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September 30, 2022

Added A Response to Clement Dore’s Soul-Making Theodicy (2022) by Leslie Allan to the Evidential Arguments from Evil page under Arguments for Atheism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

The soul-making theodicy seeks to explain how belief in the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good God is compatible with the evil, pain, and suffering that we experience in our world. The theodicy purports to meet nontheists’ arguments from evil by articulating a divine plan in which the occurrence of evil is necessary for enabling the greater good of the character-building of free moral agents. Many philosophers of religion have leveled strong objections against this theodicy, and theistic philosopher Clement Dore has responded to them. In this essay, Leslie Allan questions the effectiveness of Dore’s counterarguments to two key objections to the soul-making theodicy.

New in the Kiosk: The Demon, Matrix, Material World, and Dream Possibilities (2022) by John W. Loftus

René Descartes searched for certain knowledge, a goal that was long ago abandoned by most philosophers. But a lack of certainty does little to undercut the need for sufficient evidence before accepting a proposition about the nature of our experience in this world. All we need to do is think inductively rather than deductively, think exclusively in terms of probabilities, and understand that when speaking of sufficient evidence what is meant is evidence plus reasoning based on that evidence. I know as sure as I can know anything that there is a material world and that I can reasonably trust my senses. I conclude that the scientific method is our only sure way for assessing truth claims.

Recommended reading: The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day (2015) by David J. Hand

In The Improbability Principle, the renowned statistician David J. Hand argues that extraordinarily rare events are commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month. But Hand is no believer in superstitions, prophecies, or the paranormal. His definition of “miracle” is thoroughly rational. No mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary; all we need is a firm grounding in the laws of inevitability, of truly large numbers, of selection, of the probability lever, and of near enough. Together, these constitute Hand’s groundbreaking improbability principle. An irresistible adventure into the laws behind “chance” moments and a trusty guide for understanding the world and universe we live in, The Improbability Principle will transform how you think about serendipity and luck.