Posts tagged ‘logic’

August 31st, 2014

The Likelihood Principle of Confirmation

by Max Andrews

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.

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, a particle, 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.

August 10th, 2014

Eavesdropping Ep4: Ignorant People are Often Ignorant of Ignorance

by Max Andrews

Eavesdropping Ep4 is a spontaneous spinoff for a future episode. I made a note that I was ignorant about something and it was a catalyst for remember a frustration that I have–that people get too upset whenever they’re called ignorant. People often take offense to the word and would insist on flouting their informed omniscience without being open to the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, they might lack knowledge about something…

Eavesdropping is conversational, informal podcast that is sometimes a monologue, or dialogue with guests, on various topics including philosophy, theology, science, contemporary events, and random meanderings of a philosopher. The primary focuses are philosophy of science, multiverse scenarios, and Molinism.

February 26th, 2014

The Atheist Argument from Fine-Tuning is too Coarse

by Max Andrews

Believe it or not an atheist friend of mine has presented an argument from fine-tuning to demonstrate that God doesn’t exist. I think there are several different problem with the argument but I’ll be as charitable as possible to my anonymous friend @SkepticismFirst (SF).

Fine-tuning is something I’ve invested quite a bit of research in. My MA (philosophy) thesis was on the Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios and I’m continuing that research right now in my PhD (University of Edinburgh). So, I’ve written quite extensively on this issue. Here are a few links to get the fine-tuning argument presented by the proponents of fine-tuning:

November 6th, 2013

Post Removed: The Fallacies of Twelve Angry Men

by Max Andrews

My post on the fallacies within the film Twelve Angry Men has actually been my most viewed blog post. However, I’ve found that some people are using the material for assignment purposes. The lack of intellectually and academic honesty is disgusting and has since been removed due these intellectual pirates.

September 8th, 2013

Q&A 33: Abductively Reasoned Religious Experience

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Hi Max Andrews,
I’ve just discovered your articles at sententias.org. Well done! And thank you for the
time and thought you and Ms. Davis obviously took to create such quality!

May I ask for your help?

I noticed on the site that you favor abductive reasoning. I am new to this inferential method.
And I wondered if you had written your own abductively-reasoned account of coming to
know and trust God? 
read more »

September 2nd, 2013

Ad Hominems are Mostly Misunderstood by Ignorant People

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 2.43.11 PMI have had quite a few interactions with people of various philosophical, scientific, and theological positions. Knowing the formal and informal fallacies are pertinent to intelligent, reasonable debate and dialogue. In my experience, I’ve found that very few people actually know what an ad hominem fallacy is.

An ad hominem fallacy is one that argues to the man. The conclusion of the argument is rejected due to an “attack” made against the person. For instance, if I argue that Preston is an idiot and therefore his argument is wrong then that would be fallacious.

August 8th, 2013

Q&A 31: Can Atheism be Shown to be Logically Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Mr. Andrews, 

Thank you very much for your time in reading this question. Previously I had submitted a question to reasonablefaith.org and you responded to my question; thank you for your time and for your response. This question that I have is somewhat similar. Aside from the Ontological Argument, do you think that it is possible to demonstrate that atheism, or even agnosticism, is logically incoherent? Might the following argument support the idea that atheism is logically incoherent?

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

June 12th, 2013

Q&A 26: Revisiting the Viability of Theistic Explanations

by Max Andrews

Question:

This is a follow up question from week 16. For a greater context please see that Q&A.

OK, thank you so much!

I’ll go through your reply point by point more or less, but I’ll try my best to be concise.

On successful research programs – Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to assume that science and philosophy aren’t continuous. Perhaps this is based on the idea that science is committed to methodological naturalism (MN). But what do you think of the idea that science isn’t looking for the best naturalistic explanations, but the best explanations, period; and it just so happens that naturalistic explanations have a successful track record and supernatural ones don’t? In other words, MN need not be seen as a presupposition of science, but as sensible advice based on past experience – MN has been tremendously successful before, so why not be committed to it? My point is this: it seems that, unless we assume science and philosophy (qua explanatory practice, at least) are discontinuous, your appeal to God as a metaphysical explanation (as opposed to a scientific one) is questionable.

May 27th, 2013

Q&A 24: Induction, Deduction, and Falsifiability

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hello Max,

I did have a few questions in regards to the nature of scientific explanation and furthering (or ‘advancing’, if you prefer) scientific knowledge. Hume had recognized that the problem of induction can not be justified by an inductive rule (that would be circular) or a deductive rule (or else the principle wouldn’t be inductive – we cannot deduce the truth of induction from the axioms of logic). This of course being Hume’s fork.

However, does Karl Popper’s interpretation of scientific methods being deductive (or falsifiable) solve this problem more so than science on the inductive interpretation? In short, Im just curious if we are reasonable in rejecting Hume’s skepticism, but sound in still adhering to science hinging off of induction.

Answer:

Hi Steven!

I did a lot of work on this question in my MA thesis. My full answer is a bit long but I hope it’s easy to follow. For the Reader’s Digest version, I’d say that I’m not a fan of deductive arguments and I prefer inductive arguments. (Actually, I love abductive arguments much more but that’s another issue!) I’m very sympathetic to Popper’s criterion of falsifiability but it’s not a necessary condition for science–it’s just preferable. I’ll try to contextualize and elaborate on some of the hidden talking points in your question so some of the readers can follow along.