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Why do atheists think Christians believe unreasonably, if they don't?

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My Foreword to God and Horrendous Suffering, ed. John Loftus

Book is here . Prepublication draft below. FOREWORD   STEPHEN LAW   The problem of evil is widely considered to be one of, if not the, most significant threat to traditional theism, by which I mean the kind of theism that posits a being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent (roughly: all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good). This volume focuses on what's often called the Evidential Problem of Evil, one version of which runs as follows:   If God exists, then there are no gratuitous evils Gratuitous evil exists. Therefore, God does not exist.   A 'gratuitous' evil, in this context, is an evil for which there is no adequate God-justifying reason. Yes, God might allow some evils if that's the price he must unavoidably pay to allow for still greater goods. But God won't allow gratuitous evils - evils that would be pointless from God's perspective.   Notice that this simple argument is deductively valid: necessarily, if the premises are true, then so is

‘I’m not going to answer a hypothetical question…’

Politicians are, of course, skilled at dodging questions. Here is one of the many tricks in their arsenal. They use it to get themselves off the hook in all sorts of tight spots. A typical example:   Interviewer: Minister, what will you do if the strike goes ahead? Minister: Well, you can’t expect me to answer a hypothetical question.   A hypothetical question is a ‘What if…?’ question. Politicians regularly refuse to answer these sorts of questions on the grounds that they are only obliged to consider what is actually happening. Many people – including, surprisingly, even television and radio interviewers – seem to think it's fair enough if a politician is unwilling to answer a hypothetical question. But actually, the ‘no hypotheticals’ move is usually just a rhetorical trick. It's about time we stopped falling for it. After all, it is part of the politician’s job to consider hypothetical questions , questions such as: ‘What if the global economy takes a nose dive?’ and ‘What

The Pandora's Box Objection to Skeptical Theism (Int. J.Phil Religion 2015)

 (Prepublication draft of paper published in Int. J. Phil Religion (78) 2015) THE PANDORA'S BOX OBJECTION TO SKEPTICAL THEISM   ABSTRACT: Skeptical theism is a leading response to the evidential argument from evil against the existence of God. Skeptical theists attempt to block the inference from the existence of inscrutable evils (evil for which we can think of no God-justifying reason) to gratuitous evils (evils for which there is no God justifying reason) by insisting that given our cognitive limitations, it wouldn't be surprising if there were God-justifying reasons we can't think of. A well-known objection to skeptical theism is that it opens up a skeptical Pandora’s box, generating implausibly wide-ranging forms of skepticism, including skepticism about the external world and past. This paper looks at several responses to this Pandora's box objection, including a popular response devised by Beaudoin and Bergmann. I find that all of the examined

How philosophy can help your business or organisation - two testimonials

Can philosophy and critical thinking benefit your business or organisation? Yes! Here are two testimonials regarding work I've done recently for the Government of Malta and E.On Next: Charles Deguara, Auditor General at National Audit Office (Malta): 'In line with our policy of offering diverse professional development opportunities to our staff, Dr Stephen Law, a well renowned professor in philosophy in international circles , was invited recently by the National Audit Office to conduct a three hour webinar on critical thinking to all its employees...[T]his webinar made us even more aware of the beneficial effect of philosophy especially to facilitate our thinking and reasoning processes. Undoubtedly, as auditors this is extremely important in our work, particularly when it comes to collecting and evaluating audit evidence and eventually to the expression of professional judgement. In actual fact, this webinar’s success exceeded all expectations, as clearly evidenced by the ex

My book The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking

My book The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking! Philip Pullman called it 'a vivid, enlightening introduction to clear thinking.' 'Where did the universe come from? Is time travel possible? Are genetically designed babies morally acceptable? If you have ever asked yourself such questions, then you have already begun to think philosophically. This book is for those who want to take the next step. Teachers - LOTS of stuff in here relevant to the IB Theory of Knowledge, as well as A Level Religious Studies (God, personal identity, meta-ethics, etc.). Includes essays, dialogues. Sometimes irreverent! On amazon.co.uk here . On amazon.com here .