Survey on natural theological arguments
February 7, 2012 — 10:04

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Existence of God  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 9

I’d like to thank Matthew Mullins for inviting me to post at Prosblogion. My first entry is going to be a request for help. I would be very grateful if Prosblogion readers could fill out the following, very brief survey:

It will take only about three minutes of your time. The survey is part of my current project on cognitive science and natural theology. The aim is to get a better idea of how philosophers today evaluate natural theological arguments for or against the existence of God. Note that you do not need to be a philosopher of religion or a faculty member to complete this survey. I will post a digest of the results in a few weeks. The survey will be active until I have gathered a predetermined number of responses that would allow for statistically robust results or until two weeks have elapsed.

  • Scrumpy

    For what it’s worth: The limited options make it difficult to rate the arguments. Suppose that, like Swinburne, you think that an argument is a good C-inductive argument but not a good P-inductive argument–that is, you think it increases the (epistemic) probablility of God’s existence but not above .5 (at least not by itself). How should you rate it? Since you don’t think it’s a good P-inductive argument, that seems to rule it out as being either “strong” or “very strong”. At the same time, it wouldn’t appear to be “neutral”, since that seems to imply that the argument does not increase/improve/positively contribute to the (epistemic) probability of God’s existence. Perhaps one could say that a good C-inductive argument is “weak” when taken by itself, except that “weak” is presumably a rating below “neutral”, which, again, seems to imply that it does not increase the (epistemic) probability of God’s existence. Is there another way that one should understand “neutral”? Or should there be another category (e.g., “somewhat strong”)?

    February 7, 2012 — 12:19
  • Thank you for the comments. The point is well taken. I took a five-point likert scale because that’s what is recommended for unvalidated surveys. So perhaps I should have named the scales differently, something like ‘weak’, ‘somewhat weak’, etc. For the statistics I have in mind, this is not so problematic, however. I freely concede that this is a limited survey. I thought that making it more fine-grained (e.g., by presenting several versions of each argument) would make it less accessible to those who do not specialize in philosophy of religion.

    February 7, 2012 — 14:17
  • Philip

    Pascal’s Wager is not an argument for the existence of God. It is an argument for belief in God. Does the survey mean to ask if it’s a compelling reason to believe in God? Or does it really mean is it a good argument for God’s existence?

    February 7, 2012 — 17:53
  • Andrew Moon

    Welcome Helen! I completed the survey earlier today.

    February 8, 2012 — 0:00
  • Justin

    Out of curiosity, what is the “pragmatic argument for atheism”?

    February 8, 2012 — 10:27
  • Like in the other arguments, there are several pragmatic arguments for atheism out there. For instance, the atheist’s wager (where one wagers that God does not exist, in which case the utility of living a good, secular life outweighs the costs spent in leading a religious life).

    February 8, 2012 — 11:28
  • I filled in the survey, hope it would helped, it really took 3 min ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 10, 2012 — 4:29
  • “Pascal’s Wager is not an argument for the existence of God.”
    Hey, what about this argument?
    1. You should only believe the truth.
    2. You should believe that God exists. [from Pascal’s Wager]
    3. So, God exists.
    I leave the disambiguation of the “should” as an exercise to the student.

    February 14, 2012 — 19:26
  • Carneades of Ga.

    I suppose that the pragmatic argument for atheism would be that we can plan our lives without Him as how would one know that He’d favor one as that could be just coincidence.

    February 14, 2012 — 23:58