Skip to main content

God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason

Herman Philipse (Utrecht, The Netherlands) has a book coming out (God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason, Oxford University Press) that looks to be in the vein of Gregory Dawes' Theism and Explanation. The main difference in approach appears to be that while Dawes evaluated the theistic hypothesis qua inference to the best explanation, Philipse evaluates the theistic hypothesis via Bayes' Theorem. Toward that end, the book will involve a sustained critique of Richard Swinburne's Bayesian case for theism. Here's the blurb:

*A powerful response to philosophical attempts to justify religious belief
*Engages head-on with Richard Swinburne and other leading philosophers of religion
*Original and elegant arguments; written in a clear and accessible style

God in the Age of Science? is a critical examination of strategies for the philosophical defence of religious belief. The main options may be presented as the end nodes of a decision tree for religious believers. The faithful can interpret a creedal statement (e.g. 'God exists') either as a truth claim, or otherwise. If it is a truth claim, they can either be warranted to endorse it without evidence, or not. Finally, if evidence is needed, should its evidential support be assessed by the same logical criteria that we use in evaluating evidence in science, or not? Each of these options has been defended by prominent analytic philosophers of religion.

In part I Herman Philipse assesses these options and argues that the most promising for believers who want to be justified in accepting their creed in our scientific age is the Bayesian cumulative case strategy developed by Richard Swinburne. Parts II and III are devoted to an in-depth analysis of this case for theism. Using a 'strategy of subsidiary arguments', Philipse concludes (1) that theism cannot be stated meaningfully; (2) that if theism were meaningful, it would have no predictive power concerning existing evidence, so that Bayesian arguments cannot get started; and (3) that if the Bayesian cumulative case strategy did work, one should conclude that atheism is more probable than theism. Philipse provides a careful, rigorous, and original critique of theism in the world today.


And here's the table of contents:

Preface
Part I. Natural Theology
1: The Priority of Natural Theology
2: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Natural Theology
3: The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology
4: Refutation of the Reformed Objection
5: The Rationality of Natural Theology
6: A Grand Strategy
Part II. Theism as a Theory
7: Analogy, Metaphor, and Coherence
8: God's Necessity
9: The Predictive Power of Theism
10: The Immunization of Theism
Part III. The Probability of Theism
11: Ultimate Explanation and Prior Probability
12: Cosmological Arguments
13: Arguments from Order to Design
14: Other Inductive Arguments
15: Religious Experience and the Burden of Proof
Conclusion
References
Index

Comments

el ninio said…
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading the book.
BTW do you know if there are any links for downloading the recent debate between Swinburne and Philipse?
exapologist said…
Hi El Ninio,

I haven't really looked. I'd be happy to hear from others on this.

Popular posts from this blog

Epicurean Cosmological Arguments for Matter's Necessity

One can find, through the writings of Lucretius, a powerful yet simple Epicurean argument for matter's (factual or metaphysical) necessity. In simplest terms, the argument is that since matter exists, and since nothing can come from nothing, matter is eternal and uncreated, and is therefore at least a factually necessary being. 
A stronger version of Epicurus' core argument can be developed by adding an appeal to something in the neighborhood of origin essentialism. The basic line of reasoning here is that being uncreated is an essential property of matter, and thus that the matter at the actual world is essentially uncreated.
Yet stronger versions of the argument could go on from there by appealing to the principle of sufficient reason to argue that whatever plays the role of being eternal and essentially uncreated does not vary from world to world, and thus that matter is a metaphysically necessary being.
It seems to me that this broadly Epicurean line of reasoning is a co…

CfP: Inquiry: New Work on the Existence of God

NEW WORK ON THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
In recent years, methods and concepts in logic, metaphysics and epistemology have become more and more sophisticated. For example, much new, subtle and interesting work has been done on modality, grounding, explanation and infinity, in both logic, metaphysics as well as epistemology. The three classical arguments for the existence of God – ontological arguments, cosmological arguments and fine-tuning arguments – all turn on issues of modality, grounding, explanation and infinity. In light of recent work, these arguments can - and to some extent have - become more sophisticated as well. Inquiry hereby calls for new and original papers in the intersection of recent work in logic, metaphysics and epistemology and the three main types of arguments for the existence of God. 


The deadline is 31 January 2017. Direct queries to einar.d.bohn at uia.no.

Andrew Moon's New Paper on Recent Work in Reformed Epistemology...

...in the latest issue of Philosophy Compass. Here's the abstract:
Reformed epistemology, roughly, is the thesis that religious belief can be rational without argument. After providing some background, I present Plantinga's defense of reformed epistemology and its influence on religious debunking arguments. I then discuss three objections to Plantinga's arguments that arise from the following topics: skeptical theism, cognitive science of religion, and basicality. I then show how reformed epistemology has recently been undergirded by a number of epistemological theories, including phenomenal conservatism and virtue epistemology. I end by noting that a good objection to reformed epistemology must criticize either a substantive epistemological theory or the application of that theory to religious belief; I also show that the famous Great Pumpkin Objection is an example of the former. And if a copy should make its way to my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!