The Existence of God: Introduction
Swinburne (Richard)
Source: Swinburne (Richard) - The Existence of God, Introduction; pp. 1-4
Paper - Abstract

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  1. This book assesses the worth of arguments for and against the existence of God. Evidence confirms (makes more probable) an explanatory hypothesis in so far as:-
    … 1. Given the hypothesis the evidence is to be expected, that is the hypothesis makes the evidence probable,
    … 2. The evidence is not otherwise to be expected,
    … 3. The hypothesis is simple, and
    … 4. It fits with background knowledge (i.e., knowledge about how things behave in neighbouring fields of enquiry).
  2. When we are assessing hypotheses (such as theism, the hypothesis that there is a God) purporting to explain everything, there will be no background knowledge. Theism is a very simple hypothesis. If there is a God, there is some reason to expect that he will create a universe, with laws of nature, leading to the evolution1 of humans (bodies connected to souls), who often have experiences which seem to them experiences of God. It is most improbable that all this evidence would exist if there was no God. Taken together therefore all this evidence makes it probable that there is a God. The occurrence of evil, whether produced by humans or natural processes, does not significantly diminish that probability.

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