•  2
    Explanation and the problem of evil
    In Daniel Howard Snyder & Justin McBrayer (eds.), A Companion to the Problem of Evil. pp. 71-87. 2013.
  •  53
    This chapter appeals to natural selection in order to show that the failure of many humans and animals to flourish is strong evidence against the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect God. Treating theism and naturalism as hypotheses that aim to explain certain features of our world, Draper sets out to test each hypothesis against various known facts, including facts about human and animal suffering. After demonstrating that, prior to such testing, naturalism is more probab…Read more
  •  17
    Robin Collins argues that three facts implicate a designer of the universe--that life depends upon the precise tuning of physical constants, that the laws of physics show evidence of beauty, and that the universe is intelligible. But Collins' case is pervaded by vague arguments which shift between defending theism specifically and defending a more generic design hypothesis. This provides the appearance of having all of the advantages of the generic design hypothesis, such as greater initial plau…Read more
  •  1
  •  18
    This paper critiques Alvin Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism. Plantinga argues that, since unplanned evolution is not likely to produce trustworthy cognitive faculties, evolutionary naturalists cannot rationally believe anything--including naturalism itself. This paper contends that this argument rests on a crucial but faulty inference from the premise that the probability that our cognitive faculties are reliable given unplanned evolution is low or inscrutable. The conclusio…Read more
  • Cumulative cases
    In Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper & Philip L. Quinn (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. pp. 414-424. 2010.
    Three types of cumulative cases for theism are examined: incremental cases (like Richard Swinburne's), distributive cases (like William Lane Craig's), and emergent cases (like Basil Mitchell's).
  • Christian theism and life on earth
    In Alan Padgett & James Stump (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity, . pp. 306-316. 2012.
    Some facts about life on earth appear to support theism. For example, the complexity, value, and fragility of intelligent life on earth make its existence surprising on what many consider to be the most plausible atheistic hypotheses; yet it is just the sort of thing one would expect to exist if theism were true. Theism does not, however, appear to fit as well with certain other facts about life, especially facts about the history and condition of life on earth. This chapter focuses on some o…Read more
  •  65
    Topoi 14 (2): 83-86. 1995.
    Introduces an issue of Topoi on the topic, "Is theism a theory?" The issue contains articles by William J. Wainwright, D. Z. Phillips, William P. Alston, Stephen J. Wykstra, Stephen Maitzen, and James F. Sennett.
  •  557
    Probabilistic arguments for multiple universes
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (3). 2007.
    In this paper, we discuss three probabilistic arguments for the existence of multiple universes. First, we provide an analysis of total evidence and use that analysis to defend Roger White's "this universe" objection to a standard fine-tuning argument for multiple universes. Second, we explain why Rodney Holder's recent cosmological argument for multiple universes is unconvincing. Third, we develop a "Cartesian argument" for multiple universes. While this argument is not open to the objections p…Read more
  •  109
    Probabilistic arguments from evil
    Religious Studies 28 (3). 1992.
  •  227
    Collins on cannons and cosmology
    with Quentin Smith
    . 2008.
    In "A Cosmological Argument for a Self-Caused Universe ," one of us (Smith) argued that the universe explains its own existence because (i) its existence is entailed by (and so explained by) the existence of the infinitely many instantaneous universe states that compose it, and (ii) each of those states is caused by (and so explained by) infinitely many earlier universe states.[1] Moreover, (ii) is true even if the universe is finitely old because, given standard Big Bang cosmology (Friedmann co…Read more
  •  39
    God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence
    Internet Infidels (Online Publisher). 2008.
    This book consists of four nonpartisan debates about the existence of God. Each debate examines distinct related areas of evidence for and against naturalism and theism. The topics of the first debate are the mind and the will, and the debaters are a naturalist, Andrew Melnyk, and two theists, Steward Goetz and Charles Taliaferro. Next, Paul Draper defends an evolutionary argument from evil against theism, while Alvin Plantinga argues that evolutionary naturalism is self-defeating. In the final …Read more
  • Probabilistic arguments from evil
    Religious Studies 28 (3): 303-317. 1992.
  • Simplicity and natural theology
    In Michael Bergmann & Jeffrey E. Brower (eds.), Reason and Faith: Themes From Swinburne. pp. 48-63. 2016.
    My project is to examine and critically discuss the role of simplicity in Swinburne’s probabilistic natural theology. After describing that role and the details of his theory of simplicity, I challenge Swinburne’s view that the criterion of simplicity is a fundamental criterion for evaluating causal explanations, proposing instead that what is right about that criterion can be derived from a more fundamental criterion of “coherence.” I close by exploring the implications of my proposal for Swinb…Read more
  •  1
    God, evil, and the nature of light
    In Chad Meister & Paul Moser (eds.), Cambridge companion to the problem of evil. pp. 65-84. 2017.
    Scientific debates about the nature of light have nothing to do with the philosophical problem of evil if you focus on the subject matter of those debates, but quite a bit to do with it if you focus on the structure of the reasoning in those debates. Some theories of light have been shown to be improbable, at least other evidence held equal, by comparing them to incompatible theories, both with respect to how well they fit certain data and (at least implicitly) with respect to how probable they…Read more
  •  1
    What if God makes hard choices?
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 9 18-30. 2019.
    This paper explores the implications for classical theism of the possibility that God makes “hard choices.” A choice between two actions is hard if the chooser believes that each action is better than the other in some respects, but believes neither that one action is better overall than the other nor that the two actions are equally valuable overall. Even an omniscient God might be forced to make hard choices if, as seems plausible, “better than,” “worse than,” and “equal in value to” do not …Read more
  •  1
    Where skeptical theism fails, skeptical atheism prevails
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 7 63-80. 2016.
    I define an ‘evidential argument from evil’ as an attempt to show that something we know about evil, while not provably incompatible with theism, is evidence against theism in the precise sense that it lowers the epistemic probability of theism being true. Such arguments must show that, for some statement e about evil that we know to be true, the antecedent probability of e given the denial theism – Pr(e/~G) – is greater than the antecedent probability of e given theism – Pr(e/G). To show that e…Read more
  • Confirmation theory and the core of CORNEA
    In Trent Dougherty & Justin McBrayer (eds.), Skeptical theism: New essays, . pp. 132-141. 2014.
    Long before skeptical theism was called “skeptical theism,” Stephen Wykstra (1984) defended a version of it based on an epistemological principle he called CORNEA. In this paper, I use elementary confirmation theory to analyze CORNEA’s core. This enables me to show precisely what is right about Wykstra’s very influential defense of skeptical theism and, perhaps more importantly, precisely what is wrong with it. A key premise of that defense is that, on the assumption that God exists, we wouldn’t…Read more
  •  1
    Merotheism is the view that God is a proper part of nature. Monopsychism is the view that there is exactly one mind or subject of consciousness. This chapter explores the idea of combining these two views. I call the resulting position "panpsychotheism" (all-minds-[are]-God-ism). The goal of this chapter is not the unrealistic one of showing that this position is true. I do, however, hope to show that panpsychotheism is not obviously false, and that it has some important advantages over oth…Read more
  •  21
    The main focus of this book is on philosophy of religion-in-general instead of on the philosophy of a particular religion or family of religions. For example, in the first of four main parts of the book, J. L. Schellenberg and Robert McKim write chapters on future progress in religion. Hopefully, their efforts will jump-start work in the field on this important but neglected topic. The next part of the book (as well as the book's final chapter) addresses the issue of life after death. Mark J…Read more
  •  48
    In Defense of the Requirement of Total Evidence
    Philosophy of Science 87 (1): 179-190. 2020.
    According to the Requirement of Total Evidence, when assessing the credibility of hypotheses, we should endeavor to take into account all of the relevant evidence at our disposal instead of just some proper part of that evidence. In "The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Requirement of Total Evidence," Peter Fisher Epstein offers two alleged counterexamples to this requirement. I show that, on at least one very natural interpretation of the requirement, his alleged counterexamples are not genuine. …Read more