnette
October 28th, 2012
Recently, Dr. Michael Licona (Houston Baptist University) spent time in Canada debating Yale professor Dr. Dale Martin on questions concerning the resurrection and self-understanding of Jesus. Below are links to the videos.
“Did Jesus Rise Physically From the Dead?”
Dr. Michael Licona and Dr. Dale Martin discuss the question “Did Jesus Physically Rise From the Dead?” The first evening of the 2012 Religion Soup discussion took place Oct 18, 2012 at St. Mary’s University.
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October 25th, 2012
Below is the link for the audio of the VT debate on the existence of God I was a part of earlier this year.
Also, for more information and my take on the debate you can view the video and comments through the link below.
October 18th, 2012
In honor of today’s lecture on fine-tuning and the multiverse I recorded the lecture and I’m posting it online here. I hope you enjoy it and make good use of it.
Audio lecture from 18 October 2012.
The fine-tuning argument argues that when the physics and the laws of nature are expressed mathematically their values are ever so balanced in a way that permits the existence of life. This claim is made on the basis that existence of vital substances such as carbon, and the properties of objects such as stable long-lived stars, depend rather sensitively on the values of certain physical parameters, and on the cosmological initial conditions. I’m merely arguing that the universe/multiverse is fine-tuned for the essential building blocks and environments that life requires for cosmic and biological evolution to even occur.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life permitting universe/multiverse (LPM) is very, very epistemically unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner (~FT): that is, P(LPM|~FT & k’) ≪ 1.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPM is not unlikely under FT (Fine-Tuner): that is, ~P(LPM|FT & k’) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, LPM strongly supports FT over ~FT. 
*Remember, k’ represents some appropriately chosen background information that does not include other arguments for the existence of God while merely k would encompass all background information, which would include the other arguments, and ≪ represents much, much less than (thus, making P(LPM|~FT & k’) close to zero).
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