Quick Thoughts on Creation

It seems shockingly inconsistent to say that the immaterial cannot arise from the material (on the grounds that objects of one fundamental type cannot give rise to those of another fundamental type)  -- especially when were talking about concrete objects-- and then go on to assert that, as a matter of fact, concrete material objects ultimately arose from an immaterial object.

Relatedly: divine creation was either ex nihilo, ex materia, or ex deo from God's substance. The first is contrary to all reason and experience; the second demotes God to the role of Plato's demiurge, and the third entails pantheism or panentheism.

Jordan's Important New Paper on Evil and Divine Sovereignty

Jordan, Jeff. "Evil and Divine Sovereignty", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion: 1-14 (forthcoming).

Abstract: 
Since at least the tenth century, some theists have argued that God’s sovereignty as creator exempts God from moral evaluation, and so any argument employing moral principles or the idea of God as morally perfect is fallacious. In particular, any argument contending that the occurrence of pointless evil presents strong evidence against the existence of God is flawed, as God morally owes his creation nothing. This appeal to divine sovereignty, however, fails to rescue any theistic tradition proclaiming that God loves humans, as no one would be indifferent concerning the pointless suffering of her beloved.

Intriguing New Paper on the Evidential Problem of Evil

BernĂ¡th, L., Kodaj, D. Evil and the god of indifference. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09747-x
Abstract: The evidential problem of evil involves a rarely discussed challenge, namely the challenge of defending theism against the hypothesis of a morally indifferent creator. Our argument uses a Bayesian framework and it starts by showing that if the only alternative to classical theism is naturalistic atheism, then fine-tuning can render theism virtually certain, even in the face of evil. But if the alternatives include the hypothesis of a morally indifferent creator, theism is defeated even if the fine-tuning premise is accepted. The resulting version of the evidential problem is unsolvable using the tools that are currently deployed by theists against evil.

Does EAAN Defeat God's Beliefs?

Hendricks, Perry and Anderson Tina. "Does the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Defeat God's Beliefs", Sophia (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11841-019-00748-6.

Abstract: Alvin Plantinga has famously argued that the naturalist who accepts evolutionary theory has a defeater for all of her beliefs, including her belief in naturalism and evolution. Hence, he says, naturalism, when conjoined with evolution, is self-defeating and cannot be rationally accepted. This is known as the evolutionary argument against naturalism. However, Tyler Wunder has recently shown that if the EAAN is framed in terms of objective probability and theism is assumed to be non-contingent, then either theism is necessarily false or the EAAN is unsound. Neither option is attractive to the proponent of the EAAN. Perry Hendricks has responded to Wunder’s criticism, showing that the EAAN can be salvaged and, indeed, strengthened, by framing it in terms not of naturalism, but of a proposition that is entailed by N that is also consistent with theism. We will show that once Hendricks’ solution to Wunder’s objection is accepted, a puzzle ensues: if the EAAN provides the naturalist with a defeater for all of her beliefs, then an extension of it appears to provide God with a defeater for all of his beliefs. After bringing out this puzzle, we suggest several ways in which the proponent of the EAAN might solve it, but also show some potential weaknesses in these purported solutions. Whether the solutions to the puzzle that we consider ultimately succeed is unclear to us. that we consider do solve the puzzle while the other author does not.) However, it is clear to us that this is an issue that proponents of the EAAN need to address.

Thanks to A.G. for the pointer.

Russell's Fantastic Recent Paper on the Problem of Evil

Russell, Bruce.  2018. "The Problem of Evil and Replies to Important Responses", European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 10(3): 105-131.

The paper offers Russell's mature formulation of the problem of evil, as well as strong replies to important theodicies and defenses. And in response to the G.E. Moore Shift reply, Russell devotes the last half of the paper to a careful exposition and critique of Plantinga's reformed epistemology and Swinburne's Bayesian case for theism.

Absolutely required reading.

The Problem of Demiurgism

Here's yet another argument to add to the list. Demiurgism -- the view that a divine being made the world from uncreated, primordial stuff -- explains all the same data that classical theism can explain. And while it is slightly less simple than classical theism, it more than makes up for it in terms of conservatism, since (unlike classical theism) it doesn't fall afoul of the problem of creation ex nihilo. Therefore, prima facie, demiurgism is at least a slightly better explanation of the relevant data than classical theism.

The Problem of Polytheisms and the Problem of Alternative Theisms

Here's yet another argument (or two) to add to the list. In Lataster and Philipse (2017) and Lataster (2018), it is argued that alternative, rival supernatural hypotheses provide good grounds for thinking classical theism is very much less likely than not.

Review of Sterba's Is a Good God Logically Possible?

DRAFT: final version now out at Philosophia, here.

Review of James Sterba, Is a Good God Logically Possible? Palgrave MacMillan, 2019.  209 pages. $29.99 (soft cover). ISBN 978-3-030-05468-7.

Soon after the appearance of Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense[1] (PFWD), the consensus among analytic philosophers of religion was that Plantinga permanently and decisively put to rest the so-called logical problem of evil, according to which God and evil are logically incompatible.[2] Since then, few have attempted to defend a deductive version of the problem of evil, and have focused instead on probabilistic formulations of the problem.
            However, the tide appears to have turned. A recent wave of articles indicates that philosophers of religion have become increasingly skeptical of the success of PFWD against the logical problem of evil. To date, three main sorts of worries have been raised. According to the first, PFWD seems to be

The Problem of Divine Authority: A New Argument Against Theism

Rough Draft:
Here's a new argument to add to the list. Michael Huemer has recently powerfully argued that the concept of political authority is incoherent. If he's right, then prima facie, the concept of divine authority over humans is incoherent. Furthermore, theist Mark Murphy has likewise argued that standard views of divine authority must be rejected, and that only a much weaker view of divine authority requiring prior human consent can be sustained. Finally, Luke Maring has argued that even if God's authority over humans has been granted by humans, the validity of such authority requires his intervention and protection. But the latter condition has not been met for at least many humans. But on classical theism, God has divine authority over us, and it is independent of human consent. Therefore, classical theism is false.




Quick Thoughts on Creation

It seems shockingly inconsistent to say that the immaterial cannot arise from the material (on the grounds that objects of one fundamental t...