Bleg: Who writes on revelation?
October 30, 2012 — 18:15

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Uncategorized  Comments: 26

I am trying to put on a workshop on divine revelation. I am sorry to say that other than Swinburne’s _Revelation_ and Wolterstorff’s _Divine Discourse_ I can’t think of any major work by a philosopher on the nature of revelation. Of course, there may be some good philosophically-informed work by a theologian as well. Suggestions?

The Association for the Philosophy of Judaism Online Symposium
August 20, 2012 — 11:56

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Tags:   Comments: 0

The Association for the Philosophy of Judaism invites all interested parties to join in the following online symposium:
The Epistemic Nature of Faith (26 August — 02 September)
The symposium will center around points raised in Lara Buchak’s paper “Can it be Rational to have Faith?” Chapter 12 of Probability in the Philosophy of Religion, eds. Jake Chandler and Victoria S. Harrison. Oxford University Press,
The symposium will be led by Sandy Goldberg (Northwestern), and Trent Dougherty (Baylor). Lara Buchak (Berkeley) has kindly agreed to participate as well. The symposium will be conducted on the APJ website.

More Deplorable Reporting on Religious Belief
June 13, 2012 — 13:30

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Religious Belief  Tags: , ,   Comments: 11

In a previous post I threw some primate feces into a rotating blade after reading an article which had the following properties. 1. The story was about religious belief. 2. The story was on the impact of some “scientific” study on religious belief. 3. It was terrible reporting. 4. The headline had an implication, entailment, or assertion that was unsupported by the data. 5. The implication, entailment, or assertion in the headline was just what a CDR (cultured despiser of religion) would *wish* to be true.
I think that, in general, trait 1 is highly correlated with trait 3, but when traint 2 enters, things only get worse. I have now had the misfortune of seeing yet another article which displays these five qualities in spades. In this case, though, I want to focus not on how ridiculously bad the reporting is, but on an important item of religious epistemology it highlights.


Plantinga Recovering Well from Heart Surgery
June 3, 2012 — 8:02

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Tags: ,   Comments: 4

From all of us here at Prosblogion and the readership I’m sure: Get well soon!
First, Al did NOT have a heart attack. If you hear that, it’s not true (and it’s false if you didn’t hear it). On Friday, Al had triple bypass surgery to remove some blockage. By all accounts he is recovering well.
When I was with Al for an extended time a little more than a month ago, he was quite vigorous and in great shape, so I can’t imagine what super-powers he’ll have when his recovery is complete and he has achieved maximal health.
Atheists and agnostics, it wouldn’t *hurt* if you sent up a few tentative or conditional prayers to join the rest of us! 😉

Bleg: Top objections to Irenaean Soul-making theodicy?
May 13, 2012 — 20:12

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Problem of Evil  Tags:   Comments: 6

I am defending a soul-making theodicy for animals in the book, and I am going to briefly summarize some objections and reply to them. Google Scholar turns up not a whole lot on the surface, and I might as well respond to people’s actual concerns, so, if you please, let me know what objections/articles/chapters you find most worthy of being responded to. Thanks.

“Critical Thinking” and Theism, contra SA
May 3, 2012 — 11:37

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Religious Belief  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 16

UPDATE: I want to clarify one thing here. My principle target was not the authors of the study (which I have no intention to read, as I judge that doing so has negative expected utility). Rather, my principle target was the editors of SA. The author of the article is a minor target (its bad reporting) but she probably gave the editors what she had every right to expect they wanted. Here is what I would have said in a calmer moment:
“People have been implying that the content of this article casts aspersons on the rationality of religious belief. I assert that that is false and confused. I dare (double dog dare) anyone to construct a cogent argument from the content of this article which casts aspersions on the rationality of religious belief. I assert that it cannot be done. I also find the article greatly misleading in multiple ways and perhaps culpably so.”
I still think it is worth recording my initial reaction, though, so that friends who posted this article in ways that implied that it did cast aspersions on the rationality of religious belief–there were too many to write individually–can see the palpable frustration with which such misdirection causes people like me: Christions living in a very secularized environment where people they really like often say or do things very hurtful (though not intentionally, of course). There are many ways in which it is not easy to be a Christian in academic philosophy. Being an unprotected minority is frustrating, anxiety-inducing (I received threats as a result of this post), and sometimes deeply discouraging. [Any other Christians who feel this way should redouble their efforts to reach out to other minorities and simply set aside in good faith the fact that those minorities have advocates in a way that we do not, for we have our own Advocate.]
That venerable publishing outlet of the Secular-Industrial Establishment the Scientific American at least once had decent journalism and intelligent writing. That started to slide at least a decade ago, and though there are still some occasional gems, there is also plenty of tripe. To wit: this article called–utterly misleadingly–“How Critical Thinkers Lose Their Faith in God: Religious belief drops when analytical thinking rises.
Rarely have I been so annoyed as by this piece. And it is a token of a type that is all too prevalent. I judge, and hope I do not regret it, that the removal of the snarkiness would not be worth the effort. I don’t like being drawn into such rhetoric, but it is not irrelevant that the piece made me *angry*. Anger is an emotion that can be appropriate or inappropriate and upon reflection, I think anger is an appropriate emotional response to this nonsense. #notproofread #lateforconference


C.S. Lewis Essay Prize
April 4, 2012 — 16:20

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Comments: Off

The Lewis Essay Prize has been established to provide up to 10 awards of $3,000 each for essays published in popular venues that present the state of the art or make new progress on the topics funded through the Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought project during the 2010-2013 academic years.
Essays must be at least 1,000 words in length and must be published in a popular, non-academic publication with a circulation of at least 12,000. Publications can be religious in orientation (e.g., Christianity Today, First Things, Christian Century) or secular (e.g., Harper’s, Times Literary Supplement, The National Review, The Atlantic). Selected online publications will also be considered (e.g. Essayists are encouraged to consult with the Center’s director to determine the suitability of a proposed venue for prize eligibility.
Entries must accepted for publication between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013. To be considered, a copy of the published essay must be submitted for review on a rolling basis by June 30, 2013. Awards may be made annually between September 1 2011 through September 1, 2013. Winners will be selected by a panel appointed by the board for the Center for Philosophy of Religion.
Details Here

Houston Baptist establishes MA Program
March 18, 2012 — 12:38

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Tags: , ,   Comments: Off

I have some good friends down there, and I think the are doing some valuable work.
The Houston Baptist University philosophy department is pleased to announce a new Master of Arts in Philosophy degree, requiring 30 hours, and beginning fall semester 2012. The MAPhil degree is intended to offer students training in the critical and philosophical skills that are useful for their further academic study and also for their growth as followers of God. MAPhil graduates may continue their education at the doctoral level. Both alumni scholarships and merit-based GRE scholarships are available.
Students in the MAPhil program can earn a Certificate of Apologetics at the same time as they are earning the MAPhil degree, or they can choose only to work toward completion of the Certificate. The coursework for the certificate is 18 hours and overlaps with the MAPhil curriculum while also containing electives for those wishing to focus on apologetics.
Faculty in the Houston Baptist Philosophy Department are excellent teachers and nationally-known scholars. They have received degrees from programs at Notre Dame, California-Riverside, Northwestern, Baylor, and St. Louis. Particular strengths of the program are in apologetics, intelligent design, and philosophy of religion. In the MAPhil program you will be in small classes with some of the leading public intellectuals in Christian philosophy and apologetics. The MAPhil can provide the framework needed for parachurch ministry, teaching opportunities, or further graduate education.
More information is available about this exciting opportunity at Applications are available at You can email the graduate school directly with questions about the program at

“The Substance of Jewish Business Ethics” at APJ
February 21, 2012 — 12:53

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Tags: ,   Comments: Off

The Association for the Philosophy of Judaism is pleased to announce a symposium on Moses L. Pava’s “The Substance of Jewish Business Ethics” (Journal of Business Ethics 17: 603-617, 1998), which will be held on our website ( on February 21-28, 2012.
Participation is open to all.
Aaron Segal, Dani Rabinowitz, and Sam Lebens
Association for the Philosophy of Judaism

Assoc for Phil of Judaism Symposium on Halakha
January 23, 2012 — 9:55

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: News  Comments: Off

The Association for the Philosophy of Judaism is now hosting a week long symposium on Philosophy in Halakha (Jewish law) on its site.