Science, Confirmation, and the Theistic Hypothesis (1986)
Keith M. Parsons
The first chapter argues that theism is inevitably reduced to pseudoscience if it is placed in direct competition with scientific theories. This is illustrated by the example of the "scientific" creationists, who attempt to support theism by placing it in opposition to evolutionary theory. It is argued, contrary to the claims of some recent philosophers of science, that a clear distinction can be drawn between science and pseudoscience. Demarcation criteria are developed and employed to show why theism cannot be a strictly scientific hypothesis.
The second chapter examines the attempts of George Schlesinger to produce inductive reformulations of traditional theistic arguments. His attempt to apply confirmation theory in support of the theistic hypothesis are presented and criticized.
The third chapter examines the attempts of Richard Swinburne to produce inductive reformulations of traditional theistic arguments. His attempt to apply confirmation theory in support of the theistic hypothesis are presented and criticized. It is concluded that the principles of confirmation theory are very unlikely to land much support to the theistic hypothesis.
The fourth chapter examines a number of arguments against the miraculous. It is argued that, though it is very unlikely that miracles could receive confirmation sufficient to convince skeptics, no cogent anti-theistic argument can be based on a critique of the miraculous.
The final chapter develops an hypothesis-disconfirming version of the problem of evil. It is shown how evil serves as a counterexample to the theistic hypothesis and how two recent attempts to produce adequate theodicies fail.
The thesis concludes with some reflections on the consequences of theism and naturalism.