Links and News — 19-Dec-11


Secular Outpost Revamped

  • Ex-Apologist favorably mentions recent changes at The Secular Outpost.
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): Thanks!]

The Skeptic Awards 2011

  • The Skeptic Magazine plans to give awards for several types of skeptical activity, including “Best Blog.”
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): Please consider voting for The Secular Outpost!]


Bellingham Lectures in Philosophy of Religion

  • These lectures, which will be streamed online, will include talks by Jeffrey Schloss and Michael Murray on evolutionary theories of religious belief and natural evil in a fine-tuned universe.

Schieber’s Objections to the Kalam Argument” by John Danaher

PhilPapers Survey Results

  • Among all respondents, 72.8% accept or lean toward atheism. Among general philosophers of science, that number rises to 77.6%. For philosophers of probability, it is 78.9%. For philosophers of religion, however, 72.3% accept or lean toward theism, while 19.1% accept or lean toward atheism.
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): Nothing surprising here, except perhaps that as many as 19.1% of philosophers of religion accept or lean toward atheism.]

A Bayesian Approach to Absent Evidence Reasoning” by Christopher Stephens

  • Abstract: Under what conditions is the failure to have evidence that p, evidence that p is false? Absent evidence reasoning is common in many sciences, including astronomy, archeology, biology and medicine. An often-repeated epistemological motto is that “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Analysis of absent evidence reasoning usually takes place in a deductive or frequentist hypothesis-testing framework. Instead, a Bayesian analysis of this motto is explored and it is shown that, under plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Air Force Academy Dogged by Anti-Christian Pressure” by Baptist Press


When Are Supernatural Claims Worth Investigating? Should We Want Atheism to be True?

Intimation of Elsewhere Ignored” by Maverick Philosopher

  • The author argues that nonbelievers who have a mystical or religious experience should find those experiences worth investigating.
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): I agree with Maverick Philosopher.]

God and Wonderdad: A Final Discussion of Antitheism” by Randal Rauser

  • The author argues that all of us ought to hope that theism is true.
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): I think Rauser’s analogy is excellent and I agree with the point he makes.]

Atheism and Public Relations

Yep, This Will Make Everything Better” by Hemant Mehta

  • The author criticizes American Atheists’ Dave Silverman for his rather tactless post on Facebook about Islam and Mohammed.
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): I agree with pretty much everything in Mehta’s post.]

Do Some Atheist Philosophers Criticize a Straw Man Version of Cosmological Arguments?

Meta-Sophistry” by Edward Feser: among other things, Feser claims that “certain atheist philosophers ritualistically” misrepresent cosmological arguments for God’s existence by suggesting they rely upon a premise which says, “Everything has a cause.” Using that article, that article’s combox, and linked articles, we can summarize the purported violators as follows:

  • Alleged examples of this error in articles published in the Secular Web, including Theodore Schick, Dan Barker, and Adolf Grünbaum: see here
  • Alleged examples of this error in articles published elsewhere, by such authors as Daniel Dennett, Robin Le Poidevin, Graham Priest, Michael Martin, Bertrand Russell, Simon Blackburn: see here
  • [Editor’s Note (Lowder): I haven’t taken the time to investigate Feser’s claim.]