25 Arguments for Atheism #1: The Unimpressiveness of Humans

Jeffery Jay Lowder of The Secular Outpost, one of the most well known and well respected online advocates for atheism/naturalism in philosophy of religion circles, posted a few months ago a compilation/outline of twenty five plus “lines of evidence” which point to naturalism over theism. You can find the list here. In my view, this list probably represents some of the best assortment of arguments for atheism/naturalism in use. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Lowder, his intellectual honesty and the extraordinary quality of his work. As I have seen very little substantial response to these arguments (if anyone knows of any, please point them out to me!), I thought it’d be worth it to examine some of them in a series of posts.

First, a quick note. Most of my philosophical study thus far has been in more classical branches of philosophy: Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, etc. Mr. Lowder uses much more contemporary style arguments, which I am only just beginning to study. My responses as such will no doubtedly contain some weaknesses and misunderstandings, and I ask for patience and consideration as I journey forth.

Mr. Lowder uses a type of inductive argument called “F-inductive argument.” This is, again, extremely different from the type of argument I am familiar with and employ. For example, Aquinas’s Five Ways, about which I write frequently, are classical deductive arguments (see the Post Directory for links). For those of my readers who aren’t knowledgable about types of arguments, I’ll give a brief introduction here. For those who already are and are interested in getting to the response itself, please feel free to scroll on down to the second heading below.

Types of Arguments

Logical arguments are classified according to their nature as either deductive or non-deductive (frequently referred to just as inductive). A deductive argument is one in which, if valid, the truth of the premises absolutely guarantees the truth of the conclusion. The logic is such that it provides “such strong support for the conclusion that, if the premises are true, then it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false. An argument in which the premises do succeed in guaranteeing the conclusion is called a (deductively) valid argument. If a valid argument has true premises, then the argument is said to be sound” [1]. Another way to put it is that the conclusion of a deductive argument merely makes explicit information that is already implicitly contained within the premises. For example:

  1. All men are mortal.
  2. Socrates is a man
  3. Therefore Socrates is mortal

Like this, deductive arguments often refer to relationships between members and classes. “Mortality” is information already contained within the definition of “being a man.” Saying Socrates is a man implicitly contains the knowledge that he is mortal. The whole argument just brings this relationship out and establishes it explicitly.

Then,

Induction is a type of reasoning by which we infer conclusions that are likely, but not guaranteed, based on the premises. Inductive arguments establish their conclusions with only a degree of probability. The premises, that is, only imply that the conclusion is probable, not certain” [2].

Types of non-deductive arguments include categorical inductive generalization (reasoning from some to all), statistical inductive generalization (generalization based on statistical proportion), analogy, and abduction (inference to the best explanation).

Most all the arguments I’ve written about so far have been deductive. Mr. Lowder writes, as I mentioned, using a specific type of non-deductive argument labelled “F-inductive.” To see his full explanation of F-induction, see here. F-inductive arguments are seen as a type of middle ground between two other types of non-deductive arguments used by renowned philosopher Richard Swinburne. Mr. Lowder gives a brief outline of these:

“C-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses confirm  or add to the probability of the conclusion, i.e., P(H | E & B) > P(H | B).

“P-inductive argument”: an argument in which the premisses make the conclusion probable, i.e., P(H | E & B) > 1/2. [3].

In his own words, Swinburne explains:

“Let us call an argument in which the premisses make the conclusion probable a correct P-inductive argument. Let us call an argument in which the premises add to the probability of the conclusion (that is, make the conclusion more likely or more probable than it would otherwise be) a correct C-inductive argument. In this latter case let us say that the premisses ‘confirm’ the conclusion. Among correct C-inductive arguments, some will obviously be stronger than others, in the sense that in some the premisses will raise the probability of the conclusion more than the premisses do in other arguments” [4].

Labelling them “correct” just refers to their logic. In a correct P-inductive argument, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is made probable. The factual truth of the premises is left open. An argument in which the premises are “known to be true” even by those who “dispute about the conclusion” is labelled as “good” [5].

So a P-inductive argument is one in which premises make a conclusion probably true. For example, suppose we learned that 90% of Martians are green. And then suppose we had a Martian pen-pal named Hyoi (a reference from Lewis’s great Out of the Silent Planet). We could reasonably conclude that it is probably true that Hyoi is green. It’s not definite; there are still the other 10%. But given what we know, the premises make the conclusion more probably true than not.

A C-inductive argument, on the other hand, is weaker. In this, the premises don’t necessarily make the conclusion probably true, they rather just add to the overall probability of it being true. Suppose now that we ourselves go to Mars, and no Martians have ever yet been observed, so we have no idea what color they are. Now suppose we come across our first Martian, and he’s bright yellow. The fact that he’s yellow adds to the probability that all Martians are yellow, but it certainly doesn’t make it more probable than not. One sample is hardly enough to infer such a conclusion! If, for example, the probability of all Martians being yellow before hand was, say, 16%, finding this yellow Martian might raise that chance to, say, 21% (completely random). But it doesn’t become probably true until it surpasses 50%.

As should be apparent, P-inductive and C-inductive arguments are not qualitatively different arguments, they differ only quantitatively by degree. In theory, a C-inductive argument could gain enough support and become strong enough to become a P-inductive argument. They exist on a sort of spectrum of evidence and probability.

And that is where the F-inductive argument comes in. Lowder writes: “It seems to me that there is a third type of inductive argument which should go between C-inductive and P-inductive arguments” [6], which is the F-inductive:

“F-inductive argument”: an argument in which the evidence to be explained favors one explanatory hypothesis over one or more of its rivals, i.e., P(E | H1 & B) > P(E | H2 & B) [7].

Mr. Lowder then gives this outline:

1. E is known to be true, i.e., Pr(E) is close to 1.
2. H1 is not intrinsically much more probable than H2, i.e., Pr(|H1|) is not much greater than Pr(|H2|).
3. Pr(E | H2 & B) > Pr(E | H1 & B).
4. Other evidence held equal, H1 is probably false, i.e., Pr(H1 | B & E) < 0.5 [8].

We’ll get into the various symbols being used as we go along. For now it’s just important to understand the general idea. The obvious difference between F-inductive and P/C inductive is that the latter are concerned with the degree to which evidence supports a single hypothesis, and the former is concerned with the degree to which evidence applies to multiple hypotheses. The reason why F is a sort of “middle way” between P and C is because it is not as weak as C, but not as strong as P. For example, that a certain piece of evidence favors one hypothesis over another, does not really tell us the actual probability of that hypothesis being true. To say that evidence favors a certain hypothesis is just to say that the evidence is more likely on or is better explained by that hypothesis being true. For a simplistic instance, certain geological features on the surface of Mars are best explained by the hypothesis that water in the form of rivers once flowed there. The geological features are more likely on that hypothesis, meaning that they make that hypothesis more likely to be true than a competing hypothesis. As Mr. Lowder puts it elsewhere, the explanatory power of a hypothesis “measures the ability of a hypothesis . . . to predict (i.e., make probable) an item of evidence” [9]. Thus we could ask, if rivers really did exist on Mars, would we have reason to suspect these types of geological features? And our answer would be, yes, we could. If rivers never existed on Mars, would we have reason to suspect these features? No, not very much, unless our background knowledge included some other process that could potentially form these features. The existence of these features are more probable on the assumption that there once rivers than on the assumption that there were not once rivers.

But again, that doesn’t necessarily make that hypothesis itself probably true, just more probably true than the competing hypothesis. In one sense, it’s hard to compare this to C-inductive arguments, because we are dealing with multiple hypotheses. If evidence favors a hypothesis, it does indeed add to its probability, but it does so over another hypothesis. Mr. Lowder writes:

“F-inductive arguments are “stronger” than C-inductive arguments insofar as they show E not only adds to the probability of H2, but that E is more probable on the assumption that H2 is true than on the assumption that H1 is true” [10].

But I wonder if that can actually be said to be “stronger” than C, because C does not involve comparative hypotheses in the first place; they are almost on a different scale. Indeed, in some ways, it seems that C-inductive arguments just are implicitly F-inductive arguments. Let me explain, by way of our previous example:

We’ve arrived on Mars, and we come across the first ever observed Martian, who is yellow. We say that the instance of this Martian being yellow adds to the probability of the hypothesis that all Martians are yellow. But why is this so? What are we actually saying?

Our actual thought process is this: on the assumption that Martians exist in all different colors, then it is certainly possible that we’d come across a yellow Martian, but it is not necessarily entailed that we would. Since there are variously colored Martians, we could have come across a green Martian, or a blue one, etc. There is no reason to expect to see a yellow one as opposed to any other color, so seeing a yellow one does not add to the probability of the hypothesis that there are many different colored Martians; because although there being many different colored Martians entails that there are yellow Martians, it does not entail that the first Martian we see will necessarily be yellow, since it could be any of the other colors.

On the other hand, on the assumption that all Martians are yellow, then of course the first Martian we see would be yellow; it couldn’t be otherwise. On this hypothesis, we have very good reason to expect to see a yellow Martian as opposed to a green or blue one, because those don’t exist. So seeing a yellow one adds to the probability of the hypothesis that all Martians are yellow; but what that means is that it favors this hypothesis over the competing one. F-inducitve arguments, to me, seem just to make explicit what is implicit in C-inductive arguments (if I’m wrong about this, hopefully someone will point that out! This is just how it seems to me as of now). But that is really a side point that doesn’t much affect its use. Also note that while seeing a yellow Martian adds to the probability of the all-yellow hypothesis, it does so in a very weak sense, and does not at all make that hypothesis probably true. There is a large amount of evidence yet to be examined, and as soon as we come across a non-yellow Martian, that probability will immediately and drastically change. So Mr. Lowder says:

“Good F-inductive arguments show that E is prima facie evidence — that is why (4) begins with the phrase, “Other evidence held equal.” They leave open the possibility that there may be other evidence which favors H1 over H2; indeed, they are compatible with the situation where the total evidence favors H1 over H2 . . .  They are weaker than P-inductive arguments, however, because they don’t show that E is ultima facie evidence — they don’t show that E makes H2 probable” [11].

Finally, the symbols. To go in depth on these would require a much longer post, so it’ll be best if I just offer simple translations. Let’s start with the C-inductive argument, which has this symbolic form: P(H | E & B) > P(H | B). Here, P = probability, H = a certain hypothesis, E = the evidence to be explained, and B = our background knowledge. So the equation reads: “The probability of Hypothesis H given the conjunction of Evidence E with our background knowledge is greater than the probability of Hypothesis H given just our background knowledge” (i.e., E makes H more probable than it would’ve been if we didn’t know E).  The P-inductive argument has this form: P(H | E & B) > 1/2. That reads, “The probability of H given E and our background knowledge is greater than half”, being greater than half designating that it is probably true (if P=1, that means it is almost certainly true).  And finally, the form of F-inductive is: Pr(E | H2 & B) > Pr(E | H1 & B). The probability of E on Hypothesis 2 and our background knowledge is greater than the probability of E on Hypothesis 1 and our background knowledge.

We are now ready to turn to the argument itself. I had planned to start with the first argument on his list, but earlier this week I participated in a conversation with someone concerning the sixth argument on the list, so it is this one I shall address here.

The Argument: The Unimpressiveness of Human Beings Compared to the Abilities of God

I will quote Mr. Lowder’s presentation of the argument in full:

“The omnipotence of God is taken for granted in the context of theistic arguments like the cosmological argument, the cosmic design argument (aka the misnamed ‘fine-tuning argument’), and arguments about alleged miracles. But the relationship of God’s omnipotence to his alleged creation or design of human beings is neglected. As Draper explains:

Or consider the fact that the most intelligent and most virtuous life form we know to exist is merely 20 human. While we are no doubt wondrous simians in many respects, given theism one might have expected something more impressive, something more worthy of the creative capacities and concerns of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being.[4]

So the unimpressiveness of human beings, relative to the abilities of God, is much more probable on N than it is on T” [12].

“N” here designates naturalism, and “T” theism. I’ll be going into fuller explanations of these as hypotheses in a later post in the series. So to put into symbolic form, where “U” will label the unimpressiveness of human beings, we have: P(U | N & B) > P(U | T & B). The probability of the unimpressiveness of human beings on naturalism and our background knowledge is greater than the probability of the unimpressiveness of human beings given theism and our background knowledge. Or, in simpler terms, the unimpressiveness of humans favors naturalism over theism.

Keep in mind that there are two approaches we could take here. The first is to grant that the argument works and is a good F-inductive argument all other evidence held equal, meaning that we admit this fact actually does favor naturalism over theism, but to maintain that the overall evidence for theism outweighs the evidence for naturalism, such that this argument is like the instance of coming across a yellow Martian: it is only a very weak sort of evidence. In particular, we might say that certain deductive theistic arguments make the existence of God necessary, such that, despite the appearance of contrary evidences such as this, God’s existence is guaranteed. This is a very viable possibility.

The other approach is to attempt to show that the argument is not a good F-inductive argument, and offers no evidence, however weak, for naturalism over theism. To see if this is a possibility, let’s list a few of the facts contained in the premises (implicit premises are stated in parentheses):

  1. If God exists, God is omnipotent
  2. Human beings are the most impressive life forms that we know exist
  3. If God exists, God would be capable of creating any number of highly impressive life forms
  4. Compared with some of the life forms God might have created, human beings aren’t that impressive
  5. Some of these more highly impressive beings would have been “more worthy of the creative capacities and concerns of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being”
  6. (We would probably expect God to create those beings that are more worthy of his creative capacities and concerns)

The conclusion being that the unimpressiveness of humans, compared to God’s creature-creating abilities, is more likely on naturalism than theism. Another quote from Paul Draper was presented to me in a conversation about the argument:

“If theism is true, then God is not only morally perfect, he is omnipotent and so could make many different sorts of intelligent life, probably infinitely many, including intelligent beings that are much more impressive than human beings. On single-universe naturalism, by contrast, one would expect that, if there is intelligent life, it will be relatively unimpressive. I want to emphasize the word “relatively” here, because I am not denying that human beings are impressive in many ways. But examined from the perspective of what is possible for an omnipotent being, we are, in terms of intelligence, a hair’s breadth away from monkeys. Again, one would expect this on single-universe naturalism because the more intelligent the life, the less likely it is that naturalistic processes would produce it. Of course, if one believes in God and, looking around, finds nothing more impressive than human beings, one will be forced to conclude that God wanted to make beings with very limited intelligence. But surely one would not have predicted this beforehand. There are indefinitely many different kinds of creatures that an omnipotent being would have the power to create and that, other things being equal, would be more valuable to create than humans. Antecedently, a God would be more likely to create these more impressive creatures than to create us” [13].

The central factor being emphasized here seems to be intelligence: humans are “only a hair’s breadth away from monkeys” according to intelligence, and apparently more intelligent creatures would be “more valuable” to God than humans.

My first thought in response was that there could be more intelligent beings than humans that exist; Christian theology has always affirmed the existence of highly intelligent spiritual beings such as angels. But it was clarified to me that the argument does not rule out this possibility; the argument just antecedently focuses on human intelligence as a piece of evidence to be explained. Furthermore, the argument does not rule out the possibility of God having specific reasons for creating humans as we are, but these reasons would be outside the scope of the argument.

The problem, in my view, with this argument and all arguments like it, is figuring out what we should actually expect on theism. Consider our earlier example of geological features on Mars. It is only because of other relevant background knowledge, specifically knowledge of geological features such as riverbeds and canyons on earth, that we can infer that those similar types of geological features on Mars are probably also caused by water. We have other instances for comparison. But in considering theism and naturalism, there are no other universes or physical realities that we can compare our own to. It’s not like we have Universe A in which theism is true and Universe B in which naturalism is true, and we can compare some Universe C to each of these to see which it most closely resembles. We thus have to be extremely careful and modest in our speculations.

In examining the facts listed above, we can grant that theism does entail God’s ability to create any number of highly impressive life forms. But the use of the term “impressive” is suspect to me. “Impressiveness” seems like a highly subjective and non-definitive standard. Let’s look at another example:

Suppose you’re a student at a small university. Now suppose that some famous billionaire, one of the richest men on earth, announces that he’s going to be giving a donation to your school. We know that this extremely wealthy man contains hundreds of billions of dollars in personal wealth, and we also know that he has an entire fund set up just for giving gifts to schools, and this fund alone contains perhaps close to a billion or maybe even a few billion dollars in resources. Now suppose that when the school receives his donation, it turns out to be only five hundred dollars. This would certainly be very suspicious and “unimpressive” compared to what the billionaire had the ability to give and might be expected to have given. Furthermore, we might wonder if that measly gift would even be worth the time and effort the billionaire went to in order to give it.

Of course in this example we already knew it was a billionaire who gave the gift. But we can change the example to better fit the argument at hand: suppose the university receives an envelope with an anonymous donation, with an amount of five hundred dollars inside. Would it be more reasonable to conclude that the donation came from a billionaire, or from a much less wealthy donor? Probably the latter, for the reasons given above.

In the same way, we might think that if God is going to go to all the trouble of creating intelligent beings, seeing as how he’s infinitely more “wealthy” in power than a billionaire, he probably would’ve “given” more in his creation than just what human beings are.

So these analogies would seem to support the argument. The question is: are humans really only the five hundred dollars, or are we more? In other words, in order to know what would be “surprising” for God to have created, we have to figure out what God’s intentions in creating might’ve been in the first place. Just getting a five hundred dollar donation from a billionaire would be surprising; but if it turned out that the billionaire had an old friend at the school who needed a new computer which the school wouldn’t pay for, and the billionaire donated the money specifically for that purpose, well, that wouldn’t be as surprising. The assumption the argument makes is that God would probably make beings which are valuable to him in some way, and that intelligence is somehow associated with value. But why think this? The difficulty is in knowing what exactly God values; but how on earth could we possibly know this? It is difficult enough to ascertain what a loved one whom you have spent years with values, so why think we’re in any position to judge what a wholly other Person, who is Pure Act and Subsistent Being Itself, values? I’m not denying that God could have created much more impressive beings than humans, I am at least questioning the assumption that we can make good evaluations of what would’ve been of more value for God to have created, and I don’t think the argument succeeds without this.

But suppose we somehow can know or at least have good reason to think that God values certain things. Then I would grant that the argument does provide some antecedent evidence for naturalism over theism. But only antecedently, and that is one reason why I’m note hugely in favor of these types of arguments, which deal only with prima facie considerations. In doing so we cut ourselves off from the whole body of facts/information involved, which is the only way to actually arrive at any truth. Let me explain:

Suppose we somehow discover that God does in fact value intelligence, because intelligent beings would have the potential to consciously know God to some degree. Human beings are indeed intelligent and do indeed (theists would argue) have the potential to know God. So what is it exactly that makes humans comparatively unimpressive? Or rather, the question we might ask advocates of the argument is: what beings would you expect on theism? What types of qualities would make humans more impressive?

Here’s another quote from Draper which might address this:

“The issue, however, is what is antecedently likelywhat a reasonable person would expect beforehand. And human beings have many features that make them an unlikely choice, no matter how many other sorts of beings God creates. This is especially true, if we take the term “human” not merely in the biological sense but in a fuller sense that implies some of our most notable and notorious characteristics. In this sense of the term “human,” the sense intended when someone says “I’m only human,” being human implies being naturally selfish (not to mention territorial and aggressive), which greatly limits our potential for developing morally, especially given our limited life span. It also includes the fact that we are profoundly ignorant beings, especially when it comes to moral and religious matters, as is obvious from the fact that we disagree or are uncertain about many important moral and religious issues. We also naturally identify with others that we perceive to be like ourselves, leading, if not always to prejudice and intolerance, at least to isolation for those different from the norm . . . Now I don’t mean to claim that there is no good in humanity, that we are not wondrous simians in many respects. But again, when evaluated in the light of what is possible for a being that literally has no nonlogical limits to its power, we hardly belong on any list of ‘creatures a God would be most likely to create'” [14].

So our “unimpressiveness” seems to be due to some combination of moral and cognitive faculties. Let’s assume that Draper is right about this comparative unimpressiveness, is it really surprising on theism? In my own view, I hold a kind of “hierarchy of being” model of creation in which God has created a broad spectrum of beings, from inanimate material things like atoms and molecules, to simple biological life forms, to more complex animals, to humans, rational material beings, all the way up to angelic beings, who are immaterial rational forms. Obviously we can’t actually observe these higher beings to confirm the full extension of the hierarchy, but I think that there is a hierarchy at least of material beings is not entirely antecedently surprising. After all, theism entails that God is the fullness of Being, pure actuality, and so we might expect that he would create a large variety of beings to more accurately reflect his own depth and fullness. Human beings, on this model, are a kind of “bridge” between the physical and spiritual realities, as they are, in Aristotle’s terms, “rational animals”, being physical creatures who also (Aristotelian-Thomists such as myself would argue) contain immaterial intellects, able to comprehend and grasp abstract truths and nonphysical realities such as God. We are conceivable thus a kind of “spokesperson” for the physical universe to God, and for God to the physical universe [15]. It would not be very surprising on this view to find beings such as ourselves, who are not the most “impressive” possible beings, because we are not meant to be: we are only in the middle of the hierarchy.

Of course the arguer might not grant that these things are expected antecedently on theism, but they should fit in to our ultima facie considerations at least. As for moral imperfections, these might somewhat surprising on general theism (although again, that’s not definitive), but they are surely not surprising on Christian theism; in fact they are to be absolutely expected on Christian theism, which entails that human beings, by their own free will, contain an inherently sinful/disordered nature.

The person with whom I conversed about this argument gave an example of chimps performing higher in some memory tests than humans as a specific type of unimpressive human feature he finds surprising on theism. But this and other points like them presuppose that the intelligence of humans is only quantitatively different than other animals, putting us just on a spectrum of degree. On this spectrum, even animals like mice can be said to be “intelligent”. But I would argue that human intelligence is qualitatively different than other animals, as it contains an immaterial rational intellect. Grading intelligence of physical animals by degree, some animals might very well in some areas supersede humans. But since they lack a rational intellect, they are not even in the same realm of intelligence as humans are. The immaterial rational intellect is precisely what we would expect God to create in a physical universe if he does value intelligence, and it is hard to conceive of a similar “spectrum” of immaterial rational intellects.

I’ve already stated why I think the argument fails antecedently, but even if we grant that it succeeds antecedently, we leave out many of the plausible reasons why God very well might’ve created humans as we are. Consider this last quote from Draper:

“Now I don’t mean to claim that there is no good in humanity, that we are not wondrous simians in many respects. But again, when evaluated in the light of what is possible for a being that literally has no nonlogical limits to its power, we hardly belong on any list of “creatures a God would be most likely to create.” One might respond that God would be likely to create us precisely because of our inferiority, precisely because we would require a relationship with God in order to achieve our greatest good, in order to be “saved.” But we have no antecedent reason to believe that is the case. In fact, we have two antecedent reasons to believe or at least suspect that this is not the case. First, a morally perfect God would have no need to glorify herself by creating deeply flawed beings just so that she could play the role of savior. Second, it is doubtful that an omniscient (and morally perfect) God could have a meaningful personal relationship with human beingsnot because of God’s limitations but because of ours. The “cognitive distance” between the mind of such a God and our minds is vastly greater than the distance between our minds and the minds of earthworms (assuming earthworms have minds). So who knows whether a relationship with such a being would be our “greatest good”? (It seems rather more likely that the greatest good of animals like us would be much more “down to earth.”) Granted, a God would be omnipotent as well, but not even an omnipotent being can bring about logically impossible states of affairs like my having a meaningful relationship with an earthworm. In any case, given our ignorance of what a mind like God’s would be like, there doesn’t seem to be any way to settle this issue, which suffices to rebut the objection that a God would be likely to create inferior intelligent beings like us” [16].

Several final things to comment on here: First, any being God creates that is outside of Himself will by its very nature contain imperfections, and thus will have some need for God, both as its source of being and as its final good. Thus, while Draper is right to reject the idea that God might’ve had some need for being glorified which would be satisfied in inferior beings, he is wrong I think to rule out the general possibility of God creating inferior, unimpressive beings. For consider this: any highly impressive beings might have a greater illusion of self-sufficiency, and thus cease to pursue or desire God as their actual good. In other words, they might become so prideful and self-obsessed so as to completely ignore God, despite the fact that by their very nature they need God, as pointed out above. Inferior creatures, however, who are both aware of God, and of their own imperfections, because their imperfections are more obvious and glaring, might be more likely to actively seek God, which is their final good. Again, the use of “meaningful relationship” is shaky and non definitive; we aren’t in any position to know what a “meaningful relationship” for God might be. And at the end, Draper himself even admits that we have an “ignorance of what a mind like God’s might be like”, which is precisely my own objection to this own argument.

So both in regards to prima facie and ultima facie evidence, I don’t think the argument works. Even if it does so antecedently, the evidence it provides is extraordinarily weak and is immediately outweighed by all the other relevant information.

 

Notes

[1]. “Deductive and Inductive Arguments,” by IEP Staff, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ISSN 2161-0002, http://www.iep.utm.edu/, 27 Oct. 2016. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/ded-ind/&gt;.

[2]. Cowan, Steven B and Spiegel, James S. The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2009. Print, 19.

[3]. Lowder, Jeffery Jay. “F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument.” The Secular Outpost. Patheos, 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/21/f-inductive-arguments-a-new-type-of-inductive-argument/&gt;.

[4]. Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. 2nd. ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print, 6.

[5]. Ibid., 6-7.

[6]. Lowder, Jeffery Jay. “F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument.” The Secular Outpost. Patheos, 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/21/f-inductive-arguments-a-new-type-of-inductive-argument/&gt;.

[7]. Ibid.

[8]. Ibid.

[9]. Lowder, Jeffery Jay. “Basic Structure of My Evidential Arguments.” 27 Jun. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/files/2014/02/Evidential_Argument_Structure_20120627.pdf&gt;.

[10]. Lowder, Jeffery Jay. “F-Inductive Arguments: A New Type of Inductive Argument.” The Secular Outpost. Patheos, 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/21/f-inductive-arguments-a-new-type-of-inductive-argument/&gt;.

[11]. Ibid.

[12]. Lowder, Jeffery Jay. “25 Lines of Evidence Against Theism.” The Secular Outpost. Patheos, 26 Jun. 2016. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2016/06/26/pererz1-25-evidences-against-theism/&gt;.

His own internal citation [4]: Paul Draper, “God and Evil: A Philosophical Inquiry,” 19-20.

[13]. Draper, Paul. “Collins’ Case for Cosmic Design.” The Secular Web. Internet Infidels, Inc., 2008. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_draper/no-design.html&gt;.

[14]. Ibid.

[15]. See W. Norris Clarke’s The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics for a fuller treatment/exposition of this idea.

[16]. Draper, Paul. “Collins’ Case for Cosmic Design.” The Secular Web. Internet Infidels, Inc., 2008. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <http://infidels.org/library/modern/paul_draper/no-design.html&gt;.

 

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2 thoughts on “25 Arguments for Atheism #1: The Unimpressiveness of Humans

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