OK, so as usual I've got an R&R, a book review, and a proposal all due this month, but I can't resist a few comments on the Phil Papers survey. http://philpapers.org/surveys/
There are only three views with extremely widespread acceptance. 1. Non-skepticism about the external world, 2. Scientific realism, 3. Atheism.
Not surprised about 1, especially since not surprised about 2. A bit surprised about 3 (in some of the areas. The widest net catches 18.8% theists, the narrowest relevant one is 14.6%).
So here's the thought. In all the other areas--I checked all the epistemology one's first, but the same goes for all the others--I was more interested in what the top specialists thought. For example, I was...[word weaker than "disgusted" but stronger than "shocked in a bad way"] that contextualism had such a strong plurality among all respondents. But I was heartened that among epistemologists, invariantism held that honor, and even more heartened that it was even more solid among "Target Faculty" in Epistemology. This sort of thinking was repeated repeatedly. The working assumption seems to be:
AOS1 Ceteris paribus, what specialists think is more important (holds more epistemic weight, is better evidence) than what non-specialists think.
There are a lot of factors which would make ceteris non paribus, but AOS1 seems to represent something pretty ingrained in our thinking. It would be good to think about what features of areas make AOS1 more plausible and what features less so.
The thing, though, is that though theism is 4:1 minority in most relevant populations and less so in general, among those who specialize in Philosophy of Religion it's much, much more popular. 68.3% for all respondents and 72.3% among Target Faculty. Now obviously first thing to say is that many theists go into PR because they're theists. And that, of course, is true. However, note the following: we don't know what percentage of theists in academic philosophy work primarily in PR. That would make a difference as to the impact of this this fact. Also, note that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: many atheists go into Phil Mind, say, in order to defend some kind of naturalism about the mind, which would need to proportionately discount the majority results for Physicalism (though, I must say, the results aren't that high for physicalism in Phil Mind in this survey).
And do moral theorists really care that only one third of those working in Philosophy of the Americas accept cognitivism about moral judgment? (Real category and real figure.) Of course some disciplines are much more related than others, so Metaphysics is much more relevant to PR than the Americas thing. (And being a metaphysician increases the probability that one is a theist.)
There are LOTS of complications, and I'd LOVE to have the data to do some regression on, especially to investigate the relationship between various positions one holds and their coherence. For example, I doubt there are many non-physicalist, libertarian atheists who affirm free will.
All just a jumble of thoughts on this Tuesday afternoon, but here's a thesis:
TD1 We should be about as impressed with the fact that most PR specialists are theists as that most Mind specialists are physicalists.
But note this fact:
F1 Theism enjoys a MUCH stronger majority in PR than does physicalism in Mind.
Now I think there's fodder here for non-trivial support for theism from this majority because even after we factor in the fact that theists are--presumably, though we have no data--more likely to go into PR, the majority is still very impressive and--per AOS1--should count for more than the fact that the majority of non-PR people are atheists.
Here's another thesis, since TD1 is compatible with being totally unimpressed by any majoritiy:
TD2 If the theist majority in PR is of no evidential merit, then the physicalist majority in Mind is of no evidential merit.
And since the majority support for physicalism is about the only evidence I have for physicalism, my credence in theism is going to be quite high, since the conditional probability of non-physicalism on common sense is quite high, and my conditional probability of theism on non-physicalism is also quite high.
So, despite the clear overall majority of atheists, I come away from this survey with a modicum of credence-boost for theism.