Thursday, February 28, 2013

Agnosticism and Epistemic Caution

Nick Bostrom has some very interesting things to say about reasonable agnosticism here.  I agree with a lot of it, but I'd add a few points about theistic belief at critical junctures that, I think, tip the scales in the overall probability estimation (in favor of atheism.)  He's being too epistemically cautious, as I see it, and not acknowledge some of the most salient features of the epistemology, sociology, history, and psychology of religious belief.  The vast majority of human religious belief is much more adequately explained by a number of natural, not supernatural accounts.  So the fact that so many people believe, and that disagreement persists, should not pull our probability assessment so far into the agnostic zone.

Transhumanist Nick Bostrom on Agnosticism

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Basics Expanded

The ideas first drafted here as The Basics has been evolving in my head for a while.  I've adapted the post and incorporated it into my Philosophy of Religion courses as some background material for discussions about God.  I've been adding to it as time permits. So here's the latest version of what I take to be the basics about cosmology, evolution, and the history of humanity that we must take as our starting point in discussions about the existence of God.  That is, any reasonable person who believes in God needs, at a minimum, to give some account of how the existence of that being fits in with these facts:

The Basics