What's New Archive ● 2020 ● January
What's New on the Secular Web?
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January 31, 2020
Added The Presumption of Atheism Revisited (2020) by Charles Echelbarger to the Evidentialism: Atheism, Theism, and the Burden of Proof page under Atheism and the Other Theistic Arguments page under Theism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Whether deserved or not, Antony Flew acquired a reputation for wrongheadedly using Karl Popper's falsifiability criterion against theological statements such as "God exists" or "God loves us." He also famously maintained that God debates should proceed under a presumption of atheism, with theistic debaters bearing the entire burden of proof while atheistic debaters simply tore down their arguments. In this paper Charles Echelbarger aims to make sense of why Flew seemed to be opposed to atheist debaters bearing a burden of proof by additionally offering positive arguments for atheism. Echelbarger concludes that a presumption of atheism may be justified if an atheist debater provides justified doubts that "God exists" expresses a proposition that could be true or false at all, such as if the concept of God definitionally includes the incoherent notion of an agent that acts outside of time. Theological statements may be unfalsifiable precisely because they possess such undetected conceptual incoherence. Though flawed in presentation, Flew's basic insight is more important than has often been acknowledged, and it is still highly relevant to current discussions in the philosophy of religion.
Many claims for miraculous cures concern recovery from cancer. These are highly impressive and dramatic, and to many people they seem to provide incontrovertible evidence for a miracle. But how often does cancer remit spontaneously outside a religious context? And how do such spontaneous remissions come about? While medical events that could not be accommodated within the realm of the natural can easily be imagined, such as the regrowth of an amputated limb or the restoration of sight lost through glaucoma, in this article Anthony Campbell divulges that he is unaware of the documentation of any such case.
January 12, 2020
Updated the Call for Papers page entries on Atheism and Theistic Arguments and added about two dozen books of interest for review.
Added books of interest surveying arguments for and against the existence of God, distinguishing science from pseudoscience, characterizing the relationship between science and religion, railing against "scientism," defending evolutionary biology, arguing for and against miracles, evaluating design arguments, confronting the problem of animal pain and horrendous evils, contemplating the meaning of life, utilizing probability theory and inductive inference, rethinking the philosophy of religion, and outlining the historically destructive influence of Christianity on society. Also added an item concerning objections to J. L. Schellenberg's argument from inculpable nonbelief and Schellenberg's responses to them and reiterated the call for a response to Darek Barefoot's argument against metaphysical naturalism based on intentionality, representation, and the ontological status of logical laws.