Daily Archives: February 2, 2014
Part 4 — Explanatory Scope
Luke Muehlhauser, the proprietor of Common Sense Atheism, has proposed that we can defeat religions in one easy step. To do so, he takes a broad look at different arguments for God and notices what they all have in common: They all posit God as the best explanation for something.
Luke identifies the following four criteria for a good explanation:
- It’s testable and it passes the tests we give it.
- It’s consistent with our background knowledge and experience. (What philosopher Tom Morris called The Principle of Belief Conservation).
- It’s simpler than the alternatives.
- It has good explanatory scope — in other words, it explains a wide variety of data.
I’ve already argued that God creates a testable hypothesis and that this hypothesis passes that test. I also argued that God doesn’t violate Morris’s Principle of Belief Conservation. Yesterday, I argued that God’s own complexity doesn’t mean he isn’t a simple explanation. Today, I will talk about the explanatory scope of God and make my concluding remarks. Read the rest of this entry