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December 28, 2011
"How can God be both a perfect being and the creator of the universe? Doesn't the fact that he created the world imply that he had a need or want? Otherwise, why would he bother creating anything at all? But then, if he had a need that implied the existence of the universe in order to be fulfilled, it seems he is not perfect: he lacks something. But by definition, a perfect being could not lack anything. So if the universe exists, God is not perfect, so God does not exist."
December 22, 2011
Bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.
December 10, 2011
Added The Presumption of Naturalism and the Probability of Miracles: A Reply to Keith Parsons (2011) by Don McIntosh to the Naturalism, Argument from Miracles, and Other Theistic Arguments pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In Chapter Four of Science, Confirmation, and the Theistic Hypothesis, Keith Parsons defends the dictum that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence as part of a general critique of miracle claims which aims to defend naturalism as a rational operating philosophy against potential defeaters. In this defense of miracle claims Don McIntosh argues, first, that for any unknown the burden of proof falls equally upon naturalists and supernaturalists; second, to repudiate all miracle claims in one fell swoop with a mere presumption of naturalism renders naturalism unfalsifiable and unscientific; and third, estimating the prior probability of miracles introduces an element of subjectivity that makes any general probabilistic argument against them suspect. These points leave open the possibility of confirming specific miracle claims on the basis of historical evidence and eyewitness testimony.
December 7, 2011
"I'm not sure how I would prove that my cousin's unicycle isn't a god; perhaps it is inscrutable and isn't showing its powers right now. The same goes for the carton of grapefruit juice sitting in my refrigerator right now. When the definitions are wide open, when gods are allowed to be careful not to leave fingerprints, agnosticism looks like it's forced on us."