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Latest version EAAN paper - for comments

Plantinga’s Latest EAAN Refuted In “Content and Natural Selection” (PPR forthcoming) Plantinga presents a version of his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN) that he then bolsters to deal with a certain sort of objection. The EAAN itself runs as follows. Let N be the view that there’s no such person as God or anything at all like God (or if there is, then this being plays no causal role in the world’s transactions), and E be the view that our cognitive faculties have come to be by way of the processes postulated by contemporary evolutionary theory. Then, argues Plantinga, the combination N&E is incoherent of self-defeating. This, he maintains, is because if N&E is true, then the probability that R – that we have cognitive faculties that are reliable (that is to say, produce a preponderance of true over false beliefs in nearby possible worlds) – is low. But anyone who sees that P(R/N&E) is low then has an undefeatable defeater for R. And if they have such a def

KEITH WARD, TUESDAY EVENING - PLEASE COME!

Here's an event I have set up for this coming Tuesday in central London. Keith is an excellent speaker and this should be very interesting. Hope to see some of you there. Centre for Inquiry UK and South Place Ethical Society present THE GOD VIRUS? Prof. KEITH WARD Keith Ward is a philosopher and theologian, Regius Professor of Divinity (Emeritus), Oxford, and the author of The God Conclusion. Following up Darrell Ray’s talk The God Virus (Oct. 23) Ward’s talk addresses Richard Dawkins’s suggestion, developed by Ray, that religion functions in a similar way to a virus. This is a free-standing talk. No familiarity with Ray’s book or talk will be assumed. Ward is a great guy, as well as one of the world's leading religious thinkers. There will be plenty of time for discussion. Please come! Tues. November 30th, 2010, 7.30-9.00 pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL – Main Hall. Just £4 on the door. Students £3. Tickets on the door. To book in advanc

Nigel Warburton at Oxford Playhouse

This wil be worth going to - Nigel is a very clear and entertaining speaker. Nigel Warburton on Everyday Philosophy What is philosophy? Who needs it? Writer and podcaster Nigel Warburton, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University, discusses the relevance of philosophy to life today. From questions about the limits of free speech to the nature of happiness, from what art is to the impact of new technology, philosophy offers insights into questions that matter. Warburton will explore how the thoughts of some of the great philosophers of the past shed light on our present day predicament. Nigel Warburton is the author of many books including Philosophy: The Basics, Philosophy: The Classics, Thinking from A to Z and Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction. With David Edmonds, he makes the popular philosophy podcast Philosophy Bites, and is co-editor of a book based on the series. He also writes a monthly column Everyday Philosophy for Prospect magazine. Fri 11th February 2

Draft paper for comments

Here's a draft paper written after my radio thing with Plantinga. Work in progress. Alvin has been kind enough to comment so it will be revised in light of that... Plantinga’s Latest EAAN Refuted In “Content and Natural Selection” (PPR forthcoming) Plantinga presents a version of his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism that he then bolsters to deal with a certain sort of objection. The EAAN itself runs as follows. Let N be the view that there’s no such person as God or anything at all like God (or if there is, this being plays no causal role in the world’s transactions), and E be the view that our cognitive faculties have come to be by way of the processes postulated by contemporary evolutionary theory. Then, argues Plantinga, the combination N&E is incoherent of self-defeating. This, he maintains, is because if N&E is true then the probability that R – that we have cognitive faculties that are reliable (that is to say, produce a preponderance of true over false b

"I Just Know!"

From forthcoming book Believing Bullshit . Warning: this excerpt is 7,400 words. When someone’s claim is challenged, and they find themselves struggling to come up with a rational reply, they will often say resort to saying, “Look, I just know!” How reasonable a response is “I just know”? It depends. Sometimes, by “I just know”, people mean you should just take their word for it, perhaps because time is short and the evidence supporting their belief too complex to present in a convenient sound-bite. Suppose, for example, I’m asked how I know Tom can be trusted to pay back the five dollars you just lent him. I could spend five minutes rehearsing several bits of evidence that would, together, show my claim was reasonable, but that would take time and effort. So, instead I say, “Look, I just know, okay!” To which I might add, “Take my word for it!” And, if you know me to be a pretty good judge of character, you’ll probably be justified in doing so. Another situation in which it m